Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced in Brazil by the povo de santo. Candomblé originated in Salvador, Bahia at the beginning of the 19th century, when the first temple was founded. Candomblé is practiced in Brazil, is practiced in other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela, having as many as two million followers. Candomblé developed in a creolization of traditional Yoruba and Bantu beliefs brought from West and Central Africa by enslaved captives in the Portuguese Empire. Between 1549 and 1888, the religion developed in Brazil, influenced by the knowledge of enslaved African priests who continued to teach their religion, their culture, language. In addition, Candomblé absorbed elements of Roman Catholicism and includes indigenous American traditions; as an oral tradition, it does not have holy scriptures. Practitioners of Candomblé believe in a Supreme Creator called Oludumaré, served by lesser deities, which are called Orishas; every practitioner is believed to have their own tutelary orisha, which controls his or her destiny and acts as a protector.
Music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies, since the dances enable worshippers to become possessed by the orishas. In the rituals, participants make offerings like minerals and animals. Candomblé does not include the duality of evil. Candomblé does not have holy texts. Only have scholars and "povo de santo" begun to write down its practices; the word Candomblé means "dance in honour of the gods", music and dance are important parts of Candomblé ceremonies. The name Batuque is used to refer to the religion before the 19th century. After that, Candomblé became more common. Both words are believed to be derived from a Bantu-family language that of the Kingdom of Kongo. Candomblé may be called Macumba in some regions of Brazil, notably Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Macumba has a distinct set of practices more akin to European witchcraft. Candomblé originated among enslaved Africans who were transplanted to Brazil during the Atlantic slave trade. From the earliest days of the slave trade, many slave owners and Catholic Church leaders felt it was important to convert enslaved Africans.
They believed this would fulfill their religious obligations and lead the enslaved to be more submissive in their status. Some historians suggest that Africans were forced to give up their traditional religions to cut their ties to their pasts. Although the Church succeeded in many cases, not all slaves converted. Many outwardly practiced Christianity but secretly prayed to their own God, gods, or ancestor spirits. In Brazil, adherents of Candomblé saw in the Catholic veneration of saints a similarity with their own religion. Bantu followers found a shared system of worship with Brazil's indigenous people, through this connection they re-learned the ancestor worship, part of their own traditional systems, they concealed the sacred symbols of their deities inside figures of their Catholic saints. In segregated communities of the country, it was easy to create Catholic fraternities where slaves would meet with each other; these meetings, were an opportunity for Candomblé worship to be practiced and for feasts to be held on special religious days.
They were opportunities for the enslaved to gather and plan rebellions against their masters. Candomblé was condemned by the Catholic Church. Followers of the faith were persecuted violently, including by government-led public campaigns and police action. Repression of African religion began early in the Portuguese colonial period, with calundu subject to the Inquisition; the Brazilian Penal Code of 1850 condemned charlatanismo curandeirismo. Both Candomblé religious leaders and terreiros were attacked by the police. With Catholicism as the state religion, other religious practices threatened the secular authority; the persecution stopped in the 1970s with repeal of a law requiring police permission to hold public religious ceremonies. The religion has surged in popularity in Brazil since with as many as two million people professing to follow this faith, it is popular in Salvador, Bahia, in the northeast region of Brazil, more isolated from other influences and had a high percentage of enslaved Africans.
Many people from African countries visit Bahia in order to learn more about the faith of their ancestors. For many followers, Candomblé is not only a matter of religious belief but of reclaiming the cultural and historical identity of ethnic Africans, although their separate tribal identities have been obscured by peoples being mixed in communities during and after slavery. Brazilian slaves came from a number of African geographic regions and ethnic groups, including Mbundu, Igbo, Kongo and Ewe. Slave handlers classified them by the shore of embarkment, so records of ethnicity may not have been accurate, as captives were transported overland away from native areas before being loaded on ships; as the religion developed semi-independently in different regions of Brazil, among different African ethnic groups, it evolved into several "branches" or nations. These are distinguished chiefly by their set of worshiped deities, as well as the music and language used in the rituals; the division into nations was influenced by the religious and beneficent brotherhoods organized by the Catholic Church among Brazilian slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.
