Discover Benin Edo

Benin Edo - is a Niger-Congo language of the Edoid branch. It is spoken primarily by over 3 million primarily in the Edo state of Nigeria.

Main Communities

Edo state including 1. Benin City, Uromi, and Auchi

Common last names in the Ga ethnic group:

Osaretin - God is strength
Iyayi - Faith in God
Osagie - God sent
Adesua - A child born in wealth
Eseosa - Gift of God

Staple Food

Owo Soup - This is one of the oldest delicacies prepared by the Edo people. The main ingredient used in making Owo soup is potash which serves as a thickener. There are no leaves or herbs included in the soup. Owo soup is usually cooked with smoked fish and meats for rich protein sources. The soup is also rich in potassium which helps to maintain healthy nerve function.

Culture and Traditions

Benin Kingdom: The ancient Benin kingdom was founded in the 1200s C.E and still exists today. The kingdom is ruled by the Oba who holds significant traditional and political power. The Oba is selected by four king makers known as Uzama. Before colonization, the Benin kingdom became wealthy by trading artwork, gold, ivory, and pepper with the Portuguese.

Benin Bronzes: The Benin Bronzes are special sculptures made a long time ago by talented artists from the Benin Kingdom. These sculptures are made out of bronze metal and they show many different things including royal figures, warriors, animals, and gods. The Benin Bronzes were crafted with great detail and skill, proving how advanced the kingdom's art and culture was. These bronzes were used for special ceremonies and were a symbol of power.

Notable figures:

Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion - Entrepreneur. He is the founder of the Igbinedion Group of Companies, an empire that is involved in various sectors from hospitality to oil and gas. Igbinedion was the first West African to start a domestic aviation service, the Okada Airline. In 1999, he established Igbinedion University, the first private university in Nigeria. Igbinedion has contributed significantly to the development of education in Nigeria and is internationally for his achievements, leadership, and philanthropy.

Queen Idia - matriarch. She played a major role in overtaking the heir apparent and making son, Esigie, king of Benin Kingdom. In return, her son created the title of Iyoba or Queen Mother and she was the first to hold that title in the kingdom. Queen Idia was an intelligent warrior and an expert in traditional medicine. She became more popular in recent times when an Ivory carving of her face was adopted to represent the Nigerian Festival FESTAC ‘77.

Rema - musician. He first gained recognition in 2019 when he signed with Mavin Records, one of Nigeria's most influential record labels. Rema received international recognition for his music in a relatively short period of time. He was featured on former US President Barack Obama's summer playlist in 2019. Rema has won multiple awards including the 2019 Headies Award for Next Rated Artist.