The Trading States of the Oil Rivers: A Study of Political Development in Eastern Nigeria

The Trading States of the Oil Rivers: A Study of Political Development in Eastern Nigeria

The Trading States of the Oil Rivers: A Study of Political Development in Eastern Nigeria

The Trading States of the Oil Rivers: A Study of Political Development in Eastern Nigeria

Excerpt

This book was inspired by Dr.Dike Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta and is an attempt to extend the trail blazed by that work. But in its approach it has moved from the general expanse of the Niger Delta to its Eastern margin, and from the Foreign Office and other British records to the oral traditions and social anthropology of the people living there. Trade and Politics is a study of the external relations of these Oil River states and of British foreign policy towards them. The present study deals with their local political development and is concerned with European documentary sources only in so far as they refer to this aspect of their total history. It has two main aims, the first historical, to trace the history of these Eastern Delta states, the second anthropological, to analyse their systems of government.

I have concentrated on the two principal Oil River states which nineteenth-century writers called New Calabar and Grand Bonny, and which today are known as Kalabari and Bonny, and I have used the latter names except when quoting from or using European documents. I have also for purposes of comparison considered the adjacent states of Brass (Nembe) and Okrika, the Andoni tribe, and the Efik state known to Europeans as Old Calabar, while in the more general chapters I have also referred to other Ibo tribes and to the Arochuku. The area occupied by the Ijo states of Kalabari, Bonny, Nembe, and Okrika I have called the Eastern Delta. In their relations with the European world this formed part of a wider area which included Old Calabar and some villages on the Cameroons River. During the nineteenth century it became known as the Oil Rivers and I have used the term Oil River states when Old Calabar was included and Eastern Delta states when referring only to the four Ijo states.

I have not extended this study beyond the year 1884. This forms a very convenient terminal point. It marks the beginning of the British Protectorate government and with it the end of the indigenous systems of government which characterized these Oil River states during the nineteenth century. The monarchies established in the eighteenth century by King Pepple of Bonny and King Amakiri of Kalabari and the political and economic organizations developed under their rule were coming or had come to an end, and . . .

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