EARTH (ensure you share after reading)
By: Don Senatorlucky
Do you know that the Oldest Surviving Kingdom in the
World is Great Benin Kingdom and is 2054 years Old?
This piece reveals 30 amazing facts you never knew
about the Great Benin Kingdom
The Great Benin Kingdom is probably Nigeria’s greatest
empire. The Ogiso dynasty lasted for about 854 years
plus an interregnum of 285 years between the reign of
Ogiso Orire and Ogiso Odia, there was an interregnum of
70 years between Ogiso Owodo and Oba Oranmiyan plus
845 years of Oba ruler-ship till date.
Below are 30 amazing facts about the Great Benin
1.The First Storey Building in Nigeria was built at
Ughoton by the Dutch in the year 1718, and it was
called “The Factory”. The said building was destroyed
by the British during the war against the Benins in 1897.
The site of the building is still intact.
2. The Oldest Church in West-Africa was established in
Great Benin Empire by the Earliest Portuguese
missionaries in the 16th Century which is today known
as the Holy Aruosa (Benin National Church). Pope Pius
XII visited Benin and handed the church to the Oba of
Benin, Oba Oreoghene in 1692AD.
3. The first Known Embassy Established in Nigeria was
in Benin during the reign of Oba Esigie in the 16th
4. The Oldest known letter written in Nigeria was by
Duarte Pires instructed by Oba Esigie which was
addressed to King John II, on the 20th October,
1516AD. The second oldest letter was written by
Anthonio Domingo (Great-grand Son of Oba Olua) to the
Pope to seek for missionary assistance in order to
spread Christianity in Benin Empire in 1652AD.
5. Oba Orhogbua founded Lagos and planted a
dukedom, the Obaship of Lagos (Eko).
6. Oldest ever recorded market in Africa is Ogiso
(Agbado) Market dated 60BCE.
7. The first ever recorded bank (Owigho) in present day
West-Africa was built in Benin kingdom by Oba
Eresoyen, construction started in the year 1740AD and
was completed in the year 1743AD.
8. Queen Idia (Oba Esigie mother) is the first Oba’s
mother to be alive to see her son becoming an Oba.
That’s because traditionally previous Crown prince
mothers were killed before their Sons ascend the throne.
9. Ga tribe of present day Ghana migrated from Benin
during Oba Udagbedo's reign (1299-1334)
10. Oduduwa was the exiled crowned prince from Benin
known as Ekaladerhan, which is being purported as the
progenitor of the Yoruba race.
11. The monarch of Warri kingdom is an off shoot of the
royal house of Benin kingdom founded by prince Iginuwa
the Son of Oba Olua in the 15th century.
12. The Osemawe of Ondo was corrupted from
Osemwughe, the Benin warrior who deserted Udo town,
when there was war between Benin City and Udo town.
13. The word Ondo was corrupted from the town
“Emwan N’Udo” (people of Udo town)
14. The world most famous mask Queen Idia mask was
the face of FESTAC 77’ held in Lagos.
15. The word Benin was corrupted from Ubini by the
Portuguese explorer meaning “a place of heavenly
pageantry and prosperity”

16. Oba Esigie is the first King in Africa to be baptized
in the year 1504AD in Benin.
17. The King of Benin can in a single day make 20,000
men ready for war, and, if need be, 180, 000, and
because of this he has great influence among all the
surrounding peoples’ … His authority stretches over
many cities, towns and villages. There is no King
thereabouts who, in the possession of so many beautiful
cities and towns, in his capital – Olfert Dapper,
description of Africa, 1668.
18. According to the Guinness Book of Records (1974
edition) described the walls of Benin City and its
surrounding kingdom as the world’s largest earthworks
carried out prior to the mechanical era.
19. According to estimates by the New Scientists Fred
pearce, Benin City’s walls were at one point “four times
longer than the great wall of China, and consumed a
hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of
20. Benin City is surrounded by massive walls dug by
Oba Oguola in 13th century and Oba Ewuare I in the
15th century.
21. Great Wall of Benin extended for some 16,000km in
all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected
settlement boundaries. They covered 6, 500sq km and
were all dug by the Edo people.
22. The Great wall of Benin took an estimated
150million hours of digging to construct, and are
perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon
on the planet.

The Great Wall of Benin
23. Benin City is the first City to have a semblance of
street lighting in the world.
24. The Portuguese were the people who called our land
“Great City of Benin” because they were astonished with
what they saw that the Edo people achieved centuries
before any major cities in the world.
25. 1n 1691, the Portuguese ship captain Lourenco
Pinto observed: “Great Benin, where the king resides, is
larger than Lisbon; all the streets run straight and as
far as the eyes can see.
26. The Binis are the best bronze casters (Igun –
eronmwon) in the world.
27. Two kings were installed without a crown - Ogiso
Igodo (40BC-16AD) and Oba Oranmiyan (Odolorre)
28. Great Benin is known as the cradle of Black
civilization and the centre of the world (Edorisiagbon).
29. The Binis were the first to use sophisticated
weapons (guns) to fight a war (Idah war) in the present
day Nigeria in about 501 years ago (August, 1516), the
war was led by Oba Esigie mother (Queen Idia).
Supported by some Portuguese mercenaries.
30. All Obas in Lagos (Eko) were buried in their
ancestral home (Benin City) until late 19th century. To
lend credence to that, Oba Osemwende in 1834
instructed Idewu Ojulari, the Oba of Lagos to zegbele
(kill himself). The instruction was, expectedly, complied
with. The Lagos Oba complied by taking poison.
Source: Institute For Benin Studies

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