Today Abeokuta is mostly known as the capital of Ogun State, but not every Nigerian knows about the rich and glorious history of this south-western Nigerian city. Find out everything about the history of Abeokuta right now!
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1. Early years
Abeokuta was founded in 1830 by Sodeke, the leader of Egba refugees. Originally the refugees, led by Sodeke, settled under the Olumo Rock, which is exactly how Abeokuta got its name.
The name “Abeokuta” comes from a local phrase for “refuge among rocks”. This name derived from the fact that the first settlers were the Egba people running away from the Oyo Empire, which was on the verge of collapsing.
It didn’t take long for the original Abeokuta settlers to scatter around and occupy the free territory. The settlers formed separate groups based on their roots, and each group did their best to preserve their culture and religion.
Soon after Abeokuta was founded, it became a valuable link in the palm oil trade between Ibadan and Lagos. Not everyone was happy with that development, and soon Abeokuta was embroiled in a number of wars.
2. Late 19th century
One of the biggest war episodes in the city history was the Battle of Abeokuta, which took place in 1851. Here the Egba people managed to defeat the Dahomey Kingdom.
In 1864 Abeokuta fought with the Dahomey Kingdom again and defeated them for the second time. In both of those battles, the female warriors did as much for the ultimate victory as the men.
By the 1860s the conflict between the Abeokuta citizens and the British in Lagos. As the result, the Egba shut down the trading routes. Until the end of the 19th century, Abeokuta was taken over by the Yoruba civil wars.
3. Early 20th century
As the result of many subsequent events, Abeokuta became a part of the Nigerian British colony. However, the piece for Abeokuta was still far away, as people started to protest against the unbearable taxes and stern leaders.
The protest against taxes, this time from the Nigerian colonial government, was reignited in the 1940 by the Abeokuta Women’s Union. Then finally in 1976 Abeokuta was chosen as the capital of the newly created Ogun State.
4. Modern days
Since 1976, Abeokuta has come a long way. Its economy has significantly developed during those five decades. Now the city has a variety of successful industries, including palm oil production, fruit canning, cotton, corn, rice, sawmills, and aluminium.
Abeokuta is also known for its export of fruits, kola nuts, palm kernels, and cocoa. Abeokuta’s infrastructure may leave a lot to be desired, but this city can be admired for its respect for the past.
Not only does Abeokuta have plenty of historical sites and original architecture, but it has even preserved pieces of the wall that surrounded the city in the older days. That is why Abeokuta is definitely worth a visit if you’re passionate about your nation’s history!
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