This article offers a translation of M. C. Adeyẹmi's book, A History of Old and New Ọyọ, completed in Yoruba in 1914. The original text comprises 32 pages, divided into ten short chapters, six of which treat the history of Ọyọ from the origins to 1914. The remaining four chapters examine cultural and political institutions. The translation retains the flavour of the original text which stems from a tradition of Yoruba oral historiography. M. C. Adeyẹmi was trained by the C.M.S., and had a Bachelor of Arts degree in education at Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone. Between 1911 and 1942, he combined the functions of educationalist and missionary. His short book, which refers to no published or unpublished written work, is based on Ọyọ oral traditions describing the major developments in the political history of Ọyọ. The author did not moralise on wars and the collapse of the Ọyọ empire, nor did he use the book as a means of propagating Ọyọ hegemony in Yorubaland.
The book is significant in many ways: it is a representative example of Ọyọ traditions as they existed at the beginning of this century; it complements Johnson's The History of the Yorubas where both describe the same event; it is very useful for understanding how ‘traditional’ historians study society; and it provides new information on Ọyọ in the nineteenth century and on some cultural features of the Yoruba.