Save time with our bundle of learning and teaching resources for upper KS2.
This bundle contains Geography, History, Values, Music, Religious Studies, Arts, English, and Drama lessons covering the topic ‘Benin Kingdom’ and its relationship with Britain. Each file contains a detailed lesson plan and pupil resource sheets.
The kingdom of Benin is in present day South West Nigeria. It is not to be confused with the former Republic of Dahomey now known as Benin. In the 19th century, disputes over trade led to strain between Benin and its chief trading partner, Great Britain. This escalated as the European powers moved to divide Africa into colonial territories. The situation culminated in 1897, when a large delegation led by Britain’s Acting Consul-General in the region, James Phillips, set off for Benin City despite requests from Oba Ovonramwen (enthroned C. 1988) to postpone their visit. On January 12, the British delegation was ambushed by an Edo force that by all accounts acted without the Oba’s knowledge. Almost the entire party was killed, including Phillips. In quick order, a large British military force – deemed the Punitive Expedition – was assembled, and on February 18, they arrived in Benin City under orders to invade and conquer it. In time they captured Oba Ovonramwen and sent him into exile to Calabar, a town east of Benin. As a result of the invasion, objects within the royal palaces were now the spoils of war, many of which were sold to defray the costs of the
invasion. Others were shared among members of the expeditionary force. Still others left Benin in the confusion that followed the devastation of the kingdom. The most famous of these art works was the Queen Idia mask. Using the Queen Idia Mask (on display at the British Museum) as an iconic emblem, Diversity House (a registered Charity) has developed this learning and engagement resources to celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Nigeria people (symbolic of all Africans) and their relationship with the British (pre and post-colonial).