Oranmiyan Omoluabi Odede, Great Prince of Ife, King of the Yoruba was a Yoruba king from the kingdom of Ile-Ife. Although he was the last born, he became the prime heir of Oduduwa upon his return to claim his father’s throne. He founded Oyo as its first Alaafin at around the year 1300 after he had left Benin where he had been crowned the first Oba of Benin.
Oranmiyan led an expedition to Benin and subdued the people. Reigned for 13 years and returned to Ife.
He however met opposition from the kindred of the Ogiso, and was refused entrance into the city upon his arrival. Oranmiyan camped at a place called Uselu, meaning “making of a city” and began to rule the Binis. His foreign style of management didn’t go down well with the chiefs, and they sent agents to spy on him.
All this made Oranmiyan declare that only a son of the soil can cope with the attitude of the Igodomigodo people and call the land “Ile – Ibinu”, meaning “Land of Vexation”. On leaving Ile-Ibinu (later Ibini, and corrupted to “Benin” by the Portuguese), he stopped briefly at Ego where he took Erinwide, the daughter of the Enogie (or duke) of Ego, as a wife. Eweka I was the result of this union.
Oranmiyan never returned to Benin. Oranmiyan is recognized as the first Oba of Benin and founder of the Eweka dynasty, which is still ruling today.
After leaving Benin he moved north with his ever loyal entourage and settled close to the river Moshi. He founded a city there, Oyo-Ile, which his descendants then expanded into the Oyo empire. He engaged in war with the bariba, his immediate neighbors to the north, and subsequently married Torosi, a Tapa princess, who became mother to Sango Akata Yẹri-Yẹri.
He founded a city there, Oyo-Ile, which his descendants then expanded into the Oyo empire. He engaged in war with the bariba, his immediate neighbors to the north, and subsequently married Torosi, a Tapa princess, who became mother to Sango Akata Yẹri-Yẹri.
Oranmiyan the fouth Ooni of Ife was the youngest of Oduduwa’s sons, the father of Yoruba nation. He grew up to become a popular man endowed with great physical powers and prowess. Initially popular as a great hunter, he later became a universally acknowledged conqueror, in Yoruba land and far beyond. That he was never a mean man,was evidenced by the fact that he conquered and brought under his sovereignty many territories. Oranmiyan Empire was vast, stretching into Ilorin, present Kwara State in the north, the Ogun River in the south and east of Osun and Dahomey present Benin Republic in the west. The empire was divided into kingdoms all of which owed allegiance to him. He was the first Alafin of Oyo and one of the kings of Benin in which his lineage are still ruling the empire up to this present day.
He grew up to become a popular man endowed with great physical powers and prowess. Initially popular as a great hunter, he later became a universally acknowledged conqueror, in Yoruba land and far beyond. That he was never a mean man,was evidenced by the fact that he conquered and brought under his sovereignty many territories. Oranmiyan Empire was vast, stretching into Ilorin, present Kwara State in the north, the Ogun River in the south and east of Osun and Dahomey present Benin Republic in the west. The empire was divided into kingdoms all of which owed allegiance to him. He was the first Alafin of Oyo and one of the kings of Benin in which his lineage are still ruling the empire up to this present day.
892 – Oranmiyan – Oyo-Ile was founded.
Oranmiyan was the first king and the founder of the Oyo empire. He was the son of Oduduwa. Oranmiyan was a very brave and warlike king. He was said to have headed his brothers (other Yoruba kings) on an abortive expedition to the east to avenge the death of their grandfather. After quarrelling at a place called Igangan, the brothers dispersed and Oranmiyan went ahead to found the city of Oyo known as Oyo Alaafin. There are two accounts of his death. Some say he went further East, leaving his son, Ajaka in charge of Oyo, and stopping at a town called Oko, from where he could not proceed and so, died and was buried there. The second account seems more plausible. It says that Oranmiyan left for Ile-Ife, the land of his father, leaving Ajaka to rule as regent at Oyo. Having stayed in Ile Ife longer than necessary, the king makers made Ajaka king in Oyo. On returning, Oramiyan heard the kakaaki at the border(The kakaaki is only played for the king). He immediately returned to Ile Ife, where he eventually died and was buried. An obelisk, called ‘Opa Oranmiyan’ was erected at the place where he was buried and is still there to this day.