These fraternities, organized alo
Ṣàngó is an Orisha. He is syncretized with either Saint Saint Jerome. Shango is a royal ancestor of the Yoruba as he was the third Alafin of the Oyo Kingdom prior to his posthumous deification. Ṣàngó has numerous manifestations including Airá, Afonja, Lubé, Obomin. He is considered to be one of the most powerful rulers that Yorubaland has produced, is noted for his anger. Jakuta was the third Alafin following Oranmiyan and Ajaka. Jakuta brought prosperity to the Oyo Empire. According to Professor Mason's Mythological Account of Heroes and Kings, unlike his peaceful brother Ajaka, Jakuta was a powerful and violent ruler, he reigned for seven years which were marked by many battles. His reign ended due to his inadvertent destruction of his palace by lightning, he had three wives, namely Princess Oshun, Princess Oba, Princess Oya. The Oyo Empire declined in the 19th century, which led to the enslavement of its people by the Fulani and the Fon. Among them were many followers of Ṣàngó, worship of the deity thrives in the New World as a result.
Strong devotion to Ṣàngó led to Yoruba religions in Trinidad and Recife, Brazil being named after the deity. In Yorubaland, Sango is worshiped on the fifth day of the week in, named Ojo Jakuta. Ritual worship foods include guguru, bitter cola, àmàlà, gbegiri soup, he is worshiped with the Bata drum. One significant thing about this deity is that he is worshiped using red clothing, just as he is said to have admired red attire during his lifetime. Ṣàngó is viewed as the most powerful and feared of the orisha pantheon. He casts a "thundersone" to earth, which creates lightning, to anyone who offends him. Worshippers in Yorubaland in Nigeria do not eat cowpea because they believe that the wrath of the god of iron would descend on them; the Ṣàngó god necklaces are composed in varying patterns of white beads. Rocks created by lightning strikes are venerated by Ṣàngó worshipers. Ṣàngó is called on during coronation ceremonies in Nigeria to the present day. Ṣàngó is venerated in Santería and Haiti as "Chango".
As in the Yoruba religion, Chango is the most feared god in Santería. In Haïti, he is as Ogou. Palo recognizes him as "Siete Rayos". Ṣàngó is known as Xangô in the Candomblé pantheon. He is said to be the son of Oranyan, his wives include Oya and Oba, as in the Yoruba tradition. Xangô took on strong importance among slaves in Brazil for his qualities of strength and aggression, he is noted as the god of thunder. He became the patron orixa of many Candomblé terreiros. In contrast Oko, the orixá of agriculture, found little favor among slaves in Brazil and has few followers in the Americas; the main barracão of Ilê Axé Iyá Nassô Oká, or the terreiro Casa Branca, is dedicated to Xangô. Xangô is depicted with an oxê. Consecrated day: Tuesday Colors: white and red Elements: thunder, fire Sacred food: amalá Instruments: oxê, a double ax, it speaks of his achievements, consorts and dominion Sacrificial animals: fresh water turtle, male goat, sheepAmalá known as amalá de Xangô, is the ritual dish offered to the orixá.
It is a stew made of chopped okra, dried shrimp, palm oil. Amalá is served on Wednesday at the pegi, or altar, on a large tray, traditionally decorated with 12 upright uncooked okra. Due to ritual prohibitions, the dish may not be offered on a wooden tray or accompanied by bitter kola. Amalá de Xangô may be prepared with the addition of beef an ox tail. Amalá de Xangô is different than àmàlà, a dish common to Yoruba areas of Nigeria. Xangô is depicted with an oxê known as the oxê de Xangô; the oxê is a double axe similar to a labrys and made of wood. The song "Mama Loi, Papa Loi" by Bahamian musician Exuma includes the lines "Come on Shango"... Shango is a large theme in the Mighty Sparrow song, "congo Man". Caliban invokes Shango in Aimé Césaire's play Une Tempête. Shango appears as a minor character in The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. In episode 28 of the telenovela "Celia," loosely based on the life of Celia Cruz, the cultural ancestors of Celia's African heritage visit her in her dreams and invoking the presence of Chango.
