Material relating to the Republic of Biafra

Scope and Content

The material comprises press cuttings, articles and papers relating to Biafra, including:

'Biafra: the third year of war' newsmap, 1p

'Is Biafra ready for peace?' The Economist, 8 Nov 1969, 1p

'Biafra: A letter to General Gowon' by Margery Perham, Spectator, 31 Jan 1969, 2pp

annotated typescript on Biafra by Guy Hawtin, 8pp

presscutting Western Mail, 25 Apr 1968, 1p

presscutting West Africa, 26 Nov 1971, 1p

Letter to Telegraph from Michael Wolf, 24 Nov 1971 and Biafra Nachrichten, no. 22, Nov 1971, 6pp

'Problemes Africains et dutiers monde', no. 522, 27 Nov 1969

Administrative / Biographical History

The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived secessionist state, established in 1967 by the Ibo (Igbo) people of south-eastern Nigeria. Biafra proclaimed its independence on 30 May 1967 after the Islamic Hausa and Fulani peoples, who dominated the Nigerian federal government, massacred between 10,000 and 30,000 of the Christian Ibo. Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu led the new state. The country took its name from the Bight of Biafra (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean). It comprised roughly the East-Central, South-Eastern and river states of the federation of Nigeria, where the Ibo predominated. Biafra's original capital was Enugu, but Aba, Umuahia and Owerri served successively as provincial capitals after the Nigerian forces captured Enugu. Civil war followed the proclamation of independence, beginning in June 1967. Nigeria imposed economic sanctions on Biafra from the start of the secession, and by 1968 Biafra had lost its seaports and become landlocked. Starvation and disease followed. The Biafrans surrendered on 15 January 1970. Estimates of mortality range from 500,000 to several million.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated as part of the Southern African Materials Project 1973-1976, organised by the Centre for International and Area Studies.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist for the South African Materials Project (SAMP) arranged by MS number. For an alphabetical listing of all SAMP materials (including material deposited at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies) refer to The Southern African Materials Project , compiled by Brian Willan, edited by Patricia M. Larby, London: University of London, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1980.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance