The Igbo Of Nigeria In West Africa History Essay

The Igbo people lived in the southeasterly portion of Nigeria in West Africa. Its people are among the most legion cultural nationalities in sub-Saharan Africa ( Afigbo:1981 ) with a population estimated at about 14 million people in Nigeria. One chief of import characteristic of the Igbo group is that they are regarded as one of the most widely cited illustrations of a non centralised society in bomber Saharan African ( Falola. 2005 ) . This point was buttress by ( Afrigbo: 1981 ) when he mentioned that the Igbo did non hold a cardinal political organisation in malice of its great size and population.

Igbo is one of the linguistic communications that the field of linguistics designates as Kwa, a sub-group of Niger Congo group of linguistic communications. The Igbo linguistic communication possibly emerged among the native talkers over 6,000 old ages ago. ( Armstrong, 1964 ) To day of the month, there is non comprehensive or dependable historical information on whether the linguistic communication was foremost spoken elsewhere before the people entered the part where they have lived during the modern period.

The Igbo people can be found in the country between Igala, the Cross River and Niger delta metropoliss of Nigeria. The people are divided into five major cultural groups, the western or Riverine, Northern or Awka, Owerri, Cross River, and Ogoja Igbo. These cultural groups were considered by the colonial powers to be the ‘tribes ‘ of the Igbo society ( Equiano, 1960 ) .

The cultural groups include Awka, Nri, Ihiala, Owerri, Agbor, Ebu, Enugu, Eziko, Afikpo, Azumimi, and Asaba. These Igbo peoples portion similar lingual, socio-political, economic, and spiritual activities.

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However, each cultural group in Igbo society has its ain typical imposts, traditions, and establishments that distinguish them from one another.

Like many other groups, the Igbo have a figure of viing narratives explicating their beginning. Some have suggested that the Igbo people were possibly the alleged lost folks of Israel, as they, like the Jews, practiced Circumcision, confined adult females for a specific purification period after childbearing, and named their kids after specific events or experiences that occurred within their community. ( Equaino, 1960 ) However, there is no general comprehensive unwritten tradition of history adhering all Igbo people. Some believe that they had ever lived where they now and did non come from anyplace else, while others believed that their sires came from Egypt or Israel. This fabulous thought of their beginnings has mostly been abandoned since the 1930s, due to the absence of any utile grounds to buttress the claim that they originated from Israel or Egypt.

Among the Igbo people, immature people are expected to esteem their seniors and obey certain cultural regulations and ordinance steering the operation of the society. However, the Igbo people were extremely individualistic and classless ; everyone in the society is believed to be good as others and hence has a voice in the local personal businesss of the Igbo community.

The environment of the people is besides an of import point to reference. In the Delta Igbo part of Asaba, the land is really low lying but intersected by countless brooks and boggy countries ( Basden, 1921 ) . The dry season begins early in October to in March. In between this perios, a little rain will fall, showing in the harmattan season. During this period, there is inordinate waterlessness every bit good as a dull haze, caused by infinitesimal atoms of dust that obscure the Sun. Between April and September, there are normally heavy cloudbursts at intervals ( Basden, 1921 ) .

In the backwoods of Igbo society, the flora consists chiefly of gowns and jungle grass with large spots of moorland in the town. Extensive and picturesque bunchs of trees are scattered about, bespeaking, the presence of town and small towns or marked as topographic points earmarked for burial land. The dirt of the Igbo part is ruddy and flaxen, except in certain hilly musca volitanss that are stoneless. The land of the Igbo part is of hapless quality for agricultural intents, and much labour is involved for which there is often no equal return. The works largely found among the Igbo people includes the elephantine elephant-grass, the shorter jungle grass, and other assortments called “ Ata ” , or spear grass.

