Consolidation of the Ibadan Empire 1847-1870

[ 1847 ]

With Ijaye disposed of, Ibadan was free to consolidate its empire in the east. Between 1847 and 1870, large areas of Ijesa, Igbomina, Ekiti and Akoko came under Ibadan control (Akintoye, 1971: 33-75). Initially, this was in response to the threat from Ilorin. Some of the Osun towns like Osogbo had willingly come under Ibadan protection. More force was used in the subjugation of the towns further to the east. The Ijesa proved difficult to control. While Ibadan was occupied with the Ijaye war, the Ijesa attacked them from the east. They were beaten off, and the Ibadan capture of Ilesa in 1870 marked the high point of Ibadan power (Akintoye, 1971: 56-60).

The subordinate towns controlled by Ibadan came to be administered through officials called ajele, a system similar to that of the former Oyo empire (Awe, 1964). Each of the towns was the responsibility of a babakekere in Ibadan, who administered through an ajele in the town itself. The subordinate towns were distributed among the Ibadan chiefs who derived much of their income from them. Though the quality of administration varied, the ajele and their subordinates in the east gained a bad reputation for oppression and arrogance (Akintoye, 1971: 70-5; Awe, 1965). Their unpopularity was a major factor in the development of the Ijesa-Ekiti alliance against Ibadan which became known as the Ekitiparapo. This was in contact with the Ekitiparapo Society in Lagos, founded by Saro of Ijesa and Ekiti descent (Akintoye, 1968).

Related Conflicts

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