Yoruba people

Yoruba people

Overview
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language
Yoruba language
Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas...

 . The Yoruba constitute between 30 and 50 million individuals throughout West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 and are found predominantly in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and make up around 21% of its population.

The Yoruba share borders with the Borgu
Borgu
Borgu was a 15th-16th century state in West Africa, partitioned between the Great Britain and France by the Anglo-French Convention of 1898. It lies in what is now Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.People of Borgu were known as Bariba and Borgawa....

 (variously called "Baruba" and "Borgawa") in the northwest; the Nupe
Nupe
The Nupe, traditionally called the Tapa by the neighbouring Yoruba, are an ethnic group located primarily in the Middle Belt and northern Nigeria, and are the dominant group in Niger and an important minority in Kwara State.-History:...

 (whom they often call "Tapa") and Ebira
Ebira
The Ebira These days Ebira is no more pronounced or spelt "Igbira or Igbirra" because it is considered to be insultive to most of the Ebiras but then, Ebira people are an ethno-linguistic group of Nigeria. Many Ebira people are from Kogi State, Kwara State, Nasarawa State, Federal Capital...

 in the north; and the Edo
Edo people
Edo is the name for the place, people and language of an ethnic group in Nigeria. Other Edo-speaking ethnic groups include the Esan and the Afemai...

, the Ẹsan
Esan
Esan is one of the major ethnic groups in Edo State, South-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria.-Name:It is believed by many historians that the name 'Esan' owes its origin to Bini...

, and the Afemai
Afemai
Afenmai or Afemai is an ethnic language of the group of people living in the northern part of Edo State south geopolitical zone of Nigeria....

 to the southeast.
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Encyclopedia
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language
Yoruba language
Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas...

 . The Yoruba constitute between 30 and 50 million individuals throughout West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 and are found predominantly in Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and make up around 21% of its population.

The Yoruba share borders with the Borgu
Borgu
Borgu was a 15th-16th century state in West Africa, partitioned between the Great Britain and France by the Anglo-French Convention of 1898. It lies in what is now Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.People of Borgu were known as Bariba and Borgawa....

 (variously called "Baruba" and "Borgawa") in the northwest; the Nupe
Nupe
The Nupe, traditionally called the Tapa by the neighbouring Yoruba, are an ethnic group located primarily in the Middle Belt and northern Nigeria, and are the dominant group in Niger and an important minority in Kwara State.-History:...

 (whom they often call "Tapa") and Ebira
Ebira
The Ebira These days Ebira is no more pronounced or spelt "Igbira or Igbirra" because it is considered to be insultive to most of the Ebiras but then, Ebira people are an ethno-linguistic group of Nigeria. Many Ebira people are from Kogi State, Kwara State, Nasarawa State, Federal Capital...

 in the north; and the Edo
Edo people
Edo is the name for the place, people and language of an ethnic group in Nigeria. Other Edo-speaking ethnic groups include the Esan and the Afemai...

, the Ẹsan
Esan
Esan is one of the major ethnic groups in Edo State, South-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria.-Name:It is believed by many historians that the name 'Esan' owes its origin to Bini...

, and the Afemai
Afemai
Afenmai or Afemai is an ethnic language of the group of people living in the northern part of Edo State south geopolitical zone of Nigeria....

 to the southeast. The Igala
Igala
Igala are an ethnic group of Nigeria. Igala practice a number of different religions, including animism, Christianity, and Islam.The home of the Igala people is situated east of the river Niger and Benue confluence and astride the Niger in Lokoja, Kogi state of Nigeria...

 and other related groups are found in the northeast, and the Egun, Fon
Fon language
Fon is part of the Gbe language cluster and belongs to the Volta–Niger branch of the Niger–Congo languages. Fon is spoken mainly in Benin by approximately 1.7 million speakers, by the Fon people...

