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Nigerian Royalty

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Book Categories: Nigeria, Benin, Borgu, Calabar, Igbo, Kanem-Bornu, Kano, Okpe, Sokoto, Yoruba, Africa, Children's Books


A History of Nigeria by Toyin Falola. Presents the history of Nigeria from its earliest beginnings through 1998, discussing its geography, political institutions, economy, culture, and ethnic groups.

Historical Dictionary of Nigeria by Anthony Oyewole and John Lucas. Includes a comprehensive chronology and a bibliography.


Borgu and Its Kingdoms: A Reconstruction of a Western Sudanese Polity by Marjorie H. Stewart. Documents the history of the West Africa region of Borgu (in northern Benin and northwestern Nigeria).


The Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey by Randy J. Sparks. In 1767, two "princes" of a Nigerian ruling family, who were themselves slave traders, were betrayed by competitors and enslaved. This book, based on their first-hand account, tells of their slavery and several escapes. Eventually, in England, they sued for their freedom, and won. They returned home and resumed slave trading.

Kanem-Bornu (Borno)

The Diwan Revisited by Augustin F. C. Holl. The Diwan, or genealogy, is a remarkable collection of facts and descriptions of the sultans of Kanem-Bornu, one of the most advanced civilizations in West Africa. In this book, Holl reevaluates almost 150 years of research on the subject.


Farmers, Traders, Warriors, and Kings: Female Power and Authority in Northern Igboland, 1900-1960 by Nwando Achebe. Focuses on the female kings in an area of Igboland (in Nigeria), an area where women served as warriors and married many wives.

The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe by Nwando Achebe. Biography of an Igbo woman who became a close companion of Nigerian Igala kings and British officers, who supported her claim to the office of king.


Prince of Times: Ado Bayero and the Transformation of Emiral Authority in Kano by Omar Farouk Ibrahim. Published in 2003, this biography of one of Nigeria's most powerful traditional rulers, the Emir of Kano, is also a study of how Nigeria's powerful traditional rulers have adjusted to changes in their roles since independence in 1960.

Concubines & Power: Five Hundred Years In A Northern Nigerian Palace by Heidi J. Nast. The monumental palace of Kano, Nigeria, was built circa 1500. This book shows that the influence of royal concubines extended far beyond the palace walls to the formation of the state itself.


The Untold Story of a Nigerian Royal Family: The Urhobo Ruling Clan of Okpe Kingdom, 1500-2000 by Joseph O. Asagba. Traces the origins and history of the Okpe people and their rulers. Includes the story of the author's candidacy for Okpe king after the death of Orhoro I.


Paradoxes of Power: The Kano "Mamluks" and Male Royal Slavery in the Sokoto Caliphate, 1804-1903 by Sean Stilwell. Explains the historical relationship between Islam, Islamic politics, and the use of slaves in Kano, a major city in the Sokoto Caliphate of what is now Nigeria.

The Caliph's Sister: Nana Asma'u, 1793-1865 by Jean Boyd. Nana Asma'u, daughter of Usman Dan Fodio, was a teacher, poet, and Islamic leader.

Yoruba Kingdoms

Yoruba Sacred Kingship: 'A Power Like That of the Gods' by John Pemberton III and Funso S. Afolayan. The Yoruba people, who live today in Nigeria and Benin, built kingdoms and empires including Ife, Benin, and Oyo.

Kingdoms of the Yoruba by Robert Sydney Smith.

Yoruba Warlords of the Nineteenth Century by Toyin Falola.

African Royal Court Art by Michele Coquet, translated by Jane Marie Todd. From the precolonial kingdoms of the Edo and the Yoruba, the Ashanti and the Igbo, Coquet reconstructs the cultural connections between art and the king.

Kingdom of Benin

A Popular History of Benin: The Rise and Fall of a Mighty Forest Kingdom by Peter M. Roese, Dmitri M. Bondarenko. A history of the Nigerian kingdom of Benin, intended for both the general public and students.

For Children and Young Adults

Kings and Queens of West Africa by Sylviane Anna Diouf. For children ages 9 to 12.

The Kingdom of Benin by Dominique Malaquais. Benin was a Yoruba kingdom in Nigeria. For children ages 9 to 12.

The Benin Kingdom of West Africa by John Peffer-Engels. For children ages 4 to 8.

Queen Amina of Zaria by JudyBee, illustrated by LittlePinkPebble. How 16th century queen Amina protected her land (located in what is now Nigeria) by building walls and shooting the enemy with her bow. Fictionalized account for ages 9 to 12. Other books in the Queens of Africa series include Queen Idia and Madam Tinubu, also about Nigerian queens.

More Children's Books About Africa

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Other Websites

Wikipedia - Nigerian traditional rulers
CIA World Factbook: Nigeria
Nigeria: A Country Study
Country Study Guide for Nigeria
Kingdoms of the Medieval Sudan
Queen Amina of Zaria

Fraud Warning - Beware of Scams!!!

If you receive a letter from someone claiming to be Nigerian royalty or a government official in need of your help, do not believe it! See the links below for information on this common scam.

The "Nigerian" Scam: Costly Compassion
Nigeria - The 419 Coalition Website
Snopes: Nigerian Scam
Nigerian email scammers undeterred by jail time

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