1042 – Alaafin Ajaka ascended the throne. Ajaka was a calm and gentle king. Unlike his father, he was of a peaceful disposition, loved animal husbandry and encouraged it. Being too mild to be warlike, and with the provincial kings encroaching on Oyo, he was deposed and replaced by his fearless and violent brother, Sango. He went to Igboho where he remained in retirement seven years. After the death of Sango, he returned to the throne.
1077 – Alaafin Sango. He was the step brother of Ajaka. Unlike his brother, he was of a wild and warlike disposition and he had a fiery temper. He had a habit of emitting fire and smoke out of his mouth, by which he greatly increased the dread his subjects had of him. His mother was the daughter of Elempe a Nupe king, who formed an alliance with Oranyan by giving him his daughter to wife. Sango defeated many of the other Yoruba kings and expanded the Oyo kingdom. His seven years of reign was marked by his restlessness. He fought many battles and was fond of making charms. He was said to have the knowledge of some preparation by which he could attract lightning. He eventually became tyrannical and was asked to abdicate by the king makers and the senior chiefs. Sango was said to have once slain 160 in a fit of rage. Rather than abdicating, went out of the town to end his own life ; and climbing on a shea butter tree, he hanged himself. His brother Ajaka was summoned to return to the throne.
1137 – Alaafin Ajaka succeeded Sango. Became the only Alaafin to rule twice
1177 – Alaafin Aganju Sola succeeded Ajaka. He was Ajaka’s son. He liked taming wild animals and is said to have kept a leopard. His reign was long and prosperous. He liked aesthetics and he greatly beautified the palace. Towards the end of his reign, he waged war on a king close by for refusing to give him his daughter as bride. The king and his allies were defeated and captured by Aganju and the bride, whose name was Iyayun, was forcibly taken. One of the messy scandals of his reign occurred when his son had intercourse with his wife and was summarily executed.
1300 – Alaafin Kori – Osogbo and Ede town were founded. The son of Aganju, by his captured bride, Iyayun. When he was still a child, his mother ruled as regent. It was during Kori’s time that Timi was sent to Ede to fight the Ijeshas. Timi became too powerful for the king and made himself king at Ede(hence the title, Timi of Ede). Gbonka, was sent to Ede to capture Timi. After Timi was defeated, the king, fearing the rise of a more powerful enemy decided to kill Gbonka. After the failure of the assassination, the king committed suicide.
1357 – Alaafin Oluaso ascended the throne. Oluaso, Kori’s son was a handsome prince. His reign was long and peaceful. He was wise and had many wives and children. He was said to have had up to 1, 460 children. He also built 54 palaces for the most influential princes.
1471 – Portugal made first contact with Yoruba cities
1472 – Eko was named LAGOS by the Portuguese
1530 – 1542 Alaafin Onigbogi. He was the son of an Ota woman. His mother tried to introduce Ifa (oracle) to the Oyo people. The Oyo people rejected her advice and she left the town. She eventually settled in a town called Ado, where the people accepted her ideas. During Onigbogi’s reign, a war broke out and the king of Nupe invaded Oyo and sacked the capital. The king fled to the land of the Ibariba and died there.
1542 – Alaafin Ofinran – Saki was founded. His mother was an Ibariba woman. The Ibaribas started ill treating the refugees and the king set out for Oyo. Ifa spread to the Oyo people at this time. The refugees camped at a place called Kusu. There the king died before they could move. The next four kings ruled from a town called Igboho.
