The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial empire located in what is now southern Nigeria.
Its capital was Edo, now known as Benin City, Edo.
It should not be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey.
The Benin Empire was « one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa, dating perhaps to the eleventh century CE », until it was annexed by the British Empirein 1897.
The original people and founders of the Benin Empire, the Edo people, were initially ruled by the Ogiso (Kings of the Sky) dynasty who called their land Igodomigodo.
The rulers or kings were commonly known as Ogiso. Igodo, the first Ogiso, wielded much influence and gained popularity as a good ruler.
Igodo died after a long reign and was succeeded by Ere, his eldest son.
In the 12th century, a great palace intrigue and battle for power erupted between the warrior crown prince Ekaladerhan son of the last Ogiso and his young paternal uncle.
In anger over an oracle, Prince Ekaladerhan left the royal court with his warriors.
When his old father the Ogiso died, the Ogiso dynasty was ended as the people and royal kingmakers preferred their king’s son as natural next in line to rule.