What do you know about King Jaja of Opopo? That he was a business man or an African hero?

Let’s take you round some things you might not have known about this African King, including how he was exiled to the West Indies by the Colonial British government.

Jubo Jubogha popularly known as King Jaja of Opopo was born in 1821 Amaigbo, Igbo Land. He was a merchant prince and founder of Opopo city which is now the present-day Rivers state of Nigeria.He soon came to dominate the lucrative Palm Oil business in the region and it became home to fourteen away from its former Bonny eighteen trade houses.

He was known for his astute business, political and military skills. The little boy brought as a slave to the Bonny Kingdom rose through life ranks to rule as a king and stood up to European Imperialists when the need arose.

After treats of war between the Islanders (Opopo trade partners on the Island) and the Europeans in Opopo, Jaja decided to send delegation to Queen Victoria. The delegation failed due to the fact that there was nothing definite to ensure the safety and protection of the Islanders. After a long stay, they were greeted by their country men upon arrival in 1884.

War ensued after the arrival because Jaja made sure his son and chiefs landed in Opopo before waging war on their British counterpart who skimmed to be friendly with the King. The British Consul tricked him to a private dinner on board the British Man O’  War and there; after which he was later sent on exile to the West Indies.

Contributed by Silva Okpala

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