Calabar (also referred to as ‘Canaan City’) is a city in Cross River State, coastal southeastern Nigeria. The original name for Calabar was Akwa Akpa, from the Efik language[disambiguation needed] The city is watered by the Calabar and Great Kwa Rivers and creeks of the Cross River (from its inland delta).
Calabar people are mainly people from the Greater Calabar district – Calabar South, Calabar Municipality, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Biase, Odukpani and Akamkpa, but as commonly used in Nigeria, the term “Calabar people” could also refer to both the indigenes of Greater Calabar as well as the people of the original South Eastern State of Nigeria which is at present the people of Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State.
Calabar is the capital of Cross River State. For the purpose of administration, the city is divided into Calabar Municipal and Calabar South LGAs. It has an area of 406 km² and a population of 371,022 at the 2006 census.
The original town was known as Akwa Akpa from the Efik words Akwa and Akpa.The spelling Calabar remained till the British came and pronounced Calabar as Calabah. The neighboring town of Ataba took over the name and its Efik /Qua/Efut/Biase/Akampkpa indigenes became known as Calabar pronounced Calabah till this day. Calabar is a large metropolis today with several towns like Akim, Ikot Ansa, Ikot Ishie, Kasuk, Duke Town, Henshaw Town, Ikot Omin, Obutong, Bakassi, Biase, Akamkpa, etc.
Calabar has three principal landlord kingdoms, namely The Qua Kingdom of Ejagham (Ekoi)/bantu origin, The Efut and the Efik Kingdoms. The Qua Kingdom has the Ndidem of the Qua nation as the Grand Patriarch, the Efut have the Muri munene as the Grand Patriarch while the Efik Kingdom patriarch is known as the Obong. The Efik political authority as it concerns the Obong is hinged on a political tripod, Creek Town, made up of Ambo, Cobham and Eyo; Old Town made up of Obutong; and, Duke Town or Atakpa made up of Duke/Archibong, Eyamba, Ntiero, Henshaw[disambiguation needed] and Cobham. Each leg of this tripod at one time or the other was ruled by a separate Obong. Within the last 100 years, a gentleman’s agreement to merge these three zones into one, with a single titular head as the Obong, and the distribution or opening up of the title to all Efik wards, was arrived at. It is the attempt to do away or dishonor this ‘contract of understanding’ that is at the root of the Obong of Calabar crises. Each of the aspirants to the throne is eminently qualified, none no more so, than the other. The title of the Obong of Calabar had been held by Nsa Effiom and Ekpo Nsa in the 17th century, these two gentlemen were from the Henshaw ward. Attempts by the Henshaw to have an Obong resulted in a war in 1870. The Henshaws did not attain this title again until the last 50 years when David Henshaw became Obong. Cobham Town where Bassey Ekpo Bassey hails from had their first and only Obong recently. All these were made possible because of ‘the contract’
As a social centre the city boasts of the first social club in Nigeria, The Africa Club, and hosted the first competitive football, cricket and field hockey games in Nigeria. Among the city’s firsts includes the first Roman Catholic Mass (held at 19 Bocco Street, Calabar – 1903) and the oldest secondary school (Hope Waddell Training Institution – 1895) in eastern Nigeria. The School later produced the first President of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe.
The city boasts of an International Museum, a Botanical Garden, a Free Trade Zone/Port, an International Airport and Seaport, an integrated sports stadium complex, a cultural centre, one of the most prominent universities in the country the University of Calabar, a slave history park and several historical and cultural landmarks. It also boasts of several standard hotels, resorts and amusement parks. The former Liberian warlord Charles Taylor lived in the old colonial palace in the city under an agreement which led to the end of his country’s civil war before fleeing extradition to Liberia in March 2006. The Tinapa Resort, a development by the Cross River State government, lies to the north of the city beside the Calabar Free Trade Zone.
The Cross River State Annual Christmas Festival held every year attracts thousands within and beyond Nigeria. The Festival which includes music performance from both local and international artists, the annual Calabar Carnival, Boat regatta, Fashion shows, Christmas Village, traditional dances and the annual Ekpe Festival is a yearly event that brings in thousands of tourists at the time of the year.
When it comes to food the Calabar tribe stands out with the varieties of soup they provide like Atanma,Efirin,Ipankoko,White Soup,Editan,Edikang Ikong and Afrang soup which can be eat with Eba,Fufu,Rice,Amala,Semo and others,Note Calabar Tribe has the best pepper soup.