1542 – Alaafin Egungun Oju – Igboho was founded, Nupe occupied Oyo- Ile. He built Igboho, known as Oyo Igboho, and made it the new capital. Besides that, nothing remarkable happened in his reign.
1554 – Alaafin Ajiun Orompotoniyun. She was Egnugunoju’s sister. the first female king of Oyo Empire, Orompotoniyun had to do this to secure the rightful place on the throne after her father’s death, as a woman was never allowed to become an Alaafin (supreme overlord) to rule over men. Her late father, Alaafin Ofinran was then living in a strange land, called Bariba. He and his people decided to return to Oyo after his father, Alaafin Onigbogi passed away. Ofinran began the journey with his daughter, Orompotoniyun and his sons, Ajiboyede and Eguguoju. When Ofinran died, Prince Eguguoju became the Alaafin. They settled in Oyo-Igboho, where Alaafin Ofinran was buried. Prince Eguguoju, however, passed away. With his demise, the next to take over the throne was Prince Ajiboyede but he was too young to become a king. Prince Tella, who was also born on the way to Oyo, was just a toddler so he was not considered. Princess Orompotoniyun was the only link to the Alaafin dynasty, but since it was forbidden for a woman to rule the empire, the chiefs and elders started making plots on how to install themselves as kings. The strong-willed Orompotoniyun was, however, not going to let that happen. She proved herself to be a skillful commander and a tactical leader. She was brave and won many battles. During her reign, Oyo regained its military prestige. She died at the battle of Ilayi.
1562 – Alaafin Ajiboyede. He was a successful and brave king but he was a tyrant. During his reign the Tapas from Nupe invaded the country again but the king was victorious. The king’s favourite son, Osemolu died. Shortly after, king also died.
1570 – Alaafin Abipa – Oyo-Ile rebuilt after the destruction by the Nupe marauders. He decided to carry the seat of government back to Oyo Ile, even though the nobles were against it. The was successful and the king buried charms in strategic places in the city, so that it may not be destroyed again. Abipa was succeeded by a series of despotic, short-lived kings
1588 – Alaafin Obalokun – salt (Sodium Chloride) introduced in domestic use into Yoruba Land. Alaafin sent envoys to court in Portugal. His mother was the daughter of the Alake, king of the Egbas. Salt was introduced to the kingdom during his time. He is said to have been a friend to a European king (probably the king of Portugal). He sent 800 messengers to the European king but none of them came back.
1600 – Alaafin Ajagbo. His reign was very long, up to 140 years. He had a friend at Iwoye called Kokoro-igangan, whom he made the first Kankafo (Generalissimo). He was a warlike king and he conquered many people in the West, including the Popos and the Sabes(in Benin republic). He destroyed Iweme in Popo country. He is said to have sent four expeditions out at once; under the Basorun, Agbakin, Kankafo, and Asipa
1658 – Alaafin Odarawu. His reign was very short. He had a bad temper. He ordered for the destruction of a town called Ojosegi. He was eventually rejected by the noblemen and ended up commiting suicide.
1660 – Alaafin Karan. He was a tyrant. He was cruel and harsh. He tortured and killed many of his subjects for slight offences. He was so wicked that the proverb ‘as cruel as Kanran’ is being used by the Yoruba to describe anyone perceived of extreme cruelty. The people eventually rebelled against him. He was killed in a coup by the army, backed by the noble men. He fought fearlessly and perished in the inferno that engulfed the palace.
1665 – Alaafin Jayin – 1st Awujale of Ijebu crowned. Jayin was Kanran’s son and was made king after his father’s horrible death. He was of a gentler disposition than his father but he was effeminate and his son fell in love with one of his wives. In rage, he killed the boy. He was eventually deposed and tragically committed suicide. The Awujale was sent to the ijebus during his reign.
1676 – Alaafin Ayibi – Oyo Empire spanned 150.00 km2. He was the late king’s grandson and the son of the beloved prince whom the king killed. Unfortunately he proved unworthy of the honour and respect done him ; he greatly disappointed the hopes of the nation. He was a tyrant and took pleasure in shedding blood. Like his grandfather, he was deposed and he committed suicide.
