The Anago in Benin Republic, Togo and Nigeria by Anago James Akeeem Osho (A response to an email sent to Anago James Akeem Osho)
Dear brother Orimolade,
So sad to read this because you are just one among thousands of people the man you met would have told this lie. All he should have done was to be sincere enough to tell you he does not know anything about the subject.
I am writing this message as my response to the email that you wrote to me dated April 20, 2016.
When I was in the Republic of Benin last. I was in the town Quidah.I happen to meet a Yoruba man who was working as a tour guideon one of these European tour buses. He was a Yoruba from Ibadan.In my conversation with him, he informed me that the Nago werenot Yoruba. How can this be?
The man you met in Whydah (Ouidah) may be a tour guide or an escort to earn a living, but may not be a researcher and better still i will like to meet him to hear his point.
There are many wonderful and knowledgeable Tourist Guides in Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria. I am in partnership with some of them to keep our history alive and i can not be every where at the same time. Some have dedicated their lives to travel and research. Some
Tourists Guides are not researchers and because they are born or grew
up or know certain history of a place does not make them professional tour guides and historian. There are Anagos across West Africa and even as far as Japan. Anago in Japan is the name of a particular fish. Anago from the African contest is synonymous to the Yorubas across West Africa. I want a response to this writing so that i can also learn from other ideas. What i am going to write is from my research and experience. The Yorubas are Anago, Nago, Lucumi/Ulcumi, Aku e.t.c. The Yoruba do not have a uniformed name in the beginning. What unites the Yorubas are their language, Origin at Ile Ife, and Culture. The Yorubas are called Anago or
Nago in Brazil, Benin Republic, Haiti, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, e.t.c.
The word Lucumi and Anago were used earlier to qualify the Yorubas before the Christian
missionaries made the name Yoruba popular in their writings. In the Northern part
of Togo the Yorubas are also called Ana Ife or Ana. Growing up at Ebute Metta in
Lagos, i remember that when my grand mother is talking to us and we are
not listening or because we were playing and seems not to pay attention
to what she is saying, she will shout at us saying ''Se e o gbo Anago ti
mo n ba yin so ni? (Can't you understand the Anago that i am speaking
to you). It means don't you understand the Yoruba i am speaking? Anago is another name by which the Yorubas are known. It means someone who is wise or intelligent as the Yorubas are seen to be by other Africans. The word Nago became popular
during the Slave trade. So many slaves were sold at the Slave port of
Lagos and because the Yoruba Slaves were too many, so the word Anago or
Nago became too popular. The Europeans preferred to call the Yorubas Nago because it was easy for them
to pronounce and they omitted the letter A. Nago was the name that was documented in the Americas as a form of classification to identify the origin of the Anago Slaves. The highest numbers of Slaves that were taken from a single tribe in Africa were taken from the Slave port. The highest numbers taken from the slave port were the Anago, Nagos or Yorubas. I have
argued that the biggest Slave port was the Slave port of Lagos. Many
people do not know that Oba (King) Kosoko of Lagos was the biggest Slave
trader on the coast of West Africa. He owned Slave Ships in Bahia
Salvador in Brazil and no other African Chief or king was recorded to
have such. He was close to the king of Abomey in his time because Slave
trading was the major economic strength of Abomey. Hope to hear from you soon, Your brother, Anago James Akeem Osho
LETTER SENT TO ME BY BROTHER ORIMOLADE
Greetings Brother James,When you have the time, could you share some information with me.?I was under the impression that the Africans in the Republic of Beninknown as Nago were Yoruba. In fact I thought they were call Nago because they may have been from the Anago.When I was in the Republic of Benin last. I was in the town Quidah.I happen to meet a Yoruba man who was working as a tour guideon one of these European tour buses. He was a Yoruba from Ibadan.In my conversation with him, he informed me that the Nago werenot Yoruba. How can this be?I wanted to debate with this Brother, but I change my mind. I askedmyself ; "How can I debate with this Brother who is Yoruba and myselfwas born the the United States? Maybe he has some history that I amnot aware of.Even though I was born in the U.S., I am so-called African American.On top of that, I am an Orisha and Ifa worshipper. In studying thehistorical experience of slavery in the West, one of the strongestspiritual traditions that has survived in the West were brought hereby the Nago. We worship some of the same Orisha that is worship in YorubaTraditional Religion. For the Brother to tell me that the Nago was not Yoruba left dumbfounded.It is something that I can't quite understand. Can you share with me alittle bit of the history of the Nago?I thank you in advance.Orimolade
Seriki Williams Abass was born originally at a town in
Yorubaland called Ijoga Orile. The town is in todays Ogun State in South West
Nigeria. Ijoga Orile is not far from Ilaro and Abeokuta. His birth name was
Faremilekun and his father’s name was Fagbemi. He was captured by the Dahomeans
and became a slave at the age of six years old. The country called Benin
Republic today used to be known as Dahomey. The name Dahomey was changed to
Benin Republic in 1975.
Porto Novo is a great City with a great history. It is the capital of Benin republic and is situated on the West African Coast. The word Porto Novo is a Portuguese word which means New port.
The Portuguese were the first European to settle down there. Porto Novo is also known as Ajase (Ajace) by the Yorubas, and known as Hogbonu by the Ogu.
Porto Novo was established in the 16th Century. It was a Slave port controlled by the Alaafin of Oyo. The Oyo Empire was a great empire which also controlled the Slave port of Badagry. It partly controlled the Slave port of Whydah (Ouidah) for a period before Whydah was completely taken over by the Dahomey Kings.