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Coordinates: 4°57′00″N 8°19′30″E / 4.95000°N 8.32500°E / 4.95000; 8.32500


Kingdom of Calabar
Calabar is located in Nigeria
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 4°57′0″N 8°19′30″E / 4.95000°N 8.32500°E / 4.95000; 8.32500
Country Nigeria
StateCross River
 • Total406 km2 (157 sq mi)
32 m (105 ft)
 • Total371,022
 • Density910/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)

Calabar (also referred to as Callabar, Calabari, Calbari, Kalabari and Kalabar)[2] is the capital of Cross River State, Nigeria. It was originally named Akwa Akpa, in Efik language.[3][4] The city is adjacent to the Calabar and Great Kwa rivers and creeks of the Cross River (from its inland delta).

Calabar is often described as the tourism capital of Nigeria, especially due to several initiatives implemented during the Duke Administration (1999-2007), which made the city the cleanest and environmentally friendliest city in Nigeria.[5] Administratively, the city is divided into Calabar Municipal and Calabar South Local Government Areas. It has an area of 406 square kilometres (157 sq mi) and a population of 371,022 as at 2006 census.[6]

History[edit source | edit]

Image of the Duketown Church, Calabar (located within later day Nigeria). Three people stand in front of the white-sided church with a thatched roof. Duketown lies on the Calabar river 50 miles from the coast.
Duke Town Church, Calabar, late 19th century

On 10 September 1884, Queen Victoria signed a Treaty of Protection with the King and Chiefs of Akwa Akpa, known to Europeans as Old Calabar. This enabled the United Kingdom to exercise control over the entire territory around Calabar, including Bakassi.[7]

Today, Calabar is a large metropolis with several towns like Akim, Ikot Ansa, Ikot Ishie, Kasuk, Duke Town, Henshaw Town, Cobham Town, Ikot Omin, Obutong.

Seaport City[edit source | edit]

Ship docked in Calabar port in 1981

Since the 16th century, Calabar had been a recognized international seaport, shipping out goods such as palm oil.[8] During the era of the Atlantic slave trade, it became a major port in the transportation of African slaves and was named Calabar by the Spanish. By the 18th century, most slave ships that transported slaves from Calabar were English, with around 85% of these ships being owned by Bristol and Liverpool merchants.[9] Old Calabar (Duke Town) and Creek Town, 16 kilometres (10 mi) northeast, were crucial towns in the trade of slaves in that era.[2] The first British warship to sail as far as Duke Town, where she captured seven Spanish and Portuguese slavers, may have been HMS Comus in 1815.[10]

The main ethnic group taken out of Calabar as slaves were the Igbos, from the neighboring Igbo land.[11] African-American writer and slave John Jea was from the area. A small mulatto community of merchants was located there that had links to missionary and other merchant colonies in Igboland, Lagos, and across the Atlantic.

Landmarks[edit source | edit]

The city was the home the first social club in Nigeria, The Africa Club. It hosted the first competitive football, cricket and field hockey games in Nigeria.[12] Among the city's firsts were the first Roman Catholic Mass (held at 19 Bocco Street, Calabar – 1903) and the oldest secondary school (Hope Waddell Training Institution – 1895) in eastern Nigeria. The school later graduated Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was elected as the first President of Nigeria.[13]

The city has an international museum, a botanical garden, a Free Trade Zone/Port, an international airport and seaport, an integrated sports stadium complex, a cultural centre, one of the most prominent universities in the country – the University of Calabar, a slave history park and several historical and cultural landmarks. It also has several standard hotels, resorts and amusement parks. The former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor lived in the old colonial palace in the city, under an agreement that led to the end of his country's civil war, before fleeing extradition to Liberia in March 2006.[14]

The Tinapa Resort, a development by the Cross River State government, lies to the north of the city beside the Calabar Free Trade Zone.[15]

The Cross River State Annual Christmas Festival held every year attracts thousands from within and beyond Nigeria. The festival, includes music performance from both local and international artists. Other annual events include the Calabar Carnival, a boat regatta, fashion shows, a Christmas Village, traditional dances and the annual Ekpe Festival.

Climate[edit source | edit]

Under Köppen's climate classification, Calabar features a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen: Am) with a lengthy wet season spanning ten months and a short dry season covering the remaining two months. The harmattan, which significantly influences weather in West Africa, is noticeably less pronounced in the city. Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the year, with average high temperatures usually ranging from 25 to 28 degrees Celsius. There is also little variance between daytime and nighttime temperature, as temperatures at night are typically only a few degrees lower than the daytime high temperature. Calabar averages just over 3,000 millimetres (120 in) of precipitation annually.

