Benin, kingdom of


Benin, kingdom of

One of the principal historic kingdoms (12th–19th century) of the western African forest region. Founded by the Edo people, the kingdom was centred on present-day Benin City in southern Nigeria.With the accession of Ewuare the Great in the mid 15th century, the Benin kingdom was vastly expanded, including the founding of the city of Lagos. The Portuguese first visited Benin in the late 15th century, and, for a time, Benin traded ivory, palm oil, pepper, and slaves with Portuguese and Dutch traders. Benin stopped trading slaves with Europeans in the 18th century and focused attention on dependent regions around it. Succession struggles in the 18th and 19th centuries put a series of weaker kings on the throne. After the British attacked and burned Benin City in 1897, the kingdom was incorporated into British Nigeria.

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