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Abeokuta is the largest city and state capital of Ogun State in southwest Nigeria. It is situated on the east bank of the Ogun River, near a group of rocky outcrops in a wooded savanna;[2] 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of Lagos by railway, or 130 kilometres (81 mi) by water. As of 2006, Abeokuta and the surrounding area had a population of 449,088.

Overlooking Abeokuta.jpg
Abeokuta is located in Nigeria
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 7°9′39″N 3°20′54″E / 7.16083°N 3.34833°E / 7.16083; 3.34833Coordinates: 7°9′39″N 3°20′54″E / 7.16083°N 3.34833°E / 7.16083; 3.34833
Country Nigeria
StateOgun State
 • City879 km2 (339 sq mi)
66 m (217 ft)
 • City451,607
 • Density510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
 • Metro


Geography and economyEdit

Abẹokuta lies in fertile country of wooded savanna, the surface of which is broken by masses of grey granite. It spreads over an extensive area, being surrounded by mud walls 18 miles in extent.[3] Palm oil, lumber, natural rubber, yams, rice, cassava, maize, cotton, other fruits, and shea butter are the chief articles of trade. It is a key export location for cocoa, palm products, fruit, and kola nuts.[2] Both rice and cotton were introduced by the missionaries in the 1850s and have become integral parts of the economy, along with the dye indigo.

Abeokuta lies below the Olumo Rock, home to several caves and shrines.[4] The town depends on the Oyan River Dam for its water supply, which is not always dependable.[5] The dam is situated in the Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun State in the West of Nigeria, about 20 km northwest of the state capital Abeokuta. The dam crosses the Oyan River, a tributary of the Ogun River.

Abeokuta is the headquarters of the federal Ogun-Oshun River Basin Authority, which is responsible for development of land and water resources for Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo states. Included in this are irrigation, food-processing, and electrification.[2]

Local industries include but not limited to fruit canning plants, plastics, breweries, sawmills, and an aluminum products factory. South of town are the Aro granite quarries.[2]


Abeokuta is connected to nearby Lagos by a railway that was completed in 1899, with a length of 77 kilometres (48 mi). Roads connect it to Lagos as well as Ibadan, Ilaro, Shagamu, Iseyin, and Ketou.[2]


Chief Sodeke first settled Abeokuta (meaning literally "the underneath of the rock"[6] or indirectly "refuge among rocks")[2] in 1830 as a place of refuge from slavehunters from Dahomey and Ibadan. The village populations scattered over the open country to take refuge among the rocks surrounding the city. Here they formed a free confederacy of many distinct groups, each preserving the traditional customs, religious rites and the names of their original villages.[3]

The original settlers of Abeokuta were of the Egba nation,[7] fleeing from the Oyo Empire, which was collapsing.[2] Later, some members of other Yoruba clans came to the settlement. Baptist and Anglican missionaries from Great Britain began to serve the area in the 1840s,[2][7] in addition to Sierra Leone Creoles.

Because Abeokuta was in a key location for the palm oil trade and because it was the so-called capital of the Egbas, Dahomey soon became hostile. In the 1851 Battle of Abeokuta, the Egba, with assistance from missionaries and armed by the British, defeated King Gezo and the Dahomey incursion. They again beat back the Dahomey military in 1864.[2][7]

The 1860s also saw problems arise with the Europeans, namely the British in Lagos, which led to the Egba first closing trade routes, followed by the expulsion of missionaries and traders in 1867.[2] Between 1877 and 1893 the Yoruba Civil Wars occurred, and Abeokuta opposed Ibadan, which led the king or alake of the Egba to sign an alliance with the British governor, Sir Gilbert Carter. This occurred in 1893, which formalized the Egba United Government based in Abẹokuta which became recognized by the United Kingdom.[2] In 1914, the city was made part of the colony of Nigeria by the British.[2][7]

In 1918, the Abeokuta Riots took place which was related to the levying of taxes and the policy of indirect rule by Sir Frederick Lugard, the British Governor-General.[2]

The Abeokuta Women's Revolt, led by the Abeokuta Women's Union (AWU), took place in the 1940s. It was a resistance movement against the imposition of unfair taxation by the Nigerian colonial government.[8]

In 1976, Abeokuta became the capital of the newly created Ogun State.

Notable buildingsEdit

Abeokuta was a walled town and remnants of the historic wall still exist today. Ake, the traditional residence of the Alake, along with Centenary Hall (1930), are both in the Egba Alake's territory. There are secondary and primary schools and the University of Lagos Abeokuta Campus opened in 1984.[2] This campus specializes in science, agriculture, and technology. This has since been changed to an independent full-fledged tertiary institution, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) in 1988.

The Green Legacy Resort is a large resort/hotel built by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and investors. The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) is also located within the grounds of the resort

The Governor's office located at Oke-Mosan is also a notable building. The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) located at Alabata road in Abeokutra is also one of the notable buildings in Abeokuta and one of the most beautiful public University campus in Nigeria.[9][10]

Egba AnthemEdit


Atop the mountains and the valleys

there, I was born

Such is the place where I was bred and brought up

the land of freedom.

I will make Abeokuta my glory

I will stand tall on Olumo Rock

Rejoice in the name of Egba

I, a child of Lisabi.


Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice

on Olumo Rock

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice

atop the Rock of Olumo

Abeokuta, the Land of the Egba

I will never forget you

I will etch you on my heart

Like the land beyond the Niger River

I will continue to rejoice on top of Olumo Rock

I will make this glory in my heart

that it is in a famous town

that the Egba people dwell


Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice

on Olumo Rock

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice

atop the Rock of Olumo.[11]

Notable natives and residentsEdit

Photo galleryEdit


  1. ^ "FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA : 2006 Population Census" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abeokuta". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  3. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abeokuta". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 42.
  4. ^ Kola Tubosun (16 April 2014). "Abeokuta's Living History".
  5. ^ Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji (February 23, 2010). "Water scarcity bites harder in Abeokuta". Next. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  6. ^ Bennett, Eric (2010). Encyclopedia of Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199733903. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d Canby, Courtlandt. The Encyclopedia of Historic Places. (New York: Facts on File Publications, 1984), p. 2.
  8. ^ Byfield, Judith A. "Taxation, Women, and the Colonial State: Egba Women's Revolt." Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism, 3.2 (2003): 250-77. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.
  9. ^ "Is This The Most Beautiful University Campus in Nigeria? [See Pics]". 21 December 2016.
  10. ^ "is this the most beautiful university campus in Nigeria?". Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  11. ^ Adenekan, Hakeem. Abeokuta: BEYONDTHE ROCKS.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Abeokuta at Wikimedia Commons