, and others in the southwest. While the majority of the Yoruba live in western Nigeria, there are also substantial indigenous Yoruba communities in the Republic of Benin
Republic of Benin
The short-lived Republic of Benin, in Nigeria's coastal Bight of Benin, was named after its capital Benin City. It was known as Mid-Western state in Nigeria until August 1967 when it was occupied by Biafra as its forces advanced towards Lagos...

 and Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

, plus large groups of Yoruba migrants living in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

Yoruba settlements are often described as primarily one or more of the main social groupings called "generations":
  • The "first generation" includes towns and cities known as original capitals of founding Yoruba states/kingdoms.
  • The "second generation" consists of settlements created by conquest.
  • The "third generation" consists of villages and municipalities that emerged following the Yoruba wars.

General history


The African peoples who lived in the lower western Niger area, at least by the 4th century BC, were not initially known as the Yoruba, although they shared a common ethnicity and language group. Both archeology and traditional Yoruba oral historians confirm the existence of people in this region for several millennia.

Between 1100 AD and 1700 AD, the Yoruba Kingdom of Ife experienced a golden age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

, the oba
Oba (ruler)
Oba is a West African synonym for monarch, one that is usually applied to the Yoruba and Edo rulers of the region. It is also often used by their traditional subjects to refer to other kings and queens, such as Elizabeth I of England, in their native languages.-Edo account of the word's origin:The...

 or ruler of Ife is referred to as the Ooni of Ife. It was then surpassed by the Yoruba Oyo Empire
Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established before the 14th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by European explorers. It rose to preeminence through its possession of a powerful cavalry and wealth...

 as the dominant Yoruba military and political power between 1700 AD and 1900 AD, the oba or ruler of Oyo is referred to as the Alaafin of Oyo. Ife,is considered as the home of yorubas because it where the origin of yoruba came from,however, remained and continues to be viewed as the spiritual homeland of the Yoruba. The nearby Benin Empire
Benin Empire
The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial African state in what is now modern Nigeria. It is not to be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey.-Origin:...

 with its capital in the city of Benin
Benin City
Benin City, is a city and the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria. It is a city approximately twenty-five miles north of the Benin River. It is situated 200 miles by road east of Lagos...

, which is also in modern day Nigeria, was an equally powerful force between 1300 and 1850 AD, its ruler being referred to as the Oba of Benin.
Most of the city states were controlled by Oba
Oba (ruler)
Oba is a West African synonym for monarch, one that is usually applied to the Yoruba and Edo rulers of the region. It is also often used by their traditional subjects to refer to other kings and queens, such as Elizabeth I of England, in their native languages.-Edo account of the word's origin:The...

s (or royal sovereigns with various individual titles) and councils made up of Oloyes, recognised leaders of royal, noble and, often, even common descent, who joined them in ruling over the kingdoms through a series of guilds and cults. Different states saw differing ratios of power between the kingships and the chiefs' councils. Some such as Oyo had powerful, autocratic monarchs with almost total control, while in others such as the Ijebu city-states, the senatorial councils held more influence and the power of the ruler or Ọba, referred to as the Awujale of Ijebuland, was more limited.

Cosmogonic origin


Orisa'nla (The great divinity) also known as Ọbatala
Obatala
In the religion of the Yoruba people, Obàtálá is the creator of human bodies, which were supposedly brought to life by Olorun's breath.Obàtálá is also the owner of all ori or heads. Any orisha may lay claim to an individual, but until that individual is initiated into the priesthood of that orisha,...

 was the arch-divinity chosen by Olodumare, the Supreme, to create solid land out of the primordial water that constituted the earth and populating the land with human beings. Ọbatala descended from heaven on a chain, carrying a small snail shell full of earth, palm kernels and a five-toed chicken. He was to empty the content of the snail shell on the water after placing some pieces of iron on it, and then to place the chicken on the earth to spread it over the primordial water.

Oduduwa



Oral history of the Oyo
Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established before the 14th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by European explorers. It rose to preeminence through its possession of a powerful cavalry and wealth...

-Yoruba recounts Odùduwà to be the Progenitor of the Yoruba and the reigning ancestor of their crowned kings.


