African History

The History Of The Yoruba People

The Yoruba are one of the largest ethno-linguistic groups in sub-Saharan Africa with “Yorubaland” spanning parts of the modern states of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo
The term Yoruba did not always designate an ethnicity and was often used merely to describe speakers of the Yoruba language. The first documented use of the term Yoruba as an ethnic description appeared in the a treatise written by the Songhai scholar Ahmed Baba in the sixteenth century. It is likely that Yoruba became widely popularized as an ethnic label due to use of the term with an ethnic connotation in the Hausa language. Since Hausa was widely used in West Africa, the ethnic connotation of “Yoruba” spread across West Africa and was institutionalized in ethnographies written in Arabic and Ajami.

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