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While Yoruba can be found throughout the entirety of West Africa, even reaching into Benin, Ghana, and Togo, the greatest concentration of Yoruba is found in Yorubaland, an area in western Nigeria. Considered the nexus of the Yoruba cultural identity, Yorubaland is bordered by the Borgu (variously called Bariba and Borgawa) in the northwest, the Nupe and Ebira in the north, the Ẹsan and Edo to the southeast, and the Igala and other related groups to the northeast.
The Yoruba are known for their excellent craftsmanship, considered to be the most skilled and productive in all of Africa. Traditionally, they worked at such trades as blacksmithing, leatherworking, weaving, glassmaking, and ivory and wood carving. The many densely populated urban areas of Yorubaland allow for a centralization of wealth and the development of a complex market economy which encourages extensive patronage of the arts.
Many people of African descent in the Americas claim a degree of Yoruba ancestry, due to the slave trade of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Romanticism arose as a reaction against the excessive rationalism of the Enlightenment. It drew upon the French Revolution's rejection of aristocratic social and political norms. It was also influenced by the theory of evolution and uniformitarianism, which argued that "the past is the key to the present." Thus some Romantics looked back nostalgically to the sensibility of the Middle Ages and elements of art and narrative perceived to be from the medieval period. The name "romantic" itself comes from the term "romance" which is a prose or poetic heroic narrative originating in the medieval. The artistic and literary works of the Romantic movement have lasting appeal, because the human faculty of emotion runs stronger and deeper than the intellect or the will.