His coming from the east, sometimes understood by some sources as the "vicinity" true East on the Cardinal points, but more likely signifying the region of Ekiti
Ekiti State
Ekiti State is a state in southwest Nigeria, created on October 1, 1996 alongside five other new states by military dictator General Sani Abacha...

 and Okun sub-communities in northeastern Yorubaland/central Nigeria. Ekiti
Ekiti State
Ekiti State is a state in southwest Nigeria, created on October 1, 1996 alongside five other new states by military dictator General Sani Abacha...

 is near the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers, and is where the Yoruba language
Yoruba language
Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas...

 is presumed to have separated from related ethno-linguistic groups like Igala
Igala
Igala are an ethnic group of Nigeria. Igala practice a number of different religions, including animism, Christianity, and Islam.The home of the Igala people is situated east of the river Niger and Benue confluence and astride the Niger in Lokoja, Kogi state of Nigeria...

, Igbo
Igbo language
Igbo , or Igbo proper, is a native language of the Igbo people, an ethnic group primarily located in southeastern Nigeria. There are approximately 20 million speakers that are mostly in Nigeria and are primarily of Igbo descent. Igbo is a national language of Nigeria. It is written in the Latin...

, and Edo
Edo language
Edo is a Volta–Niger language spoken primarily in Edo State, Nigeria. It was and remains the primary language of the Edo people of Igodomigodo. The Igodomigodo kingdom was renamed Edo by Oba Eweka, after which the Edos refer to themselves as Oviedo 'child of Edo'...

.

Criticism


However, some Yoruba scholars, especially the Muslim and Christian clerics object to this mythology. Among the objecting voices to the stories of Oduduwa being the Progenitor of the Yoruba was the London-based Yoruba Muslim scholar, Sheikh Dr. Abu-Abdullah Adelabu, a PhD graduate from Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, who dismissed the common myth that all Yorubas are descendants of Oduduwa as a false representation by Orisha worshippers
Orisha
An Orisha is a spirit or deity that reflects one of the manifestations of Olodumare in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system....

 to gain an unjust advantage over the more recent jihadist Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and the evangelism of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

". He argued that the myth that all the Yorubas are children of Odua was based only on words of mouth and that it does not conform with the science and the reality of logics conducted on objective principles which usually consist systematized experiment with phenomena, especially when examining materials and functions of the physical and spiritual worlds of the African people."

After Oduduwa


Upon the disappearance of Oduduwa, there was a dispersal of his children from Ife to found other kingdoms. Each making their mark in the subsequent urbanization and consolidation of Yoruba confederacy of kingdoms, with each kingdom tracing its origin to Ile-Ife.

After the dispersal, the aborigines became difficult, and constituted a serious threat to the survival of Ife. Thought to be survivors of the old occupants of the land before the arrival of Oduduwa, these people now turned themselves into marauders. They would come to town in costumes made of raffia with terrible and fearsome appearances, and burn down houses and loot the markets. Then came Moremi on the scene; she was said to have played a significant role in the quelling of the marauders advancements. But this was at a great price; having to give up her only son Oluorogbo. The reward for her patriotism and selflessness was not to be reaped in one life time as she later passed on and was thereafter immortalized
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

. The Edi festival celebrates this feat till date.

Pre-colonial Administration In The Yoruba society


Government



Monarchies were a common form of government in Yorubaland
Yorùbáland
Yorubaland, or Yorùbáland , is a cultural region in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo that includes the indigenous territory and cultural reach of the Yoruba people.- History :-Settlement:Oduduwa is regarded as the legendary progenitor of the Yoruba...

, but they were not the only approach to government and social organization. The numerous Ijebu
Ijebu
Ijebu was a Yoruba kingdom in pre-colonial Nigeria. It formed around the fifteenth century. According to legend, its ruling dynasty was founded by Obanta of Ile-Ife...

 city-states to the west of Oyo and the Ẹgba
Egba
The Egba are a clan of the Yoruba people who live in western Nigeria. Many Egba live in the city of Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State.- History :...

 communities, found in the forests below Ọyọ's savanna region, were notable exceptions. These independent polities often elected an Ọba, though real political, legislative, and judicial powers resided with the Ogboni
Ogboni
Ogboni is a fraternal institution indigenous to the Yoruba language-speaking polities of Nigeria, Republic of Bénin and Togo...

, a council of notable elders. The notion of the divine king was so important to the Yoruba, however, that it stayed with them in its various forms from their antiquity to the contemporary era.

