Benin Edo or Benin is the name for the place, people and language of an ethnic group in Nigeria. Similar languages are spoken from the following ethnic groups that include the Esan, the Afemai, the Owan among others. The Edo are also referred to as “Bini” or as the “Benin ethnic group”, though currently the people themselves prefer to be simply called “Edo”. The Edo are the descendants of the people who founded the former Benin Empire, which was located in South/Mid-Western Nigeria, encompassing what is now the Edo State of Nigeria, as well as surrounding areas.
The name “Benin” is a Portuguese corruption, ultimately from the word “Ubinu”, which came into use during the reign of Oba Ewuare the Great, c. 1440. “Ubinu” was used to describe the royal administrative centre or city or capital proper of the kingdom, Edo. ‘Ubinu’ was later corrupted to ‘Bini’ by the mixed ethnicities living together at the centre; and further corrupted to “Benin” around 1485 when the Portuguese began trade relations with Oba Ewuare. See Oba of Benin