Republic of Biafra

Coat of arms of Biafra
Coat of arms
Motto: "Peace, Unity, and Freedom."
Red: Republic of Biafra
Red: Republic of Biafra
Republic of Biafra in May 1967
Republic of Biafra in May 1967
StatusSubsumed State
CapitalEnugu (1967)

Umuahia (1967-1969)

Owerri (1969-1970)
Largest cityAba
Common languages English and Igbo (predominant)
French · Efik · Ekoi · Ibibio · Ijaw
Historical eraCold War
• Established
30 May 1967
• Rejoins Federal Nigeria
15 January 1970
196777,306 km2 (29,848 sq mi)
• 1967
CurrencyBiafran pound
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S–Z. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 762. ISBN 978-0-313-32384-3.

Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a state in West Africa that existed from May 1967 to January 1970. It was made up of the states in the Eastern Region of Nigeria.

Biafra's declaration of independence from Nigeria resulted in civil war between Biafra and Nigeria. Biafra was formally recognised by Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Zambia. Other nations, which did not give official recognition but provided support and assistance to Biafra, included Israel, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Rhodesia, South Africa and Vatican City.A Biafra received aid from non-state actors, including Joint Church Aid, Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland,[1] and under their direction Caritas International,[2] and U.S. Catholic Relief Services.[3] Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) also originated in response to the suffering.

Its inhabitants were mostly Igbo, who led the independence movement due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. Other ethnic groups included the Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Ejagham, Eket, Ibeno and the Ijaw.

After two-and-a-half years of war, during which almost two million Biafran civilians died from starvation caused by the total blockade of the region by the Nigerian and British governments, Biafran forces under Nigeria's motto of "No-victor, No-vanquished" surrendered to the Nigerian Federal Military Government (FMG). The surrender was facilitated by the Biafran Vice President and Chief of General Staff, Major General Philip Effiong, who assumed leadership of the Republic of Biafra after the original President, Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, fled to Ivory Coast.[4] After the surrender of Biafra, some Igbos who had fled the conflict returned to their properties but were unable to claim them back from new occupants. This became law in the Abandoned Properties Act (28 September 1979).[5] It was purported that at the start of the civil war, Igbos withdrew their funds from Nigerian banks and converted it to the Biafran currency. After the war, bank accounts owned by Biafrans were seized and a Nigerian panel resolved to give every Igbo person with an account only 20 pounds.[6] Today, Federal projects in Biafra were also greatly reduced compared to other parts of Nigeria.[7] In an Intersociety study it was found that Nigerian security forces also extorted approximately $100 million per year from illegal roadblocks and other methods from Igboland, a cultural sub-region of Biafra in what is now southern Nigeria.[8]

History and etymology

Map of Africa (Abraham Ortelius, 1584)
Map of West Africa (Rigobert Bonne (Royal Cartographer of France) 1770)
Map of West Africa (1839); Biafra is shown in the region of "Lower Guinea"

Early modern maps of Africa from the 15th to the 19th centuries, drawn from accounts written by explorers and travellers, show references to Biafra, Biafara,[9][10] and Biafares.[11] In his personal writings from his travels, a Rev. Charles W. Thomas defined the locations of islands in the Bight of Biafra as "between the parallels of longitude 5° and 9° East and latitude 4° North and 2° South".[12] People in the region have described Biafra as the land directly adjacent to the Bight of Biafra and also an indigenous state, existing before European colonialism created such entities as Nigeria.[13]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Biafra
العربية: بيافرا
asturianu: Biafra
български: Биафра
bosanski: Biafra
brezhoneg: Biafra
català: Biafra
čeština: Biafra
Cymraeg: Biaffra
dansk: Biafra
Deutsch: Biafra
eesti: Biafra
Ελληνικά: Μπιάφρα
español: Biafra
Esperanto: Biafro
euskara: Biafra
فارسی: بیافرا
français: Biafra
Gaeilge: Biafra
galego: Biafra
한국어: 비아프라
hrvatski: Biafra
Ido: Biafra
Igbo: Bịafra
Bahasa Indonesia: Biafra
íslenska: Bíafra
italiano: Biafra
עברית: ביאפרה
Kiswahili: Biafra
Kreyòl ayisyen: Biafra
latviešu: Biafra
lietuvių: Biafra
magyar: Biafra
Nederlands: Republiek Biafra
norsk: Biafra
norsk nynorsk: Biafra
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਬਿਆਫ਼੍ਰਾ
polski: Biafra
português: Biafra
română: Biafra
русский: Биафра
Scots: Biafra
slovenčina: Biafra (štát)
slovenščina: Biafra
српски / srpski: Бијафра
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Biafra
suomi: Biafra
svenska: Biafra
українська: Біафра
اردو: بيافرا
Tiếng Việt: Biafra
Yorùbá: Biafra
Zazaki: Biafra