Igbo Community: Change Within the Status BeFore and after colonialism

When you take a look at how everyone's lives in the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, although not all the beliefs they have match yours or seem fair, life for them goes the way they've made it. It going great according to their way of life. "Umuofia was feared by all its neighbors. It was powerful in war and in magic, and it's priests and medicine men were feared in all the surrounding country." (Achebe 11)

The Igbo culture is based on semiautonomous communities, a self-government having a certain degree of its power. Onitsha had kings called Obis. Most villages were governed by common people, especially respected titleholders such as Okoye and many other characters from Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart.. Although not kings, titleholders performed special tasks sent by the Eze, or Priest King.

To them their gods provided them with what they needed, such as food, land, and guidance. Guidance that wasn't always fair nor correct for the matter of fact.

"You have offended neither the gods nor you fathers." (Achebe 17) "...before I put any crop in the earth, I will sacrafice a cock to Ani, the owner of all land." (Achebe 17)

They trusted in their gods to care for them. Anything their gods "asked" for they'd do, their religion ruled over them most than anyone and anything,

"The Oracle of the Hills and the Caves has pronounced it." (Achebe 57) "But if the Oracle said that my son should be killed I would neither dispute it nor be the one to do it." (Achebe 67).

Up until the missionaries and colonialism came along this is how they let religion and their beliefs in their way of life affect them and others around them.

By the mid and late 1800s, Christianity was brought forward to the Igbo people and to their culture by mainly British missionaries and conquest. Achebe mentions their existence later in the book, Things Fall Apart, "...white men who, they say, are white like this piece of chalk," (Achebe 74)

Christianity would not only change their religion, as it would also start a deepening conflict within the Igbo people and their self identity. Which later started rebellions such as the Aba Women's Rebellion.

The colonial period began somewhere in between, World War 1 and World War 2. In 1884 the meeting of European powers in Berlin caused a division within Africa thus becoming European possessions. Shortly after this the English moved onto land of he Igbo. Northern and Southern Nigeria United into a British colony.

Outcomes and Impacts for Africans:

African colonial subjects were put into European armies and the Africans fighting beside the Europeans found out they were just ordinary people and not "masters." It can correspond to the evidence in the book because the Africans did everything for their gods and gave their gods their help. The roles in their religion switched and they served the European rather than their gods. They expected to be rewarded for service with social and constitutional changes plus improvement in living conditions which they would have normally asked for from the gods.

More Africans began to experience loss of money due to colonialism by the 1920s. The British introduced indirect rule which gave them more power, to the traditional rulers and Chiefs. The economy changed and price for produce dropped in al Africans countries. Raw materials and can crops prices dropped. Price of imported goods from Europe escalated much to a contrast.

In the end the British intermarried the system of indirect rule as an effective way to manage colonies. This framework spoke to the settings to the post-wold war II move to make a free Nigeria and spoke to the system for connections between all Nigerians and the motherland.


Maria Flores, Jessica chavez


"Igbo People." Igbo people-view world-encyclopedia. Web. 22 Mar. 2017

"The colonial and pre-colonial Eras in Nigeria/AHA." The colonial and pre colonial Eras in Nigeria/AHA. Web. 22 Mar. 2017

Achebe, Chihua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.