"Kingdom in the Creeks: An Early History of the Warri Kingdom." BA thesis Wesleyan University, CT.

The three main chapters of this thesis investigate the significance of the pre-colonial history of the Warri kingdom. Chapter one examines the origins of the kingdom from the migration of Prince Ginuwa and his retinue from the Benin kingdom to the kingdom’s founding at Ode-Itsekiri by Ginuwa’s son. This chapter also explores the relationship between identity formation and the local environment through the figure of the Olu. It also opens a theoretical examination of oral tradition and how the origins of the kingdom have been written. Chapter two takes a biographical approach and examines the reigns of three Olus during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The encounters and exchanges between two kingdoms with power over the water (Warri and Portugal) frame the chapter’s central questions surrounding the changing nature of the Olu institution, his authority and Itsekiri identity. In particular, the introduction of Christianity in these exchanges brings about profound changes in the spiritual authority of the Olu. Chapter three looks at the legacy of the early pre-colonial history, and how this history is performed in the twenty and twenty-first century. At moments when the Itsekiri need to defend their identity against outsiders, this history is resurgent in these times of intense political claim making. Here the thesis returns to the importance of the study of pre-colonial African history and how it continues to inform contemporary politics.

Extract from page 7 of thesis copyright 2021 Allegra Ayida