World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Aro Confederacy

Aro Confederacy
Omu Aro



Capital Arochukwu
Government Constitutional monarchy
President Eze Aro
Historical era Early modern
 •  Established 1690
 •  Disestablished 1902

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 all over Eastern Nigeria, lower Middle Belt, and parts of present-day Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea during the 18th and 19th centuries. 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 central council (Okpankpo).


  • Rise 1
  • Confederacy 2
  • Decline 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


By the mid-18th century, several Aro business families had migrated to the Igbo hinterland and to adjacent areas as a result of the rise of the demand for slaves and for palm oil. This migration, the 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, Edda, Abam, Abiriba, Afikpo, Ekoi, etc.), quickly established the Aro Confederacy as a regional economic power.


Aro activities helped coastal the growth of city-states in the Niger Delta, and they became 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 communities that formed into powerful kingdoms. The Ajalli, Arondizuogu, Ndikelionwu, and Igbene Kingdoms were some of the most powerful Aro states in the Confederacy after Arochukwu. Some were founded and named after commanders and chiefs like Izuogu Mgbokpo and Iheme who led Aro/Abam forces to conquer Ikpa Ora and founded Arondizuogu. Later Aro commanders such as Okoro Idozuka (also of Arondizuogu) expanded the state's borders through warfare at the start of the 19th century. Aro migrations also played a large role in the expansion of Ozizza, Afikpo, Izombe, and many other city-states. For example, Aro soldiers founded at least three villages in Ozizza. The Aro Confederacy's power, however, derived mostly from its economic and religious position. With European colonists on their way at the end of the 19th century, things changed.


During the 1890s, the Royal Niger Company of Britain bore friction with the Aros because of their economic dominance and alleged human sacrifice. The Aro resisted British penetration in the hinterland because their influence economically and religiously was being threatened. The Aro and their allies launched offensives against British allies in Igbo and Ibibioland. After failed negotiations, the British planned on capturing the Aro Confederacy in 1899. By 1901, the tensions were especially intensified when British prepared for the Aro Expedition. The invasion of Obegu (in Igboland) was the last major Aro offensive before the start of the Anglo-Aro War. In November 1901, the British launched the Aro Expedition and after strong Aro resistance, Arochukwu was captured on December 28, 1901. By Spring 1902, the war was over and the Aro Confederacy collapsed.

Contrary to the belief that the Ibini Ukpabi was destroyed, the shrine still exists, and is intact in Arochukwu and serves mainly as a tourist site.


  • The Evolution of the Aro Confederacy in Southeastern Nigeria, 1690-1720.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.