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.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Enuani Lady

A young Igbo woman from Onicha Olona, or surrounding settlement, c. 1912-13. Onicha Olona is an Enuani settlement, an Igbo population west of the Niger River. Many of these settlements were founded by migrations from east of the Niger River (Oshimili) hundreds of years ago. These settlements came into much contact with the Edo and Igala. The Benin Empire especially influenced their political structures and even populations, particularly after the conquering 15th century Oba, Oba Ewuare.

It is interesting to note that when this photo was taken, the western Igbo people, Enuani people in particular, were in the midst of a 30-year resistance against British colonial expansion, the Ekumeku Movement, that fizzled out roughly just before the 1920s.

Photographed during British colonial anthropologist Northcote Thomas tour of the western Igbo area c. 1912-13, which culminated in a book on the history and culture of this area. MAA Cambridge.


The other citizens, dogs from the past around the Lower Niger River area, c. 1890s–1930s. MAA Cambridge / RAI / British Museum.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Igbo Landscaping and Architecture

A building photographed in the western Igbo area, filed under Onicha Olona by the MAA Cambridge, but may be another surrounding Igbo town. The trees and shrubs appear to have been planted in an order. Photographed by Northcote Thomas and assistants, c. 1912-13.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A View of the Arọ̀ from Igbere

Before the Europeans came, the Arọs […] main interest in their trade was the purchase of slaves. […] Some of them came as medicine men, […] traders […] agents of Ibìna Ụ̀kpaàbị̀. We called them Ọbụ̄ Arọ̀ bụrụ Ìgbò (He is Arọ as well as Igbo), […] Arọ̀ Oke-Ìgbò, […] Inokun. […]
The Arọ people exerted a tremendous influence over our people's culture. For instance it was through them that cassava, coconut and maize came to Igbere. They also introduced the […] gun here. […] They were feared because they were cunning as the tortoise. They fought their enemies by sending other people to fight for them. I was told that the Arọs were not answering 'Arọ' before. […] [T]he people wanted to know the name of their spear which appeared strange[.] […] They uttered 'Arọ’. […] The name Chukwu was attached to it because of the mysteries of their deity called Ibìna Ụ̀kpaàbị̀. […]
[F]rom the Aro people […] Igbere people learnt the kind of writing known as ǹsìbìrì. Ǹsìbìrì was used by members of the Ekpe secret society and could not be read by a non-member. […]
The most powerful influence came from their religion, which was feared in every land. […] In the Ibìna Ụ̀kpaàbị̀ lay their power […] people who went there never came back. […] They travelled and traded with many people in many places and we used to call them Arọ̀ enwēghi ụlọ̀ (The Arọ have no homes).
It was when the white man destroyed their oracle that the Arọs ceased to be a fearsome people.

Interview of Madukwe Anyankụ, aged 75, in Agbo, Igbere, July 10, 1973, U. O. A. Esse (1977).

Igbo Kitchenware

Igbo kitchenware, from Ögbü (Awgbu), in today's Anambra State, taken into the collection of British colonial anthropologist Northcote Thomas, c. 1910-11; Igbo names recorded in his notes as: top left, "okwa mai [ọkwa maị]," palm wine cup; top right, "Ngagis 2 Spoons for eating [ǹgàjì];" bottom, "oku mma [ọ̀kụ̀ may refer to the word for dish, mma meaning fine (as in special dishes).] ... for soup" MAA Cambridge.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ndị Ìgbò

An unidentified group portrait taken by a Royal Niger Company employee c. 1886 - 1895. Based on other photos, these could be people from the Asaba or Önïcha area. MAA Cambridge.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Ezeani Obidigbo of Neni

"Chief Obudugbo. Ezeana of Neni" [Ezeani Obidigbo of Ugwudunu, Neni?]. Photographed by Northcote Thomas, c. 1910-11. MAA Cambridge.

The keepers of Ani (Ala), the shrine of the Earth Mother, are usually the autochthonous section of a community, a group that can trace their patriline to the original settlers of a community. Ndị nwe Ànà are the highly respected and revered spiritual leaders of a community due to the supremacy of Ani in Igbo society. To keep the Ani is to keep the laws of the land.

Various communities have their own personal Ani because of their unique relationships with Ani and the work in setting up the shrine.

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