During the internecine wars of the 19th century, the Ijebu forced citizens of more than 150 Ẹgba and Owu communities to migrate to the fortified city of Abeokuta
Abeokuta
Abeokuta is the largest city and capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria and is situated at , on the Ogun River; 64 miles north of Lagos by railway, or 81 miles by water. As of 2005, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 593,140....

, where each quarter retained its own Ogboni council of civilian leaders, along with an Olorogun, or council of military leaders, and in some cases its own elected Obas or Baales. These independent councils then elected their most capable members to join a federal civilian and military council that represented the city as a whole.

Commander Frederick Forbes, a representative of the British Crown writing an account of his visit to the city in an 1853 edition of the Church Military Intelligencer, described Abẹokuta as having "four presidents", and the system of government as having "840 principal rulers or 'House of Lords,' 2800 secondary chiefs or 'House of Commons,' 140 principal military ones and 280 secondary ones." He described Abẹokuta and its system of government as "the most extraordinary republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 in the world."

Leadership


Gerontocratic leadership councils that guarded against the monopolization of power by a monarch were a proverbial trait of the Ẹgba, according to the eminent Ọyọ historian Reverend Samuel Johnson, but such councils were also well-developed among the northern Okun groups, the eastern Ekiti, and other groups falling under the Yoruba ethnic umbrella. In Ọyọ, the most centralized of the precolonial kingdoms, the Alaafin consulted on all political decisions with a prime minister (the Basọrun) and the council of leading nobles known as the Ọyọ Mesi.

City states


The monarchy of any city state was usually limited to a number of royal lineages. A family could be excluded from king
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

ship and chieftancy if any family member, servant, or slave belonging to the family committed a crime such as theft, fraud, murder or rape.

In other city-states, the monarchy was open to the election of any free-born male citizen. There are also, in Ilesa, Ondo, and other Yoruba communities, several traditions of female Ọbas, though these were comparatively rare.

The kings were traditionally almost always polygamous
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

 and often married royal family members from other domains.

Ibadan
Ibadan
Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo State and the third largest metropolitan area in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kano, with a population of 1,338,659 according to the 2006 census. Ibadan is also the largest metropolitan geographical area...

, a city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

 and proto-empire founded in the 18th century by a polyglot
Multilingualism
Multilingualism is the act of using, or promoting the use of, multiple languages, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. Multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of...

 group of refugees, soldiers, and itinerant
Itinerant
An itinerant is a person who travels from place to place with no fixed home. The term comes from the late 16th century: from late Latin itinerant , from the verb itinerari, from Latin iter, itiner ....

 traders
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

 from Ọyọ and the other Yoruba sub-groups, largely dispensed with the concept of monarchism, preferring to elect both military and civil councils from a pool of eminent citizens. The city became a military republic, with distinguished soldiers wielding political powers through their election by popular acclaim and the respect of their peers. Similar practices were adopted by the jẹsa and other groups, which saw a corresponding rise in the social influence of military adventurers and successful entrepreneurs.

Groups organizations and leagues in Yorubaland


Occupational guilds, social clubs, secret or initiatory societies, and religious units, commonly known as Ẹgbẹ in Yoruba, included the Parakoyi (or league of traders) and Ẹgbẹ Ọdẹ (hunter's guild), and maintained an important role in commerce, social control, and vocational education in Yoruba polities.

There are also examples of other peer organizations in the region. When the Ẹgba resisted the imperial domination of the Ọyọ Empire
Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established before the 14th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by European explorers. It rose to preeminence through its possession of a powerful cavalry and wealth...

, a figure named Lisabi is credited with either creating or reviving a covert traditional organization named Ẹgbẹ Aro. This group, originally a farmers' union, was converted to a network of secret militias throughout the Ẹgba forests, and each lodge plotted to overthrow Ọyọ's Ajeles (appointed administrators) in the late 18th century.

Similarly, covert military resistance leagues like the Ekiti Parapọ and the Ogidi alliance were organized during the 19th century wars by often-decentralized communities of the Ekiti, Ijẹsa, Ìgbómìnà and Okun Yoruba in order to resist various imperial expansionist plans of Ibadan
Ibadan
Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo State and the third largest metropolitan area in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kano, with a population of 1,338,659 according to the 2006 census. Ibadan is also the largest metropolitan geographical area...

