Yoruba Kingdoms

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yoruba Kingdoms


city-states founded in the 12th to 14th century in western Sudan and inhabited by the Yoruba people. The best known were the city of Ife, the cultural and religious center of the country of Yoruba; and the city of Oyo, which from the 15th century gradually began to unite the majority of the Yoruba kingdoms under its domination. In the second half of the 18th century, Oyo’s political influence spread west to the Gold Coast and east to the Niger River. The social system in the Yoruba kingdoms was characterized by the predominance of communal relations, along with the sharply expressed social and economic inequality of the ordinary commune members and the ruling clique. Household slaves and the slave trade played a large role in the economic and social life of the kingdoms. At the beginning of the 19th century, Oyo disintegrated into many small, independent city-states that warred with each other. In the middle of the 19th century, the gradual seizure of the Yoruba kingdoms by Great Britain began. In 1906 the captured territories were included in the structure of the British colony and protectorate of Southern Nigeria.


Kochakova, N. B. Goroda-gosudarstva iorubov. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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