Xango is mentioned in the song Canto de Ossanha by Vinicius de Moraes. Legends of Africa Johnson, History of the Yorubas, London 1921. Lange, Dierk: "Yoruba origins and the'Lost Tribes of Israel'", Anthropos 106, 579-595. Law, Robin: The Oyo Empire c. 1600 – c. 1836, Oxford 1977. Seux, M.-J. Épithètes royales akkadiennes et sumériennes, Paris 1967. Tishken,Joel E. Tóyìn Fálọlá, Akíntúndéí Akínyẹmí, Sàngó in Africa and the African Diaspora, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009. Charles Spencer King, "Nature's Ancient Religion: Orisha Worship & IFA" ISBN 1-4404-1733-4 Charles Spencer King, "IFA Y Los Orishas: La Religion Antigua De LA Naturaleza" ISBN 1-4610-2898-1 Santeria.fr:: All about Shango Santeria.fr:: Todo sobre Shango Santeria.fr:: Tout sur Shango
The Gẹlẹdẹ spectacle of the Yoruba is a public display by colorful masks which combines art and ritual dance to amuse and inspire worship. Gelede celebrates “Mothers”, a group that includes female ancestors and deities as well as the elderly women of the community, the power and spiritual capacity these women have in society. However, this power may be destructive and take the form of witchcraft; the Gelede social agenda rests on the Yoruba maxim Eso l'aye. In other words, life is delicate and should be lived with caution and with an emphasis on diplomacy, consideration and harmony. Most Yoruba myths of origin can be found in the divination. There are 256 Odu Ifa, each of which contains a number of poems called ese Ifa. A typical ese Ifa is a narrative about a person or animal with a problem and the steps to resolve that problem. An ese Ifa explains the origins of Gelede as beginning with Yemoja, "The Mother of all the orisa and all living things." Yemoja could not have children and consulted an Ifa oracle, who advised her to offer sacrifices and to dance with wooden images on her head and metal anklets on her feet.
After performing this ritual, she became pregnant. Her first child was a boy, nicknamed "Efe". Yemoja's second child was a girl, nicknamed "Gelede". Like her mother, Gelede loved dancing. After getting married themselves, neither Gelede or Efe's partner could have children; the Ifa oracle suggested. No sooner than Efe and Gelede performed these rituals - dancing with wooden images on their heads and metal anklets on their feet - they started having children; these rituals developed into the Gelede masked dance and was perpetuated by the descendants of Efe and Gelede. This narrative is one of many stories. Another theory states that the beginning of Gelede might be associated with the change from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. Although the Gelede ceremony may be staged at any time of the year, the most elaborate performance occurs during the annual festival. Once the exact dates of the festival are fixed through divination, the Iyalase notifies the paramount chief of the community and the important subordinate chiefs.
Messages go out to all members of the Gelede society outside the town or working far away to return home for the celebration. The festival begins with an all-night concert called efe, which features the Efe male mask, who uses satire to entertain and educate. Given the concern of the Gelede society with peace and social stability, it is not surprising that didactic themes recur in efe songs. After the efe dance, most of the attendees spend the morning sleeping in preparation for the afternoon dance, which takes place in the marketplace and features pairs of male dancers who perform to fast-paced music with a vigorous beat; the Gelede ceremony involves choreographed dance and music, drumming. The performances are given by men, wearing masks that feature sculpted images of scenes including animals and people or sewing machines and drums; the pair of men masquerade as women to amuse and placate the mothers who are considered powerful, who may use their powers for good or destructive purposes. These powers are linked to childbirth.