, Nupe
Nupe
The Nupe, traditionally called the Tapa by the neighbouring Yoruba, are an ethnic group located primarily in the Middle Belt and northern Nigeria, and are the dominant group in Niger and an important minority in Kwara State.-History:...

, and the Sokoto Caliphate.

Traditional Yoruba Religion



The Yoruba faith, variously known as Aborisha, Orisha-Ifa or simply (and erroneously) Ifa, is commonly seen as one of the principal components of the syncretic pool known as the African traditional religions. It largely survived the so-called middle passage, and is seen in a variety of forms in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 as a result.

Islam And Christianity


Traditional Yoruba religious practices such as the Eyo and Osun Oshogbo festivals are witnessing a resurgence in popularity in contemporary Yorubaland. They are largely seen by the adherents of the modern faiths, especially the Muslims
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, as cultural rather than religious events. They participate in them as a means to boost tourist industries in their local economies.

Culture


In the city-states and many of their neighbors, a reserved way of life remains, with the school of thought of their people serving as a major influence in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 and elsewhere.

Diversity


Today, most contemporary Yoruba are Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s and Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s. Islam found its way into the Yoruba kingdoms long before the Christianity of the colonial evangelists, coming as it did with itinerant merchants from the medieval empire of Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

. Be that as it may, many of the principles of the traditional faith of their ancestors are either knowingly or unknowingly upheld by a significant proportion of the populations of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

, Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

 and Togo
Togo
Togo, officially the Togolese Republic , is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately with a population of approximately...

.

Twins in Yoruba society




The Yoruba present the highest dizygotic twinning rate in the world (4.4 % of all maternities). Twins are very important for the Yoruba and they usually tend to give special names to each twin. The first of the twins to be born is traditionally named Taiyewo or Tayewo, which means 'the first to taste the world', this is often shortened to Taiwo, Taiye or Taye. Kehinde, or
Kenny for short, is the name of the last born twin. Kehinde is sometimes also referred to as Kehindegbegbon which is short for Omokehindegbegbon and means, 'the child that came last gets the rights of the eldest'.

Calendar


Time is measured in isheju or iseju (minutes), wakati (hours), ojo (days), ose (weeks), oshu or osu (months) and odun (years).
There are 60 isheju in 1 wakati; 24 wakati in 1 ojo; 7 ojo in 1 ose; 4 ose in 1 oshu and 52 ose in 1 odun. There are 12 oshu in 1 odun.
Months in Yoruba calendar
Yoruba calendar
The Yoruba calendar year starts from 3 June to 2 June of the following year. According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 2008 A. D. is the 10050th year of Yoruba culture. The traditional Yoruba week has four days...

:
Months in Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

:
Sere January
Erele February
Erena March
Igbe April
Ebibi May
Okudu June
Agemo July
Ogun August
Owere (Owewe) September
Owara (Owawa) October
Belu November
Ope December

Yoruba calendar
Yoruba calendar
The Yoruba calendar year starts from 3 June to 2 June of the following year. According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 2008 A. D. is the 10050th year of Yoruba culture. The traditional Yoruba week has four days...

 traditional days
Days:
Ojo-Orunmila/Ifá
Ojo-Shango/Jakuta
Ojo-Ogun
Ojo-Obatala


The Yoruba calendar (Kojoda) year starts from 3 June to 2 June of the following year. According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 2008 A. D. is the 10050th year of Yoruba culture. To reconcile with the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

, Yoruba people also often measure time in seven days a week and four weeks a month:
Modified days in Yoruba calendar
Yoruba calendar
The Yoruba calendar year starts from 3 June to 2 June of the following year. According to this calendar, the Gregorian year 2008 A. D. is the 10050th year of Yoruba culture. The traditional Yoruba week has four days...

 
Days in Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

Ojo-Aiku Sunday
Ojo-Aje Monday
Ojo-Ishegun Tuesday
Ojo-'Ru Wednesday
Ojo-Bo Thursday
Ojo-Eti Friday
Ojo-Abameta Saturday

Yoruba Dialectology


Although most Yoruba speakers share a common history, it was only in the second half of the 19th century that they began to share one common name - children of Oduduwa. Under the influence of the Yoruba Samuel Ajayi Crowther
Samuel Ajayi Crowther
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a linguist and the first African Anglican bishop in Nigeria. Born in Osogun , Rev. Dr...

