The Kingdom of Benin, also called the Benin Empire or the Edo Empire was a major state in pre-colonial Africa is what is now Nigeria. It existed roughly from 1170 to 1897 and at its height reached from what is now the southwestern region of Nigeria across parts of Benin, Togo and Ghana. It was a well organized society with a trained and disciplined army. The line of the kings of Benin started with Eweka I and continues to today. Since 1979 the heir to the throne has been Erediauwa I.