Aro Confederacy

Aro Confederacy

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Aro Confederacy

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The Aro Confederacy (1690–1902) was a political union orchestrated by the Igbo subgroup, the Aro people, centered in Arochukwu in present day Southeastern Nigeria. Their influence and presence was across Eastern Nigeria into parts of the Niger Delta and Southern Igala during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is claimed that their influence extended through parts of present-day Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. The Arochukwu Kingdom was an economical, political, and an oracular center as it was home of the powerful Ibini Ukpabi oracle, High Priests, the Aro King Eze Aro, and Chiefs.

The Rise

The mid-18th century saw the start of mass migrations of several Aro business families to the Igbo hinterland and adjacent areas as a result of the rise of the palm oil and slave businesses. This migration, influence of their god Ibini Ukpabi through priests, and their military power supported by their alliances with several related neighboring Igbo and eastern Cross River militarized states (particularly Ohafia, Abam, Abiriba, Afikpo, Ekoi, etc.), quickly established the Aro Confederacy as a regional economic power.

The Confederacy Era

Aro activities helped coastal Niger Delta city-states grow and become important centers for the export of palm oil and slaves. Such city-states included Opobo, Bonny, Nembe, Calabar, as well as other slave trading city-states controlled by the Ijaw, Efik, and Igbo. The Aros formed a strong trading network, colonies, and incorporated hundreds of...
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