Benin: exploring an African empire at Key Stage 2

Primary History article

By Karin Doull, published 14th June 2023

Benin: exploring an African empire at Key Stage 2 – why is it worth studying?

Karin Doull reminds us of the value in studying Benin as a non-European study area and suggests how it might be approached, stressing the importance of placing it in context through comparison. The article addresses worthwhile aspects, key concepts and questions as well as furnishing some key information including extracts from useful sources. There are also four sample activities focusing on the similarities and differences between Benin and England.  

The study of the Kingdom of Benin has been included within the National Curriculum since its inception in 1988 when it was included in the non-European units of study. At that time, it provided an interesting counterpoint to the Tudor period which was one of the compulsory Key Stage 2 study units. The late Tudor period / early Stuart period was the point when this already established African empire encountered the burgeoning power of English influence...

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