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The modern town of Oyo, seat of the Alafin, lies on the site of an earlier settlement named Ago. For centuries the capital of the Oyo empire lay 130 km north of this town on a site that is today completely depopulated, but about 1837 this town, Old Oyo, was abandoned. The Alafin and his followers moved south and settled at the small Egba township of Ago. The new site lay south of direct Fulani pressure but the Alafin's personal acquaintance with Ago also probably played an important part in its selection as the new capital. A northern quarter of the present town, between the Awerintu and Ishowin streams, appears to lie on the actual site of Ago. The Alafin went to great lengths to make his new capital resemble Old Oyo: apart from the toponymic change and multiplying the town's area several fold he founded a small religious precinct on the outskirts of the town dedicated to the Yoruba God, Shango. Today he is remembered by one of the grandest buildings in the town, the Atiba Hall, which lies adjacent to the town's main market and the Alafin's palace.
The Geographical Journal © 1971 The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)