Nigerian-Canadian mom writes inspirational children’s book about legendary Queen Idia of Benin Kingdom

Thanks to Nigerian-Canadian author Ekiuwa Aire, children can now relive Idia’s story from a real African perspective. Photo: Ekiuwa Aire
Benin Kingdom, located in what is now southern Nigeria, was one of the most highly developed states in Africa when it fell in 1897 following the destruction of its capital, Benin City, by the British.

Britain’s punitive expedition did not only lead to the deaths of gallant chiefs but it also took away various works of art including Ivory and bronze works. Today, one of the most famous artworks from the kingdom is Queen Idia’s mask, with versions housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum, and Linden Museum.

Considered the first Queen Mother of Benin, Idia was the mother of Esigie, the Oba (king) of Benin between 1504 and 1550. A great warrior and wise queen, she is believed to have saved the entire kingdom of Benin in a time of war and turmoil.

Nigeria and UK have teamed up to dig for royal treasures in former Benin Kingdom
Oba Esigie, the king of Benin who was the first West African leader to establish diplomatic relations with a European country
How the great Benin kingdom was founded by a teenager who was the first Oba in 1200AD
Interesting facts about the Great Walls of Benin in Nigeria, one of the world’s largest man-made earth structures
Thanks to Nigerian-Canadian author Ekiuwa Aire, children can now relive the highly revered Nigerian queen’s story from a real African perspective.

The colorfully depicted children’s book, Idia of the Benin Kingdom, is among a wave of new African-centric children’s books aimed at teaching Black children about their culture and history through the eyes of characters who look just like them, author Aire says.

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