Ile-Ife Kingdom is the Oldest Kingdom in Nigeria and 2nd oldest Kingdom after Sahelian kingdom of Ghana in West Africa which was recorded from 11th century.
Some historical evidence prove that Ile-Ife was 4th Century while others said Ile-Ife has been in existence in the history of mankind, and the proof shouldn’t be known to anyone or recorded.
Greek Historian, Herodotus, the father of History who lived from 4824 BC until 424 BC said about Ife: ” According to history there were five ancient cities in Africa between 3000 and 1000 BC of which one was Ife”.
According to BBC UK, The kingdom of Ife developed in the rainforest in the 600s. Its art and religion influenced the culture of Benin, which began in the 900s and reached the height of its power between the 1400s and the 1600s.
Between 700 and 1600, there were three great empires in the centre of West Africa: Ancient Ghana, Mali and Songhai.They all grew immensely rich by trading in gold. One of the last great kingdoms was Asante. It was founded around 1700. The Asante people were famous for their work in gold.
The Bini Kingdom that was later destroyed by the British was formed in 1170CE. Bini Kingdom was a neighbouring Kingdom to Ile-Ife Kingdom, and this is why in the history of bini today, the Ruler that established Obaship in bini was from Ile-Ife (Olumense 1971) etc.
The largest ethnic in West Africa sources from Ile-Ife ranging from Nigeria, Benin Republic, Ghana, Gambia etc. The root of some of these ancient tribes in West African countries were traced to Ile-Ife.
Father of history Herodotus, put in his record that the Europeans only attacked Bini kingdom due to disagreement, it is not that there are no other neighbouring kingdoms. If there were no neighbouring kingdom, then the prince of Ile-Ife wont be invited by bini people to rule over their land.
Ile-Ife remains where it is today in a place now called Western Nigeria, but we can see majority of tribes even outside Nigeria tracing their roots to ile-ife. History reveals that Ile-Ife has been existing before historian started putting it in record. Ile-Ife wasn’t created by any ruler or king. It was a forest before it was established by the inhabitant and records were taken.
– By Prof. Omodion Imafidon