Yoruba HistoryAncient History

The Original History Of Ibadan – City Of Brown Roofs

History of Ibadan

Brief Details of Ibadan

Before we begin with the history of Ibadan, let us set some facts straight. Ibadan, (pronounced E- baa- dawn) the present capital of Oyo State, is the third-most populous city in Nigeria (with over 3.5 million dwellers) after Lagos and Kano.

Ibadan was also known to be the largest city in Africa after Cairo (Egypt) and Johannesburg (South Africa) in the 1960s. The Yoruba people are the main inhabitants of Ibadan which at its point of creation was called Eba-Odan meaning “the city at the edge of a Savannah”.

Ibadan, located in the south-western part of Nigeria served as the home for trade, commerce and fashion in the 60s and 70s posing as a worthy rival to Lagos. Ibadan was also the centre for administration of the Western region during the colonial era.

The History of Ibadan

The History Of Ibadan

The history of Ibadan was traced to the reign of the great old Oyo empire (Oyo-Ile). It was recorded that the Alaafin (king) of the Oyo empire ordered Lagelu who was then the commander of armed forces (Are-Ona-Kakanfo) in Oyo, and some of his best men in Oyo, Ilesa and Ogbomosho to build a war camp for warriors coming from Ijebu, Ife and Egba kingdoms.

Jagun Lagelu and his men settled in Àwótán, in Apete (presently in the Ido local government area) and founded a settlement which they called Eba Odan. A few years later, Eba-Odan was invaded and ransacked by Oyo armies for violating the customs of Yorubaland.

History of Ibadan has it that the people of Eba Odan humiliated an egungun (masquerade) at the market place. The egungun was accidentally disrobed which earned him abominable mockeries from Eba Odan women and children.

History of Ibadan

When the news of the incident reached the Alaafin of Oyo, he ordered his men to reduce Eba Odan to rubble for committing such disrespectful and abominable offence.

Those who survived the attack, including Lagelu who had become old and weak, ran to a nearby hill for safety. While on the hill, there was no food except for the Oro fruit and roasted snails which they fed on.

After a long period, normalcy returned and the people founded another settlement; this was about 1829. Shortly afterwards, Lagelu died leaving behind swarms of strong and politically oriented people.

The history of Ibadan has it in its profile that Ibadan was later attacked three different times but survived them all. These attacks are known in history as 1840 Osogbo war, Ibadan-Ijaye war of 1861-62, Kiriji war of 1877-93.

After the destruction of Oyo-Ile by the Fulani raiders in 1835/1836, refugees from several Yoruba towns and villages fled down to Ibadan, Ijaye and the new Oyo-Atiba, but Ibadan received the highest number of refugees who later settled permanently in the city.

After some time, the new Ibadan grew extensively into a popular hub of trade and commerce. Ibadan also dominated the political and military scene of Yorubaland, filling the vacuum created by the fallen Oyo empire. People displaced by war then saw Ibadan as a sanctuary because of its location, economy and military power.

In 1840, the marauding Fulani people tried to expand their caliphate deeper into the southern part of Yoruba land, but were defeated by the strong armies of the Yoruba kingdom led by Ibadan. This war was later known as the 1840 Osogbo war.

History of Ibadan

By the end of 1850, the population of Ibadan had grown over 265,000 making Ibadan the largest town in Yorubaland.

Later in the year 1893 (immediately after the Kiriji war), Ibadan became a British protectorate after the Baale of Ibadan, Fijabi, signed a treaty with George C. Denton, the British acting Governor of Lagos, on the 15th of August that same year.

Further Reading:

  • The Political Economy of a Pre-colonial African State: Ibadan, 1830-1900. by Toyin Falola
  • The Kiriji War – OldNaija; Teslim Opemipo Omipidan
  • Sir Isaac Babalola Akinyele: Iwe Itan Ibadan (1911)
  • The City of Ibadan– P. C. Lloyd, A. L. Mabogunje, B. Awe
Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (April 10, 2019). The Original History Of Ibadan – City Of Brown Roofs. OldNaija. Retrieved from https://oldnaija.com/2019/04/10/the-history-of-ibadan-the-city-of-heroes/

50 Comments

  1. I was taught Ibadan was created after the fall of the old Oyo empire. The warriors who had fled the city met again under a tree (eba odan) and started another community of warriors without an Oba. Their warrior background is the reason why Ibadan has never lost a battle…well until the Europeans intervened.