1690 – Alaafin Osiyago. Like his immediate predecessor, he was equally worthless. He was excessive in actions, amassing wealth that he did not live to enjoy. His children fought each other and his foster son, whom he had adopted as the Aremo(heir) was killed by his daughter. The king was eventually poisoned. For a long time after Osinyago, the throne was vacant and the country was ruled by the Basoruns (Prime ministers)
1728 – Alaafin Ojigi. Oyo invaded Dahomey. He was elected to a vacant throne. He was warlike, extending his domain to Dahomean territory in present day Benin republic. He was nevertheless, a good king. He sent out a large expedition to bring all the Yoruba under his control. The expedition is said to have reached the Northern part of the River Niger. Despite the king’s stern disposition, he was too indulgent of his son. The Aremo’s cruelty and excesses eventually caused his father’s rejection. The king was deposed by the noble men and he committed suicide.
1732 – Alaafin Gberu. He was a wicked king, who liked making charms. He fought a bitter conflict with his Basorun who was his friend and both of them were deposed. Just like his predecessor he committed suicide.
1738 – Alaafin Amuniwaye. He was a good king initially but soon became weak because of his low morals. He had a affair with the wife of his medicine man. He died of magun while having intercourse with the woman.
1742 – Alaafin Onisile. He was a great warrior and of great courage. He was brave and warlike, and he was also very artistic. His rashness was the cause of his death. He was struck by lightning and was incapacitated, before being deposed and allowed to die peacefully.
1748 – Oyo subjugated the Dahomey
1750 – Alaafin Labisi – spent only 15 days on the throne. committed suicide because of pressure from Basorun Gaha. This unfortunate king was elected to the throne but not allowed to be crowned. His Basorun, Gaa became very powerful, conspired against him and killed all his friends. Labisi eventually committed suicide when he could not rule. Gaa remained powerful, long after him; installing kings as he pleases.
1750 – Alaafin Awonbioju – spent 130 days in the throne. Installed by Gaa after Labisi, Awonbioju was killed by Gaa when he refused to prostrate for him. He reigned for only 130 days.
1750 – Alaafin Agboluaje. He was a very handsome prince installed by Gaa. His reign was peaceful and long. His kingdom was big and prosperous. Basorun gaa made him fight the king of Popo who was his friend and destroy his kingdom. In frustration, the king committed suicide before the expedition arrived.
1754 – decline in the Empire with intrigues of Basorun Gaha
1772 – Alaafin Majeogbe. He tried to defend himself against Gaa and his sons who were now too powerful. They collected all the tributes and were cruel. The king eventually died, but not before he caused Gaa to be paralyzed by poison.
1774-1789 Alaafin Abiodun. He had a long and peaceful reign. He was handsome, wise and dignified. His reign was so significant that it has since passed into proverbs. The Yoruba believed that Oyo actually started declining after his death. He defeated Basorun Gaa and his children. Gaa eventually died. Abiodun fathered over 660 children. One of his sons killed him by poison.
1789-1796 Alaafin Awole Arogangan. He was Abiodun’s cousin. Under him, the kingdom disintegrated as the provinces became tired of Oyo’s tyranny and slavery was rife. He was probably too mild and weak, and had an enemy in Afonja, the Kakanfo who was very powerful. Afonja was stationed at Ilorin with the major part of Oyo’s calvary. Afonja, the Basorun and the Onikoyi eventually led a rebellion against him. As their forces surrounded the city, Aole committed suicide, after cursing Afonja and his co-conspirators. The Oyo empire, and indeed the Yoruba nation, never recovered from this tragedy.
