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Ife is introduced in the Brave New World expansion pack.
Musical Theme Inspiration: ?
Architecture: Middle Eastern
According to ancient legends, the holy city of Ife is the birthplace of the Yoruba, the largest ethnic group in West Africa. In their mythology, Ife was the place where Oduduwa, brother to the supreme god Obatala, climbed down from the heavens and threw a handful of dirt on the primordial ocean, thus creating the land on which Ife would stand. The meaning of the word "ife" in Yoruba is "expansion," and the city is believed not only the birthplace of the Yoruba but of all mankind.
Whatever the truth of its founding, by the 11th century AD Ife was the capital of a well-established kingdom spanning what is now Nigeria. Within a century, the city was exerting considerable religious and political influence in the area, especially over the Edo kingdom of Benin to the southeast. Although the Yoruba cities of Benin and Oyo would become more politically significant states, Ife remained the spiritual center. Ife managed to avoid the attacks by the Islamic Fulani that toppled Oyo, but was weakened by struggles with Owu to the southwest in the 1820s for control of the slave trade. In 1882, Ife was largely destroyed when a combined army of Ibadan and Modakeke warriors sacked the holy city.
Although Ife remained a city holy to the Yoruba, its political influence was ended by 1900 AD. Following the Napoleonic Wars, the British established a series of ports and trading posts in West Africa. In 1885, British claims to a West African sphere of influence were recognized formally by the other European powers, and the following year the Royal Niger Company was chartered by the crown. Nigeria remained part of the British Empire until it gained independence in 1960. During the colonial period, Ife was largely ignored except by European scholars and Yoruba pilgrims.