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Itsekiri by Ikechi1 Itsekiri by Ikechi1
Collaboration with HopelessPandora hopelesspandora.deviantart.com…

Anaang>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Ana…

Ibibio>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Ibi…

Nupe>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Nup…

Egba-Yoruba>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Egb…

Oyo-Yoruba>www.deviantart.com/art/Oyo-Yor…

Fon>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Fon…

Hausa-Kano>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Hau…

Hausa-Zinder>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Hau…

Daura>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Dau…

Ekumeku-Igbo>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Eku…

Akpa-Ibom Isi>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Akp…

Fulani-Fula>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Ful…

Fulani-Wodaabe>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Ful…

Ijaw>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Ija…

Nri-Igbo>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Nri…

Kanuri>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Kan…

Edo-Benin>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Edo…

Aro-Igbo>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Aro…

Tribes side by side ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Nig…

Government history>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Gov…

Blood of the Kingdoms story featuring all the characters>ikechi1.deviantart.com/art/Blo…

Name: Besida (As destiny decides)

Disclaimer: This character is an anthropomorphism of the Itsekiri people and the Kingdom of Warri and its history. This is another piece meant to educate people on the history of Nigeria. I'm aware that she does not look as distinct as the other tribes but that is because modern Itsekiri people are extremely mixed between Edo, Itsekiri and Isoko tribes especially in language and culture that even though their language is unique it has Yoruba roots in it.

Starting out as a fishing town in the early 200s CE as an offshoot from the more ancient tribes like Ife-Ife Itsekiri slowly began to advance her position during the early middle ages in her encounters with the newer more powerful tribes. The only hindrance to her progression to power was another tribe in the area that had their her own ambitions for power, Ijaw.

From the 1200s to the late 1300s both Itsekiri and Ijaw would try to curry favour from the large tribe Edo-Benin, absorbing aspects of his culture and building styles into theirs. The smaller tribes like Isoko and Urhobo (even Oru) they would both engage in conflicts over each other for. For the longest time the two were at an impasse with neither of the two able to gain victory over the other in their little proxy conflicts. But as Ijaw in the middle 1400s gained more territory under her control Itsekiri had no choice but to realize that she would lose the battle if she did not find a strong ally to be a deterrent.

The solution was a marriage to the kingdom of Edo-Benin in 1480. It was a power move that would allow Itsekiri to gain more territory with impunity and Itsekiri already planned to become independent from Edo-Benin in due time. The marriage between the two allowed her to found her own kingdom, called the Kingdom of Warri. Reveling at her new found power Itsekiri looked for a way to get one over Ijaw and eventually even Edo-Benin.

This chance came when she was the first, Ijaw being the second, to spot the Portuguese sails in her region and since she already had a well established port she saw where her gains would lie. She did not consider though, that Ijaw had the same plans as her regarding Portugal. As a show of respect to Portugal she became Roman Catholic, forgoing the old religion very willingly, a surprise to characters like Aro-Igbo.  Itsekiri asked Portgual for libraries of knowledge on Western ideals and education in order to use them for commercial gains and was a very aggressive economist.

Then two other European flags came to the region, the Dutch, who preferred to trade with Itsekiri, and the English who preferred to trade with the more Anglican Ijaw. With the Dutch came some slight appeal to Baptism with Roman Catholicism being dominant. Itsekiri offered slaves to the Dutch and the Portuguese and would actually steal slaves from Ijaw's slave caravans and ships or resort to attacking Igbos and selling them. Itsekiri did this intentionally to provoke Ijaw into a more openly aggressive act. Ijaw tried to invade Itsekiri as retaliation but did not foresee Itsekiri manipulating both England and the Netherlands into seizing her ports and showing her weakened state.

Confident in the current state of Ijaw during the 17th century Itsekiri turned her attention to her husband Edo-Benin, declaring independence from him and dissolving their centuries long marriage in 1616 and to the surprise and shock of many in the nearby kingdoms, entered a political marriage with Portugal instead. With Portugal's help by 1640 she had expanded her territory, grabbing from Isoko, Urhobo, Ijaw, Oru, Edo-Benin and officially ruled the waves of the shoreline with much more advanced frigates at her disposal to make sure that she had no major challengers in her region.

Thanks to her closeness with Portugal she was able to visit the various European states as Portugal showed off his African "bride" and she learned of the changing winds in the slave trade and the American and French revolutions. Noticing that with democracy slowing inching its away around Europe she decided to continue the slave trade, but at a reduced rate and pushed for other products like palm oil and local spices, salts, rubber and food. This saved her in the 1800s with the abolition of the European slave trade though the United States by that time had become a slave trading partner. Ijaw and many other slave traders had banked too much on the slave trade and floundered for a while, with Ijaw having trouble with her monarchies.

Itsekiri, unlike many of the other tribes that saw colonization becoming a reality knew not to fight it and in time her alliance with Portugal was ended by England as he set his sights on the region. In the early 1900s Warri was made a provincial headquarters of the British Empire, thereby ending the Portuguese and Dutch influence in the region. Though Itsekiri's monopoly of the waters was abolished she had ensured that her long time rival Ijaw could not rise to challenge her anytime soon, especially with the continuous problems with the monarchy that she had.

In 1912 she supported the idea of the formation of the country of Nigeria and when it was formed in 1914 she willingly participated in the first and second world wars, using her cunning to make her the most favoured tribe in the south central region. In 1952 Itsekiri was given more power causing Ijaw, Urhobo and Isoko to clash with her as none of them wanted Itsekiri to rule over them. Though towards the later 50s Itsekiri was on board for the independence of Nigeria on October 1 1960.

