The traditional homeland of the lgbo people lies in the south-eastern region of Nigeria. The geographical location of Igboland lies between the great River Niger and Cross Rivers State, with the Ibibio, Ijo, Igala, Idoma, and Edo as their neighbours. The ancient settlement at Igbo-Ukwu in Eastern Nigeria was an outpost for West African's long-distance trade routes, one of which was the Trans-Saharan trade routes. The main items traded were gold, slaves, salt, cowry shells (the major unit of currency). Others are weapons, expensive clothes, pepper, ivory, kola nuts and leather goods. [pic]
The arrival of Europeans on the Coast of West Africa undermined the Saharan trade, but did not finally finish it until well into the 19th century. This also made the south-eastern region to flourish, primarily trading on slaves. After the abolition of slave trade in 1807 the direction of trade was then turned to trading in palm products, timber, elephant tusk and spices.
Middle and long distance trade used a network of trade routes. Trade with the groups to the north of the area either used the river Niger, which is thought to have constituted a regular trade route since the fifteenth century,41 or one of the main land routes through Nsukka, which linked the central and eastern parts of the region with the north. Other trade routes linked the interior to the communities on the coast. One of the major commodities transported via those routes was slaves, who were exported both to the south to the trading states on the coast, and to the north. From the north, horses were imported, while food and other products were also handled. It was through the slave trade, long before the establishment of colonial rule in Southeast Nigeria, that the Igbo first became known to the Europeans. However, since the area was located in the interior there was no direct contact between Europeans on the coast and the communities in what is now Igboland. The population of the area participated in the...
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