My test Post for sidebars

August 16, 2013 in Uncategorized by tri2012

Nri Kingdom
A bronze ceremonial vessel made around the 9th century found at Igbo-Ukwu.Main article: Kingdom of Nri
The city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture.[4] Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umueri clan, who trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure, Eri.[5] Eri’s origins are unclear, though he has been described as a “sky being” sent by Chukwu (God).[5][6] He has been characterized as having first given societal order to the people of Anambra.[6]

Archaeological evidence suggests that Nri hegemony in Igboland may go back as far as the 9th century,[7] and royal burials have been unearthed dating to at least the 10th century. Eri, the god-like founder of Nri, is believed to have settled the region around 948 with other related Igbo cultures following after in the 13th century.[8] The first Eze Nri (King of Nri), Ìfikuánim, followed directly after him. According to Igbo oral tradition, his reign started in 1043.[9] At least one historian puts Ìfikuánim’s reign much later, around 1225 AD.[10]

Each king traces his origin back to the founding ancestor, Eri. Each king is a ritual reproduction of Eri. The initiation rite of a new king shows that the ritual process of becoming Ezenri (Nri priest-king) follows closely the path traced by the hero in establishing the Nri kingdom.
—E. Elochukwu Uzukwu[11]
Nri and Aguleri and part of the Umueri clan, a cluster of Igbo village groups which traces its origins to a sky being called Eri, and, significantly, includes (from the viewpoint of its Igbo members) the neighbouring kingdom of Igala.
—Elizabeth Allo Isichei[12]
The Kingdom of Nri was a religio-polity, a sort of theocratic state, that developed in the central heartland of the Igbo region.[8] The Nri had a taboo symbolic code with six types. These included human (such as the birth of twins), animal (such as killing or eating of pythons),[13] object, temporal, behavioral, speech and place taboos.[14] The rules regarding these taboos were used to educate and govern Nri’s subjects. This meant that, while certain Igbo may have lived under different formal administration, all followers of the Igbo religion had to abide by the rules of the faith and obey its representative on earth, the Eze Nri.[14][15]

Decline of Nri kingdom[edit source | edit]With the decline of Nri kingdom in the 1400-1600 AD, several states once under their influence, became powerful economic oracular oligarchies and large commercial states that dominated Igboland. The neighboring Awka city-state rose in power as a result of their powerful Agbala oracle and metalworking expertise. The Onitsha Kingdom, which was originally inhabited by Igbos from East of the Niger, was founded in the 16th century by migrants from Anioma (Western Igboland). Later groups like the Igala traders from the hinterland settled in Onitsha in the 18th century. Western Igbo kingdoms like Aboh, dominated trade in the lower Niger area from the 17th century until European penetration. The Umunoha state in the Owerri area used the Igwe ka Ala oracle at their advantage. However, the Cross River Igbo state like the Aro had the greatest influence in Igboland and adjacent areas after the decline of Nri.

The Arochukwu kingdom which emerged after the Aro-Ibibio wars from 1630–1720, and went on to form the Aro Confederacy which economically dominated parts of midwestern and eastern Nigeria with pockets of influence in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. The source of the Aro Confederacy’s economic dominance was based on the judicial oracle of Ibini Ukpabi (“Long Juju”) and their military forces which included powerful allies such as Ohafia, Abam, Ezza, and other related neighboring states. The related Abiriba (Abiriba and Aro Are Brothers who’s migration is traced to Ekpa Kingdom in East of Cross River(their exact take of location was at Ekpa (Mkpa) east of the Cross river. They crossed the river to urupkam (Usukpam) west of the Cross river and founded two settlements – Ena Uda and Ena Ofia in present day Erai. Aro and Abiriba cooperated to become a powerful economic force.

Igbo gods, like those of the Yoruba, were numerous, but their relationship to one another and human beings was essentially egalitarian, reflecting Igbo society as a whole. A number of oracles and local cults attracted devotees while the central deity, the earth mother and fertility figure Ala, was venerated at shrines throughout Igboland.

The weakness of a popular theory that Igbos were stateless rests on the paucity of historical evidence of pre-colonial Igbo society. There is a huge gap between the archaeological finds of Igbo Ukwu, which reveal a rich material culture in the heart of the Igbo region in the 8th century, and the oral traditions of the 20th century. Benin exercised considerable influence on the western Igbo who adopted many of the political structures familiar to the Yoruba-Benin region, but Asaba and its immediate neighbors, such as Ibusa, Ogwashi-Ukwu, Okpanam, Issele-Azagba and Issele-Ukwu were much closer to the Kingdom of Nri. Ofega was the queen for the Onitsha Igbo.

Early states before 1500[edit source | edit]Main article: History of Nigeria before 1500
The early independent Kingdoms and states that make the present day British colonialized Nigeria are (in alphabetical order):

Benin Kingdom
Borgu Kingdom
Fulani Empire
Hausa Kingdoms
Kanem Bornu Empire
Kwararafa Kingdom
Ibibio Kingdom
Nri Kingdom
Nupe Kingdom
Oyo Kingdom
Songhai Empire
Warri Kingdom
Oyo and Benin[edit source | edit]Main article: Oyo Empire
During the 15th century Oyo and Benin surpassed Ife as political and economic powers, although Ife preserved its status as a religious center. Respect for the priestly functions of the oni of Ife was a crucial factor in the evolution of Yoruban culture. The Ife model of government was adapted at Oyo, where a member of its ruling dynasty controlled several smaller city-states. A state council (the Oyo Mesi) named the alafin (king) and acted as a check on his authority. Their capital city was situated about 100 km north of present-day Oyo. Unlike the forest-bound Yoruba kingdoms, Oyo was in the savanna and drew its military strength from its cavalry forces, which established hegemony over the adjacent Nupe and the Borgu kingdoms and thereby developed trade routes farther to the north.

The Benin Empire (1440–1897; called Bini by locals) was a pre-colonial African state in what is now modern Nigeria. It should not be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey.

Main article: Benin Empire
Northern kingdoms of the Sahel[edit source | edit]
The Songhai Empire, c. 1500Trade is the key to the emergence of organized communities in the sahelian portions of Nigeria. Prehistoric inhabitants adjusting to the encroaching desert were widely scattered by the third millennium BC, when the desiccation of the Sahara began. Trans-Saharan trade routes linked the western Sudan with the Mediterranean since the time of Carthage and with the Upper Nile from a much earlier date, establishing avenues of communication and cultural influence that remained open until the end of the 19th century. By these same routes, Islam made its way south into West Africa after the 9th century AD.

By then a string of dynastic states, including the earliest Hausa states, stretched across western and central Sudan. The most powerful of these states were Ghana, Gao, and Kanem, which were not within the boundaries of modern Nigeria but which influenced the history of the Nigerian savanna. Ghana declined in the 11th century but was succeeded by the Mali Empire which consolidated much of western Sudan in the 13th century.

Following the breakup of Mali a local leader named Sonni Ali (1464–1492) founded the Songhai Empire in the region of middle Niger and the western Sudan and took control of the trans-Saharan trade. Sonni Ali seized Timbuktu in 1468 and Djenné in 1473, building his regime on trade revenues and the cooperation of Muslim merchants. His successor Askia Muhammad Ture (1493–1528) made Islam the official religion, built mosques, and brought Muslim scholars, including al-Maghili (d.1504), the founder of an important tradition of Sudanic African Muslim scholarship, to Gao.[16]

Although these western empires had little political influence on the Nigerian savanna before 1500 they had