Author Topic: CALABAR KINGDOM  (Read 14066 times)

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« on: September 06, 2008, 08:50:20 PM »
Calabar Kingdom also known as Efik Kingdom is an Ancient Kingdom that existed thousands of years before Christ. The City of Calabar was the seat of power of the Calabar Kingdom. According to Obong of Calabar, Edidem (DR./Professor Nta Elijah Henshaw), Calabar Kingdom covered the entire Akwa Ibom State, Cross River State, Western Cameroon, the offshore island of Fernando Po (now Equatorial Guinea), and extended into parts of present Abia State and Imo State (Vanguard, Monday, August 2, 2004, reported by George Onah). The indigenes of the old Calabar Kingdom were referred to as Calabar people (even at present day, some Nigerians still call indigenes of Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State as Calabar people).

The old Calabar Kingdom comprised of loosely governed states. The states included: Annang, Akamkpa, Efik, Eket, Ibibio, Ikom, Ogoja, (Opobo, now Ikot Abasi), Oron, Western Camaroon and the offshore island of Fernando Po (now Equatorial Guinea). Calabar was (and still is) the capital city of the Efik State of the old Calabar Kingdom. As such, the Kingdom has been known as either Calabar Kingdom or Efik Kingdom.

Calabar Kingdom was an active ancient trading kingdom. Recorded history shows that the Calabar Kingdom was the first Kingdom to use a money system in trading in West Africa. The ancient money of Calabar Kingdom was called "Okpoho", a Calabar word for money. This money become known as the Manillas.

The Kingdom was ruled by Kings with the King of Calabar as the High King. Several years after the Kingdom became a British colony, there was an agreement between the British and the Kings in 1908 abrogating the title of King, and replacing it with the title - Obong (Edem, 2008). Thus, as Calabar Kingdom became a British colony, the British saw it necessary to not duplicate the title of the monarch (the King or Queen - of England) in their colony.

The High King (King of Calabar later known as Obong of Calabar till this present time), had a strong power in the capital City of Calabar in the Efik State with weak power over the other states in the Kingdom.

Leadership power in the Calabar Kingdom was derived from a major secret society, the Ekpe Secrete Society. The Ekpe secret society was instrumental in keeping outsiders (other ethnic groups) outside of the Kingdom and in protecting the sovereignty of the Kingdom. The Ekpe secret society of the Old Calabar Kingdom developed one of the major ancient African script, the Nsibidi written script.

The coastal ports of the Calabar Kingdom, especially the Calabar port made indigenes of the Kingdom to be the first group in southeastern parts of Nigeria to have contact with European traders and missionaries.

The Obong of Calabar signed a treaty with the British government in the 17th century that resulted in the Southern Protectorate of Nigeria with headquarter at Calabar, thus making Calabar the first Nigerian Capital City. After Nigerian independence in 1960, Western Cameroon opted to become a part of Cameroon because of the weakness and poor political leadership and relationship of people of the then Eastern Nigeria. Hence, parts of the Calabar people got divided into Cameroon.

The Calabar Kingdom produced the first Nigerian Professor, Professor Eyo Ita, who was the pioneer champion of youth movement in Nigeria for independence. He later became the first Premier of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, and a member of the Nigerian team that negotiated Nigerian independence in Britain. The Kingdom also produced Sir/Dr. Egbert Udo Udoma, the first Nigerian to earn a Ph.D. in Political Science and Law from Ikot Abasi and Mr. J. A. Eka of Uyo, the father of Nigerian Cooperative movement (old name for Chamber of Commerce).

During the Nigerian Civil War, the Calabar Kingdom became one of the original Nigerian twelve states, the Southeastern State of Nigeria which was later split into two states, the Cross River State and Akwa Ibom State.


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« on: September 06, 2008, 08:50:20 PM »

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