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HomeCultureIlé-Ifẹ̀, the cradle of Yorubaland

Ilé-Ifẹ̀, the cradle of Yorubaland

The History of Ilé-Ifẹ̀


Ilé-Ifẹ̀ (a.k.a. Ifẹ̀), the cradle of Yorùbá land is believed to have been founded by Ọbàtálá, the brother of Odùduwà circa 500 B.C., on the Order of Olódùmarè, the Supreme Being. History, however, records that the latter somehow usurped the newly founded kingdom from the former. This naturally resulted in animosity between the two deity-siblings. Consequently, Odùduwà became the first divine emperor of the Yorùbá people.


It is also believed that Ọbàtálá probably later forgave Odùduwà and then acquiesced to molding the first humans out of clay. Perhaps not coincidentally, Ilé-Ifẹ̀ is world famous for its clay ceramics, terracotta heads, copper-alloy, and bronze ornaments.


Though oral accounts handed down over centuries and generations to the present day hinted that Odùduwà’s father Lámurúdu may have come from the East, or Sudan or Arabia, we at Yorùbá Today believe he most probably originated from Egypt, and he was a significant prince in the land whence he came.


History also records that the last Yorùbá ruler (pharaoh) of Egypt ruled circa 3,500 B.C.  Therefore, it is not inconceivable to posit that Lámurúdu was in fact an Egyptian prince during this same era.

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Origin of the name “Yorùbá”

In the nineteenth century, returnee slaves of Odùduwà descent, especially those from Sierra Leone first initiated the adoption of the name.


Prominent among these returnees was Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther who was believed to have dynamically encouraged the adoption of “Yorùbá”, to represent all the various interrelated dialects of the Odùduwà language and ethnicity.


Spurious and unsubstantiated accounts initially hinted that the Fulani and/or Hausa people may have given Yorùbá their name. This is untrue.

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