On the western side of the Igbo part, peculiarly in Agbor, Asaba, and Ibuzo, a big portion of the community is covered by wood. The cultivable land for farming is much more fertile. In fact, great measures of agricultural merchandises such as yam, taros, manioc, and veggies are raised and labour is extremely rewarded. The thenar tree dominates among the trees found in the Igbo part. The people uses the thenar trees and their merchandises in the readying of nutrient, raphia thenar for edifice, every bit good as utilizing it for lumbers, unlike the eastern Igbo community of Nnewi, Aba, Onitsha, and Enugu, where they have red dirt incorporating ferric Fe which is non a good belongings for agricultural harvests to turn.

Among the Igbo people, faith is a mixture of human and religious being. ( Mbiti, 1975 ) The human classs consist of the priests, diviners and ritual seniors who conduct faiths worship and forfeits to the Gods. The Igbo people pattern the worship of ascendants in Grovess of their ascendants ( Arinze, 1975 ) . Sacrifice in Igbo autochthonal faith is performed in the town to guard off evil liquors, to petition the ascendants, and as looks of thanksgiving. The people believe in supernatural divinities or liquors such as anyanwu ( the God of the Sun ) , Igwe, ( the God of the sky ) , and ale or ane ( the God of the Earth ) . In the tradition of the people, the Gods of the town are the ascendants of the people at that place, who contribute to the care of solidarity in the community, friendly relationship, and love amongst its members. The liquors in Igbo society are varied from one Igbo society to another. They are located or animated in rivers, trees, route junctions, ward topographic points, mountains, and hills. They are regarded in Igbo belief as the guardian liquors, which may be benevolent or arch, loveable or fearful. Examples of some of these liquors in Igbo community are the God of birthrate and the H2O spirit.

Christian religion is besides a major faith found among the people. Christianity was brought to Igboland through Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Anglican missionaries. The missions were responsible for the constitution of Western instruction that became widely accepted by the people to derive literacy and award within the church and society at big. Unlike Christianity, Islam is rarely found among the Igbo people except in Afikpo ( Ottinberg, 1971 ) , an Igbo small town where the full kin converted to Islam.

The wider and most popular tradition of beginning among the Igbo people and historiographers is that the people foremost lived in the country known as the “ Nri ” composite but subsequently moved to other countries dominated by the Igbo speech production people in Nigeria. Furthermore, archeological grounds has shown that Nri-Awka Orlu part is the first country of colony where the people live unwritten tradition had it that the earliest colonists of this country engaged in fruit assemblage and hunting as their chief pre-occupation. Later, they proceeded to seek for wider infinite to prolong their support. Conflicts among them besides led to their scattering which made them to settle in several other towns located in the Igbo speech production part. In the class of their migration, the Igbo people ensured they maintain their contact through the merger of assorted small towns informally to organize alliances and to work out a common line of defence and other concerted ventures.

The Nri civilisation is believed to be the place of birth of Igbo civilization and civilisation. Bronze plants have been excavated dating to the 9th century in the country. The bronzes excavated in this country were regarded as excellent in quality among anthropologists and art historiographers.

Politically, the Igbo system of authorities centered on the small town cleans with close associations outside the immediate affinity groups. Since everyone has a right to lift in the society, the Igbo political tradition emphasized competition between households, line of descents and kins. ( Anene, 1956 ) . The political construction of the Igbo speech production people in southeasterly Nigeria is based on matrimony associations and spiritual associations to adhere the people in the community. These establishments have particular significance in the publicity and care of jurisprudence and order in the Igbo colony.

The political geographics of Igboland is reflected in the small town construction, kin and line of descent of the people. The Igbo people are normally divided harmonizing to their kin and line of descent within their community. The wards were grouped around the big small town market that operated every four or eight yearss depending on its size and importance. Every ward in the town has its ain group made up of drawn-out households whose compounds were close together. The Igbo political organisation has two distinctive in establishments viz. the Ama-ala ( council of Elders ) and the assembly of citizens. These two establishments normally come together to consider on issues that affect the general relationship that happen among different people populating in the colony. It is through these establishments that people in the community have assess to fair hearing, equity and societal justness. In the care of justness in the community households of line of descent caputs were responsible for rites and forfeits to a peculiar kin or line of descent. These forfeit in the Igbo context where used to keep peace, prosperity and felicity of the Igbo people. In add-on, the rites conducted by household line of descent besides help to remind the people of their common lineage and unite the group of Igbo people within and outside their environment.

