NIGERIA

 

EASTERN REGION

 

 

 

Eastern Region

Biafra

 

States

 

East Central State

Rivers State

South Eastern State

 

 

History and Heraldry

 

The Eastern Region was one of Nigeria's federal divisions, dating back originally from the division of the colony Southern Nigeria in 1954. It is inhabited by the Igbo. Its capital was Enugu. The region was officially divided in 1967 into three new states: East-Central State, Rivers State and South-Eastern State. East-Central State had its capital at Enugu, which is now part of Enugu State.

The region was what later became Biafra, which was in rebellion from 1967 to 1970.

 

Eastern Region

1939/1954-1967

 

The achievement of the Eastern Region of Nigeria was granted by Queen Elizabeth. It was:

 

Arms: Parted by a fess Or, the first Sable, a rising sun radiant Or, the second tierced in pall Vert, Gules and Sable, three manillas entwined Or, surmounting.

Crest: On a wreath Vert and Gules, a crowned hawk-eagle (Stephanoëtus coronatus - Accipitridæ) wings spread, standing on an elephant’s tusk.

Supporters: A panther (Panthera pardus leopardus - Felidæ) guardant on the dexter and a Igbo warrior proper on the sinister.

Motto: PEACE • UNITY • FREEDOM.

Compartment: A grassy ground powdered with flowers.

 

*

Manillas are semi-circular bronze bands which look like open bracelets. These were used as currency and raw material in West Africa for about 900 years. In that area copper, the main ingredient in bronze, was more highly valued than gold.

Manillas were made and traded only within Africa. However, European traders capitalised on this important commodity and began producing and exporting manillas from Europe. Demand was huge. In 1513 one West African port received over 94 tons of manillas!

European manillas were cheaply produced. They were traded with West Africa for luxury goods including ivory and gold. They were also used to buy people, as part of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

 

See also Wikipedia: Manillas.

 

Republic of Biafra

1967-1970

 

 

1967 - 1970

 

The Military Governor of the region proclaimed its independence on 30 May 1967. The region became a republic with the name of Biafra. The following years the Nigerian government slowly reconquered the secessionist republic and on 9 January 1970 the Biafran army had to capitulate. Since then the region is a part of Nigeria again. Nowadays it consists of the states of Anambra, Cross River, Imo en Rivers.

To fit the Republic of Biafra the achievement of the Eastern Region was slightly modified in that the warrior supporter was replaced by another panther. Also, the panthers were not guardant any more but just rampant.  

 

 

 

The Biafran Armed Forces

 

As the Biafran Armed forces were not very succesfull and existed only for a short time, heraldic items of it are very rare.

 

As a cap badge the Biafran army used the modified achievement, the crowned hawk-eagle and the ribbon yellow, the lettering black.

 

The sleeve patch of the Biafran Army was of the upper part of the arms that is a black rectangle with a yellow sun rising from a bar.

 

The crest of the Air Force consisted of the arms only, supported by a crowned hawk-eagle, wings spread, the compartment of the achievement and a ribbon with the title BIAFRA AIR FORCE.

 

 

States after 1967

 

 

East Central State

Rivers State

South-Eastern State

 

The actual states have the Nigerian National achievement as their emblem. It is displayed on the Governors’ seal, within an apropriate legend.

 

 

 

The  pictures of the Eastern Region and the states retrieved from FOTW. No pictures of higher resolution available. The emblem of the Biafra Air Force from an unknown source. The achievement of Biafra drawn by the author.

 

 

© Hubert de Vries, 2009.04.01