Impact of Colonial Rule on Inter-group Relations Between the Benin and the Esan Peoples of Nigeria


  • Joseph Inegbenebho Osagie University of Benin
  • Dawood Omolumen Egbefo Ibb University in Lapai


Inter-group Relations, Ethnic Identity, Colonial Rule, Colonial Prejudice


This paper examines the impact of British Colonial rule on intergroup relations between Benin and Esan communities. British contact with most Nigerian states, kingdoms and empires in the twentieth century had far reaching effect on inter-group relations. However, the extent to which colonial rule impacted on inter-group relations amongst the peoples of Nigeria has not been given its proper place in the existing literature. With the use of primary and secondary sources, the paper discusses the conquest and imposition of colonial rule on Benin and Esan and how these impacted on the social, political and economic relations among the people. Benin and Esan had hitherto enjoyed varied degrees of relations - from cordial to hostile – especially in the pre-colonial period. However, the emergence of colonial rule and the socio-political and economic policies initiated by the colonial authorities further added new dimensions to the relationship between Benin and Esan as both gravitated from independent to dependent status.

Author Biographies

Joseph Inegbenebho Osagie, University of Benin

Associate Professor in the Department of History and International Studies, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Dawood Omolumen Egbefo, Ibb University in Lapai

Senior Lecturer in the Department Of History And International Studies, Ibb University in Lapai, Niger State, Nigeria