Nigerian Cultures And Its Impact On Art And Engineering

Long before Nigeria was colonized by Britain, art and engineering had been a part of our culture.

Many Nigerian cultures have had great kingdoms that practiced ancient craftsmanship and passed on the education down to each generation.

Though civilization and education mean a certain thing now, there is more than enough proof that certain parts of Nigeria had working structures and showed advanced technological skills even before colonization.

The Bini Empire, for example, has been recognised as one of the oldest and most highly developed states in West Africa, until it was annexed by the British Empire in 1897. There was also the great Sokoto Caliphate which was a strong confederation of Emirates in West Africa.

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Historical sites and traditions, some of which have faded over time, tell a story of not just how creativity or ingenuity Nigeria has always been but also shows a high level of existing technological prowess. A good example of the aforementioned is the ‘Igbo Ukwu’. It is known as the ancient centre of iron and bronze smiting with its famous archaeological sites.

Igbo Ukwu Vessel | Photo: ThoughtCo

Radiocarbon dating has dated the sites back to 850 AD, which would make the Igbo-Ukwu culture the earliest-known example of bronze casting in the region. The Igbo-Ukwu crafts are intricate bronze metal-works that indicate a brilliant invention and a high technological culture that made use of various metals not common in the area.

One of UNESCO’s world heritage site -The Benin Moat, also known traditionally as Iya,is the largest man-made earthworks in the world. It was estimated that the earliest construction began in the 13th century and continued into the mid-15th century.

All of these predate the use of modern earth-moving equipment or technology in these parts.

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