 (first Lord Bishop of West Africa and first African lord bishop of the Church of England) and subsequent missionaries, the term Yoruba was at that time extended to include all speakers of related dialects.

Linguistic means including, for example, historical-comparative linguistics, glottochronology
Glottochronology
Glottochronology is that part of lexicostatistics dealing with the chronological relationship between languages....

, and dialectology used along with both traditional (oral) historical sources and archaeological finds, have shed some light on the history of the Yorubas and their language before this point. The North-West Yoruba dialects, for example, show more linguistic innovations. According to some, this, combined with the fact that Southeast and Central Yoruba areas generally have older settlements, suggests a later date of immigration for Northwest Yoruba.

Location in Nigeria



The Yoruba are the main ethnic group in the Nigerian federal states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo; they also constitute a sizable proportion of Kwara
Kwara State
Kwara State is one of the 36 states of Nigeria. Its capital is Ilorin. The primary ethnic group of Kwara State is Yoruba, with significant Nupe, Bariba and Fulani minorities.- History :...

, Kogi
Kogi State
Kogi state is found in the central region of Nigeria. It is popularly called the Confluence State because the confluence of River Niger and River Benue is at its capital, Lokoja, which is the first administrative capital of modern-day Nigeria....

 and Edo
Edo State
Edo State is an inland state in central southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. It is bounded in the north and east by Kogi State, in the south by Delta State and in the west by Ondo State.-History:...

 states south west states.

Location in Benin


The Yoruba/Ife are the main group in the Benin department of Ouémé
Ouémé Department
Ouémé is one of the twelve departments of Benin.In 1999 the northern part of the department was split off to form the new Plateau Department....

, all Subprefectures; Collines Province, all subprefectures; Plateau Province
Plateau Department
Plateau is one of the twelve departments of Benin.Plateau is divided into the communes of Ifangni, Adja-Ouèrè, Kétou, Pobè and Sakété....

, all Subprefectures; Borgou Province, Tchaourou Subprefecture; Zou Province, Ouihni and Zogbodome Subprefecture; Donga Province, Bassila Subprefecture and Alibori, Kandi Subprefecture.

Location in Togo


The Yoruba/Ife are the main group in the Togo department of Plateau Region, Ogou and Est-Mono prefectures; Centrale Region
Centrale Region
Centrale is one of Togo's five regions. Sokodé is the regional capital. It is the smallest region in terms of population.Other major cities in the Centrale region include Tchamba and Sotouboua....

 and Tchamba Prefecture
Tchamba Prefecture
Tchamba Prefecture is one of the prefectures of Togo located in the Centrale Region.The center is at Tchamba....

.

Yoruba towns


The chief Yoruba cities/towns are [Ilesa], Ibadan
Ibadan
Ibadan is the capital city of Oyo State and the third largest metropolitan area in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kano, with a population of 1,338,659 according to the 2006 census. Ibadan is also the largest metropolitan geographical area...

, Fiditi, Orile Igbon, Eko (Lagos)
Lagos
Lagos is a port and the most populous conurbation in Nigeria. With a population of 7,937,932, it is currently the third most populous city in Africa after Cairo and Kinshasa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa...

, Oto-Awori, Ejigbo
Ejigbo
Ejigbo is a prominent town in Yoruba Land and the headquarters of Ejigbo Local Government Area, one of the oldest local government area of Osun State in Nigeria. Ejigbo is strategically placed in the middle position of 35 km to the North-East of Iwo, 30 km from Ogbomoso in the North and...

, Ijẹbu Ode
Ijebu Ode
Ijebu Ode is a Local Government Area and city located in south-western Nigeria, close to the A121 highway. The city is located 110 km by road north-east of Lagos; it is within 100 km of the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern part of Ogun State and possesses a warm tropical climate.With an...

, Abẹokuta
Abeokuta
Abeokuta is the largest city and capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria and is situated at , on the Ogun River; 64 miles north of Lagos by railway, or 81 miles by water. As of 2005, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 593,140....

