Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are the Igbo Israelites?

Alice C. Linsley

Are the Igbo related to the Israelites? This is the question Salamatou Naino Idi asked and I will do my best to answer her question. Probably there is some connection, but the culture traits and religious practices of the Igbo who claim to be Israelites appear to represent a relatively modern departure from the traditional religious practices of other Igbo clans.

Source: BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010

The Igbo have a West Benue-Congo origin. They are one of many peoples to have roots in the Cross River Region of Nigeria. They relied on the land, made fertile by the waters of the Benue Trough, and they fished.

In this 2010 genetic study, it was found that "When the two Igboland groups were compared to the Cross River region clans a large proportion of pairwise comparisons between the two regions demonstrated significant differences. The Igboland groups, despite being in close proximity to each other, even demonstrated differences between themselves..."

Genetic testing of Igbo friends has presented different results. Some are in L1b and others in L1c. However, all modern humans share the mtDNA Haplogroup L3 ancestry.

The map below shows the dispersion of peoples out of the Upper Nile region. Each of these groups: N, R, M and X share common L3 ancestry. Not shown on this map is the movement west into the well-watered regions of central Africa, near Lake Chad and the Cross River Region of Nigeria.

Related reading: Are the Igbos of Nigeria Jewish?; In Memory of Dr. Catherine AcholonuLittle genetic differentiation as assessed by uniparental markers in the presence of substantial language variation in peoples of the Cross River region of Nigeria


Irene Ella said...

This publication is describing Igbos as Jews and refering to them as people whose land has been made fertile by the Benue river. We are the Otukpos children of Ode or Judah and the Idumeas,children of Esau and we are from benue state of Nigeria. We have no relationship with the Igbos atall and this publication should be removed because it is trying to steal our identity for Igbos. We are not Bantus. Even the Tivs who are from Benue state with us are not Jews or Israelis. To know a Jew or Israelis, check the bible and not from fake history. We are Otukpo, Judah, from Benue state of Nigeria, the food basket that feeds Nigeria. We have no relationship with Igbos. Identity theft is a crime so remove these lies.

Alice C. Linsley said...

My dear Irene, Please red the article carefully. You will see that I reject the idea that the Igbo are the true Israelites.

The Bible tells us that the Israelites were the descendants of Jacob, the son of Isaac, a great ruler in Edom, located south of Judah. Isaac inherited Abraham's territory in Edom.

There is a relationship between the Edo of Nigeria and the Edomites of Arabia. Both originated in the Upper Nile Valley. One group went east and the other west to the Benue Trough.

You might find this helpful:

Sobona said...

The Bible is clear about who the Jew is. All those that were citizens of the southern kingdom of Judah (YEHUDAH. And those of the northern kingdom were Israelites. Before the split they were all called children of Israel. But not all who left Egypt during the exodus where of the 12 tribes of Israel. There was what the Bible calls a "mixed crowd".

Anonymous said...

Igbos are Hebrews of the bible. Proof
Same language
Same culture go and verify

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Hebrew were a ruler-priest caste with roots in the Nile Valley as early as 4200 BC. The term Hebrew comes from the Ancient Akkadian word abru, meaning "priest."

The Hebrew ruler-priests dispersed widely in the service of high kings who were kingdom builders. It is likely that some moved into Nigeria from the Nile Valley around 3000 BC or that some of Noah's descendants never left the region of Lake Chad (Buhar Nuhu), the land of Noah (Borno/Benue).