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Is it true that Benin enjoyed a ‘golden age’ during the 15th and 16th centuries?

This enquiry shows students how historical interpretations can be examined, critiqued and challenged.

Taking the interpretation of writer Amie Jane Leavitt – who suggests that Benin’s ‘golden age’ was initiated by Oba Ewuare in the 15th century – students are encouraged to consider the use of criteria in reaching judgements.

Students gather evidence from a set of clues, before deciding how far the Kingdom of Benin meets the criteria for a ‘golden age’.

A comparison with the supposed ‘golden age’ enjoyed by England under Elizabeth I serves to contextualise Benin’s own ‘golden age’. Finally, students answer the enquiry question in the form of a letter to Leavitt, explaining how far they agree with her assessment.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1: PDF
  • Worksheet 1: PDF

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