Yoruba ethnic groups or a Yoruba ethnic group? A review of the problem of ethnic identification


  • Biodun Adediran University of Ife, Ile-Ife. History Department




The popular Yoruba traditions identify between seven and sixteen major kingdoms each of which was politically independent. On the bases of these traditions, it has been argued that until very recently, the consciousness of forming a single ethnic group was absent among the various sub-groups and that in pre-colonial times the tendency was for each sub-group to emphasize its identity. It has also been argued that until the second half of the 19th century when the christian missionaries began to reduce the Yoruba language into writing, there was no collective name for all the sub-groups; and that the term Yoruba itself originally applied only to the Oyo sub-group. This paper traces the development of these views and attempts to examine if there is any justification to regard all the Yoruba sub-groups as constituting a single ethnic group before the 19th century. It also examines wheter it is anachronistic to refer to the non-Oyo sub-groups as Yoruba before the 1840's.


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Yoruba ethnic groups or a Yoruba ethnic group? A review of the problem of ethnic identification. África, [S. l.], n. 7, p. 57–70, 1984. DOI: 10.11606/issn.2526-303X.v0i7p57-70. Disponível em: https://www.revistas.usp.br/africa/article/view/90893.. Acesso em: 18 jul. 2024.