The abilities they possess may be activated either consciously or unconsciously. Gelede masks are worn with a costume consisting of layers of colorful cloth; the Gelede "mask" is more a headdress, since it rests on top of the head and the wearer's face is covered by a cloth veil. The headdress takes the form of a human head, on top of which are motifs that are intended to entertain onlookers but, in addition address social concerns that may be expressed in songs that are part of the masquerade; the headdresses are brightly painted. Individuals or families will go to any length to make their headdresses as attractive and humorous as possible; the endless variety of the motifs and their combinations makes it difficult to attempt to construct a typology of Gelede headdresses. Most of the headdresses have facial adornments, ranging from lineage marks to decorative tattoos, which are either incised or painted. Babatunde Lawal writes: "The headdress is to the costume, it is an index of identification and the essence of the masker's personality as long as he is inside the mask.
In spite of the comical representations that appear on the headdress, the face below the superstructure remains serene, as if stressing the paradox, life - and the need to live life with special care."
Babaaláwo or Babalawo is a spiritual title that denotes a priest of the Ifá oracle. Ifá is a divination system that represents the teachings of the Òrìṣà Orunmila, the Òrìṣà of Wisdom, who in turn serves as the oracular representative of Olodumare. A Babalawo's female counterpart is known as an Iyanifa; the Babalawos ascertain the future of their clients through communication with Ifá. This is done through the interpretation of either the patterns of the divining chain known as Opele, or the sacred palm nuts called Ikin, on the traditionally wooden divination tray called Opon Ifá. In addition to this, some of them perform divination services on behalf of the kings and paramount chiefs of the Yoruba people; these figures, holders of chieftaincy titles like Araba and Oluwo Ifa in their own right, are members of the recognised aristocracies of the various Yoruba traditional states. Babalawos and Iyanifas undergo training in the memorization and interpretation of the 256 Odu or mysteries, as well as in the numerous verses or Ese of Ifá.
Traditionally, the Babalawo and the Iyanifa have additional professional specialties. For instance, several would be herbalists, while others would specialize in extinguishing the troubles caused by Ajogun; the Babalawos and Iyanifas are, however trained in the determination of problems, or to divine how "Ìwà" can be maintained so that "ire" may manifest, the application of both spiritual and related secular solutions. Their primary function is to assist people in finding and being in alignment with their individual "Orí" until they experience spiritual wisdom as a part of their daily experience; the Ifá priest is charged with helping people develop the discipline and character that supports such spiritual growth called "Iwa Pele", or good character. This is done by identifying the client's spiritual "destiny," or Ori, developing a spiritual blueprint which can be used to support and live out that destiny. Ifá Iyalawo http://ifa-houseofwisdom.com/babalawo.html http://www.ifafoundation.org/does-the-babalawo-tell-all/
Umbanda is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism and Indigenous American beliefs. Although some of its beliefs and most of its practices existed in the late 19th century in all Brazil, it is assumed that Umbanda originated in Niterói and surrounding areas in the early 20th century due to the work of a psychic, Zélio Fernandino de Moraes, who practiced Umbanda among the poor Afro-Brazilians slave descendants. Since Umbanda has spread across southern Brazil and neighboring countries like Argentina and Uruguay. Umbanda has each one with a different set of beliefs and practices; some common beliefs are the existence of a Supreme Creator known as Olodumare. Other common beliefs are the existence of deities called Orixás, most of them syncretized with Catholic saints that act as divine energy and forces of nature. Umbanda practitioners believe in a supreme creator god; the opposite side of the Umbanda, i.e. black magic – the practices that intended to cause evil doings, became known as Quimbanda.
