*Map shows the greatest concentrations of Yoruba around the globe.
Who are the Yoruba?
This word is now generally accepted as referring to all those peoples who accept the ritual primacy of the city of Ife and speak the language of the same name.
The name "Yoruba" is of more recent origin than the concept. It was originally the Hausa name for the Oyo kingdom, meaning "the people of the state of Oyo", and was given a wider use by missionaries only in the 1840s. Oyo was the pre-eminent city-state of the Yoruba between the 16th and 18th centuries, but it was not the only one. The people of the City of Benin speak a closely related language. They also trace the ancestry of the institution of kingship to Ife.
Where is Yoruba?
How big is it?
Is it smaller than the UK or bigger?
Yorubaland is not a country, although the number of people now calling themselves Yoruba is greater than the population of many with a seat in the United Nations. No one really knows how many Yoruba there are. There may be as many as 20 million speaking a dialect of the Yoruba language.
Yoruba diaspora throughout the world
The vast majority live in the south west of Nigeria, but a considerable number make up one of the major cultural groups in the neighbouring Republic of Benin (not to be confused with the City of Benin). There are also enclaves in Togo, particularly around the town of Atakpame. A considerable number of people around the world can also claim Yoruba ancestry.
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