Cross River events

Some important historical events in Calabar and other parts of Cross River.

  • Calabar experienced electricity for the first time, on the 2nd of April, 1939
  • The Queen of England, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh visited Calabar on Wednesday, 8th February 1956. As part of her visit, she laid a wreath on Mary M. Slessor’s tomb.
  • Chief Essien Etim Offiong III hosted the exiled Oba of Benin Oba Overamwen; he lived and died in Old Calabar in 1914.
  • Rev. Luke introduces football to Old Calabar, the first time the game was played in Nigeria.
  • 1903: Chief Essien Etim Offiong invites the Roman Catholic Mission to Calabar.
  • Nsibidi (a form of Ekpe writing) is said to be the first form of writing in the entire sub-saharan region.
  • Early 12th Century
    Creek town became an effective settlement for most of the Efiks that left Uruan, after nearly 200yrs of their stay there.
  • Early 13th Century
    Duke town (Atakpa) became an effective settlement of some Efiks who relocated from Creek town.
  • 15th Century
  • Antera Duke (aka. Antigha Edem) recorded some activities and events within Duke town in his diary (1785-1788).
  • Obutong was bombarded by a British warship. 88yrs later, this town was bombarded a second time as a result of violation of a signed treaty against the killing of twins.
  • The first attempt at writing the Efik language was made by Eyo Nsa (Eyo Willy Honesty) of Creek Town.
  • The first time ever that the Presbyterian Church (then the Scotish Mission) were officially invited by the King of Old Calabar was during the reign of Great Duke IV.
  • He was actually the first Efik King to invite the old Scottish Mission to Old Calabar, even though they declined.
  • The establishment of the first School in the entire Eastern Region of Nigeria King Eyo II prohibited the display of Ekpe and market sunday withed Creek town.
  • The founding of the “Nka Iyip” in the hinterlands of Akpabuyo; this was fully supported by Archibong II (anti-slavery presure group).
  • Rev. H. Goldie received into the Lord’s Household the first Efik convert who until later became the first Efik Priest of the Presbyterian Mission – Rev. E. E. Ukpabio.
  • The consecration Sept 9th of the first house of Christian worship in Nigeria (PCN Creek Town) foundation was laid in 1850.
  • British judicial system was first experienced in Old Calabar with the Establishment of the first Court of Equity.
  • King Archibong III (Edem Asibon Ekpo Efiom Okoho Efiom Ekpo) bcame blind.
  • Mary Mitchell Slessor, a Scottish mission volunteer, came to Old Calabar. She died in 1915.
  • Mary Slessor is reputed for having stopped the killing of twins.
  • The founding of Archibong Town in Bakassi Peninsula. Originally this town was named new town (obufa obio) by Prince Asibon Edem III (first son of King Archibong III – the blind king.
  • The crowning of King Duke Ephraim IX; this is the only Efik that went in and was crowned.
  • Calabar assumes the headquarters of the Niger Coast Protectorate. Old Calabar remained the capital until 1906 when this Protectorate was amalgamated with the Colony of Lagos and the capital was moved to Lagos.
  • Local Postal Services became regularized as the “penny post system” became operational in Duke Town, Old Calabar.
  • The first botanical garden in Nigeria was established in Old Calabar; this was affiliated with the Kew Garden of London.
  • The first Hospital in the entire Eastern Region of present day Nigeria the St. Margaret Hospital was established in Old Calabar.
  • First Military Barracks in Nigeria was at Old Calabar.
  • The first Pipe Borne water scheme in the entire eastern region of Nigeria became operational in Duke Town, Old Calabar.
  • The first recreational club in the entire eastern region De African Club came into being in Old Calabar.

Cross River, a state in southern Nigeria, close to the Atlantic ocean to the South and Cameroon to the East.

Benue State bounds it to the north, and the states of Ebonyi and Abia bound it to the west. It is bound by Akwa Ibom State to the southwest.

Cross River State, richly tropical, is home to peoples with diverse history and culture.

The state occupies a land area of approximately 23,015 sq. km.

Administratively the state is divided into 18 Local Government Areas.

The capital city, Calabar, was a historic trading post for slaves, oil produce and a hub of European activities. The ancient city of Calabar was the seat of colonial administration of the Southern Protectorate from 1884-1914.

The climate is seasonal-tropical with a distinct rainy season (March – November) and dry season (December – February).

At least five distinct ecological zones can be experienced in the state ranging from mangrove and swamp forests towards the coast, tropical rain forests further inland, and savanna woodlands in the northern parts of the states. The highlands of the Obudu Plateau offer montane type vegetation.

