Nri is an ancient Igbo city-state in Anambra State Nigeria. The Kingdom of Nri was a center of learning, religion, and commerce in pre-colonial West Africa. Historians have compared the significance of Nri, at its peak, to the religious cities of Rome or Mecca: it was the seat of a powerful and imperial state that influenced much of the territories inhabited by the Igbo of Awka and Onitsha to the east; the Efik, the Ibibios, and the Ijaws to the South; Nsukka and southern Igala to the north; and Asaba, and the Anioma to the west. The rulers of Nri did not use military conquest, but imposition of religious authority and control of commercial routes as tactics in the spread of their city-state. Politically, Nri is known to be the most ancient origins of the Eze kingship in Igbo societies. But Nri and its rulers were also known for their occultic religious Juju, an institution that instilled both awe and fear in those who made pilgrimages to the shrine. Commercially, Nri was against slave holding. "Osu" was the name of outcasts of other communities who migrated and were accepted in Nri. Some Osu became eunuchs. During the colonial period, Nri and the regions under its political, religious, or commercial control became international markets for palm oil. In the heart of Nri influence was the Igbo Ukwu bronze castings.


The origin of Nri people is still a subject of much speculation. What we know for sure is that the Nri clan existed from as far back as the 9th century. Nri (the founder of Nri clan) was the son of Eri (founder of Aguleri) and had migrated to the present day Nri from Anambra (Ama-Mbala) river valley in Northern Igboland. Nri was said to have inherited spiritual powers from his father. The Nri people belong to the Umueri clans who trace their origins to Eri. Northern and Central Igboland, is the homeland of Igbo people.

Origin theory

Igbo mythology

Speculation starts when one starts to trace the origin of Eri, and this attracts different theories. In the Nri mythology, Eri descended from the sky, sent by God to make peace (settle disputes and cleanse abominations) and provide Igbo people food (yam and cocoyam) (10). Some historians speculate that Eri may have migrated to the Anambra area out of the Igala dynasty of central Nigeria. But there is convincing evidence that Onoja Oboli, the founder of the Igala dynasty was actually another son of Eri.



  • Elizabeth Isichei, African before 1800 (London: Longman, 1984).
  • Elizabeth Isichei, A History of the Igbo People (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1976).
  • Chikodi Anunobi, Nri Warriors of Peace (Zenith Publishers, January 2006)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Igbo people — Ndị Igbọ O. Equiano • Jaja of Opobo • Chinua Achebe • C.N. Adichie Total population 15–30 million worldwide (est.) …   Wikipedia

  • Igbo Jews — Igbo Jewish Community presented with a plaque. Total population Over 40,000 by religion (est.) Regions with significant populations …   Wikipedia

  • NRI — may refer to: Non resident Indian Kingdom of Nri, An Igbo kingdom that flourished between the 10th Century and early 20th Century (Also see Nri Igbo) Negative Refractive Index Networked readiness index Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor National… …   Wikipedia

  • Igbo — may refer to: * Igbo people, An ethnic group based in West Africa * Igbo language, The language spoken by the Igbo people of south eastern Nigeria * Igbo mythology * Igbo music * Igbo artToponyms * Igbo Ukwu * Ijebu IgboOther uses *Igbo Women s… …   Wikipedia

  • Igbo culture — Men wearing the modern Isiagu with traditional Igbo men s hat. Igbo culture (Igbo: Omenala ndi Igbo) are the customs, practices and traditions of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. It comprises archaic practices as well as new concepts… …   Wikipedia

  • Igbo mythology — is the spirituality and religious beliefs and practices that were, and still are practiced by the Igbo people. The Igbo call their spiritual and religious beliefs and practices Odinani. [ odinani the… …   Wikipedia

  • Igbo art — is any body of visual art originating from the Igbo people. The Igbo produce a wide variety of art including traditional figures, masks, artifacts and textiles, plus works in metals such as bronze. Artworks form the Igbo have been found from as… …   Wikipedia

  • Igbo language — Infobox Language familycolor=Niger Congo pronunciation=/ˈiɡɓo/ name=Igbo nativename=Igbo states= Nigeria (southeastern) region=Nigeria and other countries (transplants) speakers= 25 35 million fam2=Atlantic Congo fam3=Volta Congo fam4=Benue Congo …   Wikipedia

  • Kingdom of Nri — Anieze Nrị ← 948–1911 …   Wikipedia

  • New Yam Festival of the Igbo — The New Yam festival in Dublin, Ireland. The New Yam festival of the Igbo (Igbo: Iwa ji) is an annual harvest festival by the Igbo people held at the end of the rainy season in early August …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.