The Great Benin Trench

A part of history that still remains

Photo by Noemi Macavei from Unsplash

I had doubts about this story. I didn’t know if I was allowed to write it or not. I still do not know but I have written it because my mind keeps telling me to.

Benin is a city in Edo state and Edo is a state in the country Nigeria. I passed by that trench on Friday, the 18th of February. And I saw just a small part of it as I was on my way home.

The trench was dug early in history when the British came to invade Benin. I am sure you must have heard that Benin is famous for its artifacts that have been showcased in museums in the world.

The Oba Of Benin, Oba Ovonranwen N’Ogbaisi, tried to protect his people. I am sure you must understand his point of view. “ A foreigner has come to our land to take what isn’t his, we must try to protect ourselves from them, we must protect the Great Benin kingdom.”

And so he did it. He warned the British not to come to his land. Then, the Benin kingdom was widely known as a very large empire but now some part of it has been cut away to some others. To put it simply, civilization occurred.

The then people of Benin were against the British taking their heritage (their carved out works. History, so to say). And so the Oba devised a medium for them to not penetrate the land, he dug a big hole in the ground around the Benin kingdom. As large as the Benin kingdom was, he dug a trench around his land. And it still stands.

I just got a view of it. A view of different parts of it. And it’s deep. It might seem like common sense to just cover it up since to some it seems not very large and can be covered with sand. But nay, that isn’t the case.

It can't be covered up. If it could, I'm sure someone must have done it. But no one dared did cover it.


The big hole dug around Benin is the size of a small car (a Camry), the length is still unknown to me and the depth is the height of a room. The trench has red soil as its walls. The whole Benin kingdom has red soil. The trench is often seen with plantain or banana trees. They look dried now but I’ve been told that it will spring back up.


I don’t know what you might have heard or seen about the Benin kingdom but right now it isn’t that large. It is a small city with few known places; Oluku, Isihor, Siloku, Adolor, Uselu, Ugbowo, Sapele road, East and West circular road, Ovia, Aduwawa, Anye, Ikpoba hill, Dawson, Ekemwan, and others. Benin is among other villages or places in Edo state; Auchi, Ekpoma, Ewu, Agbede, Esan, and others. Their pronunciation might be hard for you.

Do have a nice day. Once I get more facts I’d be sure to add or remove them from this post. Until then, stay safe and drink lots of water.




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Aspiring to writing🖋📚✍🏻 better cos art is life. A writer, poet and an aspiring author. Much love. ♥️Feel free to scroll through. Instagram-@kjumai9

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