    1. no d writer was correct it was alafin sango dt gbokan nd timi of ede to evacute ibadan peoples after messed up d masaqurde, after dia fled to dt montain called oke ibadan it was iba oluyole dt reclaime d glory back to dia land

  2. Thanks Mr Ken, there’s a lot of accounts on the creation of Ibadan. According to the article above, Ibadan was first destroyed by the Oyo empire and later rise again. The new settlement was called Eba Odan which means the edge of a path/savannah, and Oyo fell shortly after its creation.. The evidence can be found in the book of Sir Isaac Babalola Akinyele, the late Olubadan of Ibadan: Iwe Itan Ibadan(1911).

  3. Great history , Ibadan indeed was a great warrior and never been defeated until they went to Ekiti state and was been defeated by Ekiti warriors.

    1. No; wasn’t defeated but both parties retreated. Despite the betrayal Ibadan had from his military merchandise ijebu. Ibadan still manage not to be defeated.

      1. However, Teslim, I don’t know if you twisted our efforts on Wikipedia and elsewhere, the idea that the Fulani were defeated by “a strong Yoruba armies led by ibadan” was not true! The truth is that the Oyo and Ogbomosho, Fiditi and other people that were overrun by the marauding Fulani jihadists, sought for succor and refuge in Ibadan. After settling the refugees down to safety, the Armies of Ibadan went to stop the Fulani vicious warriors in Osogbo! It was entirely the Armies of Ibadan that took on and defeated the Fulani people! QED.

  4. I am proud to tell you that, am from this great city of Ibadan. It’s a huge honor and prevellage to be a Yoruba man and will always represent my lovely people of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

  5. IBADAN OMO AJOROSUN,
    OMO A FI’KARAHUN FORI MU,
    IBADAN, ILU OGUNMOLA,
    ILU AJAYI,
    AJAYI O GBEMO,
    OMO PATIKO,
    IBADAN NILE OLUYOLE,
    NIBI OLE TII JARE OLOHUN,
    WON A NI’BI TOLOHUN FI SI NI O DARA
    IBDAN OMO A JA LAALA,
    OSOJU EBE, O SOJU PORO….
    I don’t know if I can still get the Lineage Praise properly. Thanks for posting!

          1. Oooooo! E ku ise takun-takun ti e n se o. E mura sise rere ni sise, ere re n be ni kikun laipe o. O dabo na.
            Kudos toa great man that is doing a good job. In no time, the rewards shall come in full. Well done!

  6. IBADAN OMO AJOROSUN,
    OMO A FI’KARAHUN FORI MU,
    IBADAN, ILU OGUNMOLA,
    ILU AJAYI,
    OLODOGBO KERI L’OJU OGUN
    AJAYI O GBEMO,
    OMO PATIKO,
    IBADAN NILE OLUYOLE,
    NIBI OLE TII JARE OLOHUN,
    WON A NI’BI TOLOHUN FI SI NI O DARA
    IBDAN OMO A JA LAALA,
    OSOJU EBE, O SOJU PORO….
    I don’t know if I can still get the Lineage Praise properly. Thanks for posting!

  7. THIS IS A VERY INFORMATIVE ARTICLE AND VERY INTERESTING TOO. I WAS HERE INITIALLY FOR A RESEARCH ON AN ASSIIGNMENT, BUT WITH THE WHOLE STRUCTURE OF THE ARTICLE I KEPT READING TILL THE END (WHICH I DON’T NORMALLY DO ONCE I HAVE FOUND MY ANSWERS). THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE IS A GREAT HISTORIAN AND WRITER AND OF COURSE IBADAN IS GREAT. LONG LIVE IBADAN!!!

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