Samuel Johnson , Johnson. Samuel Johnson was an Anglican minister and historian renowned for his magisterial history of the Yoruba people. He was ordained in and by had finished the manuscript for The History of the Yorubas. However the original publisher mysteriously misplaced the manuscript.
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Return to Book Page. The History of the Yorubas by Samuel Johnson. First published in , and cited on the Africa's Best Books List, this is a standard work on the history of theYorubas from the earliest times to the beginning of the British Protectorate.
The first part of the book discusses the people, theircountry and language, religion, government, land law, manners and customs. The second part is divided into four periods, deali First published in , and cited on the Africa's Best Books List, this is a standard work on the history of theYorubas from the earliest times to the beginning of the British Protectorate. The second part is divided into four periods, dealing first with mytheological kings and deified heroes; with the growth, prosperity and oppression of the Yoruba people; the time of revolutionary wars and disruption; and, finally, the arrest of disintegration, inter-tribal wars, and the coming of the British.
There are two appendices, on dealing with treaties and agreements, the other giving tables of Yoruba kings, rulers, and chiefs. The book also includes an index and map of the Yoruba country. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.
Other Editions 9. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The History of the Yorubas , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The History of the Yorubas. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The History of the Yorubas. Dec 08, Eric rated it it was amazing.
The simple truth is - no words suffice to describe the magnificence and radiance of this work; no praise is high enough for the extraordinary sacrifice, diligence and doggedness of the "Johnson brothers" that finally brought this masterpiece into fruition. This work is more than a labour of love, as it were. To put this into context, the world can not imagine Chinua Achebe's superb novel, Things fall apart, not ever being published; but literary history shows that it was a close-run thing!
Acheb The simple truth is - no words suffice to describe the magnificence and radiance of this work; no praise is high enough for the extraordinary sacrifice, diligence and doggedness of the "Johnson brothers" that finally brought this masterpiece into fruition. Achebe's original manuscript was more or less lost or discarded by the typists in England, and it was fortuitous indeed that the manuscript was retrieved.
Tragically the original manuscript of History of the Yorubas - countless hundreds of pages - was actually lost, a harrowing, horrific fact; but the younger Dr Johnson embarked upon the more than daunting task of re-writing again, using copious notes left by his brother And what a book!
This is more than comprehensive, tracing the history, anthropology, mores, customs, language etc of the Yoruba people who now run into tens of millions, and are spread all over the world.
But of course when this book was written, the people were essentially confined to the western part of Nigeria Yorubas were always noted for building towns and cities. And for the elaborate customs, and system of government with intricate, intelligent checks and balances. Wars alas took their toll on the society, wars which would exasperate the encroaching British colonisers. The Ijaiye war in particular was horrendous and embraced large parts of Yorubaland - and exceedingly tragic for Ijaiye town.
All this is detailed in this work, including the rise of Ibadan in the process. And then the whites and the "maxim guns" which prodded lots of respect, and peace of sorts in Yorubaland This work is a tour de force - written and published long before even more glories for Yorubaland under the legendary Obafemi Awolowo who presided over the first television station in Africa, the first skyscraper in west Africa at least Cocoa House , the then iconic Liberty Stadium View 1 comment.
Awesome read! Being a Yoruba woman and having grown up in the culture, I fully appreciate and enjoyed this book. Its a treasure and a joy to read. Sep 17, Olanrewaju Olamide rated it really liked it. Very detailed history of the Yorubas. However, I think the writer had a little religious bias considering the fact that the author is a clergyman. He was even tacitly in support of colonialism.
Regardless of this, the books is quite detailed and would make a good read. View 2 comments. Jan 10, Morakinyo Beckley rated it it was amazing. NB: The author, Rev Samuel Johnson after writing the manuscripts in sent it to Britain to be published however it got "missing" and his brother had to write it all over again from manuscripts since Rev passed on in and before the lost manuscript could be found.
There are several stories about the challenges the brother the editor faced when he also tried getting the boom printed, a feat finally achieved in The "Plot" Earlier accounts of the book were extracted from oral accounts largely from the elderly and traditional historians and did not include dates. The lack of dates leads to some level of disorientation in the course of the book and might cause readers to oscillate between pages to fit the jigsaw puzzle and maze of legends and stories.
The book is divided into two main sections with the first section dwelling largely on Yoruba people, the country nation and the derivation of the language. Section two is divided into four periods that acknowledges that the origins of mythological leadership, outlines a period of growth and prosperity of the nation state under several Alafins moving across several capitals with the cooperation of the nobility, lords and the war chiefs or Are Ona Kakanfo.
The section identifies periods of class struggles where common men that rise to power as a result of winning wars become intoxicated by power thus leading to consequences forever to change the landscape of Yorubaland and the loss of its most frontier border, Ilorin. This section documents the several wars that this interregnum ignited for the next to years and how hard the disparate forces fought to remove the yoke of Oyo suzerainty or retain it. Several wars are fought gallantly with several others resulting in kidnapping raids, impunity and recklessness.
The book gives the rare insight into how precarious life across the land was during the interregnum, and how particularly, the Ijebus fought tooth and nail to secure access to the hinterland for those coming from Lagos routes and vice versa.
The trade routes, access given to Christian missionaries, arrival of Islam via Ilorin, communication between kingdoms, security systems, naming of areas are all given illumination by the author.
My humble take on such a great book Perhaps, where updated copies could include maps of the old kingdom and indicate where these locations are today, such might interest the amateur historian or anthropologist or a tourist and motivate such persons to explore these historic places named in the book.
Apr 24, Emi rated it really liked it. The book takes you through language, the different Yoruba people - Egbas, Jebus, Yoruba proper etc attire, kings, customs like marriage and loads about war and the British.
Jul 07, Habeeb Akande rated it liked it. This book is a stand alone book in the history of the Yoruba tribe of West Africa. Dec 01, Wale rated it really liked it. Read this book a while ago and intend to read it again before I can confidently review it. Though a seminal work no doubt. Oct 31, Pelumi rated it really liked it Shelves: Very detailed description of the Yoruba tribe, although I must admit that I only read the first half that seemed to be interesting to me.
Jan 05, Debo Aderogba rated it it was amazing. FerJim rated it really liked it Sep 13, Enesi rated it it was amazing Jul 09, Mustapha Abdulhamid rated it it was ok Jan 22, Nonso Uche rated it it was amazing Sep 01, Yemi rated it it was amazing Jan 15, Adewoyin rated it really liked it Aug 27, Olugbenga rated it really liked it Jun 06, Akeem Amusa rated it it was amazing Dec 25, Bola rated it really liked it Jul 07, Collette rated it really liked it Sep 17, Olufemi rated it really liked it Nov 10, Eze Solange rated it did not like it May 06, Abdulfattah Popoola rated it it was ok Dec 21, Lawal Soul'Ee rated it it was ok Aug 11,
The Rev. Johnson and Charles Phillips , also of the CMS, arranged a ceasefire in and then a treaty that guaranteed the independence of the Ekiti towns. Ilorin refused to cease fighting however, and the war dragged on. He was based in Oyo from onward and completed a work on Yoruba history in This event is said to have been caused by him fearing that his people were losing their history, and that they were beginning to know European history better. Ironically, this work was misplaced by his British publishers. After his death, his brother Dr.
The history of the Yorubas
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Samuel Johnson (Nigerian historian)
The History of the Yorubas