The Benin Empire or Edo Empire (clic here Wiki) (1440–1897) was a pre-colonial African state of modern Nigeria. It is not to be confused with the modern-day country called Benin (and formerly called Dahomey).
According to one traditional account, the original people and founders of the Benin Empire, the Bini, were initially ruled by the Ogisos (Kings of the Sky). The city of Ubini (later called Benin City) was founded in 1180 AD.
About 36 known Ogiso are accounted for as rulers of the empire. One oral tradition states that during the reign the last Ogiso, his son and heir apparent Ekaladerhan was banished from Benin as a result of one of the Queens changing a message from the oracle to the Ogiso. Prince Ekaladerhan was a powerful warrior and well loved. On leaving Benin he travelled in a westerly direction to the land of the Yoruba. At that time the Ifá oracle said that the Yoruba people of Ile Ife (also known as Ife) will be ruled by a man who would come out of the forest. Following Ekaladerhans arrival at the Yoruba city of Ife also known as Ile Ife, he finally rose to the position of the Oba (meaning 'king' or 'ruler' in the Yoruba language) and later received the title of Ooni of Ife. He changed his name to 'Izoduwa,' (which in his native language meant, 'I have chosen the path of prosperity') and became The great Oduduwa, also known as Odudua, Oòdua and Eleduwa, of the Yoruba. On the death of his father, the last Ogiso, a group of Benin Chiefs led by Chief Oliha came to Ife, pleading with Oba (King) Oduduwa to return to Benin to ascend the throne. Oduduwa's reply was that a ruler cannot leave his domain but he had seven sons and would ask one of them to go back to Benin to become the next King.
Note: there are other versions of the story of Oduduwa. Many Yoruba often attribute Oduduwa as coming from a place towards the east of the land of the Yoruba peoples, however it tends not to be attributed to Benin City.
Oranyan (also known as Oranmiyan), one of the sons of Oduduwa and son of Oduduwa's Yoruba wife Okanbi, agreed to go to Benin. He spent some years in Benin before returning to the Yoruba lands before establishing his own Yoruba kingdom at Oyo. It is said that he left the place in anger and called it 'Ile Ibinu' (meaning, 'land of annoyance and vexation) and it was this phrase that became the origin of Benin city's former name 'Ubini'. Oranmiyan, on his way home to Ife, stopped briefly at Ego, where he impregnated Princess Erimwinde, the daughter of the Enogie of Ego and she gave birth to a son named Eweka.
During Oranmiyan's reign as Alaafin of Oyo, Eweka became the oba at Ile Ibinu. Oba Ewedo, an ancestor of Oba Ewaka I, changed the name of the city of Ile Ibinu to Ubini, which the Portuguese, in their own language, corrupted it to Benin or Bini. In 1440, Oba Ewuare, also known as 'Ewuare the Great', came to power and turned the city-state into an empire. Around 1470, he named the new state Edo.