The foundation traditions of the Ijesa, as of the other major Yoruba kingdoms, take the form of a dynastic migration from lIe Ife, the sacred centre of Yoruba mythology.
Ijesaland is one of the oldest settlements in Yorubaland. According to tradition, it was founded by Owa Ajibogun or Owa (“King”) who was one of the 16 sons of the deity Oduduwa. The standard version of tradition among the Ijesa themselves traces the origin of the Ijesas state to a younger son of Oduduwa called Obokun (Owa’s ancestor), in commemoration of an occasion on which he fetched sea water to cure his father’s blindness. Obokun then settled in what was to become Ijesaland. He found, like other founding heroes, pre-existing political structures including a confederacy of five towns in the Obokun area. Obokun himself is so central to the Ijesas that they call themselves Omo Obokun (Children of Obokun). The Head of the Sovereign Family is also known as Owa-Obokun of Ijesaland.
Ijesa land presently covers six local government areas in Nigeria, which includes Ilesa West, Ilesa East, Atakumosa West, Atakumosa East, Oriade, and Obokun (local government areas within Osun State. There are many other towns and villages in Ijesaland, in fact not less than 200 towns and villages. Major towns are Iperindo, Ipetu-Ijesa, Esa-Oke, Ijebu-Jesa, Ibokun which have between 100,000 and 120,000 inhabitants. There are other towns like Imesi-Ile, Ikeji-IIe, Ifewara, Erin-Ijesa, Esa-Odo, Kajola, Otan-Ile, Ikeji Arakeji, Owena-Ijesa etc. Most of these towns have basic social amenities, local industries, banks and higher institutions.
Ilesa (Ilesa) is the largest town and the capital of Ijesaland in Osun State, Nigeria. Ilesa, a major city in Osun State, is very strategic because it is a major gateway to the north, south and eastern parts of Nigeria. It lies in the Yoruba Hills and at the intersection of roads from Ile-Ife, Osogbo, and Akure.
The Ijesas are known to be very hardworking, industrious and widely travelled. They enjoy trading kolanut, cloth weaving, cocoa farming, blacksmithing, and other export services which make other Yoruba descendants refer to them as Osómáalò, which displays an inflexible strength of debt collection.
Some prominent tourist attractions in Ijesa land are Erin Ijesa Waterfalls, Kiriji War Museum, and the palace of the King, Adimula of Ijesa land which usually celebrates the annual “Iwude” Ijesa .
Ijesaland is a rain forest zone known for its agricultural potentials. Ijesaland is an agricultural, commercial and processing land situated in a region in which cocoa, kola nuts, palm products, and yams are produced. Modern Ilesa is a major collecting point for the export of cocoa. Palm oil and kernels, yams, cassava, corn (maize), pumpkins, cotton, and kola nuts are collected for the local market.
Local industries manufacture nails and carpets, and the town has a brewery; there are also a recording company and a publishing firm, and the Supreme Oil industry at Ilesa.
Several prominent quartzite ridges lie east of Ilesa, and gold mining is an important activity in the area, i.e The Iperindo Gold field.