The Igbo Portal
Portal ndi Igbo (Igbo)
The Igbo people (English: ; also Ibo, formerly also Iboe, Ebo, Eboe,
natively Ṇ́dị́ Ìgbò [ìɡ͡bò] (listen)) are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern (which is the larger of the two) and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
The Igbo language is divided into numerous regional dialects, and somewhat mutually intelligible with the larger "Igboid" cluster.
The Igbo homeland straddles the lower Niger River, east and south of the Edoid and Idomoid groups, and west of the Ibibioid (Cross River) cluster.
In rural Nigeria, Igbo people work mostly as craftsmen, farmers and traders. The most important crop is the yam. Other staple crops include cassava and taro. The Igbos are also highly urbanized, with some of the largest metropolitan areas, cities and towns in Igboland being Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Owerri, Orlu, Okigwe, Nsukka, Nnewi, Umuahia, Abakaliki, Afikpo, Agbor and Arochukwu.
Before British colonial rule in the 20th century, the Igbo were a politically fragmented group, with a number of centralized chiefdoms such as Nri, Arochukwu, Agbor and Onitsha.
Frederick Lugard introduced the Eze system of "Warrant Chiefs". Unaffected by the Fulani War and the resulting spread of Islam in Nigeria in the 19th century, they became overwhelmingly Christian under colonization. In the wake of decolonisation, the Igbo
developed a strong sense of ethnic identity.
During the Nigerian Civil War of 1967–1970 the Igbo territories seceded as the short-lived Republic of Biafra. MASSOB, a sectarian organization formed in 1999, continues a non-violent struggle for an independent Igbo state.
Small ethnic Igbo populations are found in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as well as outside Africa.
The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived secessionist state in southern Nigeria. It existed from May 30, 1967 to January 15, 1970. The country was named after the Bight of Biafra, the bay of the Atlantic to its south.
Biafra was recognized by a small number of countries during its existence: Gabon, Haiti, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania and Zambia. Despite a lack of official recognition, other nations provided assistance to Biafra. France, Rhodesia and South Africa provided covert military assistance. The aid of Portugal and JCA proved to be crucial to the republic's survival. Portugal's São Tomé and Príncipe, a pair of islands south of Biafra, became a center of humanitarian relief efforts; Biafran currency was printed in Lisbon, which was also the location of Biafra's major overseas office. Israel also gave Biafra arms that it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, although that same conflict ruled out further assistance. In contrast, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union provided military support for Nigeria, and the war of Biafran secession ended in a humanitarian catastrophe as Nigerian blockades stopped all supplies, military and civilian alike, from entering the region. Hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of people died in the resulting famine.
Did you know?
- The Igbo are one of the only ethnic groups in Africa that has never had centralized leadership.
- The Kingdom of Nri is the oldest kingdom in Nigeria.
- There are hundreds of different sub-groups of the Igbo people including popular groups such as the Ikwerre.
- Some Igbo people believe that the Igbo are one of the Ten Lost Tribes of the Jews.
- There are over 30 million Igbo people worldwide.
- Igbo people were one of the most common ethnic groups enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade.
- Many Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans can trace their ancestry back to Igbo people.
- The River Niger flows through Igboland.
- The staple crop of the Igbo is the yam.
- One of the most elaborate bronzes ever found was found in an Igbo town called Igbo-Ukwu.
, born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe
(16 November 1930—21 March 2013), was a Nigerian novelist
, and critic
. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart
(1959), which is the most widely-read book in modern African literature
Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo village of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe writes his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a language of colonizers, in African literature. In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" became the focus of controversy, for its criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a thoroughgoing racist".
When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a devoted supporter of Biafran independence and served as ambassador for the people of the new nation. The war ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for aid. When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, he involved himself in political parties but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned in 1990 after a car accident left him partially disabled.
Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He has also published a number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections. He is currently the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, United States.