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13th January marks 100 years since the passing of Great King Ovonramwen Nogbaisi of kingdom of Benin
Great kingdom of Benin is not to be confused with current Benin formerly known as Dahomey. The Great kingdom of Benin is located in South of present day Nigeria.
A situation then developed where British officials gathered over 270 officials and soldiers and tried to march on Benin City when the king was engaged on an ancestral celebration and against all advice to wait a couple of days, the leader of the group, Lawyer Philips pressed ahead and the whole party was obliterated by Benin soldiers; all but two officials lived to tell their tale.
In response to what came to be known as the Benin Massacre, the British then assembled a naval force of over 1200 to burn down Benin City and capture and put the king to death. The city was eventually burnt down, looted and the king was captured and sent into exile in Calabar, South-eastern current day Nigeria and here Great king Ovonramwen lived out the rest of his days. This burning and looting came to be known as the Benin Punitive expedition of 1897.
Great King Ovonramwen is remembered as a great king who resisted a foreign power at a time when others were willingly signing away their kingdoms and land for a few favours from across the seas.
Most of all, he is remembered for his integrity in not engaging in self enrichment at the expense of his people, he could easily have befriended the British and taken their presents but he chose not to; rather, he was determined to safeguard his people’s integrity to the last soldier standing.
Great King Ovonramwen Nogbaisi as the 35th King of Kingdom of Benin, took on the British to maintain his people’s independence and self respect.
The British however used the latest weapon (the maxims) which his soldiers were not used to, against them to shoot dead anyone in sight as they approached the city. From British records of those present at the time, we know that this was the only way they could have ever defeated the very skilled Benin army. The weapon used against them is equivalent to the nuclear bomb used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring the Second World War to an end in 1945. This shows that the Kingdom of Benin soldiers were pretty awesome in their days.
Find out about activities people and organisations are doing across the world in order to commemorate this great king , who was and still is, a true champion of the people. Follow this link: http://kingdomofbenin.weebly.com/
You can also find out more about Great Kingdom of Benin history on these websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/
Find out about what truly happened between the Great Kingdom of Benin and the British on the blog site: http://iyiomonworks.blogspot.co.uk/
On this site, you will need to scroll down and read upwards from the first blog entry to get at the truly shocking facts.