, Akurẹ
Akure
Akure is a city in the southwestern region of Nigeria, and is the largest city and capital of Ondo State. The city has a population of approximately 387,087...

, Ilọrin
Ilorin
Ilorin is one of the largest cities in Nigeria and is the capital of Kwara State. As of 2007 it had a population of 847,582.-History:Ilorin was founded by the Yoruba, one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, in 1450...

, Ijẹbu-Igbo
Ijebu Igbo
Ijebu Igbo is a town in Ogun State, Nigeria. It is approximately a 15-minute drive north of Ijebu Ode.Ijebu Igbo also written as Ijebu-Igbo , it is the headquarter of Ijebu North Local Government Authority , of Ogun state , Nigeria.Its geographical coordinates are Latitude 6° 58' 0" North, and...

, Ijebu-ife, Odogbolu
Odogbolu
Odogbolu is a Local Government Area in Ogun State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Odogbolu at in the north-west of the Area.It has an area of 541 km² and a population of 127,123 at the 2006 census.The postal code of the area is 120....

, Ogbomọṣọ, Ondo
Ondo City
Ondo City is the largest city in Ondo State, Nigeria. It has a population of 275,917.Local industries include food processing and cocoa manufacture....

, Ọta
Ota, Nigeria
Ota is a town in Ogun State, Nigeria, and has an estimated 163,783 residents living in or around it Ota is the capital of the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area. The traditional leader of Ota is the Olota of Ota, Oba Alani Oyede...

, Ado-Ekiti, Ikare
Ikare
Ikare is a town in Ondo State, Nigeria.Ikare-Akoko , city in southwestern Nigeria, located in Ondo state. Ikare is about 100 km from Akure, the Ondo State capital. The city was the divisional headquarters of the old Akoko Division, comprising Oka-Akoko, Isua-Akoko, Okeagbe-Akoko etc...

, Kabba, Omuo, Egbe, Isanlu, Aiyetoro - Gbedde, Sagamu, Iperu, Ikẹnnẹ, Ogere, Ilisan, Osogbo
Osogbo
Osogbo is a city in Nigeria, the capital of Osun State and a Local Government Area.The Local Government Area has an area of 47 km² and a population of 156,694 at the 2006 census; the postal code of the area is 230.-Infrastructure and demographics:Osogbo lies on the railway line from Lagos to...

, Offa
Offa, Nigeria
Offa, Kwara State, is a town located in central Nigeria with a population of 114,000 . The vegetation in Offa is savanna vegetation and the city is noted for its weaving and dyeing trade, using vegetable dyes made from locally grown indigo and other plants. Sweet potatoes and maize are the...

, Iwo
Iwo, Nigeria
Iwo is a city in Osun State, Nigeria that is the seat of the Iwo Kingdom, a traditional state. The Iwo people, like all other people of Yoruba stock are said to have originally belonged to Ile-Ife from where they migrated sometimes in the 14th century. The earliest settlement initiated by Adekola...

, Ilesa
Ilesa
Ilesa is a city located in the south west of Nigeria; it is also the name of a historic state centered around that city. The state was ruled by a monarch bearing the title of Owa Obokun Adimula of Ijesaland...

, Ọyọ
Oyo, Nigeria
Oyo is a city in Oyo State, Nigeria, founded as the capital of the Oyo Kingdom in the 1830s and known to its people as 'New Oyo' to distinguish it from the former capital to the north, 'Old Oyo' ) which had been deserted as a result of rumors of war. Its inhabitants are mostly of the Yoruba people...

, Ilé-Ifẹ
Ife
Ife is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. Evidence of inhabitation at the site has been discovered to date back to roughly 560 BC...

, Iree, Owo, Ede, Badagry, (Owu, Oyo), (Owu, Egba), Ilaro
Ilaro
Ilaro, Ogun State is a town in Ogun State, Nigeria.Ilaro [3] is the headquarters of the Yewa South[1] Local government area of Nigeria, west of Africa. Ilaro town is about 50 km from Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, and about 100 km from Ikeja, the capital city of Lagos State...

 and Ago-Iwoye.

