The Nago people are the people that inhabited the Anago region of the Oyo Empire. There are Nago songs in Haiti that use both names: Nago, Anago, si w wè kote m demere… ( Nago people, Anago people, if only you could see where I am living…). In Haiti, The Oyo Empire is commonly called Nanchon Nago-Oyo. Nago culture is old and dates back to the Nok people who lived in the region about 2500 years ago.
According to the Nago people, human life originated in their former capital city, Ife. It is in that city that God first created people. By oral tradition, the first King of the Nago Oyo Empire was Obatala followed by Odoudouwa, Oranyan and Shango. All these names are revered Nago Ancestors and for that reason they are honored as Lwa (the spirit of a distinguished Ancestor) in Haiti. There are numerous other Nago Ancestors that are remembered in Haiti and they include Ogou, Legba, Yeye Aloumandya and Lemiso. The Nago word for spirit, Awo, and their word for grace, Ashe, are commonly said in Haiti as Awo Ashè Nago or Awochè Nago.
Internationally, the Nago Oyo empire is best known for its fine old bronze sculptures . The Nago Oyo Empire was the largest empire in the northern part of Ginen. They were the most powerful kingdom because of their use of horses in their military calvary. The nations that surrounded them could not have horses because of their higher rates of titze fly infection which would kill the horses. The Nago- Oyo empire was so powerful that for a long time Dahomey had to pay tribute to them. It is in honor of the great military strength of the Nago-Oyo people that in Haiti the Nago Ancestor , Ogou is considered an outstanding military general. In fact, he is the patron spirit of war.
Nago influence is ubiquitous in Haiti. It can be found in many expressions that we use. For example, when we want to say komanman in a masculine form, instead of saying kopapa, we say kobaba. We do so because baba is the Nago word for papa. More recently the word Kita Nago has emerged as a name of a movement in Haiti. The word Nago in Kita Nago is a tribute to the influential role that the Nago nanchon had in creating the country of Haiti.