OLD OYO NATIONAL PARK
Blending our glorious past with nature
BRIEF HISTORY OF OYO EMPIRE:
The site of Old Oyo is also known as Oyo-Ile or ‘Katanga’ by the Hausa. Old Oyo was the capital of the Oyo Yoruba Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries. New Oyo is probably the seventh or eighth site of the seat of Oyo. Three of the earlier sites were considered to be nearer the Niger. Many abandoned sites containing ruins are very common: among these are Koso, about twenty kilometres directly north of Old Oyo and a less impressive site at Ipapo Ile, about twenty kilometres Southeast of Old Oyo. Koso is the most interesting of all the sites yet discovered, even, more so, in terms of its structure than Old Oyo. It is an archaeological haven.
Palace of Alaafin of Oyo
Koso site is surrounded by three walls viz. the outermost one has a diameter of about three kilometres, while the middle wall is inner wall two. The inner wall is unique in having a lot of details preserved. It surrounds the built up area of the site in the form of a standing wall, rising up to about four hectares in height and about a metre in thickness. Between it and the built up area is a fifty metre open space. The built up area consists of house remains, with room partitions still discernible.
Ipapo-Ile site is located at about twenty kilometres Southeast of Old Oyo within Moro Local Government area of Kwara State. The site shares the same pottery tradition with Old Oyo. The ecological settings are also similar, except that the rock format there is not as compact as at other areas.
Igboho site is located at about seventy Kilometres Southwest of Old Oyo and thirty kilometres northwest of Igbeti. This is a city which at one time was the seat of power of Oyo Kingdom in the 16th Century A.D. Four (4) Alaafins reigned here (before the pre - occupation of Oyo by Alaafin Abiipa) and their burial spots are well preserved and worshipped by the people of Igboho. The four Alaafins that were buried here are: Ofinran, Eguguoju, Orompoto and Ajiboyede.
OLD AND NEW ALAAFIN PALACE:
The royal residence of a Yoruba Oba is known as Aafin, a term which is broadly equivalent to the English palace. The term Aafin refers exclusively to the official residence of an Oba or Alaafin, hence it does not mean exactly the same thing as the word palace which embraces not only the official residence of sovereigns and primates such as archbishops and bishops but also, when used figuratively, for other large buildings.
Remains of carved wood used as house poles were found within the Old palace area. The palace is the covering point of activities and interest of the chiefs who in terms of peace meet regularly in the Aafin to deliberate on the political, social, economic and religious affairs of the community and in time of war and general unrest, had to shield the Alaafin from attack.
The palace normally overlooks the market in Yoruba land. This leads to the saying that ‘‘Oba is the owner of the market’’ meaning ‘Oba lo ni Oja.’ In keeping with this tradition, Akesan Market is located a little south of the palace of Oyo-Ile. It is a five days market.
The replica of what was present in the then Old Alaafin palace at Oyo-Ile is what is obtainable in the present New Alaafin Palace in Oyo. Details of the successors Alaafins that reigned right from the inception in the Oyo Empire to the present Oyo Alaafin is presented in the table below.
SUCCESSFUL ALAAFIN THAT REIGNED TO DATE.