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Festivals: IGUE
State: Edo

According to one traditional account, the original people and founders of the Benin Empire, the Bini, were initially ruled by the Ogisos (Kings of the Sky). The city of Ibinu (later called Benin City) was founded in 1180 AD.

About 36 known Ogiso are accounted for as rulers of the empire. On the death of the last Ogiso, his son and heir apparent Ekaladerhan was banished from Benin as a result of one of the Queens changing the message from the oracle to the Ogiso. Ekaladerhan was a powerful warrior and well loved Prince. On leaving Benin he travelled to the west of the present day Nigeria to the land of the Yorubas. At that time the Yoruba oracle said that their King will come out of the forest and when Ekaladerhan arrived at Ife, he was received as a King.

He changed his name to Imadoduwa meaning \I did not misplace my royalty\ and became The Great Oduduwa of The Yoruba Land. On the death of his father, the last Ogiso, a group of Benin Chiefs led by Chief Oliha came to Ife, pleading with him to come back to Benin to ascend the throne. Oduduwa's reply was that a King cannot leave his Kingdom but he had seven sons and would ask one of them to go back to Benin to rule as the next King.

Oranmiyan, the son of Ekaladerhan aka Oduduwa, agreed to go to Benin. He spent some years in Benin and came back to Ife after his wife gave birth to a son named Eweka. Eweka I became the first Oba of Benin. In 1440, Oba Ewuare (Ewuare the Great) came to power and turned the city-state into an empire. Around 1470, he named the new state Edo.

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