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History of Ile-Ife

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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How did the Yorùbá arrive in Brazil?

In Brazil, a large percentage of the black population found in various parts of the country today actually originated in Yorùbá (Odùduwà lands). Present for several centuries in areas of present-day Benin and Nigeria, the recent history of the Yoruba is marked by the emergence of the Oyo Empire in the late 15th century, which rose rapidly with the help of the Portuguese largely interested in exchanges of local business and commerce.

Additionally, the enslaved Yorùbá who got taken to Brazil did not forget their individual vocations and trades back home (in present-day Nigeria) and they resorted to making sculptures in wood, braids, tattoos, and weaving, among others in their spare time. It has to be said though that the Yorùbá land of those days was not part of present-day Nigeria. Nigeria did not amalgamate until 1914.

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