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History of the Yoruba people
Lucas, Jonathan Olumide "The Religion of the Yorubas", Lagos 1948. Lange, Dierk: "The dying and the rising God in the New Year Festival of Ife", in: Lange, Ancient Kingdoms of West Africa, Dettelbach 2004, pp. 343–376. ... Smith, Robert: Kingdoms of the Yoruba, 1st ed. 1969, 3rd ed. London 1988.
The documented history of the Yoruba people begins with the Oyo Empire, which became dominant in the early 17th century. Older traditions of the formerly dominant Ile-Ife kingdom are sparse and unreliable.
The peoples who lived in Yorubaland, at least by the seventh century BC, were not initially known as the Yoruba, although they shared a common ethnicity and language group. The historical Yoruba develop in situ, out of earlier (Mesolithic) Volta-Niger populations, by the 1st millennium BC.
Archaeologically, the settlement at Iife can be dated to the 4th century BC, with urban structures appearing in the 12th century (the urban phase of Iife before the rise of Oyo, ca. 1100-1600, is sometimes described as a "golden age" of Iife).
Yoruba culture consists of folk/cultural philosophy, religion and folktales. They are embodied in Ifa-Ife Divination, known as the tripartite Book of Enlightenment in Yorubaland and in its diaspora. Yoruba cultural thought is a witness of two epochs. The first epoch is a history of cosmogony and cosmology.
Yoruba people ( Yoruba: Ìran Yorùbá, literally: Yoruba lineage, also known as Àwon omo Yorùbá, literally: Children of Yoruba, or simply as Yoruba) are an ethnic group of Southwestern and North Central Nigeria as well as Southern and Central Benin, together known as Yorubaland. The Yoruba constitute over 40 million people in total. The majority of this population is from Nigeria and make up 21% of its population, according to the CIA World Factbook, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language, which is tonal, and is the Niger-Congo language with the largest number of native speakers.
The Yoruba share borders with the Bariba to the northwest in Benin; the Nupe to the north, and the Ebira to the northeast in central Nigeria. To the east are the Edo, Ẹsan, and the Afemai groups in mid-western Nigeria. Adjacent the Ebira and Edo groups are the related Igala people found in the northeast to the left bank of the Niger river. To the southwest are the Gbe speaking Mahi, Egun, Fon and Ewe who border Yoruba communities in Benin and Togo. To the southeast are Itsekiri who live in the north-west end of the Niger delta. They are ancestrally related to the Yoruba but chose to maintain a distinct cultural identity. Significant Yoruba populations in other West African countries can be found in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Yoruba diaspora consists of two main groupings; one of them includes relatively recent migrants, the majority of which moved to the United Kingdom and the United States after major economic and political changes in the 1960s to 1980s; the other is a much older population dating back to the Atlantic slave trade
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