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Traditionally, the Yorubas organised themselves into networks of related villages, towns and kingdoms; with most of them headed by an Oba (King) or Baale (a nobleman or mayor). Major Yoruba cities and towns include Ile-Ife, Ibadan, Lagos, Ijebu Ode, Abeokuta, Akure, Ilorin, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogbomosho, Ondo, Badagry, Ado-Ekiti, Osogbo, Ilesa, Oyo, Owo, Kabba, Offa, Ilesa, Ilobu, Ede etc. There are other Yoruba cities and towns such as Ketu, Sabe, Dassa and others in Republic of Benin.
There are other towns and cities with historical affiliation with the Yoruba people because they share one or more similarities together. Some of these cities and towns are Benin city, Warri, Auchi, Okene etc.
Here are five things you didn’t know about these group of people.
1. They are almost everywhere in West Africa
Yoruba people aren’t just in Nigeria, you’ll also find them in The Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast. There are over 60 million Yoruba people and they represent over 20% of Nigeria’s entire population. This makes them one of the largest ethnic groups in all of Africa.
2. Yoruba’s still practise traditional religions
Majority of Yoruba people still practice the religion of their ancestors. The Yoruba believe in three gods including Olorun (the sky god), Eshu (the divine messenger) and Ogun (the god of war).
Dieties like Obatala, Sango, Osun, Yemoja and many more deities are worshipped in different villages.
3. Folktales and philosophy reign supreme
There are hundreds of folktales used in the Yoruba culture to help people navigate through life wisely.
The traditions of the Yoruba are based on folktales and philosophy. Cosmology and mythological creatures that live in both visible and invisible worlds can be described in most.
4. Babies have natural birth names
Before naming a child a lot is put into consideration in a typical Yoruba household. Names are extremely important to Yoruba people, and they believe that people live their life out based on their name.
That is why you find people bearing names such as Ayo meaning Joy, Ola meaning Wealth e.t.c.
5. They have been since prehistoric times
Back before Nigeria came to be, the Yorubas have existed in West Africa for thousands of years. They’ve also been the primary culture in southern Nigeria since the 11th century under many empires such as the Ife and Oyo kingdoms. Both of these kingdoms left hundreds of relics, mostly made up of brass, bronze and copper.