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Abeokuta

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Abeokuta

Abeokuta
City
Abeokuta is located in Nigeria
Abeokuta
Abeokuta
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates:
Country  Nigeria
State Ogun State
Founded 1825
Elevation 66 m (217 ft)
Population (2012)
 • City 888,924
 • Metro 1,117,000

Abeokuta is the largest city and capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River, near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna;[1] 48 miles (77 km) north of Lagos by railway, or 81 miles (130 km) by water. As of 2005, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 593,140.

Geography and economy

Abẹokuta lies in fertile country of wooded savanna, the surface of which is broken by masses of grey granite. It is spread over an extensive area, being surrounded by mud walls 18 miles in extent. Palm-oil, timber, rubber, yams, rice, cassava, maize, cotton, other fruits, and shea butter are the chief articles of trade. It is a key export location for cocoa, palm products, fruit, and kola nuts.[1] Both rice and cotton were introduced by the missionaries in the 1850s and have become integral parts of the economy, along with the dye indigo. It lies below the Olumo Rock, home to several caves and shrines. The town depends on the Oyan River Dam for its water supply, which is not always dependable.[2]

Abeokuta is the headquarters of the Federal Ogun-Oshin River Basin Authority, which is responsible for development of land and water resources for Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states. Included in this are irrigation, food-processing, and electrification.[1]

Local industries include but are not limited to fruit canning plants, plastics, breweries, sawmills, and an aluminum products factory. South of town are the Aro Granite Quarries.[1]

Transportation

Abeokuta is connected to nearby Lagos by a railway that was completed in 1899, 48 miles (77 km). Roads connect it to Lagos as well as Ibadan, Ilaro, Shagamu, Iseyin, and Ketou.[1]

History

Sodeke first settled Abeokuta (meaning literally "the underneath of the rock" or indirectly "refuge among rocks")[1] in 1825 as a place of refuge from slavehunters from Dahomey and Ibadan. The village populations scattered over the open country to take refuge among the rocks surrounding the city. Here they formed a free confederacy of many distinct groups, each preserving the traditional customs, religious rites and the names of their original villages.

The original settlers of Abeokuta were of the Egba nation,[3] fleeing from the Oyo Empire, which was collapsing.[1] Later, some members of other Yoruba clans came to the settlement. Baptist and Anglican missionaries from Great Britain began to serve the area in the 1840s,[1][3] in addition to Sierra Leone Creoles.

Due to the fact that Abeokuta was in a key location for the palm oil trade and because it was the so-called capital of the Egbas, Dahomey soon became hostile. In the 1851 Battle of Abeokuta, the Egba, with assistance from missionaries and armed by the British defeated King Gezo and the Dahomey incursion. They again beat back the Dahomey military in 1864.[1][3]

The 1860s also saw problems arise with the Europeans, namely the British in Lagos, which led to the Egba first closing trade routes, followed by the expulsion of missionaries and traders in 1867.[1] Between 1877 and 1893 the Yoruba Civil Wars occurred, and Abeokuta opposed Ibadan, which led the king or alake of the Egba to sign an alliance with the British governor, Sir Gilbert Carter. This occurred in 1893, which formalized the Egba United Government based in Abẹokuta which became recognized by the United Kingdom.[1] In 1914, the city was made part of the colony of Nigeria by the British.[1][3]

The "Rock of Abeokuta", as drawn c.1892

In 1918, the Abeokuta Riots took place which was related to the levying of taxes and the policy of indirect rule by Lord Frederick Lugard, the British Governor-General.[1]

Kuto Road in Abeokuta.

In 1976, Abeokuta became the capital of the newly created Ogun State.

Important buildings

Abeokuta was a walled town and remnants of the historic wall still exist today. The Ake, the traditional residence of the Alake, along with Centenary Hall (1930). There are secondary and primary schools and the University of Lagos Abeokuta Campus opened in 1984.[1] This campus specializes in science, agriculture, and technology. This has since been changed to an independent full-fledged tertiary institution, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) in 1988.

Notable natives and residents

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abeokuta". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 27.  
  2. ^ Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji (February 23, 2010). "Water scarcity bites harder in Abeokuta". Next. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  3. ^ a b c d Canby, Courtlandt. The Encyclopedia of Historic Places. (New York: Facts on File Publications, 1984), p. 2.
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