THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE AND MARKETING IN THE UPPER CROSS RIVER REGION OF NIGERIA BEFORE 1800

Abstract

Author(s): Chinyere S. ECOMA, Lequome E. ECOMA

The often quoted Kenneth Dike’s analogy that the West African history, (Upper Cross River Region of Nigeria inclusive) was largely the history of five centuries of trade with European Nations has been criticised in certain quarters. Put succinctly, the scholar was emphasising more on the period of external contact with Europeans. It was an erroneous judgement devoid of an African initiative in economic development, ignoring the internal processes and infrastructural facilities in the region, which set the pace for the more embracing Atlantic commerce along the coast. The thrust of this paper is to debunk Dike’s ‘truism’ and lay bare its inherent weaknesses. The paper examines the dynamics of economic development in the Upper Cross River Region of Nigeria showing that societies as existed in the region never lacked commercial initiative. Inhabitants of the region fully participated at various levels of exchange relationships within and without, long before the advent of European traders. The paper argues that there were infrastructural facilities such as markets, indigenous goods, trading activities and on the whole, neighbours to support the system in the Upper Cross River Region of Nigeria.

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