Believing that the state of Nigeria would not last for too long she watched the various power plays and struggles between Nri-Igbo, Hausa-Kano and Fulani-Fula and decided that it would be in her best interests to side with Nri-Igbo. When Biafra was formed she discovered that her region was very rich in oil and she helped to "oil" the Biafran war machine along with Urhobo and Isoko. Ijaw however got her own oilfields and her hatred of Itsekiri was such that she defected to the Nigerian side of the conflict and reported troop movements. Itsekiri implored Portugal to aid her once again with promises of oil trade. Portugal provided support to his former bride along with Canada and Tanzania and Fon whilst Nri-Igbo was able to convince France to aid them as well. After the Biafran War ended by the early 70s, Itsekiri found herself in a weakened position and Ijaw in a place of power over her.

The two of them largely ignored the political conflict thereafter and constantly focused on continuing their centuries old feud against each other. Things came to a head in 1997, the period known as the "Warri" crisis. Kanuri, whose leader Abacha was in charge of Nigeria at the time, wanted to expand oil profits and Itsekiri coaxed Kanuri into giving her more domain over the oil fields. Itsekiri then planned to strengthen her position with England and Netherlands with the Shell Oil Company but Ijaw would have none of that. With an attack that left 9 shell employees dead and oil pipes sabotaged Ijaw made her declaration to be the dominant tribe in the delta region with her becoming the center for oil power in the region.

Ijaw planned to overrun Itsekiri and in the process the much smaller tribes. As Itsekiri held much of the wealth Ijaw was under the impression that she would have allies. Her actions to declare herself the new head made tribes like Isoko, Urhobo, Efik, Ibibio and Andonis switch their support to that of Itsekiri. Ijaw made a mistake by actually going after Edo-Benin and Nri-Igbo who were none too pleased with the current state of affairs. Ijaw's only ally in the region was Ogini who Itsekiri quickly stopped under the orders of Kanuri.

Itsekiri did not plan to let this go unpunished and with financial support from Kanuri, Edo-Benin and Nri-Igbo she amassed two warships in 1998 along with 15,000 troops to stop Ijaw's "Operation Climate Change". While Itsekiri initially made gains, Ijaw used attrition tactics and guerrilla style to regain old territories. Itsekiri realized that her forces would not be alone as many of the Itsekiri people were bankers not fighters. So she recruited the aid of one that could help police the region and had a little vendetta against Ijaw, Nri-Igbo herself.

Nri-Igbo and Itsekiri forged a path of blood and fire through the Ijaw territories and making gains with the oilfields and stopping the pipes that Ijaw owned, being shared between the two. Ijaw saw that she could not stop the both of them together she pleaded for peace and non-violent protests, but Nri-Igbo cornered her at Odi, setting off the "Odi massacre" of the Ijaw.

The tension between Itsekiri and Ijaw continued well into the mid 2000s which lead to the then militarization of the Delta area. Itsekiri, Netherlands, England and Portugal would make sure to repel Ijaw at every turn, forcing her to turn to piracy for a period. When the government changed however Ijaw abandoned her pirates and surrendered her weapons after Fulani-Fula made her an offer that she could not refuse which Itsekiri protested against. Itsekiri had to watch as Fulani-Fula and Itsekiri ruled Nigeria together. She still had to deal with Ijaw's pirates, making Nigeria the second country in the world with the most pirate attacks next to Somalia but when Ijaw fully took over Nigeria she had to concede that it would be had to gain power over Ijaw until the next election cycle. 
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:icondinosaurusgede:
dinosaurusgede Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love how I learn many new things about Nigeria culture and history through your artwork ♡♡♡
This is most amazing, please keep up the great work
Reply
:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you, there are still some more new characters like Nupe :). How are you doing anyway and how is your new job coming along
Reply
:icondinosaurusgede:
dinosaurusgede Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yes, I love your design for these characters ^^
They are very unique and reflects Nigeria cultures beautifully.

I'm doing great Ikechi, how about you?
My job was coming along great, but I got less time to draw ^^;
I really want to draw your Fulani Fula design, she is my favorite. Can you tell me more about her personality and culture?
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:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Everyone seems to love Fulani-Fula :P.

As for me, doing fine, working in D.C in the political field for now.

Helped with a book on teaching Nigerians how to vote and I will upload one of the images i drew for that today.

As for her personality, she can be kind (to her allies), very cunning but also a restless person (being from a migratory people). The Fulani cover all of West Africa but Fula is the member that chose Nigeria as her settlement. She can be aggressive and have a strong moral sense from her Muslim teachings. She also likes to not be under anyone's control as she values her own sense of independence.

She also likes Farming, Battle, Clay-making, Metallurgy, Camel riding, Dancing and Learning about other cultures.

Relations with Europe: Good relationship with England and Russia, bad with Belgium and France

Relations with Asia: Business-like with China and Hong Kong, does not think much of Japan.

Relations with the Americas: Likes Mexico and Brazil's stuff and likes American money

She generally treats her husband of 200 years and counting (Hausa-Kano) as an equal.
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:iconvyctorian:
Vyctorian Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014   General Artist
Excellent work, I love the coloring and outfit!~
Reply
:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. More to come
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:iconvyctorian:
Vyctorian Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014   General Artist
You're very welcome, hun!~
Reply
:iconikechi1:
Ikechi1 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I think my next piece will be on election history
Reply
:iconvyctorian:
Vyctorian Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014   General Artist
Coolie
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