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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Igbo (Ibo) people

The Igbo people, often erroneously spelled and pronounced "Ibo" (because certain Europeans had difficulty making the /ɡ͡b/ sound), are an indigenous linguistic and cultural people of southern 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. 

Culturally and linguistically, the Niger River has provided an easy means of communication and unity amongst the Igbo natives on both sides, as well as promoted ancient trade and movement of peoples between Igboland and rest of the world.

Known as Ndi Igbo in the Igbo language and sometimes identified by their respective Igboid dialects or subgroupings, such theAnioma and the Ngwa, the culture of the Igbos has been shaped primarily by Igboland's rainforest climate, its historic trades, ancient migration folklores and social ties with its neighbours as well as far-flung trading and political allies and lately with the Europeans through colonization and the entire Western World through globalization. 

They speak Igbo, which includes various Igboid languages and dialects. The Igbo homeland is almost surrounded on all sides by other ethnic peoples of southern and central Nigeria namely, the Ijaw, Edo, Itsekiri, Ogoni, Igala, Tiv, Yako, Idoma and Ibibio.

The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. In rural Nigeria, Igbo people work mostly as craftsmen, farmers and traders. The most important crop is the yam; celebrations take place annually to celebrate its harvesting. Other staple crops include cassava and taro. The Igbos are also highly urbanized, with some of the largest cities and metropolitan areas in Igboland  being Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Asaba, Owerri, Orlu, Nnewi, Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Abakaliki and Agbor.

Before British colonial rule, the Igbo were a politically fragmented group. There were variations in culture such as in art styles, attire and religious practices. Various subgroups were organized by clan, lineage, village affiliation, and dialect.

There were not many centralized chiefdoms, hereditary aristocracy, or kingship customs except in kingdoms such as those of the Nri, Arochukwu, Agbor and Onitsha.
This political system changed significantly under British colonialism in the early 20th century; Frederick Lugard introduced Eze (kings) into most local communities as "Warrant Chiefs". The Igbo became overwhelmingly Christian under colonization. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is one of the most popular novels to depict Igbo culture and changes under colonialism.

By the mid-20th century, the Igbo people developed a strong sense of ethnic identity.[9] Certain conflicts with other Nigerian ethnicities led to Igbo-densely populated Eastern Nigeria seceding to create the independent state of Biafra. 

The Nigerian Civil War or the Nigerian-Biafran War (6 July 1967 – 15 January 1970) broke out shortly after. With their defeat, the Republic of Biafra once again was part of Nigeria. MASSOB and IPOB continues a non-violent struggle for an independent Biafra which consists of the Igbos and other Biafran states.

Due to the effects of migration and the Atlantic slave trade, there are descendant ethnic Igbo populations in countries such as Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as well as outside Africa. Their exact population outside Africa is unknown, but today many African Americans and Afro Caribbeans are of Igbo descent. According to Liberian historians the fifth president of Liberia Edward James Roye was of Igbo descent.

Culled from Wikipedia and Edited by RCB team
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