Edo people

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Edo people
Location of The Edo homeland (dark green)

in Nigeria (green)

Total population
c. 2 million (2017 est.) ()
Regions with significant populations
southern Nigeria
Edo language
Predominantly Christianity
Related ethnic groups

The Edo or Benin people are an ethnic group primarily found in Edo State, and spread across the Delta, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Bayelsa, and Rivers [1]states of Nigeria as well as other neighbouring African countries like Benin, Togo, and Ghana. They speak the Edo language and are the descendants of the founders of the Benin Empire. They are closely related to other ethnic groups that speak Edoid languages, such as the Esan, the Afemai, the Isoko and the Urhobo.[2]

The name "Benin" (and "Bini") is a Portuguese corruption, ultimately from the word "Ubinu", which came into use during the reign of Oba Ewuare the Great, c. 1440. "Ubinu" was used to describe the royal administrative centre or city or capital proper of the kingdom, Edo. Ubinu was later corrupted to Bini by the mixed ethnicities living together at the centre; and further corrupted to Benin around 1485 when the Portuguese began trade relations with Oba Ewuare. See Oba of Benin.



Edo people have one of the richest dress cultures on the African continent. Their fashion accessories holds royalty and typically includes beads, body marks, bangles, anklets, raffia work and so on.[3]

Traditional beliefs[edit]

In the traditional religion of the Edo, there exists, besides the human world, an invisible world of supernatural beings acting as interceders for the human world. Offerings are made to them in their respective shrines. Osanobua is the creator and Supreme God. His son/daughter Olokun is ruler of all bodies of water and is responsible for the prosperity and fertility of his/her human followers. Another son Ogun, is the patron god of metalworkers. The epithet Osanobua Noghodua mean God Almighty. The word Osanobua encompasses a large number of divine principles - including the divine state of being merciful, timeless, goodness, justice, sublimity, and supreme. In the Edo belief system, Osanobua has the divine attributes of omnipresence (orhiole), omniscience (ajoana), and omnipotence (udazi). The Supreme Deity is believed to be present everywhere and at all times.[4][5]

Notable Benins in Nigeria[edit]


  1. ^ https://faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/igbo/igbo1.htm
  2. ^ "Edofolks - Can We have one Edo Language?". edofolks.com. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  3. ^ Okpokunu, Edoja; Agbontaen‐Eghafona, Kokunre A.; Ojo, Pat O. (2005). "Benin dressing in contemporary Nigeria: social change and the crisis of cultural identity". African Identities. Volume 3 (Issue 2): 155–170. doi:10.1080/14725840500235506.
  4. ^ Peavy, Daryl, Kings, Magic, and Medicine, p. 5, ISBN 9780557183708 [1]
  5. ^ Paula Ben-Amos, Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan: Edo Religion. In: Lindsay Jones: Encyclopedia of Religion. Thomson-Gale, 2005. ISBN 002865997X

External links[edit]