The standard reference for the history of the Yoruba people. It is illuminating and engaging. And, it is a recommended must-read book for all Yorubas and indeed all interested Nigerians, Beninois, and Brazilians. The book reminds us of the beauty, pain, violence and resounding relevance of Yoruba culture easily mirrored in other African ethnicities. This pioneering volume by Samuel Johnson brought together various oral and recorded accounts of Yoruba history, describing not only political history but also social, customs, language, economy, and laws. The author of this classic work is Samuel Johnson
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NB: The author, Rev Samuel Johnson after writing the manuscripts in sent it to Britain to be published however it got "missing" and his brother had to write it all over again from manuscripts since Rev passed on in and before the lost manuscript could be found.
There are several stories about the challenges the brother the editor faced when he also tried getting the boom printed, a feat finally achieved in The "Plot" Earlier accounts of the book were extracted from oral accounts largely from the elderly and traditional historians and did not include dates.
The lack of dates leads to some level of disorientation in the course of the book and might cause readers to oscillate between pages to fit the jigsaw puzzle and maze of legends and stories. The book is divided into two main sections with the first section dwelling largely on Yoruba people, the country nation and the derivation of the language. Section two is divided into four periods that acknowledges that the origins of mythological leadership, outlines a period of growth and prosperity of the nation state under several Alafins moving across several capitals with the cooperation of the nobility, lords and the war chiefs or Are Ona Kakanfo.
The section identifies periods of class struggles where common men that rise to power as a result of winning wars become intoxicated by power thus leading to consequences forever to change the landscape of Yorubaland and the loss of its most frontier border, Ilorin.
This section documents the several wars that this interregnum ignited for the next to years and how hard the disparate forces fought to remove the yoke of Oyo suzerainty or retain it. Several wars are fought gallantly with several others resulting in kidnapping raids, impunity and recklessness. The book gives the rare insight into how precarious life across the land was during the interregnum, and how particularly, the Ijebus fought tooth and nail to secure access to the hinterland for those coming from Lagos routes and vice versa.
The trade routes, access given to Christian missionaries, arrival of Islam via Ilorin, communication between kingdoms, security systems, naming of areas are all given illumination by the author. My humble take on such a great book Perhaps, where updated copies could include maps of the old kingdom and indicate where these locations are today, such might interest the amateur historian or anthropologist or a tourist and motivate such persons to explore these historic places named in the book.
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This kingdom was founded by the deities Oduduwa and Obatala , who are believed to have created the world. Oduduwa was the first divine king of the Yoruba people, and Obatala fashioned the first human beings out of clay. It is said the Yoruba people believe that their civilization began at Ile-Ife where the gods descended to earth. The Yoruba were invaded by the Fulani in the early s, which pushed the people to the South. In the late s, they formed a treaty with the Fulani people and were colonized by the British in
History of the Yoruba people