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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Ogaranya' (wealthy men) in late nineteenth century Igboland: chief Igwebe Odum of Arondizuogu, c. 1860-1940
Author:Njoku, Raphael ChijiokeISNI
Periodical:African Economic History (ISSN 0145-2258)
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:traditional rulers
slave trade
class formation
economic history
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41501701
Abstract:Although the British outlawed slave trading for its subjects in 1807, the Igbo hinterland of Nigeria sustained illicit trade late into the second decade of the 20th century. The slaves previously meant for the overseas market were now engaged in plantation farms where their labour accelerated the growth of the palm oil trade. This paper examines this continuation of the slave trade as reflected in the life of Igbo chief Igwebe Odum of Arondizuogu. His life story provides insight into the nature of a class of nouveaux riche who emerged in West Africa, including Igboland, where they were known as 'ogaranya'. Igwebe Odum is remembered as someone who was able to take advantage of opportunities. In 1929, his kinsmen referred to him as 'omenuko-aku', or 'one who is financially buoyant in the midst of scarcity', but how he achieved this status is controversial. The paper argues that the 'ogaranya' were the product of various forces of change, including slavery, its abolition, the development of the palm oil trade, and the rise of a merchant-capitalist class. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]