Benin c. CE 900 - 1300

Block I - End of Benin

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 development of the Empire of Benin after European contact in the fifteenth century and the effect it had on the area. Learn about the kingdom's decline and how it was colonised by European countries. Eventually it was attacked by the British in 1897 and Benin City was destroyed and its riches taken back to Britain.

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: European contact

Find out about the earliest contact with the Portuguese in 1489 and the subsequent boost to trade that was brought, especially the slave trade. Map the connections between Benin and the rest of the world before and after European contact.

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02: Slave trade

Learn about the rise in the slave trade as the European countries became more involved in West Africa, and Benin's initial resistance to it.

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03: British rule

Learn about the tensions between the British and the Oba of Benin and the eventual destruction of Benin City and the exile of the Oba. Discuss how you think the British should have behaved.

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04: Repatriation

Learn about Benin now. Write a letter as if to a newspaper, a blog post, a poster or a leaflet explaining whether you think the objects looted from Benin by the British should be sent back to the Oba of Benin.