A History Almost Forgotten Prof. European travelers from Germany, Portugal, and Britain were astonished to learn of this powerful African civilization in the interior of southern Africa. Like others before him, Mauch refused to believe that indigenous Africans could have built such an extensive network of monuments made of granite stone. Thus, Mauch assumed that the Great Zimbabwe monuments were created by biblical characters from the north:
I thank the Institute for Benin Studies for its kind invitation and for honouring me with the opportunity of delivering this distinguished lecture.
I thank Professor Omo Omoruyi, currently resident in Boston, USA, for an insightful conversation on the subject of pockets of dialectic variations in modern Benin language. I am grateful to Dr. Igho Natufe, now resident in Ottawa, Canada, and Engr. Onoawarie Edevbie, currently resident in Detroit, Michigan, USA, for their careful reading of a draft text of this paper and for offering several important comments and suggestions.
In many ways, this lecture is a celebration of the uniqueness of Benin and its culture. Let me hurry to say, A study on zimbabwes history, that I have not come here to praise Benin history, but to analyze it.
I have come before you in the hope that I will be able to highlight certain features of Benin history and culture in an academic fashion. I cannot claim to know Benin in any degree that is close to your intimate knowledge of your own folkways and your command of the history of Benin royal legacies.
What I can do as an academic is to foster a level of analysis of Benin history and culture that will enable you to weigh your experiences and acquaintance with the Benin past and its traditions on a scale of knowledge that is different from that to which you are used.
Let me begin that analysis by clarifying my assertion concerning the uniqueness of Benin history and culture. I will discuss a premier element of Benin's uniqueness as my introduction to this lecture.
Benin is unique in bridging the African past with our present world. Ancient Africa experienced an abundance of civilizations and state formations. They stretched back to ancient Egypt of some five millennia removed from our times through Kush, Ethiopia and other Nilotic traditions of civilization to the triple state formations of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai and the Hausa and Yoruba states of West Africa.
Except for the more ancient instances of Egypt and Kush, which existed long before the Christian era, most of these state formations were contemporaries of Benin.
Remarkably, with the single exception of Ethiopia and Benin, all the significant civilizations and state formations of ancient Africa ceased to exist before the arrival of European imperialism introduced a new era in African affairs.
Both Ethiopia and Benin had strong royal traditions, even after the advent of European imperialism in Africa. In the s, Ethiopian royalty collapsed, leaving Benin monarchy as the sole survivor and exemplar of royalty from ancient times of African history.
In this respect, within the compass of recent and contemporary Nigerian affairs, let me recall to your memory that royal traditions have changed dramatically in the last century of our history. The British sought to control our royal traditions, supplanting those occupants of thrones that did not readily accept their imperial overtures.
That was how such a formidable royal presence of the nineteenth century as Muhammadu Attahiru dan Ahmadu, Sultan of Sokoto, lost his throne, allowing an occupant of that throne, Muhammadu Attahiru dan Aliyu Baba, whose appointment by the British in was dictated by their own imperial needs See H.
JohnstonChapter The intense animosity between the British and the Benin at the close of the nineteenth century, leading to the fiercest war fought by the British for any territory in Nigeria, was so palpable that the British were clearly intent on changing the line of succession to the Benin throne.
The pragmatic British changed their mind and accepted the verdict of the Benin people who insisted on continuity of Benin royal succession by way of primogeniture. Let me remind you further that during the first blush of civilian control of Nigerian affairs in the s, we in this country witnessed the quick removal of the Alafin of Oyo and Emir Sanusi of Kano, both of whom were not readily compliant with the wishes of the ruling Action Group in Western Nigeria and the ruling Northern Peoples Congress of Northern Nigeria, respectively.
If there was one stable source of opposition to the ways of the Action Group from Midwestern Nigeria in the s, it was led from the much beloved and tough-minded Akenzua II, the Oba of Benin during the decade of campaign for Nigeria's independence from British rule.
Yet it would be unthinkable for the Action Group to interfere with Benin royal traditions, even when their bearer was not in its support. We should pose the following question as a matter to attend to in this lecture: Whence did Benin royalty gain such strength?
Royal institutions have been at the center of Benin history and culture for centuries, probably closer to some two millennia than most current estimates allow. There is a feature of royal traditions which are readily identified with the histories of China and of Europe, but which are rare in Africa, for which Benin should be well noted.
A sequence of reigns or rule by members of a single royal family constitutes what is referred to as a dynasty. We are probably much more familiar with the dynasties of English history.
The Tudors provided England with an impressive line of succession of Kings and Queens that witnessed a great deal of progress in English history.
They were followed by the much-maligned Stuarts who brought England and Scotland together in a union that bore the name of Great Britain. Most European kingdoms recorded several dynasties. The Chinese historical record is longer, and it also witnessed a good number of dynasties. Dynasties are, however, quite rare in African history.Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin Pre-Colonial Zimbabwe Before Zimbabwe was colonized by the British in , Zimbabwe had an interesting culture and history.
Zimbabwe was originally settled by . Great Zimbabwe. For centuries, this ancient Shona city stood at the hub of a vast trade network.
The site has also been at the center of a bitter debate about African history and heritage. pfmlures.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. Research Schools, Degrees & Careers.
Brooks Marmon is a rising third year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh's Centre of African Studies. His research examines the role of pan - African networks in the early years of the.
Zambezia (), XV (i). ESSAY REVIEW A.B.S. CHIGWEDERE'S PRE-COLONIAL HISTORIES OF ZIMBABWE AND AFRICA A QUARTER OF a century ago, in , the study of the pre-colonial history of.