The Bini People The Bini, the original people and founders of the Benin empire (aka, Edo empire). Long before 1500 much of modern-Nigeria was divided into states identified with contemporary ethnic groups. These early states included the Yoruba kingdoms, the Igbo Kingdom of Nri, the Benin Kingdom, the Hausa cities, and Nupe. Additionally numerous small states to the west and south of Lake Chad were absorbed or displaced in the course of the expansion of Kanem, which was centered to the northeast of Lake Chad. Bornu, initially the western province of Kanem, became independent in the late 14th century. Other states probably existed but the absence of archaeological data prevents accurate dating. In the south, the earliest Edo state was Igodomigodo which emerged in 900 AD. Despite its relatively small size geographically it is considered the cradle of Edo culture.
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