Cross River State, with its gentle, warm and courteous people, unique cuisine, elegant and colourful culture, and rich biodiversity is a place to visit.

There are over 20 ethnic groups in the state. The major ethnic groups and languages spoken in the state include Efik, Ejagham, Boki, Yakkur, Yala, Ukelle, Mbembe, Utugwang, Bette, Mbube, Yache and Bakor.

Created: 27 May 1967
Cross River was initially created in 1967 as South-Eastern State

In 1976 the state was renamed as Cross River, referring to the River Cross or the River Oyono. The river rises from the Cameroon Mountains and empties itself into the Atlantic Ocean.

Capital: Calabar

Cross River State is bounded to the East by the Republic of Cameroon, to the South by Akwa-lbom State and the Atlantic Ocean, to the West by Abia and Ebonyi States and to the North by Benue State.

Rank in land size and population
The State is the 19th largest state in Nigeria in terms of size and 28th in terms of population.

Major languages
Ejagham and Efik are the major spoken languages in Cross River State.

Efik language
The Efik language is widely spoken in Cross River State, and as far as Arochukwu in bordering Abia State.

Capital city
The capital is Calabar, one of Nigeria’s cleanest and safest cities. It also has a major seaport.

Local Government Areas
There are 18 Local Government Areas (Abi, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Bekwarra, Biase, Boki, Calabar Municipal, Calabar South, Etung, Ikom, Obanliku,
Obubra, Obudu, Odukpani, Ogoja, Yakurr, and Yala) in Cross River State that make up three senatorial districts.

Major cities
Cross River State major cities are Calabar, Ugep, Ikom, Obudu, and Ogoja.

Major road
Only one major (federal) road connects 10 local government areas from the popular Watt Market in Calabar. They are Calabar South, Calabar Municipal,
Odukpani, Akamkpa, Biase, Yakurr, Obubra, Ikom, Yala, and Ogoga. The road still goes on to Kastina-Ala in Benue State.

Forests in Boki Local Government Area
The rarest animals and plants in Cross River State can be found in forests located in Boki Local Government Area.

Species of butterflies in Akamkpa Local Government Area
One of the highest concentration of different species of butterflies in the world can be found in the Akamkpa Local Government Area of the State.

Sparsely settled state
With an average population density of about 65 persons per square kilometre, Cross River State is about the most sparsely settled state in Southern Nigeria.

Largest carnival in Africa
Cross River State boasts of being the venue for the largest carnival in Africa.

Various annual festivals are the Cross River State Carnival (26-29 December) in Calabar, the Yakurr Leboku Yam festival (28 August) in Ugep and the Calabar Boat

Cross River State is the leading tourism state in Nigeria. Especially the capital, Calabar. Visitors from different parts of Nigeria come to the city in large numbers
all year round.

Tourist attractions are, the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obanliku, the ObUdU Mountain Resort, the Rain forests and Mountain walkway canopy of Afi,
Waterfalls at Agbokim and Kwa, the monoliths at Ikom, Cross River National Park at Boki, and the Obubra Lake at Obubra.

Others are the Etanpim Cave in Odukpani, the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina Resort (which houses the Calabar Slave Museum, the Cinema, and a view of the Calabar River where one could take a boat ride around or to Oron in Akwa-lbom State), Calabar Residency Museum, and Mary Slessor Tomb.

Cross River State can be accessed by air through the Margaret Ekpo International Airport at Calabar and the Bebi airstrip at Obanliku; by sea through the Calabar
seaport and by road from different parts of the country to other parts of the state.

The main crops can be found in the northern and central parts of the state. These are cassava, yams, rice, plantain, banana, cocoyam, maize, cocoa, rubber,
groundnut, and palm produce. While in the south, various kinds of seafood are mostly eaten.

Major livestock in the State are cattle, goats, and sheep. Rearing activities are mainly undertaken by the Fulani herdsmen, except in Obanliku at the Obudu Cattle
Ranch where organized cattle ranching takes place.

Mineral resources
Cross River State Mineral resources include limestone, titanium, tin ore, ceramic materials, and hard stone.

Tertiary educational institutions include the University of Calabar and the Cross River State University of Technology both in Calabar, the Ibrahim Babangida
College of Agriculture in Obubra and Technical College, Ugep.

Famous people
Notable people from Calabar include Louis Edet (Nigeria’s first indigenous Inspector General of Police), Etim Henshaw (The Red Devils of Nigeria’s famous
football team captain), Margaret Ekpo, Donald Duke, Benedict Ayade, Kate Henshaw Nutall, Florence Ita-Giwa, Victor Ndoma-Egba, Shan George, and others
too numerous to mention.