I was surprised to find that the first result I got when searching for information on the Biafran War was an article from American University. Looking over it helped quite a bit with my understanding of Half of a Yellow Sun. In essence, the war was started because of the highly differing tribes being forced together by British rule, though even after the “united” Nigeria gained independence from the British, the Igbo and other minority groups banded together in order to try to remove themselves from the country they’d been forced to be a part of. This was something that the Hausa disagreed with, since the Igbo controlled the Niger Delta and its oil supply, which made up the majority of Nigeria’s economy. The war lasted from 1967-1970 and, though there were 100,000 military deaths, there were 500,000 to 2 million dead from starvation in the war’s aftereffects.

Biafra was made a republic on May 30, 1967. However, most countries, including other African countries, refused to acknowledge it. Only Tanzania, Zambia, Gabon, South Africa, and the Ivory Coast were the only ones to do so. Eventually, however, Nigeria was separated into 12 different states and Biafra was reabsorbed into the Eastern Central State in April of 1968. Two years late, Nigeria finally regained peace.

 

 

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One response »

  1. Bethany says:

    Nigeria is a great example of how the Europeans drew arbitrary lines to create countries that they knew nothing about. Nigeria and other African countries were often ill equipped to deal with their independence and faced military coups and civil wars. What I find fascinating is that now, decades after the civil war, Nigeria is trying to build a ‘Nigerian’ identity. But Nigeria is not a natural country. Never the less, despite the three majorities and 150 other ethnic groups that live between its imposed borders, Nigeria is starting to build up some nationalism. Their official national language is English, as to not exclude ethnic groups. It also makes sense administratively because the left over government from the British was run in English. Nigeria is a country made from superficial borders and has adopted the language of its colonizer in order to create nationalism out of almost nothing. Americans rally together under the flag because we have a shared history and shared beliefs. The Nigerians are rallying under a flag left because it was left by the British and are united by a language that is not indigenous to any of its people.

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