Prominent Towns in Cross-River

Cross River City

Latitude:   4.9589       Lat (DMS)   4° 57' 32N
Longitude: 8.3270       Long (DMS)             8° 19' 37E
Elevation (Feet): 314
Population Est.:  371022
Zipcode:  540281             

Calabar is also known as 'Canaan City', it is a city and capital of Cross River state, in coastal southeastern Nigeria. The original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, from the Efik language, later was a need to remove the ambiguity from the name Akwa Akpa later.The spelling Calabar remained till the British came and pronounced Calabar as Calabah.
Settled in the early 17th century by the Efik branch of the Ibibio people, the town became a centre for trade between white traders on the coast and natives farther inland. Fish, cassava, bananas, palm oil, and palm kernels were traded at Calabar for European manufactured goods, and the town also served as a major slave-trading depot.
The city is watered by the Calabar and Great Kwa Rivers and creeks of the Cross River (from its inland delta).
The neighboring town of Ataba took over the name and its Efik Efut/Biase/Akampkpa indigenes became known as Calabar pronounced Calabah till this day. Calabar is a large metropolis today with several towns like Akamkpa, Akim, Bakassi, Ikot Ansa, Ikot Ishie, Kasuk etc.
Calabar is the capital of Cross River State. For the purpose of administration, the city is divided into Calabar Municipal and Calabar South LGAs. It has an area of 406 km² and a population of 371,022 at the 2006 census.
As far back as the 16th century, Calabar had been a recognized international sea port, shipping out goods such as palm oil. During the era of the Atlantic slave trade It subsequently became a major port in the transportation of African slaves. Most slave ships that transported slaves from Calabar were English, at around 85% of these ships being from Bristol and Liverpool merchants. Old Calabar (Duke Town) and Creek Town, 10 miles northeast, were crucial towns in the trade of slaves in that era. The first British warship to sail as far as Duke Town, where she captured seven Spanish and Portuguese slavers, may have been HMS Comes in 1815.

The main ethnic groups taken out of Calabar as slaves were the Igbo, from the neighboring Igbo land. African-American writer and slave John Jea was from the area. There was also a small Mulatto community of merchants with links to missionary and other merchant colonies in Igbo land and Lagos, and across the Atlantic to Britain's colonies in the Americas.
First Nigerian Capital City
By the mid-19th century, after the waning of the slave trade, Old Calabar’s economy had become based on the export of palm oil and palm kernels. After the chiefs of Duke Town accepted British protection in 1884, the town, which was called Old Calabar until 1904, served as capital of the Oil Rivers Protectorate (1885–93), the Niger Coast Protectorate (1893–1900), and Southern Nigeria (1900–06) until the British administrative headquarters were moved to Lagos. It remained an important port (shipping ivory, timber, and beeswax, as well as palm produce) until it was eclipsed by Port Harcourt, terminus (1916) of the railroad, 90 miles (145 km) west.
|Calabar has long been an educational centre. Its first church school established by the Reverend Hope Waddell of the Free Church of Scotland in 1846, helped influence the Ekpe secret society to pass a law (1850) prohibiting human sacrifice. Calabar now is the site of the University of Calabar (1975), a college of technology, a teacher-training college, and numerous secondary schools.
The city once served as the seat of Government of the Niger Coast Protectorate, Southern Protectorate and Oil River Protectorate. It is thus effectively the first Nigerian capital city.
The Bakassi Territorial Dispute
Bakassi was founded around 1450 by the Efik of coastal south eastern Nigeria, and was incorporated within the political framework of Calabar Kingdom along with Southern Cameroons.
During the European scramble for Africa, Queen Victoria signed a Treaty of Protection with the King and Chiefs of Calabar on 10 September 1884. This enabled the United Kingdom to exercise control over the entire territory of Calabar, including Bakassi. The territory subsequently became de facto part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, although the border was never permanently delineated. Interestingly, even after Southern Cameroons voted in 1961 to leave Nigeria and became a part of Cameroon, Bakassi remained under Calabar administration in Nigeria until the International Court of Justice's judgement of 2002 which ceded ownership of Bakassi to Cameroon.

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