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The Yoruba people (name spelled also: Ioruba or Joruba; Yoruba: Ìran Yorùbá, lit. 'Yoruba lineage'; also known as Àwon omo Yorùbá, lit. 'Children of Yoruba', or simply as the Yoruba) are an ethnic group of southwestern and north-central Nigeria, as well as southern and central Benin. Together, these regions are known as Yorubaland. The Yoruba constitute over 40 million people in total. The majority of this population is from Nigeria, and the Yoruba make up 21% of the country's population, according to the CIA World Factbook, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The majority of the Yoruba speak the Yoruba language, which is tonal, and is the Niger-Congo language with the largest number of native speakers.
The Yoruba share borders with the very closely related Itsekiri to the south-east in the North West Niger delta, Bariba to the northwest in Benin, the Nupe to the north and the Ebira to the northeast in central Nigeria. To the east are the Edo, Ẹsan and the Afemai groups in mid-western Nigeria. Adjacent to the Ebira and Edo groups are the related Igala people found in the northeast, on the left bank of the Niger River. To the southwest are the Gbe speaking Mahi, Egun, Fon and Ewe who border Yoruba communities in Benin and Togo. To the southeast are Itsekiri who live in the north-west end of the Niger delta. They are ancestrally related to the Yoruba but chose to maintain a distinct cultural identity. Significant Yoruba populations in other West African countries can be found in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Yoruba diaspora consists of two main groupings; one of them includes relatively recent migrants, the majority of which moved to the United Kingdom and the United States after major economic and political changes in the 1960s to 1980s; the other is a much older population dating back to the Atlantic slave trade. This older group has communities in such countries as Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Brazil, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.