At the end of this topic, you should be able to:
• discuss how Christianity was planted in Egba land
• identify the problems that confront the spread of Christianity in 
Egba land.


Henry Townsend and Wilhem Arrived Badagry

On 24 December, 1842, Reverends Henry Townsend and Wilheim 
arrived Badagry and worshipped with Reverend Birch Freeman who 
was an adherent of Methodist faith. On 29 December, 1842, Townsend 
left Badagry for Egba land. He was received by Oba Sodeke of 
Abeokuta. All commercial activities were suspended to welcome the 
Missionaries to Egba land since they requested for them to plant 
Christianity in the land. The Missionaries established Mission Station in 
Abeokuta on 27 July, 1846. Abeokuta was made the Headquarters of the 
other Mission Stations for Yoruba land. In 1847, the Church Missionary 
Society planted their Missions in the following towns: Ake,Owu, Ikija, 
Itoku, and Igbein. The Missionaries established Sunday School, and 
Primary Schools for both the old and young people in Egba land. The 
wives of the Missionaries cared for the women of Egba land. In Egba 
land, the Missionaries were also involved in the economic, commercial, 
social and political life of the people as stated by Oshitelu. They 
encouraged the people to trade by using Ogun River as waterway for 
trading. They bought and sold farm product such as palm oil and cotton. 
In 1862, the Missionaries built Ake Orphanage in Abeokuta to take care 
of Orphans in the land. The Mission also established a News paper 
called Iwe Irohin in Yoruba language. It was used as a medium of 
information for the people in Egba land in 1859. 

 Reverend Johnson Samuel Appointed the Secretary of the Egba United Government 

 
In 1902, Reverend Johnson Samuel was appointed the secretary of the 
Egba United Government. He was also known as Adegboyega Edun. 
C.B. Moor was also appointed the treasurer of the Society. The highest 
judicial authority in Egba land was no longer held by the Ogbonis but by 
a Christian named J. Martin. While Reverend D.O. Williams became the 
‘Prime Minister’ of the Alake around 1898 and 1911. In 1900, the Alake 
of Egba land named Gbadebo attended Church service at the opening of 
the Townsend Wood Memorial Church. Since then he attended services 
regularly. He became a devoted Christian and abandoned the traditional 
customs of the land. For instance he allowed his face to be seen by his 
chiefs. Further more, He prayed to God whenever drought or illness
efell his domain.Oba Gbadebo no longer consulted diviners for 
solution to the problems of Egba land But went to Saint Peter’s Church 
to pray to the living God to solve such problems. He also had a Chaplain 
for the king’s palace in Abeokuta town. Oba Gbadebo paid a visit to the 
king of England in 1904. king Edward vii gave him a Bible as a special 
gift. 

SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 
State the roles of the Alake of Egba land in the spread of the Gospel in 
his land.

4.0 CONCLUSION

You have read in this unit that the Egba people sent for Missionaries to 
plant Christianity in their area. They accepted Christianity and it brought 
to them social, spiritual, educational and economic gains which further 
spread to the other areas of Yoruba land. Christianity paved way for Oba 
Gbadebo to pay visit to England. The happiness and gains which other Yoruba people saw among Christians in Egba land made them open 
their gates to the Missionaries. The Christians who were traders also 
spread their faith to some parts of Northern Nigeria.

5.0 SUMMARY

In this unit, you have learnt the following:
The Abeokuta people welcomed the Missionaries to their land and 
allowed them to plant Christianity. 
Many Mission Stations were opened by the Missionaries in Egba land.
The Missionaries established a vernacular newspaper called “Iwe 
Iroyin”. 

 6.0 TUTOR- MARKED ASSIGNMENT
1. Discuss the roles of Alake of Egba land in the spreadb of 
Christianity in Egba land.
2. State the benefits of Christianity to the people of Egba.

7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS
Ayandele, E.A. (1966).The Missionary Impact on Modern Nigeria 
1842-191: A Political and Social Analysis, London: Longman.
Ade- Ajayi, (1977).Christian Missions in Nigeria 1841-1891: The 
Making of a New Elite, London: Longman.