Benin is the name of the capital, Kingdom and Empire that proceeded forth.
I shall later sit down to put my thoughts together but in a nutshell, the following are evident – :
There is a difference between Benin Kingdom and Benin Empire.
That Igbo provinces constituted part of the Benin Kingdom and of course the later Benin Empire.
That Igbo land shares contiguous boundaries with the Bini, Esan, Urhobo, Isoko and Igala at various points in Anioma land.
History also notes that there were no military campaigns against Igboland by Benin Kingdom or Empire.
Of the Kingdoms that made up Benin Empire, Igbo Kingdoms were the most powerful and most numerous. They included Agbor, Ubulu Uku, Issele Uku, Asaba, Aboh to name a few.
Benin Kingdom was a Confederacy consisting of the Bini, Esan, Igbo, Itsekiri, Isoko, Urhobo etc of these Confederacy, the Igbo were the most populous and largest..
At various points in the history of the Benin Kingdom there were waves of emigrations eastward. These emigrations were seamless and usually without coercion which led to formations like Oguta, Onitsha, Ekpeye.
Most Eastward emigrations were from Igbo provinces of the Benin Kingdom and in revolt against tyranny which is inline with Igbo character of protestation against tyranny and love for democracy.
A mapping of Benin Kingdom would show that the single largest ethnic group of the Benin Kingdom/Empire are the Igbo, who were never in any state of military belligerence with the Benin Kingdom. This is despite the fact that the Aro Confederacy posed the greatest military challenge to the British Army.
It is important to note that the Igbo papacy of Nri had spiritual influence on the coronation and royalty of Benin.
Any serious scholar, should note the proximity, and similarity of Igbo and Bini language and culture.
A cursory view would tell any onlooker that the vibrancy of the Igbo from Africa to the New world is cultural and inborn.
A history of the Benin Kingdom/Empire would show that from inception to the end of the kingdom/Empire, Igbos held powerful formation. The first Iyase who is the traditional Prime Minister of Benin, who is greeted Laivb’eze is Igbo, The Ologboshere under Overemwein in1896 was Igbo from Ogwashi Uku. The Obaseki family who have internalized the Iyase title of Benin Kingdom are Igbo from Nsukwa.
The heart of pre imperial Benin is Igbo.
The Republican News