1796-1797 Alaafin Adebo. The next king after Aole ruled for only a year, between 1796 and 1797. He became king nominally, but never really had powers. The whole land rebelled during his reign and the chiefs clamoured for territories. Afonja declared independence first, and many provinces followed. Afonja won a great victory against the Oyo armies with the help of Alimi, a Fulani and Solagberu, a Yoruba Moslem. He fought several battles in which he subjugated and destroyed many Yoruba cities. Ilorin later became part of the Sokoto Caliphate when the Fulani took over.
1797-1798 Alaafin Maku. His reign was short and tragic. He reigned for only 2 months in 1797. He led an expedition against Iworo and was defeated. He committed suicide in Oyo. The period that followed was the Yoruba civil wars of the 19th century. Between 1800 and 1897, the Yoruba fought a series of wars that decimated huge portions of the country and caused a considerable amount of internal migration. Many large cities were destroyed completely, never to be rebuilt. New cities sprang up, from refugee camps or military bases.
1801-1827 Alaafin Majeotu – Fulani marauders seized Ilorin. After a period when the throne was vacant, Majotu was elected to the throne. He reigned from 1802 to 1830. His reign was full of wars and rebellions. In 1823, Dahomey rebelled, defeated the Oyo army and gained complete independence. Ilorin became a formidable force and started a conquest of Yorubaland, destroying and looting cities in its campaign. The Owu war(1821-1826) also occurred in which the town of Owu was completely destroyed. The Owu are settled in Abeokuta
1827 Dahomey revolt
1830-1833 Alaafin Amodo. His reign lasted for three years. He was initially weak, but later proved himself to be a wise and decisive king, despite being unfortunate. He came to the throne at a time when the kingdom was distracted by anarchy and confusion. The Fulanis were having an eye on the capital of Yoruba-land. None of the provincial kings now paid tribute to Oyo or acknowledged the authority of the King. He was virtually King of the capital only. The Ilorin army plundered Oyo for the first time in his reign, but did not destroy the city. Amodo later united some of the Yoruba chiefs who had turned their backs on the empire. They raised an army and besieged Ilorin but they were betrayed by the Edun of Gbogan, who was the Kakanfo and the army dispersed. Gbongan was later besieged by Ilorin and the Edun defeated. After defeating both the Kankafo and the Onikoyi, and rendering the Alaafin powerless, the Ilorin cavalry easily captured most of the northern Yoruba towns. After that, they turned their conquest southwards, towards the Ijesha tribes, where they faced stiff resistance. At this time, the remnant of the Oyo and Egba armies began to attack the Ijebus, because of their participation in the Owu war. The whole Yorubaland again became embroiled in civil war.
1833-1835 Alaafin Oluewu. He lasted for 2 years, between 1833 and 1835. During his reign, the Fulani empire had already captured Ilorin after an internal coup and transformed it into a Fulani emirate. Oluewu was then bound to Shita, the Emir of Ilorin. However, he refused to embrace the Islamic religion and sought help from Borgu to defeat the Fulanis. Initially, he recorded some success in battle, but a final putsch to recover the northern part of Yorubaland from the Fulanis led to his death and that of many of Oyo’s leading nobles. Ilorin (under the Fulani) eventually destroyed Oyo.
1835 – Empire collapse, razed by the Fulani Jihadist. Are-Ona Kakanfo Afonja, the Yoruba Generallisimo and the head of Illorin, invited a Fulani scholar of Islam called Alim al Salih into his ranks. He hoped to secure the support of Yoruba Muslims and volunteers from the Hausa-Fulani north in keeping Ilorin independent, but with no success, Oyo Empire collapsed.
