During the period of 1800 to 1900, the Igbo people experienced significant internal political developments and had complex relations with neighboring communities in the Nigeria area. Understanding Igbo history during this time provides insight into the dynamics of governance, intertribal interactions, and responses to external influences.

Internal Political Development: The Igbo society was characterized by a system of village democracies where decisions were made collectively by male heads of households and titled individuals. Various villages were autonomous and governed by age-grade systems that facilitated social order and conflict resolution. Leadership roles were often based on merit, achieved through personal accomplishments or conferred titles.

This decentralized political structure allowed for flexibility and adaptability within Igbo communities. It also enabled the Igbo people to resist external domination and maintain their cultural practices despite the presence of external forces seeking to exert control over the region.

Throughout the 19th century, Igbo societies witnessed shifts in power dynamics, as certain individuals or groups gained influence through trade, warfare, or religious activities. These changes influenced the internal political landscape and contributed to the diversity of political systems observed among Igbo communities.

Relations with Neighbours: The Igbo people had intricate relations with neighboring ethnic groups such as the Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani, and other smaller communities in the region. Interactions were shaped by trade, alliances, conflicts, and cultural exchanges that influenced social dynamics and political alignments.

Trade networks played a crucial role in connecting Igbo communities with neighboring societies, facilitating the exchange of commodities, ideas, and technologies. The Igbo's economic activities, including palm oil production, crafts, and long-distance trade, contributed to the region's commercial vibrancy and interconnectedness.

At the same time, conflicts over trade routes, territorial boundaries, and resource control occasionally strained relations between the Igbo and their neighbors. These disputes sometimes escalated into localized conflicts or alliances aimed at asserting dominance or safeguarding interests.

Furthermore, cultural interactions between the Igbo and neighboring groups led to the adoption of certain practices, beliefs, and social customs that enriched the cultural tapestry of the Nigeria area. These exchanges fostered a sense of shared history and cooperation among diverse ethnic communities while also highlighting the distinctiveness of each group's identities.


  1. Examine Igbo Internal Political Development
  2. Assess Her Relations with Her Neighbours

Lesson Note

The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, predominantly residing in the southeastern region of Nigeria. Known for their rich culture, history, and economic dynamism, the Igbo have played a significant role in Nigeria's development and progress. This article delves into their internal political development and their relations with neighboring groups.

Lesson Evaluation

Congratulations on completing the lesson on Igbo. Now that youve explored the key concepts and ideas, its time to put your knowledge to the test. This section offers a variety of practice questions designed to reinforce your understanding and help you gauge your grasp of the material.

You will encounter a mix of question types, including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions. Each question is thoughtfully crafted to assess different aspects of your knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Use this evaluation section as an opportunity to reinforce your understanding of the topic and to identify any areas where you may need additional study. Don't be discouraged by any challenges you encounter; instead, view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

  1. What was a significant aspect of Igbo internal political development during the 19th century? A. Establishment of a centralized monarchy B. Embrace of decentralized village democracies C. Adoption of military dictatorship D. Implementation of communist ideology Answer: B. Embrace of decentralized village democracies
  2. How did the Igbo people generally view their relations with their neighboring ethnic groups during the 1800s? A. Hostile and confrontational B. Indifferent and isolated C. Peaceful and collaborative D. Domineering and oppressive Answer: C. Peaceful and collaborative
  3. Which of the following best characterizes the Igbo's economic interactions with their neighbors in the 19th century? A. Strict trade restrictions and embargoes B. Establishment of exclusive economic partnerships C. Extensive trade networks and commerce D. Dependency on foreign aid and donations Answer: C. Extensive trade networks and commerce
  4. What impact did the Igbo's internal political structure have on their ability to resist external threats during the 19th century? A. Strengthened unity and cohesion B. Fragmented and weakened defense C. Created power struggles within neighboring tribes D. Enabled domination over neighboring territories Answer: B. Fragmented and weakened defense
  5. In what way did the Igbo's relations with their neighbors influence their cultural and social development in the 1800s? A. Preservation of traditional customs and beliefs B. Assimilation of foreign norms and practices C. Isolation from external cultural influences D. Promotion of separatist movements and ideologies Answer: B. Assimilation of foreign norms and practices

Recommended Books

Past Questions

Wondering what past questions for this topic looks like? Here are a number of questions about Igbo from previous years

Question 1 Report

Which region of Nigeria was known for its active involvement in long-distance trade during the pre-1800 period?

Practice a number of Igbo past questions