The Ife Empire was the first empire in Yoruba history. It was founded in what is now southwestern Nigeria and eastern Benin today. The Ife Empire lasted from 1200 to 1420. The empire was founded by Odùduwà and became well-known for its sophisticated art pieces. Although Yoruba was the main language of the empire, there were also various spoken dialects and languages. It rose to power through trade with Sahelian and forest states. Its capital city, Ilé-Ife, was one of the largest urban centers in 14th century West Africa.
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