30.05.

1967: Biafra Declares its Independence from Nigeria

1967: Biafra Declares its Independence from Nigeria
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Republic of Biafra in May 1967

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 30 May 1967
  • Biafra had considerable economic power because much of Nigeria's oil resources were located in its area. Nigerian forces blocked humanitarian aid to Biafra, which led to an incredibly large number of victims. It is estimated that more than one million civilians were killed.

On this day in 1967, the Republic of Biafra proclaimed its  independence from Nigeria.

The international recognition of Biafra wasn’t achieved, and Nigerian forces eventually defeated it. Biafra was reintegrated into Nigeria.

The area is inhabited by the Igbo people, one of the three most  populous ethnic groups of Nigeria (the other two are the Hausa and the Yoruba).

It is interesting to note that the Igbo people are mostly Christians – Roman Catholics. On the contrary, members of the Hausa are mostly Muslims.

Biafra covered an area of about 77,000 square kilometers. It was located in the southeastern part of Nigeria, from the Niger River Delta to the border with Cameroon.

Interestingly, Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Zambia recognized Biafra as an independent state. Biafra’s independence was also recognized by many other foreign countries, but apparently it was not enough.

The war between Nigerian forces and Biafra broke out. Biafra had considerable economic power because much of Nigeria’s oil resources were located in its area.

Nigerian forces blocked humanitarian aid to Biafra, which led to an incredibly large number of victims.

It is estimated that more than one million civilians were killed. The war ended in 1970, and Biafra rejoined Nigeria.

The Biafran War (or the Nigerian Civil War)  became notorious for the starvation of some of the besieged regions, and the consequent genocide of the predominantly Igbo people of the region. Half of them were children.

After the Biafran War, the organization “Doctors Without Borders“ (French: Médecins Sans Frontières) was established as something akin to a reaction to the Biafra’s situation.

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