Oyo Empire


The Oyo Empire flourished from the 17th to 19th century CE in what is today southwest Nigeria. The Oyo forged an empire thanks to their formidable cavalry units and so came to dominate other Yoruba peoples of the region. The Oyo Empire, with its capital at Old Oyo near the Niger River, prospered on regional trade and became a central facilitator in moving slaves from Africa's interior to the coast and waiting European sailing ships. The trade in humanity was so large that this part of Africa became known simply as the 'Slave Coast'. The Oyo eventually succumbed to the expanding Islamic states to the north, and by the mid-19th century CE, the empire had disintegrated into small rival chiefdoms.

More about: Oyo Empire


  • c. 1600 - c. 1850
    The Oyo Empire flourishes in southern West Africa.
  • 1726 - 1730
    War between the Kingdom of Dahomey and the Oyo Empire, which wins.