St Michael's CE Primary School Blog

BENIN KINGDOM

In History, Year Five have been learning about Africa’s past – The Benin Kingdom which was was home to the Edo people.

In around 900 CE the Edo people began clearing parts of the rainforests of West Africa to build their homes. Small settlements soon grew, which were ruled by kings called Ogisos (kings of the sky). After being governed by over 30 different Ogisos, the kingdom was then controlled by a new dynasty of rulers, called the Oba. The Obas led the Edo people to great wealth and power before their kingdom eventually fell under the colonial rule of the British Empire in the late 1800s.

At one time, people sacrificed leopards to the gods because they were the symbol of the Oba, so sacrificing them, they believed, would keep the Kingdom safe. Many warriors wore neckalces of leopards’ teeth to keep them protected during battle. There were many animals associated with different gods.

  • Crocodiles were associated with Olokun, god of the water.
  • Snakes symbolised the power of Osun, the god of nature.
  • Eagles and mudfish also featured in artwork.

The children created tiles showing some of the gods of the Benin people.

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