Umbanda is juxtaposed with Quimbanda which now reclaims its identity as a separate religion and distinct from Umbanda. One hundred years after its establishment, Umbanda divided itself into several branches with different beliefs and practices; some of these branches are Umbanda d'Angola, Umbanda Jejê, Umbanda Ketu, Umbanda Esotérica. The three major beliefs claimed by Umbandists are: The Pantheon, the Spirits' World, the Reincarnation. Umbanda has one supreme god known as Olorum and many divine intermediary deities called Orixás. Orixàs and spirits are organized in a complex hierarchy of legions, sub-phalanges and protectors; the exact order of the hierarchy varies by region and practitioner, but a agreed upon structure are the Seven Lines, or Sete Linhas da Umbanda. The first line is the top associated with Oxalà, the bottom is always the Linha das Almas, or Line of Dead Souls; the other patrons associated with the lines are listed in 2-6 below. The lines are divided up further into a multitude of spiritual beings.
Main Orixás Oxalá Iemanjá Xangô Oxúm Ogúm Oxóssi Ibeji Omulu/Obaluayê Iansã Nanã Oxumaré Exu Most followers of Umbanda believe that there are three distinct levels of spirits. 1. Pure Spirits This level includes the spirits known as the angels, archangels and seraphim, spirits that reached spiritual perfection. 2. Good Spirits This level includes the spirits that possess mediums or initiates during the Umbanda ceremonies and act as Guias advising and helping the believers; these are the following spirits: Caboclos Those are spirits of deceased Indigenous Brazilians or Mestizos. They are knowledgeable about medical herbs prescribing inexpensive remedies to ill people, their speech is always based in truth and courage, are sought after in cases you need strength, counsel. When a caboclo speaks, you listen; when the medium incorporates a Caboclo, he/she, begins to walk around and the feature becomes more severe. They smoke cigars and drink a mix of herbs the mediums make. Preto Velho Those are spirits of old slaves who died enslaved.
They are wise and kind spirits that know all about suffering, compassion and hope. Some of them are considered to be from Angola and Congo, others are considered to be the old Yoruba priests that were first brought to Brazil, they often prescribe herbal remedies. The female counterpart of this spirit is the Preta Velha who demonstrates maternal compassion and concern. In the beginning of Umbanda, Preto Velho introduced himself as an old slave who died after being flogged for some unjust accusation, they are the most loved entities in Umbanda and is common to see a person consulting with the same preto velho year after year, develop a love for them. When the medium incorporates a Preto Velho, he can not stand straight, has difficulty walking, has to make consultations sitting down, they drink coffee and smoke pipes. Crianças/Erês Those are spirits of great evolution, appearing as children, to reveal the pure side of life, they are not children. They speak of hope; when they talk, they always intend to make you look at the bright side of things.
They are characterized as being pure and joyful. Most people make the mistake that, since the medium speaks funny, uses candies and ribbons in his head, that he is
Tambor de Mina
Tambor de Mina is an Afro-Brazilian religious tradition, practiced in Brazilian states of Maranhão, Piauí, Pará and the Amazônia. Tambor means drum in Portuguese, refers to the importance of the rhythmic element to worship. Mina derives from the name São Jorge da Mina, now known as Elmina Castle, refers to a designation given to African slaves, although the name did not refer to slaves who had passed through the fortress/port of São Jorge da Mina itself, but rather to "different ethnicities over time and place". For example,'Mina-Popo' was the designation for people from Little Popo Akan speakers who had migrated from west of the Volta River, "Mina-Nago" and "Mina-Congo" were other designations sometimes found in Brazil. Slavery in Maranhão was concentrated in the Itapecuru Valley, the Baixada Maranhense, São Luís, the capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhao. Cotton and sugar cane plantations contributed to the development of larger cities. Colonial houses were built with slave labor with their unique design influenced by the harmony and choreography of songs originating from ancient Africa.
