Igbo names and spellings for various settlements
Abakaliki is Abankaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzö; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owere; Oyigbo is Obigbo... any more will be added.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Arochukwu, 'Punitive Expedition', Progress

Image: "Burning Arochuku" Charles Partridge, 1902.
During the year 1902 the Protectorate was freed for ever from the evils of slave-raiding and slave-dealing on an organised scale. On April 1st, 1901, ‘The Slave Dealing Proclamation’ was published, and on the 26th November, 1901, the provisions of that law, making slave-dealing in all its forms a penal offence, were applied by Order to all parts of the Protectorate, but it was not until the termination, in April, 1902, of the successful military operations in the Aro country, that the system of tribal warfare, for the purpose of making slaves, could be accurately regarded as an evil of the past.... Slave-raiding had been repressed for many years previous to 1902 in the delta country and in all the hinterland, except that part of the latter which lies between the Niger and the Cross River (a distance of 100 miles), and it was throughout this region that the Aro influence was predominant.
The most noteworthy fact brought to light by the military operations in the last stronghold of slavery above described, was that the Aros were not a military race, and that their influence was due to their relatively great intelligence, as compared with other native tribes. The strength of this influence was such, that not only was it paramount in the Aro country, but was also felt in many places in the delta region between the Niger and the Cross River, and also to the east of the latter. Whenever a tribe attempted to avoid acting in accordance with the Aro policy, it was fought by warlike tribes under the direction of the Aros, who recompensed such mercenaries by allowing them to loot the conquered tribe and to seize and sell as slaves those who survived the conflict. Within the area of the direct Aro influence, no important dispute could be settled save by reference to the oracle in the Juju or sacred grove, situated in a ravine near Ibum (Aro Chuku). Each of the contending parties attempted to propitiate this oracle by large offerings, and the party against whom judgment was pronounced, was believed by his tribes to have been destroyed by the hidden power, while, in reality, he was almost invariably sold secretly into slavery. As the tribe supposed to be specially favoured by this oracle, the Aros were able to gain wealth in the shape both of propitiatory offerings and of slaves. In addition to being a constant source of wealth, the Juju oracle also afforded the Aros a means whereby anyone opposing or supposed to be desirous of opposing their authority could be easily removed, as they could at any time contrive that a charge should be made against the rebel, thus forcing him to appeal to the oracle and then, on his arrival at Ibum, he would either be made powerless through parting with all his wealth as an offering, or, if his gifts were insufficient, his doom would be pronounced by Aro priests hidden in a concealed cave in the sacred ravine, and thereafter the Aro opponent became the Aro slave. The Aros do not appear to have resorted to trial by ordeal.
The military operations which were brought to a successful close in 1902 destroyed the system of slave-making above described, and the dreaded Juju oracle ceased for ever to exercise its baneful influence. The Aros themselves, however, were not destroyed, but, on the contrary, immediately gave further proof of their intelligence by adapting themselves to the new conditions of life. It had been their practice to prevent tribes within their influence from attempting to do a direct trade with the delta country, and thus they alone had experience in trade. They at once began to utilise this experience, they readily learnt to appreciate the superior value of English currency, as compared with the native mediums of barter, manillas, brass rods, etc., and, by their activity, showed that for many years they would be probably the principal gainers in any increased trade which might result from their country having been thrown open to the delta traders.
— Mr. Probyn, Acting High Commissioner, in the preface to his Report on Southern Nigeria for 1902.

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