Ruy de Sequeira, a Portuguese explorer, arrived on the coast of the Niger delta in present-day Nigeria in 1472 during one of the Portuguese trips along the west African coast. It was a region in the hinterland north of the delta that was ruled by the great kingdom of Benin. The kingdom was unknown to Europeans at the time, and this was the first European expedition to the region.
After a decade, Affonso d'Aveiro, a Portuguese adventurer, travelled down the delta to visit Benin. The Portuguese were driven to break their normal commitment to coastal harbors and risk travelling into the delta after hearing legends of Benin.
In 1486, when Aveiro arrived in Benin, he discovered a huge and advanced country with a city equivalent to those in Europe. The Edo people lived in cities and towns that were administered by a centralized and skilled bureaucracy. The roadways were large, long, and straight, with massive metal lamps hung many feet above the ground to provide illumination at night. The inhabitants wore fine cloth created in the kingdom and lived in big houses with courtyards.
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