History of Nigeria

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Archaeological research has shown[who?] that people were already living in southwestern Nigeria (specifically Iwo-Eleru) as early as 9000 BC and perhaps earlier at Ugwuelle-Uturu (Okigwe) in southeastern Nigeria, where microliths were used.[1] Smelting furnaces at Taruga dating from the 4th century BC provide the oldest evidence of metalworking in Archaeology.

The earliest known example of a fossil skeleton with negroid features, perhaps 10,000 years old, was found at Iii Ileru in western Nigeria and attests to the antiquity of habitation in the region.[2]

Microlithic and ceramic industries were also developed by savanna pastoralists from at least the 4th millennium BC and were continued by subsequent agricultural communities. In the south, hunting and gathering gave way to subsistence farming in the first millennium BC and the cultivation of staple foods.

The stone axe heads, imported in great quantities from the north and used in opening the forest for agricultural development, were venerated by the Yoruba descendants of neolithic pioneers as "thunderbolts" hurled to earth by the gods.[2]

Kainji Dam excavations revealed ironworking by the 2nd century BC. The transition from Neolithic times to the Iron Age apparently was achieved without intermediate bronze production. Others suggest the technology moved west from the Nile Valley, although the Iron Age in the Niger River valley and the forest region appears to predate the introduction of metallurgy in the upper savanna by more than 800 years. The earliest identified iron using Nigerian culture is that of the Nok people who thrived between approximately 900 BC and 200 AD on the Jos Plateau in northeastern Nigeria. Information is lacking from the first millennium AD following the Nok ascendancy, but by the 2nd millennium AD there was active trade from North Africa through the Sahara to the forest, with the people of the savanna acting as intermediaries in exchanges of various goods.

Akwa Akpa

The modern city of Calabar was founded in 1786 by Efik families (a branch of the Ibibio) who had left Creek Town, further up the Calabar river, settling on the east bank in a position where they were able to dominate traffic with European vessels that anchored in the river, and soon becoming the most powerful in the region.[3] Akwa Akpa became a center of the slave trade, where slaves were exchanged for European goods.[4] Most slave ships that transported slaves from Calabar were English, and around 85% of these ships being from Bristol and Liverpool merchants.[5] The main ethnic group taken out of Calabar as slaves were the Igbo, although they were not the main ethnicity in the area.[6]

With the suppression of the slave trade, palm oil and palm kernels became the main exports. The chiefs of Akwa Akpa placed themselves under British protection in 1884.[7] From 1884 until 1906 Old Calabar was the headquarters of the Niger Coast Protectorate, after which Lagos became the main center.[7] Now called Calabar, the city remained an important port shipping ivory, timber, beeswax, and palm produce until 1916, when the railway terminus was opened at Port Harcourt, 145 km to the west.[8]

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