Greater Igbo Nation: A Search For The Lost Igbo Tribes In America
Kinship And family tie is sacrosanct to the igbo society it remains a taboo for us if we fail to forge a reunion with our brothers and sisters taken away during the Atlantic slave trade. Until the Igbos reunite under a GREATER IGBO NATION that shall extend as an empire from the omambala rivers in Aguleri including our Iduu brothers in Igala land to the shores of the Atlantic oceans in the shore of Ikwerre land across the ocean to the America's- Ifeduba ThankGod Tochukwu( July 1st 2015).
The Igbo in the Atlantic slave trade became one of the main ethnic groups enslaved in the era lasting between the 16th and late 19th century. Located near indigenous Igbo territory, the Bight of Biafra (also known as the Bight of Bonny) became the principal area in obtaining Igbo slaves. The Bights major slave trading ports were located in Bonny and Calabar; a large number of these slaves Igbo. Slaves, kidnapped or bought from fellow Africans, were taken to Europe and the Americas by European slave traders. An estimated 14.6% of slaves were taken from the Bight of Biafra between 1650 and 1900, the third greatest percentage in the era of the transatlantic slave trade.
Ethnic groups were fairly saturated in certain parts of the Americas because of planters preferences in certain African peoples.The Igbo where dispersed to colonies such as Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola, Barbados United States, Belize,Trinidad and Tobago among others. Elements of Igbo culture can still be found in these places. In the United States the Igbo were found common in the state of Maryland and Virginia.
Igbo people in Jamaica were shipped by Europeans onto the island between the 18th and 19th as forced labour on plantations. Igbo people constituted a large portion of the African population in slave-importing Jamaica. Some slave censuses detailed the large number of Igbo slaves on various plantations throughout the island on different dates throughout the 18th century.Their presence was a large part in forming Jamaican culture as their cultural influence remains in language, dance, music, folklore, cuisine, religion and mannerisms. Many words in Jamaican Patois have been traced to the Igbo language. In Jamaica the Igbo were referred to as either Eboe, or Ibo.
Among Igbo cultural items in Jamaica were the Eboe, or Ibo drums popular throughout all of Jamaican music. Food was also influenced, for example the Igbo word "mba ji" meaning "yam root" was used to describe a type of yam in Jamaica called "himba". Igbo and Akan slaves affected drinking culture among the black population in Jamaica, using alcohol in ritual and libation. In Igboland as well as on the Gold Coast, palm wine was used on these occasions and had to be substituted by rum in Jamaica because of the absence of palm wine.Jonkonnu, a parade that is held in many West Indian nations, has been attributed to the Njoku Ji "yam-spirit cult", Okonko and Ekpe of the Igbo, and several masquerades of the Kalabari and Igbo have similar appearance to those of Jonkonnu maskers.
Much of Jamaican mannerisms and gestures themselves have a wider African origin and an Igbo origin. Some examples of such behaviours are evident in the influences of the Igbo language in patois with actions such as "sucking-teeth" coming from the Igbo "ima osu" or "imu oso" and "cutting-eye" from Igbo "iro anya". There was also a suggestion of the Igbo introducing communication through eye movements.
Where Cuba's slaves were taken from in Africa varied over time. There were four major ethnic groups that accounted for most of the Africans brought to Cuba: Bantu, Yoruba, Ibo/Ibibio/Ijaw, and Ewe/Fon. The numbers of these peoples introduced to Cuba were:
Group Number of Africans landed in Cuba during slave trade
Ibo, Ibibio, and Ijaw: These three related groups were from southeastern Nigeria. The began arriving in Cuba around 1762. A subgroup of the Ibibio called the Efik carried over to Cuba the only African secret society to survive the passage - the Abakua secret society (which is not a religion per se.
Most black Dominicans descend from West Africans and Central Africans (almost the half of them were Kongo, with other important ethnicities being the Mandingo, the Igbo people from the regions of Calabar and Biafra, and people captured near the São Jorge da Mina castle), who arrived from the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century as a result of slavery, while many others descend from immigrants who came from the United States during the 19th century or from the Lesser Antilles during the 20th century.
