Lucky Ugbudian

Lucky Ugbudian

I Tatti/Getty Foundation Fellow
Benin-European Socio-cultural, Economic and Political Relations: Background to Globalisation of Benin Artefacts, 1480-1750
2024-2025 (January - June)


Dr Lucky Igohosa Ugbudian lectures at the Department of History and Strategic Studies, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria. He trained at the University of Ibadan for his BA in History and MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. He obtained his PhD in History and International Studies at the University of Uyo, Nigeria. Dr. Ugbudian's research interests include history, peace and conflict studies, and cultural heritage. He has published more than 20 papers in journals and chapters in books and he has won several prizes and awards including the TETFund Grant, Dubawa Postdoctoral Fellowship, Coimbra, and Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Peace and Security Law University of Cologne, and Institute of History, University of Bern.

Project Summary

The project analyzes the Benin-European socio-cultural, economic and political relations and nexus with the globalisation of Benin artefacts, 1480-1750. Through its explorers, traders and missionaries, Portugal was the first European nation to establish relations with Benin Kingdom in 1472. It would be followed by the Netherlands and Britian in succeeding centuries. While the major drivers of these relations were trade, both economic and diplomatic ties were also strengthened because Benin was a Christian Kingdom. This project reveals that the exchange of diplomatic representatives and strengthening of economic relations had an unprecedented impact on the production of artefacts and cultural reforms by Benin Kingdom. In this context, there was a rapid increase in the production of artefacts through the importation of metals and manila for its production while some of the produced objects depicted the relations and exchanges. This study argues that the Benin-European relations laid the foundation for the globalization of Benin artefacts which contradicts the position of many scholars that traced the globalisation of the artefacts to 1897. It instead posits that the globalization of Benin artefacts commenced in the 1470s, influenced by the dynamic nature of Benin-European relations that changed dramatically from the late 19th century.