Anambra is a state in the southeastern ethnic Igbo heartland of Nigeria. Almost entirely made up of Igbo, the state which was created in 1987, has a little sprinkling of Igalas, neighbours with whom Igbos have a long historical relationship, in the northern districts of the state.
It is bounded in the north by Ķogi and Enugu states, in the west by Delta state, to the south by Imo and to the east by Abia state. While it’s capital is Awka, major cities and towns include the commercial hubs of Onitsha, Nnewi, Oko, Ekwulobia and Ihiala.
The state derives its name from the Oma Mbala River, corrupted to Anambra by English colonists, one of the tributaries of the Niger River in the northern fringes of the state. It has produced some of the most renowned people from Nigeria such as the pan-Africanist and nationalist leader, first Nigerian President Nnamdi Azikiwe, the writer Chinua Achebe, the historian Kenneth Dike, the musician Osita Osadebe, the businessman Philip Odumegwu-Ojukwu as well as his son, the soldiers historian Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who led the failed secession of southeast Nigeria as the Republic of Biafra during the country’s civil war, among many others.
Anambra state is associated with some of the oldest known aspects of Igbo history. It is in the state, precisely in the town of Igbo Ukwu, that archaeological excavations were made in 1958 that revealed an old Igbo civilisation that had by the 9th century attained high standards in metallurgy that produced the oldest and most sophisticated bronze works made in Africa.
Anambra is also the location of Nri town, said to be the spiritual home of Igbo people, producing the priest-kings that blessed and cleansed the earth, the source of the agricultural sustenance that was the driving force of that era. The excavions made in Igbo Ukwu were linked to the Nri.
In many ways, Anambra is a typically Igbo state, reflecting all those characteristics, such as individual dynamism, industry, resilience and hard work. Like much of Igboland it has a heavy population density of as many as 1,000 people per square kilometer.
The state is taking the lead in blurring the gap that existed between its urban centres and rural areas as an improved road network, rural electrification and the emergence of mobile phones have combined to turn the entire state into a sprawling partly urban, partly rural business area.