The Benin Kingdom was a flourishing ancient city situated in modern day Nigeria. During pre colonial era, Benin was one of the many highly developed cultures in Africa. This kingdom got its start up around 900 CE when Edo people settled in the tropical rainforest of West Africa.

The walls of Benin City and its surrounding kingdom was the world’s largest earthworks carried out prior to the mechanical era, and was featured in the Genius Book Of Word Record. Benin City was also one of the first cities to have a semblance of street lighting. Huge metal lamps, many feet high, were built and placed around the city, especially near the king’s palace. Fuelled by palm oil, their burning wicks were lit at night to provide illumination for traffic to and from the palace. When the Portuguese first visited the city in 1485, they were stunned to find this vast kingdom made of hundreds of interlocked cities and villages, calling it "Great city of Benin".

© African Voice

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