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Allegra Otsaye Ayida

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Allegra Ayida is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Yale, where she is a graduate fellow in the environmental humanities at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale, and was named a Nathan Hale Associates fellow by Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She is also a graduate fellow at both European Studies Council and the Council on African Studies at the Yale Macmillan Center. She has worked at the Yale University Art Gallery as a Graduate Curatorial Intern in African Art, and at the literary magazine The Yale Review.

Allegra’s research interests, span Nigerian history, maritime history, port cities, piracy, Africa-Europe relations, African Art, material culture and plant humanities. She is interested in the trade relationships between European and African traders, and the long history of interactions with different European powers through missionary activity along the west African coastline. She also researches the restitution of stolen/looted African artefacts and cultural heritage currently held by European museums.

Her dissertation project is tentatively titled “ Palm-oil, Piracy and Pipeline Politics; An Economic and Environmental history of Warri, Nigeria 1780-1980. “This project reads French, Italian, English and Nigerian archival sources, alongside ethnographic, photographic, cartographic materials to construct this port city history over three centuries. Allegra given talks about her work at American universities such as Yale University, Columbia University and the University of Colorado, Boulder. As well as British universities such University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Kings’ College London. Allegra’s words have appeared in  All About History magazine, The Republic Journal, French daily newspaper Libération and The Guardian, UK. Prior to attending Yale, she earned an M.Phil. from University of Cambridge, an M.A in World History from Kings’ College London and a B.A in History with High Honors from Wesleyan University, CT.


Book Collection


Latest Publication

Pre-colonial Lusophone Kingship and Elite Migrations: A Case Study of the Warri Kingdom

This paper examines how African kingship changed as a result of cross-cultural interaction due to the Portuguese presence in the Niger Delta on the Gulf of Guinea in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The early modern Warri Kingdom had connections to the wider Lusophone world and Europe through the diplomatic missions and migrations of its princes. The Warri Kingdom’s dynasty is composed of twenty-one olus (kings) with the most recent olu being crowned in 2021. This paper examines the biographies of three successive olus who reigned between the late-sixteenth and mid-seventeenth centuries and approaches the lives of these olus as a coeval prism through which to view and better understand the entanglements of religion, commerce, and elite migration.


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