1838-1858 Alaafin Atiba Atobatele. He moved the capital from Oyo to Ago Oja(present Oyo). During his reign, the remnant of the Yoruba army moved South and camped in an area that belonged to the Egba of Gbagura clan. The war camp later became the city of Ibadan and it emerged as the new power centre in Yorubaland. Oba Atiba sought to preserve what remained of Oyo Empire by placing on Ibadan duty of protecting the capital from the Ilorin in the north. Atiba was a great leader but he came at a time of crises. Yoruba had lost Igbomina. Ijesha, Ekiti and Akoko at this time were under threat. Ogbomọṣọ, Ẹdẹ, Iwo, axis were under attack-even Oṣogbo had been defeated, occupied by Fulani. In fact, the entire Yoruba land was under Ilorin-Fulani siege. Ibadan would not allow the onslaught to continue, by 1840, Ibadan soldiers defeated and pushed Fulani warriors back to Ilọrin but could not take the city. Atiba died in 1859. He was the last really great king Oyo had. He tried to restore Oyo’s glory, but the decline was bound to happen as all the tribes were fighting one another.
1838 – Ago d’Oyo – New Oyo founded. The center of Yoruba power moved to Ibadan , a Yoruba war camp settled by Ife and Oyo commanders in 1830.
1859-1875 Alaafin Adelu Agunloye. King Adelu was Atiba’s son. He became king in 1859. The Ijaye war(1860-?) was fought during his period. Kurunmi, the Are Ona Kankafo, who was the ruler of Ijaiye refused to recognize Adelu as the Alaafin. The war started with Ijaiye declaring war on Oyo in 1860. The Ibadan war machine under Ogunmọla came in support of Ọyọ, routed Kurunmi-Ijaiye/Egba alliance and killed all his sons. Kurunmi committed suicide and Ijaiye was destroyed. The Ijaiye war was one of the several wars Ibadan engaged in to assert supremacy in Yorubaland.
1857 – Britain abolish slavery
1864 – Alaafin stopped Batedo War in the name of Sango between Ijebu and the Egbas
1876-1905 Alaafin Adeyemi I. He ruled from 1876 to 1905. After the emergence of Ibadan, the Fulani ceased to be a threat to Yoruba but bitter civil war among the tribes made peace impossible. Between 1860 and 1885 Ibadan engaged in five different wars simultaneously. In 1877, Ibadan went to war against Ẹgba/Ijẹbu for attacking Ibadan traders, when coming from Port-Novo. The Ijẹṣa/Ekiti seized the moment, in 1878, attacked despotic Ibadan Ajẹlẹs (viceroys) in their territories; Ibadan declared war on Ijẹṣa and Ekiti. The conflict between Ibadan/Ijẹṣa & Ekiti went on for sixteen years, the worst war in Yorubaland. Ogedengbe-the Seriki of Ijẹṣa army, Fabunmi of Oke-Imesi, and Aduloju of Ado-Ekiti held Ibadan down as Ibadan engaged in other wars with the Ẹgba, Ijẹbu, Ilọrin and the Ifẹ. The Ibadan/Ijesa & Ekiti parapọ war got to its peak at Kiriji, near Ikirun. The Egba were also being attacked by Dahomey. The Alaafin was helpless as his people decimated themselves. He therefore invited the British colonial Governor of Lagos to help settled the dispute. Through negotiations undertaken by the Church, which was spearheaded by Samuel Johnson, Charles Phillips, and Lagos Governor Maloney in 1886, peace gradually returned to Yorubaland as the warring groups sheathed their swords. The entire Yorubaland later came under the dominion of the British and the Alaafin became a Vassal of the colonial government.
1888 – Oyo became a protectorate of Great Britain
1905-1911 Alaafin Agogo Ija Amubieya Lawani. He was a vassal of the British empire. He reigned from 1905 to 1911
1911-1944 Alaafin Ladigbolu I. He became king after Lawani. He ruled from 1911 to 1944. He was also a vassal king. The amalgamation of Nigeria happened during his time.
1914 – Amalgamation: Frederick Lugard united north and south as a single colony called Protectorate of Nigeria. The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River . Given by Flora Shaw who later married Lugard.
1945-1954 Alaafin Adeyemi II. He was sent on exile with Aremo. They both died in exile
1956-1968 Alaafin Ladigbolu II. He was the Alaafin when Nigeria gained independence
1971 Alaafin Adeyemi III