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Oranyan, The Great

Oranyan the grandson of Oduduwa succeeded his grandfather on the throne. He was a very brave and warlike Prince, and of an indomitable courage. He was the founder of the order of the Esos. His body-guard consisted of 150 well trained soldiers. He led his brothers to an abortive expedition to the east to avenge the death of their great grandfather. On his way back, he founded the city of Oyo where he resided for a time he was said to have pushed up to a place called Oko, leaving Oyo in charge of one of the princes. He resided at Oko for many years and according to some died there, but others affirmed that he died at Ile Ife, where his grave is shown to this day.

Oranyan Odede, also known simply as Oranyan, is a prominent figure in the history of the Yoruba people and is traditionally regarded as the progenitor and founder of the Oyo Empire. His story is intertwined with the rich culture and traditions of the Yoruba people and the empire he established in what is now southwestern Nigeria.

Oranyan’s legendary journey is central to the foundation of the Oyo Empire. According to Yoruba oral tradition, he was a son of Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race. Oranyan left Ile-Ife, the cradle of Yoruba civilization, in search of new territories. He is said to have journeyed with his warriors and eventually settled in a region called Oyo, where he established his kingdom. Under his leadership, the Oyo Empire began to take shape.

The Oyo Empire, known for its military prowess, effective governance, and sophisticated administrative structure, became one of the most powerful and influential empires in West Africa during its heyday. It was renowned for its centralized political system, with the Alaafin (king) as the paramount ruler, and a system of appointed officials and governors, including the Are-Ona Kakanfo (the supreme military commander).

The culture and traditions of the Oyo people were deeply influenced by Oranyan’s leadership and the subsequent development of the empire. The Oyo society was hierarchical, with a strong emphasis on respect for authority and a complex system of titles and honors. The Yoruba religion and cosmology, including the worship of various deities and spirits, were integral to Oyo culture.

Oranyan Odede’s legacy continues to be celebrated in Yoruba culture and the history of the Oyo Empire. His role as the founder of this powerful empire and the impact of Oyo culture and traditions on Yoruba society are still remembered and respected by Yoruba people today.