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How The Etsu Nupe Founded Igala Kingdom

The Origination Of Igala Kingdom

In 1854 Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was told by the Igala people that their capital city of Idah was originally founded by an Etsu Nupe from the Nupe city of Raba.¹

According to that story, the origin of the Igala people can be traced to a time when the Etsu Nupes ruled over the Akpoto and Yoruba people. Professor Leo Frobenius was told by the Yoruba people themselves that they were originally a subject people ruled by the Etsu Nupe

The Etsu Nupe at Gbara was at loggerheads with the Etsu Nupe at Raba.³
A Yoruba king advised the Etsu Nupe king of Raba to find for himself a new kingdom downstream the River Niger away from his enemy the Etsu Nupe king of Gbara.⁴

The Etsu Nupe of Raba then went down the River Niger and found himself a new kingdom among the Akpotos at the place where Idah is located today. The Etsu Nupe and his people from Raba settled among the Akpoto people at Idah and gradually lost their Nupe language as they emerged as the new tribe of people we call the Gara or Igala today.⁵

That was how the Igala kingdom and Igala tribe was founded by the Etsu Nupe.⁶
This story is on the page 65 to 66 of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther’s 1855 journal titled ‘Journal of an Expedition up the Niger and Tshadda River’.⁷

This story was also confirmed by the French historian Adolphe Burdo in 1888⁸ and by the British research worker Robert Sargent in 1976.⁹
This was the original story of the origin of the Igala people as told by the Igala people themselves, long before, as J.S. Boston pointed out, Hamitic hypothesis-influenced British colonial historians, including Sir H.R. Palmer, C.K. Meek and Captain Miles Clifford came in the 20th century and invented the arrant lie that the Igala people originated from a supposedly Kororofa Jukun.¹⁰

Author: Ndagi Abdullahi
Royal Title: Amana Nupe
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