The political system of Igbo society is non-centralized except for among a few groups where kingship political tradition exist. The Nri community is believed among the people to be the oldest kingship system found among the Igbo people. This pattern is unlike other countries in Igbo society, where no cardinal authorization is recognized in the organisation and disposal of the town. They developed an luxuriant and extremely ritualized priest kingship around which rich Igbo traditions have survived. Furthermore, the Igbo people developed a critical political construction by forming extremely developed secret societies used as an instrument of societal control. ( Afigbo, 1981 ) .

In Igbo civilization, the production of goods and services chiefly depends on the ownership and control of land. Land ownership is normally a private matter, controlled by the seniors of a kin or household. Farming was the dominant economic activity of the people during the pre-colonial period. Igbo farming revolves around the part of full family. The distribution of agricultural labour within families is shared depending on the farm size in the community ( Buchanan, 1976 ) . Another sector of the Igbo economic system of critical importance to the Igbo community is art and trade production. The find of the Igbo Ukwu bronze shows clearly that the people have been engaged in trade with their neighbours for such points such as bronze, and carnelian beads from markets in the Sudan and beyond ( Oguntomisin and Edo, 2005 ) .

In add-on, archeological grounds as shown that the Igbo Ukwu throwers were doing well-fired and lasting clayware of first-class quality. Igbo clayware can be found in diverse signifiers and for useful intents, with keen coating that include banished and luxuriant ornaments. These clayware merchandises produced have been mostly sold in commercial measure between the Igbo people and their neighbours. The Igbo are arguably one of the most entrepreneurial groups in Nigeria. They have been known for trading in different types of manufactured goods such as computing machines, nomadic phones, electronics, machines, car parts, and pharmaceutical drugs.

Oladiti Abiodun Akeem

Further Reading

Afigbo, A.E. Ropes of the Sand: Surveies in Igbo History and Culture. Oxford: University Press ( in association with Oxford University Press ) , 1981.

Alagoa, A.E. “ The Autochthonal political systems of Igbo. ” Tarikh 4:2 ( 1973 ) .

Anene, J. C. “ Benin, Niger Delta, Ibo and Ibibio peoples in the Nineteenth century. ” In Ajayi and Espie ( ed. ) A Thousand old ages of West African History. London: Evans Brothers, 1965.

Arinze, F. A. “ Sacrifice in Igbo Religion ” . In J. S. Mbiti ( ed. ) An Introduction to African Religion. London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1975.

Armstrong, R. G. The Study of West African linguistic communications. Ibadan, Nigeria: Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, 1964.

Basden, G. T. Among the Ibos of Nigeria. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott, 1921.

Equiano, O. , “ Ibo society in mid century. ” In Hogkin ( ed. ) , Nigerian Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960.

Falola, T. Simon Ottenberg: An Introduction in Igbo Art and Culture and other Essaies by Simon Ottenberg. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005.

Oguntomisin, D. and Edo, V. O. African Culture and Civilization. Ibadan, Nigaria: General Studies Programme, University of Ibadan, 2005.

Okpoko, A. I. and Ibeanu, A. M. ( 2005 ) “ Igbo civilisation: An Archoelogical and historical Ethnographic profile. ” In Ogundiran ( ed. ) , Pre-colonial Nigeria: Essaies in award of Toyin Falola. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2005.

Ottenberg, S. “ A Moslem Ibo small town. ” Cahiers d ‘ Etudes Africans 2 ( 1971 ) .

Shaw, T. Igbo-Ukwu: An Account of Archaeological finds in Eastern Nigeria. London. University Press Limited, 1971.

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