Author: nick on 14-09-2013, 15:00, views: 1 806


In the foregoing analysis, it has been shown that long before contact with Europeans in the 15th century, the people of Ikot Abasi had developed a viable economic system based on trade in the products of their economic activities in their local and distant markets. Through this they were able to establish contacts and good relations with their neighbouring and distant trade partners.


Contacts with European slave traders in the second half of the 15th century inaugurated a change in the pattern of trade. Slaves from Ibibioland were sold to Europeans on the coast through the Andoni, Umani and Aro middlemen. The slave trade itself diverted people's attention from their legitimate occupations and through the influx of non indigenous slave traders, altered the ethnic composition of Ikot Abasi area. The Andoni, Umani and Igbo had now moved into the area with the Ibibio. Furthermore, the hitherto peaceful society became unstable and insecure.


The trade in palm produce, which replaced slave trade, also had far reaching consequences. It led to the establishment of British informal hegemony, through British Consuls and traders between 1850 and 1884, and conquest and colonisation in the last decade of the 19th century. The establishment of the Vice-Consulate District with headquarters at Norah Beach formally created the Opobo District comprising Opobo Town, Ikot Abasi and the surrounding areas. By the second decade of the 20th century, Andoni and Ogoni had been conquered and brought into the district. During the period 1892 to 1900, some European firms moved to Egwanga, which became the administrative headquarters of the District in 1902.


British Encroachment in Africa
First travellers, missionaries, traders, then a kind of protectorate half concealed under the form of unequal alliance; afterwards the delimitation of spheres of influence and the declaration of a kind of right of priority; then a protectorate properly so called, the establishment of tutelage, the appointment of Residents and all that follows in their trail; and finally annexation pure and simple.
(The Temps of March, 1993 in Noah, 1988)

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Category: Early History and Trade Contacts

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