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The exact origins of Eri are unknown and much of Nri traditions present him as a divine leader and civiliser sent from heaven to begin civilisation.
Due to the native common linguistic standard and interrelated cultures in Igboland, pre-dating the arrival of Europeans, the lower Niger River, which divides Igboland into unequal eastern and western parts, has from ancient times continued to provide easy means of communication, trading and unity amongst the natives on both sides of the Niger River, Early settlement of Igboland dates back to 6000 BC based on early pottery work found in the Okigwe, Oka Igwe, and known today as Awka.William Balfour Baikie remarked that "in Igbo[land] each person hails, as a sailor would say, from the particular district where he was born, but when away from home all are Igbos.And yet considerable differences exist between different parts of this extensive country, and the dialects spoken also vary greatly." In the words of William B.Baikie, "Igbo homeland, extends east and west, from the Old Kalabar river to the banks of the Kwora, Niger River, and possesses also some territory at Aboh, an Igbo clan, to the west-ward of the latter stream.On the north it borders on Igara, Igala and A'kpoto, and it is separated from the sea only by petty tribes, all of which trace their origin to this great race".The works have been attributed to an isolated bronze industry which had developed without outside influence over time to reach such sophistication.
Igbo trade routes of the early second millennium reached the cities of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah through a network of trade routes journeyed by middlemen.
Shortly afterwards Igboland was involved in its biggest war during Biafra's movement for secession, which eventually ended in 1970 when this area rejoined Nigeria. Baikie said, "I seized the moment, and, by our interpreter, told Tshukuma, that we had come to make his acquaintance and his friendship, and to ascertain if the people were willing to trade with us", whilst signing a trade agreement with Igbo chief, Mr Tshukuma (Chukwuma) Obi from Aboh clan, who were one of the leading Igbo clans, engaged in early active trading with Europe.
Igboland's culture has been shaped primarily by its rainforest climate, its ancient trade, migration, and social history within its various clans and peoples, and with its ancient trading neighbours, allies and lately with Europeans. Similarly, "after our salutations, I spoke of friendship, of trade, and of education, and particularly enlarged upon the evils of war, and the benefits of peace, all of which was well received", remarked William B.
Some local Villagers retains the Original name, like Umuzuoka, The Blacksmiths Ezioka, Okigwe, Imoka, etc. There is, however, evidence of Palaeolithic man settling in southern Nigeria from at least 10,000 years ago.
Much of the pottery excavated by a team led by Thurstan Shaw with the University of Nigeria at Nsukka in 1978 uncovered a rock quarry which was a mine for tool and pottery making for a 'stone civilisation' nearby at Ibagwa.
Isiah Anozie was digging in his compound to install a cistern in 1939 when he stumbled unto the first finds of the Igbo Ukwu metal and precious artefacts that led to the discovery of a larger network of linked metal works from the 9th century.