CALABAR is a city in south eastern Nigeria, located on the bank of the Calabar River. The City is watered
by the Calabar and Great Qua
Rivers and creeks of the Cross River (from its inland Delta). It is the capital of Cross River
State, and has an estimated population of about 1.2 million residents. The indigenes
are the Efik people known for their artistic skills, rich food, culture and traditions. Their main occupation is Agriculture.
That is why it served as a seaport exporting rubber, palm oil, cocoa and timber.
Calabar, one of the
first regions invaded by the British, has been inhabited for over 2000 years. Known to European Sailors as far back as the 15th century and was recognised as an international sea port since the 16th century. Calabar was a major slave trade port from the late 17th to 19th centuries. Which made it an important Niger Delta trading state in the 19th century.
CLANS IN CALABAR
Calabar is made
up of seven clans (Esien Efik Itiaba) namely: Creek Town
, Adiabo, Ikoneto, Ikot Offiong, Old Town
, Duke Town and Henshaw
Town . It is one of the four cultural centers in Nigeria
where most of the families in Calabar are involved in the development of culture ensuring that their children maintain and
preserve the Efik cultural traditions.
As an educational
center that homes of one of the major universities in Nigeria,
University of Calabar (UNICAL), and a tourist heaven, This historical town can be access by air, road and the sea from different
parts of Africa.
Calabar became the first capital of Nigeria as
it once served as the seat of Government of the Niger Coast
Protectorate, Southern Protectorate and Oil River Protectorate (the modern day Nigeria).
Due to her early role in international trade and colonial administration, Calabar hosts the earliest Military barracks, the first Presbyterian church (Church of
Scotland Mission) in 1846, the first monorail and the first modern road network in Nigeria. The city also boasts of the first public (General) Hospital in Nigeria – St. Margaret
Hospital, the oldest Post Office and one of the first two Botanical
Gardens in the country.
As a social centre
the city boasts of the first social club in Nigeria –
The Africa Club – and also hosted the first competitive Football, Cricket and Field Hockey games in Nigeria. Among
the city's firsts include the first Roman Catholic
Mass (held at 19 Boco Street, Calabar - 1903) and the oldest secondary school (Hope Waddell
Training Institute - 1895) in eastern Nigeria. The School later produced the first Nigerian
President Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. Prominent figures in the history of Calabar include King Archibong
III - the first king in southern Nigeria to be crowned with regalia sent by Queen Victoria of England in 1878.
Others include Professor
Eyo Ita - the first Nigerian Professor, Sir Louis Edet - First Nigerian Inspector General of Police, Mrs. Margaret
Ekpo - first woman Special member in Nigeria's Eastern House of Chiefs and later Eastern House
of Assembly, Hogan Kid
Bassey - first Nigeria's World Boxing Champion and Etubom Oyo
Orok Oyo - premier football administrator, first and only Nigerian so far to be elected into Executive
Committee of FIFA (1980 – 1988) and the first African to be made an Honorary Vice president of Confederation
of African Football (CAF) (from 1988 for life).
Modern Calabar is
reputed to be the cleanest city and number one tourist destination in Nigeria.
The city has a good road network and it is second to Abuja when it comes to beauty and planning. Unlike other African cities there are no hawkers
and the residents are disciplined which makes the city so hospitable. All major roads in the city have trees neatly planted
by the left and right hand side of the roads with side works. The city boasts of an International Museum, a Botanical Garden, a Free Trade
Zone/Port, an International
Airport and Seaport, an integrated Sports Stadium complex, a cultural centre, one of the most prominent universities in the country the
of Calabar, a slave history park and several historical and cultural landmarks.
Calabar offers the
best cultural setting of the Efik people as you can see in their traditional attire, Masquerades and cuisine and that is why the city, is christened Canaan City, meaning
", the land of flowing milk and honey because of the abundant warmth and hospitality of its people, rich history, culture
and natural attraction. Calabar is clean and has well laid out streets that are adorned by trees and flowers on both sides.
It also boasts of several standard Hotels, resorts and Amusement
Parks. The city hopes to commission Africa's Premier Business resort,
TINAPA City, in 2006. The former Liberian warlord Charles Ghankay
Taylor lived in the old colonial palace in the city under an agreement which led to the
end of his country's civil war before fleeing extradition to Liberia
in March 2006.
In Calabar, there
are numerous shopping centers. In the Nigerian
Yellow Pages, one can find list of all such shopping centers or any other business establishment
where one can get things required for daily living.
IMPORTANT HISTORICAL FACT
history, an Efik leader and his entire village of Obutong
were captured by the British slave traders and taken to their final destination, Havana
in Cuba . This Efik Chief founded the Abakua society in Havana
in the 1830s. The first Abakua group is named after "Obutong" an Efik town in Calabar (Efi Kebuton). Most of the names mentioned
in the songs are places and names of the Efik people and town of Calabar . These
societies have become a cultural identity of the Cuban people.