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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


An Igbo girl photographed in Nibo and noted as ‘Nwauko’ in Northcote Thomas’ photographic register, c. 1910-11.

Monday, January 28, 2019


"Old Abakaliki" from an photo album made before the 1920s. The National Archives UK.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

1699 Map of New Calabar

1699 map in French of the New Calabar River, a major centre of the slave trade. The map locates the “Ville du Nouveau Kalabar” (New Calabar or Elem Kalabari), “Ville de Bandi” (Ubani > Bonny), and "Ville de Doni" (Andoni), and some other places. Via slavevoyages.org

A Young Man of Öka

A young Igbo man named Okonkwo from Öka (Awka) photographed by Northcote Thomas, 1910-11. Coloured by @ukpuru 2019.

Akenta Bob

"AKenta Bob (Ibibio) in her wedding dress New Calabar [Elem Kalabari]" – Jonathan Adagogo Green, late 19th century – early 20th century. British Museum.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Fighting in Nigeria, The Navy And Army Illustrated, January 3, 1903.

A European describes tactics of invasion and suppression of indigenous people in what became eastern Nigeria.

Early in November a disturbance among the tribes in Southern Nigeria was reported at Opobo, and a force of Hausas was sent to restore order. These little frays seldom attract much attention in the Press, yet they are of frequent occurrence, the condition of the country being very unsettled, even at the best of times. The particular offence this time was raiding, a common form of amusement with the natives, but on more than one occasion truculent tribes have closed the mail route and threatened to kill any white men and soldiers who appeared. When this happens somewhat stern repressive measures have to be taken; but for raiding a couple of hundred men and carriers nearly always suffice to restore order, for it is seldom that any serious opposition is encountered. Generally, however, in order to make sure of the quarry, the officer in common makes a couple of forced marches (or more, of course, if necessary) and comes upon the marauders suddenly and unexpectedly.
TREE-CLIMBING EXTRAORDINARY. | The way natives of Nigeria "shin up" a tree."
The destruction of native villages is a great factor in the punishment, but tender-hearted folk at home need not cry about “methods of barbarism!” As one of the accompanying illustrations shows, the houses in these parts are very loosely and easily put together, and the punishment does not consist so much in having the home destroyed as in having to build a new one, for niggers in Nigeria are, despite the good old proverb, as lazy as can be found anywhere, and hate work of any sort, Sometimes as many as twelve “towns" will be razed to the ground by one expedition, and yet the total of casualties will not exceed a score and a-half.
A NATIVE CLEARING. | Plenty of these are to be seen in the vicinity of the villages."
Last week news was received that a further Ju-Ju had been discovered [the Igwe ka Ala oracle] and reported at Oweri, more ancient even than the famous Long Juju which the Aro Expedition suppressed twelve months ago. The expedition reached Oma Nahah [Umunneoha] on the morning of November 17. Sharp fighting ensued, the chiefs sending back a most defiant message to a demand for a palaver. The Maxim which the force had with them did good service, but the enemy kept well out of sight. Fighting lasted altogether for nearly six hours, but only slight wounds seem to have been received by the British troops. As there did not appear to be much chance of getting food and water, the force retired, and further preparations were rapidly made for the effectual suppression of the rebels. In order that the whole tribe should be captured, it was decided that Oma Nahah should be attacked from two sides, but up to the time of writing the results of the movements of the force have not been reported.
READY TO MARCH. | Men of an expedition leaving a dismantled village."
Officers of the West African Frontier Field Force do not, unfortunately, get very much spare time for writing, or they could send home some strange stories of life in the Hinterland. The tale of the massacre of Mr. Phillip’s party at Benin and the subsequent disposal of King Duboar is now old history, but it is history which is repeating itself on a small scale every two months or so. Wholesale murder is not perhaps quite so rife as it was at that time, but life is by no means comfortably safe in certain parts, even in these enlightened days. The increase of trade, however, is rapidly improving the condition of affairs, and what was once the worst human shambles of Africa is becoming to a certain extent civilised. There can be no doubt that this is due in a great measure to the various men who have gone out there both in military and civil command of affairs, and to the wholesome fear the natives entertain for the Hausa troops.

"Fighting in Nigeria". The Navy And Army Illustrated, January 3, 1903