The most common ethnic groups of the enslaved Africans in Trinidad and Tobago were Igbo, Kongo and Malinke people. All of these groups, among others, were heavily affected by the Atlantic slave trade. The population census of 1813 shows that among African-born slaves the Igbo were the most numerous.
According to local research, the Belizean Creoles descended from polyglot buccaneers and European settlers who developed the logwood trade in the 17th century, along with African slaves they imported to help cut and ship the logwood. The National Kriol Council of Belize says that black slaves had been established on the Central American coast from the 16th century and earlier and were working for the Spanish further down the coast. By 1724, the British too were acquiring slaves from Jamaica and elsewhere to cut logwood and later mahogany
Most slaves, even if they were brought through West Indian markets, were born in Africa, probably from Ghana (Ga, Ewe, Ashanti - Fante around the Bight of Benin and Bight of Biafra, Nigeria (Yoruba, Igbo,Efik[, the Congo, and Angola—the principal sources of British slaves in the late 18th century-. Also arrived Wolof, Fulas, Hausas and Kongos. The Igbo (known as Eboe or Ibo) seem to have been particularly numerous; one section of Belize Town was known as Eboe Town in the first half of the 19th century.
Identified Igbo slaves were often described by the ethnonyms Ibo and Ebo(e), a colonial American rendering of the word 'Igbo'. Some Igbo slaves were also referred to as 'bites', denoting their Bight of Biafra origin, and other names were used in reference to their home lands in Africa. Their presence in the United States was met with mixed feelings by American plantation owners because of their 'rebellious' attitudes to enslavement. Much of the enslaved Igbo people in the United States were concentrated in Virginia's lower Tidewater region and at some points in the 18th century they constituted over 30% of the enslaved black population. Igbo culture contributed to the creolised African American culture and is perhaps evident in such cultural vestiges as the Jonkonnu parades of North Carolina. Igbo Americans introduced the Igbo word okra into the English language.
Since the turn of the 21st century genealogy tracing by means of DNA testing is in part revealing the Igbo ancestry of African Americans, some notable celebrities including Blair Underwood and Quincy Jones.
The Igbo were affected heavily by the Atlantic slave trade in the 18th century. Igbo slaves were known for being rebellious and having a high count of suicide in defiance of slavery.In the United States the Igbo were most numerous in the states of Maryland (coincidentally where there is a predominant population of recent Igbo immigrants) and Virginia, so much so that some historians have denominated colonial Virginia as “Igbo land.
With a total of 37,000 Africans that arrived in Virginia from Calabar in the 18th century, 30,000 were Igbo according to Douglas B. Chambers. The Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia estimates around 38% of captives taken to Virginia were from the Bight of Biafra. Igbo peoples constituted the majority of enslaved Africans in Maryland. Chambers has been quoted saying "My research suggests that perhaps 60 percent of black Americans have at least one Igbo ancestor.
Virginia was the colony that took in the largest percentage of Igbo slaves. Researchers such as David Eltis estimate between 30—45% of the 'imported' slaves were from the Bight of Biafra, of these slaves 80% were likely Igbo. A so-called conservative estimate of the amount of Igbo taken into Virginia between 1698 and 1778 is placed at 25,000. The Igbo concentration was especially high in the Tidewater and Piedmont regions of the Virginia interior.
Some possible Igbo names were also found among slave records in Virginia. Names found in records such as Anica, or Anakey, Breechy and Juba may originate respectively from the Igbo names Nneka, meaning the mother is superior, andmburichi, male members of the Kingdom of Nri and Jiugba, meaning yam barn. Some had their ethnicity added to their names such as Eboe Sarah and plainEbo.
IFEDUBA THANKGOD TOCHUKWU ( A POLITICAL HISTORIAN WRITES IN FROM ANAMBRA STATE , NIGERIA)