Kingdom of Bonny
|Kingdom of Bonny|
Ijaw States, including Bonny
Rivers State Founders = Premier Kings Ndoli, Opuamakuba, Alagbariye (Alagbariya) and Asimini(Founded before or about 1,000 AD)
|• Amanyanabo||Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
The Kingdom of Bonny is a traditional state based on the town of Bonny in Rivers State, Nigeria. Founded before or about 1,000AD. The Kingdom became an important slave trading port, later trading palm oil products. During the 19th century the British became increasingly involved in the internal affairs of the kingdom, in 1886 assuming control under a protectorate treaty. Today the King of Bonny has a largely ceremonial role.
The Ibani kingdom was a sovereign state in the South Atlantic Coast. The Kingdom, comprising virgin lands and territorial areas, was founded before or about 1,000 AD. The modern name "Bonny" is a distortion of the original name. According to tradition the island on which the town of Bonny is sited was full of curlews, and the leaders of the founding group of the kingdom therefore called it Okoloma, meaning curlew town. This name is still used locally.
The founding group of the Kingdom, from the Ebeni-toru area, precisely from Isedani Lineage of Kolokuma, in the present-day Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State (in Ancestral Ijawland in the Central Niger Delta), was led by three direct blood descendants of Ebeni. These are Opuamakuba, Alagbariye and Asimini. From these leaders and the entire founding generation of the Kingdom evolved the lineage/ward/house system of governance, as a result of which the welfarist institution of traditional rulership of the Kingdom came into place, with the exalted position of “Amanyanabo”, Monarch/King, meaning “owner of the land”; and the position of “Amadapu”, meaning component/subordinate traditional rulers of the Kingdom. The High-Priest of the Kingdom ruled the Kingdom with the “Amanyanabo”, and “Amadapu”.
The first four Monarchs of the Kingdom were Founding Fathers of the Kingdom. These are namely Kings Ndoli, Opuamakuba, Alagbariya (Founder of Bonny: 'Okoloamakoromabo') and Asimini. After these initial Four Kings, their direct-blood descendants ruled the Kingdom as Kings until the era of King Awusa (Halliday). It was after King Halliday-Awusa, the Twelfth King of Bonny Kingdom, that King Perekule succeeded King Halliday-Awusa. Hence, King Perekule's descendants on the exalted throne of Kingship of the Kingdom are successors of the throne of Kingship established by the founding generation of Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom. The continuing hereditary position, King/Monarch, who bears the title “Amanyanabo”, originated from the Founding Fathers and Premier Kings of the Ancient Kingdom.
Bonny kingdom became important in the 15th century with the arrival of the Portuguese and the growth of the Atlantic slave trade. At its height of power, Bonny was one of the main entrepôts on the Slave Coast. Later the Dutch and then the British took control of the slave trade in the region, with the British renaming the port "Bonny". When the British passed an act to abolish the slave trade in 1807, the port turned to export of palm oil products, ivory and Guinea pepper.
Growing British influence
William Dappa Pepple I ascended the throne in 1830. He became increasingly incompetent, particularly following a stroke in 1852, and stirred up opposition to his rule. In 1854 the British deported the king. King Dapu Fubara II Pepple ("Dappo") was appointed in his place, but died on 13 Aug 1855. The acting British Consul in the Bight of Biafra, J.W.B. Lynslager, signed a document on 11 September 1855 appointing the chiefs Anne Pepple, Ada Allison, Captain Hart and Manilla Pepple as a regency, required to consult with Banigo and Oko Jumbo, "two gentlemen of the river".
Oko Jumbo, who became leader of the Manilla Pepple house and effective ruler of the kingdom, became engaged in a struggle with the Annie Pepple house, which was led by a chief named Jubo Jubogha, known as Ja-Ja to the British.
In an attempt to stabilize the situation, the British restored King William Dappa Pepple I in 1861, and for the next five years until his death on 30 September 1866 the kingdom was relatively peaceful. King William Dappa was succeeded by his son George Oruigbiji Pepple (born 1849), who had been educated in England. George Pepple was a Christian, and on 21 April 1867, supported by Oko Jumbo and other chiefs, he declared the iguana was no longer the sacred deity of the kingdom. The tension between the Manilla Pepple and Annie Pepple houses revived. In 1869 a major battle between the two factions led to Ja-Ja founding a new state at Opobo, further inland, taking some of the palm oil trade away from Bonny.
Bonny had previously been on reasonably good terms with the Kalabari Kingdom, a trading state on the New Calabar and Imo rivers. With the loss of trade to Opobo, Bonny began pushing up rivers traditionally controlled by Kalabari, causing a series of armed clashes. Bonny was at times assisted by the Nembe Kingdom to the west and Okrika further inland, while Opobo allied with Kalabari. In 1873, and again in 1882 the British consul had to intervene and force the feuding parties to agree to treaties.
Protectorate and later history
The unstable balance of power within Bonny deteriorated. On 14 December 1883 King George was deposed.
The next year Oko Jumbo fell out with the other chiefs in Bonny. There were rumors that he wanted to place one of his sons on the throne, although a planned coup attempt in January 1885 came to nothing. Another son, Herbert Jumbo, who had been educated in England, quarreled with his father and placed himself under the protection of the British consul.
In February 1886 a protectorate treaty was concluded between Bonny and Britain. A ruling council was established, and King George Pepple was restored to his throne. Oko Jumbo was publicly degraded, his bans on Christianity were repealed and afterwards he was a spent force in Bonny politics.
King George died in October 1888, and was succeeded by a series of regents, kings and at one time a Chiefs Council before Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III (Perekule XI) took the throne in 1996.
Following were the later independent rulers of Okoloma.
|1759||1760||Awusa "King Halliday"|
|1760||Perekule I "Captain Pepple"|
|1792||Fubara I Agbaa Pepple|
|1792||1828||Opubo Fubara Pepple|
|1828||1830||Bereibibo Bristol-Alagbariya (Pepple IV)|
|1830||23 January 1854||Dappa Perekule (1st time) (installed Jan 1837)|
|23 January 1854||13 August 1855||Dapu Fubara II Pepple "King Dappo" (d. 1855)|
|11 September 1855||18 August 1861||Regency|
|18 August 1861||30 September 1866||William Dappa Pepple I (Dappa Perekule) (2nd time)|
|30 September 1866||14 December 1883||George Oruigbiji Pepple I|
Protectorate and Nigerian Federation
Rulers after the kingdom became part of the British protectorate, then the independent Federation of Nigeria:
|22 Jan 1887||31 Oct 1888||George Oruigbiji Pepple I (2nd time)|
|31 Oct 1888||28 Feb 1892||Waribo (Regent)|
|1932||14 Feb 1932||Claude Sodienye (Regent, d. 1952)|
|14 Feb 1932||1937||Secondus George Pepple II (d. 1939)|
|1937||1952||Claude Sodienye -Regent (2nd time)|
|1952||27 Dec 1957||Francis D. Banigo (Regent)|
|27 Dec 1957||1970||Eugene William Dappa Pepple II|
|1996||Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III (Perekule XI)|
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