History Notes

Ile Ife people and History


Ife is an ancient city in the present Osun state in the south west geopolitical zone of can be regarded as the oldest city in Yoruba land, it is widely regarded as the cradle and spiritual home of the Yoruba people in Nigeria.

Ile-ife which literally means place of dispersion or point of spreading is also being regarded by the Yorubas as the cradle of mankind.

According to oral tradition of the history of Yoruba people and from the research carried out by an historian, it is believed that the Yoruba people left somewhere in the middle east with Oduduwa as their leader and later settled in Ile-ife.

All other Yoruba speaking people later migrated to other parts of Yoruba land including the Yorubas in the present republic of this development later led to the establishment of major Yoruba kingdoms in the 18th century. These kingdom were, Ife as the head, Oyo kingdom, Ekiti kingdom, Egbado kingdom, Ijesha kingdom, Ondo kingdom, Ketu kingdom, Owu kingdom, Sabe kingdom,as well as Ijebu kingdom


Ife people were the original or first descendants of Oduduwa the father of the Yorubas. All other Yoruba kingdoms emerged from Ife people, Ife people reside in the ancient city of Ile-ife which is the capital or the spiritual mecca of the Yoruba , Oduduwa was the first king of the people of Ife.

ARTIFACTS; like NOK ,culture, Ife culture is made up of figurines known as terracotta[baked clay],these figurines which are known as artifacts of Ife culture have similarities with NOK culture. The difference in both is that while Ife terracotta had tribal marks,also known as striation on their head, NOK’S did not have.

Ife terracotta is said to belong to method of discovery known as ‘lost wax’ [cire perdue], Ife bronze head is one of the most popular artifacts of ife.other remarkable objects were copper mask of Obalufon from Ife city,metallic figures in brass discovered by a German called frobenius,quartz pebbles for making glass beads among others.


[1] It is the artistics home of the Yorubas

[2] Ife figurines known as terracotta belong to what has been regarded as ‘lost wax’ or cire perdue’ system believed to be oldest in west Africa.

[3] Ife culture is also known for its life style brass heads executed in naturalistic style.

[4] Ife terracotta can be distinguished from that of NOK for their tribal marks called striation


[1] Ife culture revealed that Nigerians have had home grown technology which attracted some Europeans like Richard and John lander far back in 19th century

[2] The presence of what was regarded as tribal marks on the heads of ife culture differentiates it from other cultures particularly NOK culture,

[3] Ife culture had also shown that there is historical link between  ife and Benin


[1] Where is Ife on Nigeria map?

[2]who were the Ife people?

[3]mention two Ife artifacts.

[4]what were the occupation of Ife people?

[5]identify some other remarkable objects,under artifacts of ife culture.

[6] identify the people of Ile-ife in relation to their occupation.

[7] Identify two significance of Ife culture


Narrate the history of Benin culture in Nigeria

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