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Republic of Biafra
Flag of Biafra
Coat of arms of Biafra
Coat of arms
Motto: Peace, Unity, and Freedom.
The location of Biafra in West Africa
The location of Biafra in West Africa
CapitalEnugu (1967)
Umuahia (1967-1969)
Owerri (1969-1970)
Awka (1970)
Largest cityOnitsha
Common languagesEnglish
• Total
77,306 km2 (29,848 sq mi)
CurrencyBiafran Pound
Today part ofNigeria

Biafra, officially called the Republic of Biafra,[1] was a break-away state in West Africa.[2] It was created on 30 May 1967 by the Eastern Region governor C. Odumegwu Ojukwu. It claimed the land of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. The country was mainly populated by the Igbo people.

Biafra was officially recognised by Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Zambia.[3]Biafra was also de facto recognised by France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Israel, Rhodesia, South Africa and the Vatican City.

Biafra also had aid from non-state actors, including Joint Church Aid, foreign mercenaries and the Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland.

The United States government under president Lyndon B. Johnson was officially neutral during the war. There was strong public support for Biafra in the US.[4] American activists founded the American Committee to Keep Biafra Alive to spread propaganda.[5] United States president Richard Nixon was supportive of the Biafran cause. Before he won the 1968 presidential election he accused Nigeria of committing genocide against the Biafrans. He also called for the United States to intervene in the war on the side of Biafra. His efforts failed because of the demands of the ongoing Vietnam War. After two-and-a-half years of war with Nigeria, during which almost two million Biafran civilians (three-quarters of them being smaller children) died from starvation caused by the Nigerian blockade of the region.

A child suffering the effects of severe hunger and malnutrition during the Nigerian blockade

Economy[change | change source]

An early body created by the Biafran government was the Bank of Biafra, made under "Decree No. 3 of 1967".[6] The bank carried out all central banking functions including the management of foreign exchange and the management of Biafra's public debt.[6] The bank was managed by a governor and four directors. The first governor was Sylvester Ugoh.[7] A second degree, "Decree No. 4 of 1967", changed the Banking Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the Republic of Biafra.[6]

The bank was originally in Enugu but because of the Nigerian Civil War it had to be moved multiple times.[6] Biafra tried to finance the war through foreign exchange. This effort increased when Nigeria said that its currency wouldn't be legal tender (to make way for a new currency).

References[change | change source]

  1. "The Republic of Biafra | AHA". Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  2. Hurst, Ryan (2009-06-21). "Republic of Biafra (1967-1970) •". Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  3. "Was "Biafra" at Any Time A State in International Law?"
  4. "Fifty Years Later: U.S. Intelligence Shortcomings in the Nigerian Civil War"
  5. "'And starvation is the grim reaper': the American Committee to Keep Biafra Alive and the genocide question during the Nigerian civil war, 1968–70"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "The Banknotes of Biafra". 2008-08-27. Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2023-07-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  7. "Nigeria: The men who may be President (1)"