This paper is an assessment of the local historical model of sociopolitical development and settlement history in Ìlàrè community, southwest Nigeria. Ìlàrè was at the nucleus of an early sociopolitical formation in Ìjèsàland. The formation, known as Éka Òsun, held sway over the area of northern Ìjèsàland between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The study forms part of the ongoing archeological and historical investigations on the settlement history and regional interactions in central Yorùbàland.
The episodes of settlement cycling are the hallmarks around which the historical experiences of Ìlàrè are organized. In other words, the trajectories of Ìlàrè's historical experience parallel the shifts in its settlement location (habitus). Moreover, the oral traditions stress intersocietal conflict and intergroup alliance as the important factors in the earliest sociopolitical transformations in northern Ìjèsàland. The traditions also highlight how factional competitions resulted in the continuous shift in the settlement of Ìlàrè within an area of about eight kilometers in diameter over an 800-year period. The oral historical narratives not only draw on kinship idioms in the construction of hierarchical social relations, but the narratives also emphasize intercommunity relations as the plot of historical experience and social actions.
The attempt here is to outline the historical trajectories of events that heralded Ìlàrè as the political center and that characterized its transformations to a political periphery in northern Ìjèsàland. This study also historicizes the long-term patterns of relationship between factional competition and regional inter-community relations on the one hand and sociopolitical development and settlement cycling on the other.