Here Is All You Need To Know About The Bloody Owu War Of 1825 • illuminaija

Here Is All You Need To Know About The Bloody Owu War Of 1825


Here Is All You Need To Know About The Bloody Owu War Of 1825

The Owu and Ife war, as its name denotes, was a war that broke out between the people of Ile-Ife, the spiritual head of Yorubaland, and the inhabitants of the neighbouring town of Owu.

Here Is All You Need To Know About The Bloody Owu War Of 1825


Its significance lies in the fact that it was a war that opened the gate of tragedy for other wars in the land. It broke out barely four years after the collapse of the authority of the Old Oyo. On the surface, the whole dispute flared up as a result of a disagreement between two market women over five cowries.

The overriding cause, however, was the hatred which the Ife people had created over the years for the Owu people over the latter’s policy of using the unfortunate Oyo refugees for forced labour, and even selling them as slaves to the slave traders.

The Owu and Ife war broke out at the wake of 1821 when the Owus declared total war on the Ifes. The Ifes who regarded this action as a vagrant violation of the land’s tradition and constitution quickly called on the rest of the Yorubas to come out and condemn the Owus for this wilful action. Many towns heeded this appeal; among them was ljebu and the neighbouring town of Ikoyi.

The appearance of these allies on the battlefield on the side of Ifes, unfortunately, prolonged the war. And when it finally came to an end in 1828, it saw Owu in total ruin; it turned it to a mere devastated village, a position in which it was for many years before it finally disappeared from the political theatre of Nigeria.

Although the war came to an end in 1828, its effects and the destructive fire it lit continued to spread to all the length and breadth of the land. Its end also witnessed the arrival of the Fulanis from the north with the intention of fishing in troubled water. Their first encounter against the combined forces of the Yorubas took place in 1840 at Osogbo where their main black-bone war broken. It was this defeat which transformed them from the menacing enemies which they wanted to be to mere supporters of recalcitrant sides.


Unfortunately, the Osogbo war which brought the Yorubas together having been won, the Yorubas again reverted to their inter-tribal strife. One of these was the Egba-Dahomey war.


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