Luwo Gbagida: First & Only Female Ooni of Ile-Ife

Ooni Luwo Gbagiba was the first and only female to take the crown as Ooni (or king) after the demise of Ooni Giesi. She was the daughter or a descendant of Ooni Otaataa from Owode compound, Okerewe, and a descendant of Ooni Lafogido, and the 21st Ooni of Ife.

Luwoo was married to one of the high chief known as Obaloran and gave birth to a son named Adekola Telu, the founder of the Iwo Kingdom.

The Ooni of Ile-Ife is the traditional ruler of Ilé-Ifẹ̀ and the spiritual head of the Yoruba people.  Since there were not ceremonial recitations of the list of the Oonis (at burial or at crowning), there are in fact several oral traditions, that have generated an unusual number of different written transcriptions. Some historians claim that Ooni Luwo Gbagida reigned around 1100, dating only started from the 38th Ooni Akinmoyero 1770.

The ruler of Ife is believed to be a direct descendant of the Yoruba god Oduduwa. Little is known of how these early Oonis exercised power or how their territory was administered, or precisely when the kingship started. We know that the landscape out of which Ife (and Benin) emerged consisted of a mixture of tropical forests and savannah land.


Like this post? Stop by and read Ayaba Moremi Ajasoro of Ile-Ife.” Moremi was a legendary queen, wife of Oranyan (Oramiyan), the heir to the king of Ife and son of the founding father of the Yoruba people, Oduduwa. During her reign, Ile-Ife faced the prolonged issue of Ìgbo raiders disrupting and looting its markets, and people.

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