Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ibo (Igbo), a large Negro people of the Lower Niger basin, whose domain comprises all the norihern part of the delta, extensive tracts in Yorubaland, and most of the space intervening between the head of the delta and the Oyono (Cross) river above the Old Calabar estuary. The Ibo language, which is spoken by several millions on the Slave Coast and in the Oil Rivers Territory, is fundamentally connected with the Ewe of Dahomey and the Tshi of the Gold Coast. There are many distinct dialects, but the form current along the banks of the Lower Niger has become the literary standard, having been adopted by the missionaries for their translations of the Bible, grammars, and dictionaries. So numerous were the blacks of Ibo speech formerly shipped to the American plantations that all those exported from the Slave Coeist were indifferently called "Ibos." Many have been evangelised; but the great majority are still heathens, worshipping Chuku, a powerful demon, who dwells partly in a cave, partly in the sky, thus keeping one eye on the earth, the other on the starry firmament. Till recently he was offered human sacrifices - generally young girls - who were dragged to death in his honour and then thrown to the crocodiles. Amongst the Ibos the social classes are distinguished by special tattoo markings, one of which is a sort of visor formed by the skin of the forehead brought down over the eyes. The highest class, limited to very few members, are known by the tinkling bells attached to their legs when they go abroad. Lately the Ibos have recognised the suzerainty of the British Chartered Companies, and have engaged to give up most of their former barbarous customs. (Reclus, English ed. xii., p. 330; Baikie, Exploring Voyage, p. 307; Bishop Crowther, Journals, p. 355.)