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The Benin Kingdom Wall Surpassed The Wall of China

The Benin Kingdom Wall Surpassed The Wall of China


In the 13th and 15th century, the Esan region of the Benin Kingdom started its civilization by migrating away from Nile valley. In recent times, it was discovered it's citizens used similar ruling power to the Pharaohs. Their rituals, their gods, their robes and hairdo had a striking resemblance to those of the Egyptians. One of the significant discovery linking their origins from Egpyt were the materials used for making the walls of Benin. According to reports, they were similar to the ones used to make pyramids.

Iron sculpture of the oba of Benin and his kings men

Oba of Benin and his king’s men. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Head of Oba, from the 16th belonging to the Edo people

Head of Oba, 16th C Edo people

The Benin kingdom was one of the most industrious and powerful kingdoms to have ever existed in Africa. It was so wealthy it was evident in their fashion. The Edo people were fond of adorning themselves with various accessories. The different beads depicted their position in the community. Till date, the Benin people still cover themselves in beads for traditional ceremonies. 

An Edo bride covered in traditional beads

from Joy Adenuga

Before long, the news of this great kingdom which was rapidly developing started spreading around the continent. Soon the Edo people were in constant war with neighbouring kingdoms. During one of the war meetings with the Oba Eweka the first, where he sat with his king's men they hatched a plan to build a wall so big invaders would never get in was hatched, before long the people of the kingdom despite the raging war began building a fortress. The wall was estimated to have taken over 600 years, the wall of the Benin kingdom was two times bigger and four times longer than the Great Wall of China. 

Wall of Benin 16,000

Obas of the Benin Kingdom

In the late 900, the Obas were seen as gods, human sacrifices were made in honour of them, it was believed that after ascension, the Obas would claim magical powers from divinity and become one of the gods. The Oba was also believed to have not performed any human activity like eating or sleeping. Those rumours were the basis of his kingship. The Oba wasn’t seen regularly and even his name wasn’t mentioned randomly, it was like invoking the gods. Over half a millennium later, after the wall had been constructed the British and Portuguese people returned and destroyed the walls including thousands of years of recorded history of the Benin kingdom. Though the Benin Kingdom lost a lot of their resources they stood high and never lost their independence. The Benin Walls might have fallen but they still remain the heartbeat of the nation. 

Idia of the Benin Kingdom - Lesson Plan


Idia of the Benin Kingdom


Idia of the Benin Kingdom: Workbook

$14.95  $15.95

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