Benin c. CE 900 - 1300

Block G - Rulers

This topic provides you with an outstanding set of inspired plans and resources to enable you to study Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300 and to contrast many of its features with contemporary developments in British history; learn about the rise and establishment of the Benin Kingdom, consider what brought the Edo people to the rainforests of Benin and how the empire grew; study the rulers of the Edo people, their everyday life, their religion and worship, their trading currencies and trade routes, their music and art and finally how the Kingdom of Benin came to an end.

Find out about the Oba of Benin and the structure of government. People gave tributes to the Oba through their representative chiefs. Learn how all the rulers were generally men, but the mother of the Oba was always considered to be very important.

This Topic is written for Upper Key Stage 2. If you want to use this Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

Supporting documents for topic
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01: Ogisos and Obas

Find out about the Ogisos and Obas and the roles they played in society. Learn about named Obas and what they achieved for Benin.

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02: The mother of the Oba

Find out about how the mother of the Oba was revered and sometimes played a large role in the running of the kingdom. Design a game to explore the life of Queen Idia.

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03: Chiefs, soldiers, freemen and slaves

Learn how the Edo speaking people of Benin were either soldiers in the Oba's army, freemen farming or crafting, or slaves. Discuss the ethics of slavery.

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04: Rule of law

Explore how this structure of society, as well as the religion, kept a check on crime and corruption. Re-enact a court of law with everyone taking on different roles in society.

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05: Make a hierarchy tree

Make a hierarchy tree showing the relationships between people in the kingdom of Benin.