Landmarks and Cultural Identity in Yoruba History

By Julius O. Adekunle.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The Yoruba constitute one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Their rich and well-preserved culture can be seen in various landmarks that serve as symbols of historical identity. While the majority of the Yoruba people are in Nigeria, others are found in the present day Republic of Benin and Togo. Additionally, as a result of the Atlantic slave trade, people of Yoruba ancestry now constitute a substantial portion of the African Diaspora. In culture and language, the Yoruba are the most homogenous people in Nigeria. They use the Oduduwa tradition of origins to explain and strengthen the ebi (kinship) relationship, which is one of the hallmarks of Yoruba cultural identity. With their complex cosmogony, the Yoruba also use religion as a symbol of cultural identity, claiming to have 401 deities. In addition, the Oranmiyan staff, which changed into a monumental column of stone and remains in Ile-Ife, is a historical landmark used not only to preserve, but also to promote Yoruba culture and identity. Similarly, royal mausoleums, which are preserved and revered, are another example of Yoruba historical landmarks and serve to sustain Yoruba civilization. This paper will analyze these landmarks and other aspects of cultural identity in Yoruba history and how they remain vital to Yoruba identity.

Keywords: Culture, Identity, Landmarks, Yoruba, Nigeria

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.185-192. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 523.146KB).

Dr. Julius O. Adekunle

Associate Professor, Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA

He taught in Nigeria and Canada before taking an appointment in the US. His first book entitled Politics and Society in the Middle Belt of Nigeria was published in 2004. His recent book, Culture and Customs of Rwanda was published in 2007. He has published several articles in journals and chapters-in-books on African political, economic, and social history. His areas of interest include cultural and ethnic relations, religion in politics, and nationalism.

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