British Invasion

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The Kingdom of Benin was already in continuous contact with the nations of the Mediterranean for at least 1,500years before the the Europeans came to Benin. The kingdom's commercial and foreign relations were well established. It had its own money economy independent of the Europeans. The kingdom of Benin's own currency known as "Ighos" was accepted for trade and general means of exchange in East, West, and North Africa. The kingdom was part of the African Empires and kingdoms independent and sovereign at a time when Europe was part of the Roman colonies. Benin was a powerful kingdom when the Portuguese first visited there in 1472. King John II (1481-1495) of Portugal exchange friendly correspondence with the King of Benin. The king of Benin on the throne in 1553 spoke fluent Portuguese which he learned as a child. The first British ship reached Benin River in 1553- The trade was mainly in cloths, palm oil, cowries, beads and Ivory. By 1400,the kingdom of Benin replaced elective succession with primogeniture. As early as 1500, the King of Portugal received an ambassador from the King of Benin and found him "a man of good speech and natural wisdom"

Lourenco Pinto, who was the captain of a ship that carried missionary to Warri in August 1619, sent this deposition to the Sacra Congregazione the instance of Father Montelcone.

According to the testimony of this captain, Great Benin where the king resides is larger than Lisbon, all the streets run straight and as far as the eyes can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king which is richly decorated and has fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no door to their houses

The picture of black Africa as savages in a dark continent by the Europeans was only meant to justify the inhuman slave trade and the theft of African resources by Europeans for Europeans. Black African soldiers formed part of the carthagenian army. African troops took part in hamilico's engagement against the Greeks at syracuse. Numidia calvary was part of Hannibal's army Carthage in Africa was so powerful that "Carthago est delenda" became Roman Credo and battle cry-Carthage must be destroyed; the carthageians acquired an empire in Africa from which Sicily, Sardinia and Southern Spain were excluded by the treaty.


It was this Exclusion of the Greeks and the Romans that accounted for the lack of adequate information in the Writings of classical authors about the extent of the Carthaginan involvement in Black Africa. Even today in Europe despite the hypocrisy the black man is treated as a second class citizen no matter his achievements. The white race still refuses to share the secrets of modern technology with Africa except as consumer. The coin of Timbuktu was of gold. Mohammed el-maghili a great scholar wrote a book called" The Obligation of princes for the Emir of Kano (Nigeria) around 1525 on practical difficulties of government a work of scholarship better than Machiavelli,s The Prince.

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Related, see also: Jaja and Slave trade