Palace of Alaafin of Oyo

Palace of Alaafin of Oyo

The site of Old Oyo is also known as Oyo-Ile or ‘Katanga’ by the Hausa. Old Oyo was the capital of the Oyo Yoruba Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries. New Oyo is probably the seventh or eighth site of the seat of Oyo. Three of the earlier sites were considered to be nearer the Niger. Many abandoned sites containing ruins are very common: among these are Koso, about twenty kilometres directly north of Old Oyo and a less impressive site at Ipapo Ile, about twenty kilometres Southeast of Old Oyo. Koso is the most interesting of all the sites yet discovered, even, more so, in terms of its structure than Old Oyo. It is an archaeological haven.

Koso site is surrounded by three walls viz. the outermost one has a diameter of about three kilometres, while the middle wall is inner wall two. The inner wall is unique in having a lot of details preserved. It surrounds the built up area of the site in the form of a standing wall, rising up to about four hectares in height and about a metre in thickness. Between it and the built up area is a fifty metre open space. The built up area consists of house remains, with room partitions still discernible.

Ipapo-Ile site is located at about twenty kilometres Southeast of Old Oyo within Moro Local Government area of Kwara State. The site shares the same pottery tradition with Old Oyo. The ecological settings are also similar, except that the rock format there is not as compact as at other areas.

Igboho site is located at about seventy Kilometres Southwest of Old Oyo and thirty kilometres northwest of Igbeti. This is a city which at one time was the seat of power of Oyo Kingdom in the 16th Century A.D. Four (4) Alaafins reigned here (before the pre – occupation of Oyo by Alaafin Abiipa) and their burial spots are well preserved and worshipped by the people of Igboho. The four Alaafins that were buried here are: Ofinran, Eguguoju, Orompoto and Ajiboyede.


The royal residence of a Yoruba Oba is known as Aafin, a term which is broadly equivalent to the English palace. The term Aafin refers exclusively to the official residence of an Oba or Alaafin, hence it does not mean exactly the same thing as the word palace which embraces not only the official residence of sovereigns and primates such as archbishops and bishops but also, when used figuratively, for other large buildings.

Remains of carved wood used as house poles were found within the Old palace area. The palace is the covering point of activities and interest of the chiefs who in terms of peace meet regularly in the Aafin to deliberate on the political, social, economic and religious affairs of the community and in time of war and general unrest, had to shield the Alaafin from attack.

The palace normally overlooks the market in Yoruba land. This leads to the saying that ‘‘Oba is the owner of the market’’ meaning ‘Oba lo ni Oja.’ In keeping with this tradition, Akesan Market is located a little south of the palace of Oyo-Ile. It is a five days market.

The replica of what was present in the then Old Alaafin palace at Oyo-Ile is what is obtainable in the present New Alaafin Palace in Oyo. Details of the successors Alaafins that reigned right from the inception in the Oyo Empire to the present Oyo Alaafin is presented in the table below.


1 Foundation of Oyo Empire 1400
2 Conquest by Fulani Empire 1835
3 British Protectorate 1888
4 Alaafin Oranyan 1400-1529
5 Alaafin Ajaka
6 Alaafin Shango
7 Alaafin Ajaka (restored)
8 Alaafin Aganju
9 Alaafin Kori
10 Alaafin Oluaso
11 Alaafin Onigbogin 1530-1542
12 Alaafin Ofiran  1542-1590
13 Alaafin Eguguojo
14 Alaafin Orompoto
15 Alaafin Ajiboyede
16 Alaafin Abiipa 1590 -1600
17 Alaafin Obalokun 1600-1658
18 Alaafin Oluodo
19 Alaafin Ajagbo
20 Alaafin Odaran 1658-1660
21 Alaafin Kanran 1660-1665
22 Alaafin Jagun 1665-1670
23 Alaafin Ayibi 1676-1690
24 Alaafin Osiyago 1690-1698
25 Alaafin Ojigi 1698-1732
26 Alaafin Gberu 1732-1738
27 Alaafin Amuniwaye 1738-1742
28 Alaafin Onisile 1742-1750
29 Alaafin Labisi 1750
30 Alaafin Awonbioju 1750
31 Alaafin Agboluaje 1750-1772
32 Alaafin Majeogbe 1772-1773
33 Alaafin Abiodun 1770-1789
34 Alaafin Ade Asamu Arogangan 1789 -1796
35 Alaafin Adebo 1796-1797
36 Alaafin Makua 1797
37 Vacant 1797-1802
38 Alaafin Majotu 1802-1830
39 Alaafin Amodo 1830-1833
40 Alaafin Oluewu 1833-1837
41 Alaafin Atiba Atobatele 1837-1859
42 Alaafin Adelu 1859-1875
43 Alaafin Adeyemi I Alowolodu 1876-1888
44 Alaafin Adeyemi I Alowolodu (as British Vassal), Oba 1888-1905
45 Lawani Agogoja (as British vassal), Oba 1905 – 1911
46 Siyanbola Onikepe Oladigbolu I 1911-1944
47 Regent (as British Vassal), Oba 1944-1945
48 Adeyemi II Adeniran 1945-1955
49 Regent (as British Vassal), Oba 1955-1956
50 Bello Gbadegesin Oladigbolu II(as British Vassal), Oba. 1956 to 1960
51 Bello Gbadegesin Oladigbolu II(as Nigeria Traditional  Monarch), Oba. 1960 -1970
52 Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III Nov 19, 1970 to Date