HISTORY OF ILE-IFE
Ifè, also Ilé-Ifè̀, is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. Evidence of urbanization at the site has been discovered to date back to roughly 500 AD.
Ife is where the founding deities Oduduwa and Obatala began the creation of the world, as directed by the paramount deity Olodumare. Obàtálá created the first humans out of clay, while Odùduwà became the first divine king of the Yoruba.
The Oòni (King) of Ife is a direct descent from the god Oduduwa, and is counted first among Yoruba kings. To this day many of the surviving traditional religious groups of the city celebrate the creation of the world during the Itapa festival. According to anthropologist, its habitation can be traced as far back as 350 BCE.
ILE – IFE , the cradle of Yoruba, the city of the survivors, spiritual seat of the Yoruba, where the dawn of the day was first experienced, the source, the head of the whole universe; the land of the most ancient days, the home of divinities and to the people of Ife “ILURUN” i.e. Gateway to heaven.
Ife refers to the people while the city is called Ile-Ife. Historically, Ife people organized themselves into about thirteen communities and each community head called “Oba”. Each Oba played a dual role as political administrator and also deity chief priest.
Later, these thirteen communities were merged into one under the leadership of Oduduwa. This unification was effected by Oduduwa.
Since their great Grandparents were illiterates, written records were impossible to come by. Histories were therefore handed over from one generation to another orally.
The most universally accepted is that Oduduwa is the father of the Yoruba. He is the ancestral father of any Ooni or Oni ni Ile Ife (i.e, he who owns the land of Ife) that ever reigned or will reign in Ile Ife.