The decline of the Benin Empire in the 19th century was subject to a lot of factors.
- Revolts from some of the vassal states example Akure, Agbor; etc.
- The rise of the Yorubas especially the Oyo empire.
- The slave trade coupled with the series of civil wars which Benin witnessed among others.
- Some of their rulers were very weak e.g. Osa made, Obanosa, etc.
- The abolition of slave trade affected the Benin empire very well.
However, the brain behind the fall of the Benin empire was the British activities of 1892; for that was when the people convinced Oba Ovonramwen to sign a treaty that abolish slave trade and human sacrifice.
It equally allowed some commercial activities to take place in the entire empire, which swallowed some of her secret acts.
Moreover, the acting Consul-General, Philip, visited Benin during the Igua festival against the advice that visitors were prohibited in the area within the period. Consequently; both Philip and almost all his team were abused and killed.
Thus’- that led to the famous Benin massacre of 1897, which led to the total looting and destruction of Benin Kingdom. Many of the chiefs were executed and the Oba was sent on exile in Calabar where he spent the rest of his life and gave up the ghost in 1914.