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This article is about the spirit. For other uses, see Shango (disambiguation).
Figure of Shango on horseback (c. 1920s or 1930s) carved for the timi (king) of Ede, who kept it in a shrine dedicated to the orisha Shango.

Shango (known as Changó or Xangô in Latin America; and also known as Jakuta)[1] (from '=shan, 'to strike') is an Orisha. He is syncretized with either Saint Barbara or Saint Jerome. Shango is historically a royal ancestor of the Yoruba as he was the third Alafin (king) of the Oyo Kingdom prior to his posthumous deification.

Historical Shango[edit]

Following Oduduwa, Oranyan, and Ajaka, Jakuta was the third Alafin of Oyo.[1] Jakuta brought prosperity to the Oyo Empire during his reign.[2] In Professor Mason's mythological account of heroes and kings, contrary to his peaceful brother Ajaka, Jakuta was a powerful and even violent ruler. He reigned for seven years, the whole of which period was marked by his continuous campaigns and his many battles. The end of his reign resulted from his own inadvertent destruction of his palace by lightning. During his lifetime, he was married to three wives namely Oshun, Oba, and Oya.[3]

Veneration of Shango[edit]

In the Americas[edit]

Shango is venerated in the Spanish Santería and Palo (known as Changó); the Portuguese Candomblé and Umbanda (known as Xangô); the Trinidad Orisha; the Haitian Vodou; and the Louisiana Voodoo.


  1. ^ a b Bascom, William Russell (1980). Sixteen Cowries: Yoruba Divination from Africa to the New World. Indiana University Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-253-20847-5. 
  2. ^ Lum, Kenneth Anthony (2000). Praising His Name in the Dance. Routledge. p. 231. ISBN 90-5702-610-4. 
  3. ^ Johnson, History of the Yorubas, 149-152.


  • Johnson, Samuel, History of the Yorubas, London 1921 (pp. 149–152).
  • Lange, Dierk: "Yoruba origins and the 'Lost Tribes of Israel'", Anthropos 106 (2011), 579-595.
  • Law, Robin: The Oyo Empire c. 1600 – c. 1836, Oxford 1977.
  • Seux, M.-J., Épithètes royales akkadiennes et sumériennes, Paris 1967.
  • Tishken,Joel E., Tóyìn Fálọlá, and Akíntúndéí Akínyẹmí (eds), Sàngó in Africa and the African Diaspora, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2009.

Further reading[edit]