Portal:Igbo

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The Igbo Portal
Portal ndi Igbo (Igbo)

The Igbo People

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The Igbo [iɡɓo] [Eeg•bo] (Igbo: Igbo, sometimes Nd'Igbo), sometimes referred to (usually formerly) as the Ibo, Eboe, Ebo or Heebo, are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, numbering in the tens of millions. Most Igbo live in southeastern Nigeria, where they are also one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. Igbo can also be found in significant numbers in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Lesser populations live in other African countries as well as in nations outside of Africa due to migration and also to the effects of the Atlantic slave trade. Their exact numbers out of Africa are unknown. Their language is the Igbo language which includes hundreds of different dialects and Igboid languages. The Igbo are well known for being one of the only African groups that are traditionally decentralized.

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The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived secessionist state in southern Nigeria. It existed from May 30, 1967 to January 15, 1970. The country was named after the Bight of Biafra, the bay of the Atlantic to its south.[1]

Biafra was recognized by a small number of countries during its existence: Gabon, Haiti, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania and Zambia. Despite a lack of official recognition, other nations provided assistance to Biafra. France, Rhodesia and South Africa provided covert military assistance. The aid of Portugal and JCA proved to be crucial to the republic's survival. Portugal's São Tomé and Príncipe, a pair of islands south of Biafra, became a center of humanitarian relief efforts; Biafran currency was printed in Lisbon, which was also the location of Biafra's major overseas office. Israel also gave Biafra arms that it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, although that same conflict ruled out further assistance. In contrast, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union provided military support for Nigeria, and the war of Biafran secession ended in a humanitarian catastrophe as Nigerian blockades stopped all supplies, military and civilian alike, from entering the region. Hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of people died in the resulting famine.

Did you know?

  • The Igbo are one of the only ethnic groups in Africa that has never had centralized leadership.
  • The Kingdom of Nri is the oldest kingdom in Nigeria.
  • There are hundreds of different sub-groups of the Igbo people including popular groups such as the Ikwerre.
  • Some Igbo people believe that the Igbo are one of the Ten Lost Tribes of the Jews.
  • There are over 30 million Igbo people worldwide.
  • Igbo people were one of the most common ethnic groups enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade.
  • Many Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans can trace their ancestry back to Igbo people.
  • The River Niger flows through Igboland.
  • The staple crop of the Igbo is the yam.
  • One of the most elaborate bronzes ever found was found in an Igbo town called Igbo-Ukwu.

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Selected biography

Chinua Achebe at a conference
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Chinua Achebe /ˈɪnwɑː ɑːˈb/, born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe (16 November 1930—21 March 2013), was a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1959), which is the most widely-read book in modern African literature.

Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo village of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe writes his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a language of colonizers, in African literature. In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" became the focus of controversy, for its criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a thoroughgoing racist".

When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a devoted supporter of Biafran independence and served as ambassador for the people of the new nation. The war ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for aid. When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, he involved himself in political parties but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned in 1990 after a car accident left him partially disabled.

Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He has also published a number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections. He is currently the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, United States.

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