1630 – 1902
| The Arochukwu Kingdom is founded (1690–1720)|
The Aro-Ibibio Wars were a series of conflicts between the Aro people (subgroup of the Igbo) and several Ibibio groups in present day Southeastern Nigeria from 1630 to 1720. These wars led to the foundation of the Arochukwu kingdom.
Aro-Ibibio Wars Wikipedia
For about a thousand years, the Ibibio lived in the area which later became Arochukwu. During their staying, they founded several states (Obong Okon Ita and Ibom) and had a strong cultural presence. The Eze Agwu clan from Abiriba, initiated Igbo migration into the region around the mid-17th century. The Ibibios resisted these newcomers and this resulted in a stalemate. The Eze Awgu clan searched for ways to subdue the stiff Ibibio resistance. The Priest Nnachi from the Edda group near Afikpo, was called by their king Awgu Inobia (Eze Agwu) for help. When he arrived, Nnachi and Eze Agwu allied with prince Kakpokpo Okon of the Ibibio kingdom of Obong Okon Ita. Kakpokpo Okon was the son of a marriage between an Igbo women of the Eze Agwu clan and the King of Obong Okon Ita in an attempt of a peace treaty. The Eze Agwu/Nnachi faction decided to help Kakpokpo attempt to overthrow his brother king Akpan Okon. The coup was heavily resisted which called for even more help. Through Nnachi, an Eastern Cross river group answered the call for help. They were known as the Akpa. These warriors and traders, may have had European guns which were new to the Aro territory. Being the Igbo allies, the Akpas were led by the royal Nnubi family. Osim and Akuma Nnubi led Akpa soldiers to help fight against the Ibibios. Together with Igbo forces and Ibibio rebels, they defeated the Obong Okon Ita forces (1690). During the final battles, Osim Nnubi was slain in Oror city state making it the capital of Arochukwu. In Obinkita the remaining Ibibio warriors became prisoners and were judged and that is why the city state is the holder of the Ikeji festival. But at the end of the war, Osim and Kakpokpo were dead. In order to honor Osim's legacy, his brother Akuma was crowned the first EzeAro (king). After his death, Nnachi's descendants took the throne starting with his first son Oke Nnachi. The Arochukwu kingdom, was founded.
After Arochukwu was formed, it began to expand because of the growing population and territorial protection. Ibibio groups who were kicked out and their allies (Obot Mme, Mako, etc.) sporadically attacked Arochukwu shortly after its formation. In order to neutralize Ibibio invasions, Aro forces formed vigilante camps which eventually grew into communities on the Arochukwu-Ibibio boundaries and repelled the invasions.