10 things you must know about “Idia n’Iye Esigie” of a West African civilization
QUEEN IDIA THE FACE OF FESTAC 77 Queen Idia was the mother of Esigie, the Oba of Benin who ruled from 1504 to 1550. She played a very significant role in the rise and reign of her son. She was a strong warrior who fought relentlessly before... and during her son's reign as the Oba (king) of the Edo people.
When Oba Ozolua died, he left behind two powerful sons to dispute over who would become Oba. His son Esigie controlled Benin City while another son, Arhuaran, was based in the equally important city of Udo about twenty miles away.
Idia mobilised an army around Esigie, which defeated Arhuaran, and Oba Esigie became the 16th king. Subsequently, the neighboring Igala peoples, who have sent warriors across the Benue River to wrest control of Benin's northern territories fued by the Islamic invation was brought under control by Esigie conquest of the islamic colonization of the Igala, reestablishing the unity and military strength of the kingdom of Benin.
His mother Idia received much of the credit for these victories as her political counsel, together with her magical powers and medicinal knowledge, were viewed as critical elements of Esigie's success on the battlefield. Idia became the first Iyoba (Queen Mother) of Benin when Esigie conferred upon her the title and the Eguae-Iyoba (Palace of the Queen Mother).
Idia – ( Aproximately 1450 – 1530)
Popularly know as “Idia ne Iye Esigie” was the …
1. First Woman to earn a title from the Benin Empire as “IYOBA” also represented as “The Queen mother”
2. First Woman to have succeeded the killing of the King’s mother at the ascension of kingship throne in the history of Great Benin – West African Civilization
3. First Woman commander [mother of the king] to have led soldiers/warrior to fight and win a war in defense of her Nation.
4. First Woman [mother] to have produced a one of most enlightened prince(Son) relating with the Europeans in their early encounter.
5. First woman to have witness one of the highest diplomatic ties btw Black Africa and Europeans [Portuguese] in her time, say about 1450 – 1530.
6. First woman to have witness the early formation of churches and missionary school in Nigeria.THE HOLY ARUOSA
7. First Woman to have lived one of the most fearful and dreadful time of continues war both in her husband’s reign [Ozolua] and her son’s reign [Esigie].
8. First woman to have taken up the mantle of leadership in terms of socio – economic development of the Old Benin Empire, that was later invaded and burnt down by the British military on the Benin punitive expedition 1897 to finally exile Oba Ovonramen to Calabar. A time when some of the finest bronze of Benin were made and exported to Europe.
9. First woman to have introduce the gladiators spirit and high virtues of feminism in the history of Black African civilization
10. First black African woman to have earn such world recognition, respect and dignity in the west African sub region, a great work of art whose presence [sculpture and art work] continue to show in every media and publications far and near. the popular Ivory Mask, face of African culture and pride of the black race