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8 Interesting Facts About The Great Benin Kingdom You Didn’t Know

What is the oldest surviving kingdom in the world? Would you be surprised if I tell you that it is the Great Benin Kingdom? Yea that’s right, the oldest surviving kingdom in the World is Great Benin Kingdom and it is 2054 years Old.

The Great Benin Kingdom is arguably Nigeria’s greatest empire. In this post, we will be revealing 8 amazing facts you never knew about the Great Benin Kingdom.

The Ogiso dynasty lasted for about 854 years plus an interregnum of 285 years between the reign of Ogiso Orire and Ogiso Odia. There was an interregnum of 70 years between Ogiso Owodo and Oba Oranmiyan plus 845 years of Oba ruler-ship till date.

Below are 8 amazing facts about the Great Benin Kingdom:

1. The first storey building in Nigeria was built at Ughoton by the Dutch in the year 1718, and it was called “The Factory”. The said building was destroyed by the British during the war against the Benins in 1897. However, the site of the building is still intact.

There is a controversy surrounding this fact as there is a different record suggesting that the first storey building in Nigeria is a building which is still standing and was built by Reverend Henry Townsend of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1845. However its foundation was laid in 1842. Also, the Hausas in Northern Nigeria claim they had built some storey buildings before Reverend Henry Townsend’s building was erected.

2. The Oldest Church in West-Africa was established in Great Benin Empire by the Earliest Portuguese missionaries in the 16th Century which is today known as the Holy Aruosa (Benin National Church). Pope Pius XII visited Benin and handed the church to the Oba of Benin, Oba Oreoghene in 1692AD.[AdSense-A]

3. The first Known Embassy Established in Nigeria was in Benin during the reign of Oba Esigie in the 16th century.

4. The Oldest known letter written in Nigeria was by Duarte Pires instructed by Oba Esigie which was addressed to King John II, on the 20th October, 1516AD. The second oldest letter was written by Anthonio Domingo (Great-grand Son of Oba Olua) to the Pope to seek for missionary assistance in other to spread Christianity in Benin Empire in 1652AD.

5. Oba Orhogbua founded Lagos and planted a dukedom, the Obaship of Lagos (Eko).

6. Oldest ever recorded market in Africa is Ogiso (Agbado) Market dated 60BCE.

7. The first ever recorded bank (Owigho) in present day West-Africa was built in Benin kingdom by Oba Eresoyen, construction started in the year 1740AD and was completed in the year 1743AD.

8. Queen Idia was the first Oba’s mother to be alive to see her son becoming an Oba. That’s because traditionally, crowned prince mothers were previously killed before their sons ascend the throne.

Queen Idia was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. She played a very significant role in the rise and reign of her son. She has been described as a great warrior who fought relentlessly before and during her son’s reign as the Oba of the Edo people