This micro study of the west Niger Igbo kingdom of Ubulu-Ukwu adopts the historical method of description and analysis to critically examine the much generalized influence of the great Benin Kingdom on its proximate and distant neighbours. It posits the Nri-Awka area as the source of the initial stimulus for peopling, kingship and title systems of Ubulu-Ukwu. Relations with Benin and the latter’s attendant influence were stimulated by Benin’s needs for the vital services for which Ubulu-Ukwu was famous. These included the security of Benin coronations and the mystical protection of the Oba’s throne, state regalia and the magical paraphernalia necessary for his vitality and rejuvenation. Ubulu-Ukwu, being dynamic, through adaptation and emulation, effected adjustments to its monarchical system. Thus the Benin factor in political and cultural developments at Ubulu-Ukwu was not all encompassing, nor the result of conquest and imposition, despite a mid-18th century war between the two polities.
Keywords: Benin kingdom, Nigerian History, Nri-Awka area, intergroup relations, west Niger Igbo
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