History of Anambra
Anambra is a state in southeastern Nigeria. Its name is an anglicized version of the original ‘Oma Mbala’, the native name of the Anambra River. The capital and seat of government is Awka. Onitsha,Nnewi and Ekwulobia are the biggest commercial and industrial cities, respectively.
The state’s theme is “Light Of The Nation”.
Boundaries are formed by Delta State to the west, Imo State and Rivers State to the south, Enugu Stateto the east and Kogi State to the north. The origin of the name is derived from the Anambra River (Omambala) which is a tributary of the River Niger.
Anambra is the eighth most populated state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the second most densely populated state in Nigeria after Lagos State. The stretch of more than 45 km between Oba and Amorka contains a cluster of numerous thickly populated villages and small towns giving the area an estimated average density of 1,500–2,000 persons per square kilometre.
Cities and Administrative Divisions
With an annual population growth rate of 2.21 percent per annum, Anambra State has over 60% of its people living in urban areas making it one of the most urbanized places in Nigeria.
The major urban centres of Anambra state are Onitsha including Okpoko, Nnewi, and Awka. Awka and Onitsha developed as pre-colonial urban centres with Awka as the craft industrial centre of the Nri hegemony; and Onitsha the city state on the Niger and a river port and commercial centre.
Onitsha is a fast-growing commercial city, and has developed to become a huge conurbation extending to Idemili, Oyi and Anambra East LGAs with one of the largest markets in West Africa.Nnewi (the Taiwan of Nigeria) is a rapidly developing industrial and commercial centre; and Awka, by becoming the state capital is, as it were, regaining its precolonial administrative eminence.
Other main towns of Anambra state are: Abagana, Abba, Abacha, Abatete, Achalla, Achina, Adazi Ani, Adazi-Enu, Adazi-Nnukwu, Agukwu, Aguleri, Agulu, Aguluezechukwu, Aguluzigbo, Ajalli, Akpo, Akpu, Akwaeze, Akwaukwu, Alor, Amaetiti, Amansea, Amanuke, Amaokpala, Amawbia, Amesi, Amichi, Amorka, Anaku, Anaku, Atani, Awa, Awba-Ofemili, Awgbu, Awka-Etiti, Awkuzu, Azia, Azigbo, Ebenator, Ebenebe, Ekwulobia, Ekwulumili, Enugwu-Agidi, Enugwu Aguleri, Enugwu Ukwu, Ezinifite, Ezinihite, Eziowelle, Ezira, Ichi, Ichida, Ideani, Ifitedunu, Ifite-Ogwari, Igbakwu, Igbariam,Igbo-Ukwu, Ihembosi, Ihiala, Ikenga, Iseke, Isuaniocha, Isulo, Isuofia, Lilu, Mbosi, Mgbakwu,Mmiata Anam, Nando, Nanka, Nawfia, Nawfija, Nawgu, Ndikelionwu, Ndi-okpaleke, Ndiukwuenu, Nibo, Nimo, Nise, Nkpologwu, Nkpor, Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Nneni, Nnobi, Nnokwa, Nnokwa, Nsugbe, Nteje, Oba, Obeledu, Obosi, Ogbunike, Ogbunka, Ogidi, Ojoto, Okija, Oko, Okpeze, Omasi, Omogho, Omor, Ora-Eri, Oraifite, Oraukwu, Orsumoghu, Osumenyi, Owellezukala, Ozubulu, Ubuluisiuzor, Ufuma, Uga, Ugbenne, Ugbenu, Uke, Ukpo, Ukpor, Uli, Umuanaga, Umuawulu, Umuchu, Umudioka, Umueje, Umuerum, Umueze Anam, Umuleri, Umumbo, Umunachi, Umunya, Umunze,Umuoji, Umuomaku, Unubi, Utuh and so on.
Anambra possesses a history that stretches back to the 9th century AD, as revealed by archaeological excavations at Igbo-Ukwu and Ezira; Great works of art in iron, bronze, copper, and pottery works belonging to the ancient Kingdom of Nri, revealed a sophisticated divine Kingship administrative system which held sway in the area of Anambra from c. 948 AD to 1911.
During the Nigerian/Biafran war, a relief airstrip, was constructed by Biafran engineers in the town of Uli/Amorka (code named “Annabelle”). Extremely dangerous relief flights took off from Sao Tome and other sites loaded with tons of food and medicine for the distressed Biafran population. Uli/Amorka airstrip was the site where brave American pilots like Alex Nicoll, and scores of others, made the supreme sacrifice in the service of humanity, delivering tons of relief supplies to the Biafran population. Disgusted by the suffering and mounting death toll in Biafra from starvation as well as the continuous harassment of the relief planes by the Nigerian Airforce, Carl Gustaf von Rosen resigned as a Red Cross relief pilot and helped Biafra to form an Airforce of five Minicoin planes Malmö MFI-9stationed at the Uga airstrip. He named his tiny but effective airforce “Babies of Biafra” in honour of the babies who died via starvation inside Biafra.
Old Anambra State was created in 1976 from part of East Central State, and its capital was Enugu. A further re-organisation in 1991 divided Anambra into two states, Anambra and Enugu. The capital of Anambra is Awka.