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 Year 6 French

Bonjour les enfants! (Good morning children!)

This week we have 2 more new topics, where you live and places in town.  I hope you will the worksheets self-explanatory.  Bonne chance!  (Good luck!). Here are this week's worksheets (WB le 29 juin).  

Ou habites-tu?

Dans ma ville, il y a ...

 

Complete the work on the Word documents and email me your work at mlue-cooper@sfdprimary.co.uk, please.

Unfortunately, there are no more video clips to watch because these topics occur in Stage 2 of the Early Start course.  We have been watching video clips from Stage 1.

 

 A bientot!

Mme Lue-Cooper

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History - What was life like in Benin?

Learn

Benin was a kingdom in West Africa, in what is now Nigeria. It lasted from the 11th Century until 1897, when it was conquered by the British Empire.

Benin was a large and varied kingdom. Some people lived in villages and small towns, but most people lived and worked in Benin City.

The most important person in the kingdom was the king, known as the Oba. Hundreds of men and women lived at the royal court and devoted their lives to looking after the Oba and his family. Some people at court had extraordinary jobs, working as acrobats, sorcerers, or leopard hunters.

Most people in the countryside worked as farmers, but there were also potters and blacksmiths. They made simple pots, weapons and tools for the villagers.

Watch this clip below to learn more about the kingdom of Benin.

The people of Benin traded with merchants from Europe and with other African kingdoms. Instead of using money, they exchanged goods.

A brass plaque shows an Oba with his attendants.

This brass plaque shows an Oba with his attendants. Two bodyguards hold up their shields to protect him from harm. The two smaller figures hold symbols of his power.

 

What was life like for the Obas?

The people of Benin believed that their Oba was a god. He lived apart from the ordinary people inside the royal court in Benin City.

Most of the time, the Oba was kept very busy with his duties as king. He held meetings with his officials, and he led religious ceremonies. But he also had some free time to spend with his family. Obas had many wives, and all their wives and children lived in special apartments inside the palace.

The Oba owned all the land in his kingdom. He gave orders to his chiefs on how his kingdom should be run, and he decided when his armies should go to war. Sometimes he rode into battle at the head of his troops.

Everyone had to show great respect to the Oba. People approached him on their knees, and nobody could look at him without his permission. Most people in Benin believed that the Oba didn’t need to eat or sleep!

Who else was important in the kingdom?

The Oba relied on many chiefs and officials to help him run his kingdom.

Palace chiefs ran the royal court, organised the craft workers and made agreements with European merchants. They came from wealthy families, and their jobs were passed down from father to son.

Town chiefs were chosen because of their leadership skills. They governed the ordinary people of the kingdom, but still took orders from the Oba.

Another important figure was the mother of the Oba. The first great Queen Mother or 'Iyoba' was Queen Idia, the mother of Oba Esigie. She helped her son to defeat his enemies and gain control of the River Niger. As a reward, Esigie gave her a palace of her own.

People believed that the Queen Mother had magical powers. She was not allowed to see her son after becoming Oba, in case she used her magic to control him!

An ivory pendant from Benin, probably showing Queen Idia

This ivory pendant of a Queen Mother probably shows Queen Idia. Around the top of the mask are the carved heads of Portuguese merchants.These are symbols of the kingdom’s power and wealth through trade.

What was life like for ordinary people?

Many people in Benin lived in villages in the rainforest. They cleared away the trees to grow vegetables, and they built their houses from mud, wood and palm leaves.

Benin was famous for its craft workers, for example, ivory-carvers. These workers formed groups called guilds. All the members of a guild lived and worked together.

There were more than 40 guilds in Benin City, and each guild had to perform a special duty for the Oba. Not all the guilds were for craft workers. Doctors, drummers, acrobats and dancers had their own guilds too.

Men from all over the kingdom served the Oba as soldiers. Warriors went into battle armed with swords, spears and crossbows. By the 1600s, soldiers had guns as well. Some boys trained as hunters. They started their training very young, and the most daring of all became elephant hunters.

A brass plaque showing acrobats

Acrobats, like the ones shown on this plaque, caught birds for the Oba to sacrifice to the gods. Once a year, they performed a special ceremony where they swung from ropes and pretended to be birds.

What kind of gods did people worship?

The people of Benin worshipped many gods. They told stories about their gods and held ceremonies in their honour. Some of these ceremonies are still performed today by the Edo people.

People believed that the Obas of Benin were the direct descendants of Osanobua, the creator god. The Obas were all worshipped as gods.

According to Edo legends, the great god Osanobua created the world. Olokun, his eldest son, became the god of the waters. Obiemven, his daughter, was put in charge of farming and childbirth. Ogiuwu, his youngest son, became the king of death.

A brass head of Osun
Osun was the god of magic and medicine. People believed he controlled all the plants and creatures of the rainforest. His crown of birds helped him predict the future.

Activity

 

Create a mind map to show your knowledge of life in Benin.

You could include information about:

  • the Oba
  • chiefs and officials
  • life in Benin for the ordinary people

pflood@sfdprimary.co.uk