Our past hero (King Jaja of Opobo)

King Jaja of Opobo (full name:Mbanaso Okwaraozurumba   1821–1891)

was a merchant prince and the founder of Opobo city-state in an area that is now the Rivers state of Nigeria .
Born in Umuduruoha, Amaigbo , in
Igboland, he was sold at about the age of twelve as a slave in Bonny .

Jumo Jumofe later took the name "Jaja" for his dealings with the British .

Jaja proved his aptitude for business at an early age, earning his way out of slavery; he was enculturated according to Ijaw (Ibani) rituals and eventually established himself as head of the Anna Pepple House.

Under Jaja's leadership, Anna Pepple soon absorbed a number of Bonny's other trade houses until an ongoing dispute with the Manilla Pepple House led by Oko Jumbo forced Jaja to break away as Opobo city-state in 1869.

Opobo soon came to dominate the region's lucrative palm oil trade, and was soon home to fourteen of what were formerly Bonny's eighteen trade houses .

Jaja also moved to block the access of British merchants to the interior, giving him an effective monopoly; at times, Opobo even shipped palm oil directly to Liverpool, independent of British middlemen.
At the 1884 Berlin Conference , however, the other European powers designated Opobo as British territory, and the British soon moved to claim it. When Jaja refused to cease taxing British traders, Henry Hamilton Johnston , a British vice consul, invited Jaja to negotiations in 1887. When Jaja arrived, the British arrested him and tried him in Accra in the Gold Coast (now Ghana ) then took him to London for some time, where he met Queen Victoria and was her guest in Buckingham Palace.

After some other turbulent history, he was exiled to Saint Vincent in the West Indies.

Plans were also made for him to be relocated to Barbados.

In 1891, Jaja was granted permission to return to Opobo, but died en route, allegedly poisoned with a cup of tea. Following his exile and death, the power of the Opobo state rapidly declined.

The late Jaja was indeed a man of astounding quality; he was a man who did not allow abduction and slavery to ruin his chances in life but however, used his captivity as a way of helping those around him.

Jaja was indeed a man whose zeal and conquest knows no bound.

 There is no doubt what the late Jaja could have done to change the course of humanity had human greed and selfish interest not stood in his way. He was a remarkable man indeed; son of duruoha and a great son of Amaigbo who made great impact to humanity and society at large.

King Jaja of opobo : 1821 - 1891 .
Reign 25 December 1870–September 1887
Coronation 25 December 1870
Predecessor :None
Successor : Perekule

Our past hero (King Jaja of Opobo) Our past hero (King Jaja of Opobo) Reviewed by SISI JOKE on July 02, 2018 Rating: 5

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