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Ilesha (ēlāˈshä) [key], city (1991 est. pop. 334,000), SW Nigeria. Formerly a caravan trade center, Ilesha is today an agricultural and commercial city. Cacao, kola nuts, palm oil, and yams are shipped from there. There is a sawmill, and alluvial gold is found. Ilesha was the capital of the Yoruba Ilesha kingdom of the Oyo empire. After Oyo's collapse in the early 19th cent., Ilesha became subject to Ibadan. It was taken by the British in 1893.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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