Monday, May 22, 2017

The Geography and History of Biafra

 Encyclopedia : "The Bight of Biafra, or Mafra (named after the town Mafra in southern Portugal), between Capes Formosa and Lopez, is the most eastern part of the Gulf of Guinea; it contains the islands Fernando Po [Equatorial Guinea], Prince’s and St Thomas’s [São Tomé and Príncipe]. The name Biafra-as indicating the country-fell into disuse in the later part of the 19th century."
Coordinates 2°50′N 8°0′E
River sources Niger
Ocean/sea sources Gulf of Guinea
Atlantic Ocean
Basin countries Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
Max. length 300 km (190 mi)
Max. width 600 km (370 mi)

The Bight of Biafra extends east of the Bight of Benin from the River Delta of the Niger in the north until it reaches Cape Lopez in Gabon. Besides the Niger River, other rivers reaching the bay are the Cross River, Wouri River, Calabar River, Ndian, Wouri, Sanaga, Nyong River, Ntem, Mbia, Mbini, Muni and Komo River.

The main islands in the Bay are Bioko and Príncipe; other important islands are Ilhéu Bom Bom, Ilhéu Caroço, Elobey Grande and Elobey Chico. Countries located at the Bight of Bonny are Nigeria (eastern coast), Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea (Bioko Island  and Rio Muni), and Gabon (northern coast)

On 30 June 1849, Britain established a colonial protectorate over the Bight of Biafra, under the authority of the British Consuls of the Bight of Benin:

May 1852 - 1853 Louis Fraser
1853 - April 1859 Benjamin Campbell
April 1859 - 1860 George Brand
1860 - January 1861 Henry Hand
January 1861 - May 1861 Henry Grant Foote
May 1861 - 6 August 1861 William McCoskry (acting)
On 6 August 1861, Biafra protectorate and the neighboring Benin protectorate (under its own British consuls) became a united British protectorate Bights of Biafra and Benin, again under British consuls:

1861 - December 1864 Richard Francis Burton
December 1864 - 1873 Charles Livingstone
1873 - 1878 George Hartley
1878 - 13 September 1879 David Hopkins
13 September 1879 - 5 June 1885 Edward Hyde Hewett.
From 16 July 1884, it merged into the British protectorate over Brass, Bonny, Opobo, Aboh  and Old Calabar (excluding Lagos Colony), which was confirmed on 5 June 1885, and named Oil Rivers Protectorate, where, on August 1891, effective consular administration was established, headed by a consul general (on 5 June 1885, the aforementoned former consul Edward Hyde Hewett became the first). The area would, in different steps, merge further via the 12 May 1893 Niger Coast Protectorate, 1 January 1900 (renamed Southern Nigeria Protectorate  into which, on 16 February 1906, Lagos was incorporated), on 28 February 1906 made into the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. From 1 January 1914, it was part of Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

The bight was renamed within independent Nigeria in 1972, when after the Biafran War, the Nigerian government wanted to remove the name of the term Biafra considered secessionist.

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