Climate data for Calabar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.9
Average high °C (°F) 31.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.0
Average low °C (°F) 22.4
Record low °C (°F) 16.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 38
Average rainy days (≥ 0.3 mm) 3 4 11 14 17 20 22 24 22 19 12 5 173
Average relative humidity (%) 84 82 85 87 88 90 92 92 92 90 89 85 88
Mean monthly sunshine hours 167.4 146.9 108.5 135.0 136.4 129.0 55.8 49.6 60.0 105.4 135.0 176.7 1,405.7
Mean daily sunshine hours 5.4 5.2 3.5 4.5 4.4 4.3 1.8 1.6 2.0 3.4 4.5 5.7 3.8
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst[16]

Political authority[edit source | edit]

Calabar has three principal landlord kingdoms, namely the Qua Kingdom of Ejagham (Ekoi)/Bantu origin, the Efut and the Efik Kingdoms. The Qua Kingdom has the Ndidem of the Qua nation as the Grand Patriarch, the Efut have the Muri munene as the Grand Patriarch, and the Efik Kingdom patriarch is known as the Obong. The Efik political authority as it concerns the Obong is hinged on a political tripod: Creek Town, made up of Ambo, Cobham and Eyo; Old Town, made up of Obutong; and Duke Town, or Atakpa, made up of Duke/Archibong, Eyamba, Ntiero, Henshaw and Cobham. Each leg of this tripod at one time or the other was ruled by a separate Obong. Within the last 100 years, a gentleman's agreement to merge these three zones into one, with a single titular head as the Obong, and the distribution or opening up of the title to all Efik wards, was reached. Each of the aspirants to the throne is eminently qualified, none no more so than the other. The title of the Obong of Calabar had been held by Nsa Effiom and Ekpo Nsa in the 17th century; these two gentlemen were from the Henshaw ward. Attempts by the Henshaw to have an Obong resulted in a war in 1870. The Henshaws did not attain this title again until within the last 50 years, when David Henshaw became Obong. Cobham Town, from which Bassey Ekpo Bassey hails, had its first and only Obong recently. All this was made possible because of "the contract".

Calabar Kingdom[edit source | edit]

Before the colonial period, Calabar, originally known as Akwa Akpa, was a kingdom with the City of Calabar as the site of government,Calabar has 3 different Monarch, the Obong of Calabar as the ruler of the Efiks and the Ekpe secret society as the stool on which the Obong of Calabar sat.The Ndidem of calabar is the ruler of the Quas and paramount ruler of Calabar Municipality which is the seat of government. The muri munene of the Efuts who is the ruler of the Efuts and paramount ruler of Calabar South.

Calabar people[edit source | edit]

Calabar people are mainly people from the Greater Calabar district – Calabar South, Calabar Municipality, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Biase, Odukpani and Akamkpa, but as commonly used in Nigeria, the term "Calabar people" could also refer to the indigenes of Greater Calabar as well as the people of the original South Eastern State of Nigeria who are at present the people of Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State.

Nigerian Navy[edit source | edit]

Calabar is the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command.[17] The city has a new model school, Nigerian Navy Secondary School, situated in Akpabuyo, about 10 minutes' drive from the airport. This new school complements the existing Nigerian Navy Primary School and Naval Officers Wives Association Primary School, both situated at Ikot Ansa Calabar.

See also[edit source | edit]

References and sources[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA : 2006 Population Census" (PDF). Web.archive.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Falola, Toyin; Amanda Warnock (2007). Encyclopedia of the Middle Passage: Greenwood Milestones in African American History. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 92. ISBN 0-313-33480-3.
  3. The International Journal of African Studies. National Resource Center for African Studies. 5–6. 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. Afigbo, Adiele Eberechukwu (1987). The Igbo and their neighbours: inter-group relations in southeastern Nigeria to 1953. University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-154-583-6.
  5. Achum, T. Valentine http://789marketing.com.ng/calabar-restoring-tourism-glory-nigerias-pride/
  6. Simon O. Ering (2010). "The Population Situation in Cross River State of Nigeria and Its Implication for Socio-Economic Development: Observations from the 1991 and 2006 Censuses" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2012.
  7. https://www.nigeriagalleria.com. "Brief History of Cross-River State:: Nigeria Information & Guide". www.nigeriagalleria.com. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  8. Iliffe, John (1995). Africans: The History of a Continent (illustrated, reprint ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-521-48422-7.
  9. Sparks, Randy J. (2004). The Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth-century Atlantic Odyssey. Harvard University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-674-01312-3.
  10. Marshall (1835), Vol. 4, Part 2, p. 129.
  11. Chambers, Douglas B. (2005). Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia (illustrated ed.). Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 22. ISBN 1-57806-706-5.
  12. "Origin Of Calabar People". CheckoutAfrica. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  13. Ujorha, Tadaferua; Calabar, who was in (1 January 2014). "119 exciting years of Hope Waddell". Daily Trust. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  14. Daniel, Jo. "Charles Taylor's Family Ejected From Calabar Mansion". INFORMATION NIGERIA. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  15. "Tinapa Free Zone & Resort". African Sun. 9 March 2009. Archived from the original on 9 September 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  16. "Klimatafel von Calabar / Nigeria" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  17. Hackett, Rosalind I. J. (1989). Religion in Calabar: The Religious Life and History of a Nigerian Town. Walter de Gruyter. p. 180. ISBN 3-11-011481-X.

Sources[edit source | edit]

  • Marshall, John (1823–1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).

External links[edit source | edit]