Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Itsekiri in the nineteenth century; an outline social history


In 1800 the Itsekiri kingdom of Warri in the north-western corner of the Niger delta had a highly centralized government. In 1848, the king died, followed shortly by his two principal heirs, and a state of anarchy developed in which order was maintained largely through the balance held between the two largest descent groups or ‘Houses’. The latter part of the century saw the rise, and defeat by the British of Nana Olomu, possibly the greatest of the delta traders, whose power over the Itsekiri derived from his trading monopoly. One cannot divorce these striking changes in Itsekiri social and political structure from the trade in slaves and later in palm oil, for the Itsekiri were by profession the middlemen between the interior peoples—the Urhobo and Isoko and to some extent the Benin—and the European traders.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of African History
  • ISSN: 0021-8537
  • EISSN: 1469-5138
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-african-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 218 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.