Arochukwu, sometimes referred to as Arochuku or Aro-Okigbo, (pronounced Aruchukwu) is the third largest city in Abia State (after Aba and Umuahia) in southeastern Nigeria and homeland of the Igbo subgroup, Aro people. It is composed of 19 villages with an overall leader called Eze Aro. Arochukwu is a principal historic town in Igbo land. It was also one of the cities in the Southern protectorate targeted by the British colonial government. Several historic tourist sites exist in the city. The mystic Ibini Ukpabi shrine, the slave routes and other relics of the slave trade era are frequently visited by tourists. It is also in the food belt of Abia state where most of the staple foods are.
|• Type||Monarchy (One of the few kingdoms in Nigeria, which practices the monarchical system of government)|
|• Eze Aro||Ogbonnaya Okoro|
|• Total||202 sq mi (524 km2)|
|• Ethnicities||Igbo, Akpa|
|• Religions||Christianity, Traditional religions|
|3-digit postal code prefix||442|
|ISO 3166 code||NG.AB.AR|
Arochukwu is believed to have been the homeland of the Ibibio as they arrived in 300 AD from the Benue valley and founded early states like Obong Okon Ita and Ibom. Many years passed as Igbo immigrants came along and pressed into the Ibibio occupied territory and founded several states. The first Igbo group were the Ezeagwu group from Abiriba led by their leader Agwu Inobia. As Aro-Ibibio wars occurred, there was a stalemate. In reaction, the Eze Agwu clan invited a priest named Nnachi from the Edda clan of northeastern Igboland and another group from the east of the Cross River through Nnachi. These people were identified as the Akpa people. Akpa forces led by Osim and Akuma Nnubi, they helped the Igbo forces capture the rest of the area. This formed the alliance of 19 new and old states in the area known as the Arochukwu kingdom around 1650-1700. The first king (or Eze Aro) of a unified Arochukwu was Akuma but after his death, Nnachi son's Oke Nnachi took over and his descendants have the throne to this day.
By the mid-18th century, Arochukwu people founded many other communities both within and outside Igboland.These migrations, influence of their god Ibini Ukpabi through priests, and their military power backed up by alliances with several related neighboring Igbo and eastern Cross River militarized states (particularly Ohafia, Abam, Abiriba, Afikpo, Ekoi, etc.) quickly established the Aro Confederacy as a regional economic power. However, Aro economic hegemony was threatened by the penetration of Europeans, mainly British colonists in the wake of the 20th century. Tensions finally led to bloodshed and the Anglo-Aro War took place from 1901-1902. The Aro Confederacy stoutly resisted but were eventually defeated. This helped the British to occupy the rest of what is now known as Eastern Nigeria.
The kingdom is Igbo mixed with Ibibio and Akpa. The main language in Arochukwu is Igbo while Ibibio is also spoken.
Arochukwu is one of the only cities in Igboland named after God. Though named after God, it was named this before the advent of Christianity in Igboland, stemming from the belief in one supreme being. Aro translates as Spear and Chukwu as God. Put together this could imply Spear of God.
- Nwogu, Mathas (August 19, 2009). "Aro Kingdom re-brands after 700 years". The Sun Publishing LTD. Retrieved 2010-02-25.[permanent dead link]
- Afigbo, AE. Groundwork of Igbo History. Lagos, Vista Books Limited, 1992
- Onwuejeogwu, MA. Igbo civilization: Nri kingdom and hegemony; London, Ethnographica, 1981
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-21. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
- listing of city populations for Nigeria