Oyo

/oh"yoh/, n.
a city in W Nigeria. 152,000.

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      town, Oyo state, southwestern Nigeria. Oyo lies 32 miles (51 km) north of Ibadan. In the 1830s it was declared the new seat of the alafin of Oyo (the political leader of the Yoruba people) by Alafin Atiba, after Old Oyo (also called Katunga), the capital of the Oyo empire, was completely destroyed by Fulani conquerors. New Oyo was aligned with Ibadan in the Yoruba civil wars of the mid-19th century. Following an invasion by Dahomeyan forces in 1887, the alafin of Oyo joined with Lagos against the French and, in the treaty of 1888, placed all of Yorubaland under British protection.

      The alafin, now a traditional ruler, has only nominal sovereignty over other traditional Yoruba chiefs. From the ida oranyan (“sword of state”) given to him by the traditional oni (“king”) of Ife (who is the spiritual head of the Yoruba people), the alafin derives the spiritual authority for his rule. At nearby Koso is the Shango shrine to the Yoruba god of thunder and lightning, which plays a ceremonial role in the installation of a new alafin.

      The economy of modern Oyo is based chiefly on agriculture and handicrafts. Products include tobacco (for the cigarette factory at Ibadan), teak, and cotton. The town is a traditional centre of cotton spinning, weaving, and dyeing (with locally grown indigo). It is also famous for carved calabashes (gourds), leatherwork (especially cushions) in goatskin and sheepskin, wood carving, and mat making. Local trade is primarily in yams, corn (maize), sorghum, cassava (manioc), poultry, okra, and beans.

      By the 1860s a Yoruba Mission (Anglican) was established in Oyo, which is now the site of St. Andrew's College (founded 1897), one of the oldest teacher-training institutes in Nigeria. The town lies on the main highway north from Lagos city and is a hub for local roads serving the state. Pop. (2006) local government area, 260,082.

      state, western Nigeria. Oyo was reduced in size when Osun state was created out of its eastern portion in 1991. Oyo is bounded by the states of Kwara on the north, Osun on the east, and Ogun on the south and by the Republic of Benin on the west. Oyo state is traversed by the Yoruba Hills in the north. The state has some tropical rain forest in the south around Ibadan, the state capital, but is covered mostly by a “derived” savanna that is largely the result of clearing and burning the former forest cover to provide land for cultivation. The Ogun is the most important river. Oyo state is inhabited mainly by the Yoruba people.

      The economy of Oyo is based chiefly on agriculture and handicrafts. Agricultural products include yams, corn (maize), cassava (manioc), beans, millet, plantains, tobacco, cacao, palm oil and palm kernels, cotton, kola nuts, indigo, and fruits. The state is also noted for its cottage industries, consisting of cotton spinning, weaving, dyeing, leatherworking (sheep and goat skins), wood carving, and mat making. Industries in Ibadan, the second largest city in Nigeria, include a cannery, a brewery, a publishing industry, a tobacco-processing factory, wood- and steel-furniture factory, and a motor-vehicle assembly plant. Ibadan is the site of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, and the Federal Agricultural Research Institute. Among the state's tourist attractions are the Ibadan University Zoo, the Agodi Zoological Garden, and the residential palaces of Yoruba rulers in Oyo and Ogbomosho. There is a university at Ibadan and a number of teacher-training colleges. The Lagos-Ibadan highway links the northern and southern parts of the state. Pop. (2006) 5,591,589.

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Universalium. 2010.

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