Tambor of Mina worships vodums, orixás, entities who are called gentis or caboclos. Voduns, gods of the fon or jeje people, deified human ancestors; some young voduns called toquém or toquenos fulfill the function of guides, helpers of the other voduns. Tobóssis are infantile feminine deities, considered daughters of voduns; the voduns are grouped in 5 families: Davice. Each family occupies a specific part of the house and has its own songs and activities. There are 15 tobossis in Casa das Minas; the title of Tói means that the title of Nochê means that vodum is a female. Avievodum is the Supreme God, Legba is not considered a messenger, being identified as an evil spirit by the Casa das Minas, although he plays an important role in other temples. Tambor de Mina is a mixture of Dahomey Religion, Yoruba Religion, Fanti-Ashanti, Agrono or Cambinda, Indigenous American and European traditions, it is said that the encantados are entities of people who did not die, but disappeared mysteriously, becoming invisible or turning into animals or plants, living in a magical kingdom called Encantaria.
The encantados are present in diverse Amazon beliefs and they are organized in families in the Tambor de Mina: Lençol. They are invoked in religious ceremonies and the priest or priestess goes into trance; because of this cultural richness and syncretism present in the cult, these elements coexist in a harmonious way, being impossible to separate popular Catholicism, local folklore and the Encantaria, the Cure or Pajelança from the Tambor de Mina. It is said that the pantheon of encantados shared by the two religions "navigate in the two waters", being the Tambor de Mina classified as "sea water line" and the Cura/Pajelança as "fresh water line". In the temples of Tambor de Mina it is common to hold feasts and parties of the popular culture of Maranhão that are sometimes requested by spiritual entities that like them, such as the Feast of the Divine Holy Spirit, Bumba-meu-boi, Tambor de Crioula and others. Terecô is the denomination of one of the Afro-Brazilian religions of the city of Codó in Maranhão and Teresina in Piauí, derived from Tambor de Mina.
There are two main models of Tambor de Mina in Maranhão: jeje and Nagô. The former seems to be the oldest and settled around the Casa Grande das Minas Jeje, better known as Casa das Minas, the oldest temple, which must have been founded in São Luís in the 1840s; the other, contemporary and which continues to this day, has settled around the Casa de Nagô. Casa das Minas and Casa de Nagô are located in the same neighbourhood; the Casa das Minas is unique, it does not have houses that are affiliated to it, therefore no other follow its style. It was founded by an African woman named Maria Jesuina, who came to Brazil as a slave and, according to Pierre Verger, was the Queen Nã Agontimé, Wife of King Agonglô of Dahomey and mother of King Guezô; the most famous priestess of the temple was Mother Andressa Maria, considered the last princess of Fon direct lineage that headed the Casa das Minas. She was born in 1854 and died in 1954, at the age of 100. In this house, the songs are in language jeje and only are worshipped deities called voduns, but although it does not have affiliated houses, the cult model of the Tambor de Mina is i
Nigeria the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean; the federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular country. Nigeria has been home to states over the millennia; the modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960, it experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
Nigeria is referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy. With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under age 18; the country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by 250 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa and Yoruba. The official language is English. Nigeria is divided in half between Christians, who live in the southern part of the country, Muslims, who live in the north. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities; as of 2015, Nigeria is the world's 20th largest economy, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. It overtook South Africa to become Africa's largest economy in 2014.
The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank. However, it has a "low" Human Development Index, ranking 152nd in the world. Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies, it is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and OPEC; the name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator; the origin of the name Niger, which applied only to the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism.
The Nok civilisation of Northern Nigeria flourished between 500 BC and AD 200, producing life-sized terracotta figures that are some of the earliest known sculptures in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem–Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa; the Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan. Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. In West Africa, the oldest bronzes made using the lost-wax process were from Igbo-Ukwu, a city under Nri influence; the Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively.
The oldest signs of human settlement at Ife's current site date back to the 9th century, its material culture includes terracotta and bronze figures. Oyo, at its territorial zenith in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, extended its influence from western Nigeria to modern-day Togo; the Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin's power lasted between the 19th centuries, their dominance reached further. At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire; the territory controlled by the resultant state included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria. For centuries, various peoples in modern-day Nigeria traded overland with traders from North Africa. Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western and northern Africa. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin significant, direct trade with peoples of modern-day Nigeria, at the port they named Lago