The ancient Benin Kingdom is the oldest dynasty in Nigeria. It has been around for centuries. It was first recognized as the capital of a pre-colonial African empire and became a wealthy and peaceful land. There were a lot of downsides to the kingdom because the Oba (king/ruler) began to lose control of his people. The kingdom was no longer peaceful and the British wanted to gain control of Benin so they could get rich by selling its palm oil and rubber. Today, there is a king ruling the ancient Benin Kingdom in Edo state, but they do not have as much power as they did in the 900s, mostly because Nigeria and Edo state is run by a government instead of a king or queen.This history particularly relates to me because being from Nigeria particularly from Edo State--as part of the ancient Benin Kingdom--carries a huge part of my identity and how I was raised. My family members are very much intertwined with a lot of the traditional rules and beliefs even till this day. My understanding of this history and how different parts of our villages came about has made me feel more connected to my origin country. It prompted me to wear even more traditional attires for cultural gatherings and to speak the language. In many celebrations especially in marriages, my family would come together and choose a particular attire that everyone would wear making us become more coordinated and closer as one big family of the same kingdom.
– Merit Omorodion