Traditionally kingship and chieftainship were not determined by simple primogeniture
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings . Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females...

, as in most monarchic systems of government. An electoral college of lineage heads was and still is usually charged with selecting a member of one of the royal families from any given realm, and the selection is then confirmed by an Ifá oracular request. The Ọbas live in palaces that are usually in the center of the town. Opposite the king's palace is the Ọja Ọba, or the king's market. These markets form an inherent part of Yoruba life. Traditionally their traders are well organized, have various guilds, officers, and an elected speaker. They also often have at least one Iyaloja, or Lady of the Market, who is expected to represent their interests in the aristocratic council of oloyes at the palace.

Other names


During the 19th century, the term 'Yoruba ' or 'Yariba' came into wider use, first confined to the Ọyọ. The term is often believed to be derived from a Hausa
Hausa language
Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 25 million people, and as a second language by about 18 million more, an approximate total of 43 million people...

 ethnonym for the populous people to their south, but this has not been substantiated by historians.

As an ethnic description, the word 'Yoruba' first appeared in a treatise written by the Songhai scholar Ahmed Baba (16th century) and is likely to derive from the indigenous ethnonyms Ọyọ (Oyo)
Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established before the 14th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by European explorers. It rose to preeminence through its possession of a powerful cavalry and wealth...

 or Yagba, two Yoruba-speaking groups along the northern borders of their territory. However, it is likely that the ethnonym was popularized by Hausa
Hausa language
Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 25 million people, and as a second language by about 18 million more, an approximate total of 43 million people...

 usage and ethnography written in Arabic and Ajami.


See also


  • Oduduwa
    Oduduwa
    Oduduwa Omoluabi, Olofin Adimula, Emperor of the Yoruba, phonetically written by his people as Odùduwà and sometimes contracted as Odudua or Oòdua, is generally held among the Yoruba to be the reigning ancestor of the crowned Yoruba kings....

  • Samuel Ajayi Crowther
    Samuel Ajayi Crowther
    Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was a linguist and the first African Anglican bishop in Nigeria. Born in Osogun , Rev. Dr...

  • Egba
    Egba
    The Egba are a clan of the Yoruba people who live in western Nigeria. Many Egba live in the city of Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State.- History :...

  • Ijebu
    Ijebu
    Ijebu was a Yoruba kingdom in pre-colonial Nigeria. It formed around the fifteenth century. According to legend, its ruling dynasty was founded by Obanta of Ile-Ife...

  • Oyo Empire
    Oyo Empire
    The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today southwestern Nigeria. The empire was established before the 14th century and grew to become one of the largest West African states encountered by European explorers. It rose to preeminence through its possession of a powerful cavalry and wealth...

  • Samuel Johnson (Nigerian historian)
  • Professor Robert Sidney Smith (historian, University of Ibadan
    University of Ibadan
    The University of Ibadan is the oldest Nigerian university, and is located five miles from the centre of the major city of Ibadan in Western Nigeria...

    )
  • Yoruba language
    Yoruba language
    Yorùbá is a Niger–Congo language spoken in West Africa by approximately 20 million speakers. The native tongue of the Yoruba people, it is spoken, among other languages, in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo and in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe and the Americas...

  • Yorubaland
    Yorùbáland
    Yorubaland, or Yorùbáland , is a cultural region in Nigeria, Benin, and Togo that includes the indigenous territory and cultural reach of the Yoruba people.- History :-Settlement:Oduduwa is regarded as the legendary progenitor of the Yoruba...

  • Yoruba Medicine
    Yoruba medicine
    Yorùbá medicine is a herbal-based form of the science and art of healing. This form of herbal medicine is embraced by various communities in West Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere around the globe....

  • Yoruba mythology
    Yoruba mythology
    The Yorùbá religion comprises the original religious beliefs and practices of the Yoruba people. Its homeland is in Southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, a region that has come to be known as Yorubaland...


External links

  • Egbe Isokan Yoruba promotes the cultural, social, economic and political welfare of Yoruba. yoruba.org
  • Oroede.org Ọrọ èdè Yorùbá (Words of the Yoruba Language) promotes the digital presentation of Yorùbá orthography through the creation and modification of Opensource software.