Court of King of Iddah [Idah], Central Nigeria, 1841

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This record was last updated on 10 Feb 2017

Image Reference

William Allen, A Narrative of the Expedition sent by Her Majesty's Government to the River Niger, in 1841 (London, 1848), vol. 1, p. 293.

Caption, "The Court of the King of Iddah". Shows king in center, under umbrella; slit-gong drum in lower left. Iddah/Idah, a port on the Niger river, south of the Niger-Benue confluence in present-day south central Nigeria, was the "largest and the most important town in the Kingdom of Eggarah [Igara/Igala]". It was a major trading area for slaves taken to the Niger Delta and the Bight of Biafra. In this illustration, the king is "seen on a throne, formed of a bamboo frame, covered with mats and carpets . . . . He was almost smothered by his garments, and surrounded by attendants, who were fanning him vehemently . . . .The principal courtiers were seated close round the throne, with their backs towards it, excepting a large party [of Muslims]... these sat facing the king" (Allen, pp. 293-94, 318).