I have always been an admirer of the Benin Empire. The architecture, the works of art, the structure of government etc. However, I have one question.
Why isn't the Bini population as large as the Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa? You all had a thriving empire, but why isn't the population as large as the other groups. Especially compared with the Igbo, who didn't have such a large state.
I had actually already responded to this post yesterday, but I included a long piece of an article that talked about the habitual depopulation of Benin due to war campaigns and in-fighting, so the spambot deleted the post. However the other part of what I said was:
"I suspect that the Bini were just a smaller section of whatever group most of Southern Nigeria came out of, like the Idoma, Igala, Ijaw, etc. . . compared to Igbo and Yoruba.
But another thing to consider is that Bini diverged from other groups such as the other groups in Edo state some of which may have come from Benin city hundreds of years ago.
There are also groups like Edo-Akure, and some other Ondo Edos who identify as Yorubas now, and a few more such people in Lagos.
However the most convincing argument to me comes from just looking at it in terms of math:
If the population of Bini at one point is 1 million, and the population of Yoruba in Nigeria is 7-8 million at one point and both groups multiply by around 3.5 (the same rate of reproduction of Bini people and Yoruba people) over six decades, the Bini would only be 3.5 million while the Yoruba would be 24.5 - 28 million, and what started as only a 6-7 million difference becomes a 21 - 24.5 million difference, and we are left dumbfounded when there is actually nothing out of the ordinary in this. If we have 1 million Bini at one point and 6 million Igbo and Bini multiply by 3.5 and Igbo by 4 (only a slightly greater reproduction rate) over six decades we only have 3.5 million Bini but have 24 million Igbo. There was originally a 5 million difference, but it becomes 20.5 million. There is nothing bizarre about this in reality."
Which I think makes a fair amount of sense.