By Michael O. Anda

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War eventually broke out between Ife and Modakeke. Ife was defeated, and its inhabitants fled seven miles south to Ishoya, where they remained until 1854. By this time, guns were increasingly available, and the Yoruba states fought costly wars with each other that continued to the end of the century. Ilorin conquered Ekiti and attacked otherYoruba areas in the northeast. Ibadan reconquered Ekiti and conquered Ilesha, fought in the south with the Egba, and raided for slaves among the distant Yagba and Bunu as well as within the Oyo kingdom itself.

By this time the wars between rival kingdoms that fed the slave trade were well under way. Yoruba slaves were already being exported from the city of Whydah. Oyo, the largest and most powerful of the Yoruba kingdoms, defeated the Fon in 1724 and 1728, and as a result the King of Dahomey, now also part of the Popular Republic of Benin, began to pay annual tribute to the Alafin, King of Oyo. In 1789, Dahomey attacked the capital of the Yoruba kingdom of Ketu, killing many and seizing captives. With some interruptions, which brought the Oyo armies repeatedly into Dahomey, the Fon tribute to Oyo was continued until 1827, when the King of Dahomey seized the opportunity to end the payments while the Oyo were at war with the Ilorin kingdom.

There are more than a hundred kings in all. Some additional kings were granted the right to wear beaded crowns by other Yoruba kings, some kings took advantage of political unrest to declare themselves kings, and others did so under Pax Britannica, a peace imposed by Great Britain in the 19th century. Formerly, if a town chief (Bale) were to wear a beaded crown without the permission of the king (Oba) to whom he was subject, it was considered an act of treason. Page 20 The Yoruba-Dahomey Wars, 1698-1892 Recorded Yoruba history begins in 1698 when Oyo's cavalry invaded the kingdom of Allada in the south of what is now the Popular Republic of Benin.

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