The System of Slavery in Bakor, South-Eastern Nigeria, 1850-1960


The subject of slavery, especially the status of slaves in African societies, has understandably attracted scholarly attention. Using Bakor society in south-eastern Nigeria as a case study, this paper seeks to contribute to existing knowledge about slave systems in Nigeria. On the basis of fieldwork carried out in Mfom, an Ekajuk community in Bakor area, in conjunction with relevant written sources, it has been established that a sizable percentage of Bakor population is of slave origin. These slaves were originally recruited from outside Bakorland and the primary reason for the purchase of slaves was to augment the population of matrilineages which appeared to be declining during the period covered by this study. It was for this reason that female slaves were preferred. The study also shows that there existed an efficient traditional method of intergrating slaves into the society. This, in addition to the fact that slaves never suffered any form of discrimination made it difficult to distinguish between slave and free born.

Keywords: Bansara, Cross River, Mfom, Nigeria, Slavery

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 92-100 (Download PDF)

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