History of Trading Currencies in the Upper Cross River Region of Nigeria Before the Nineteenth Century
The history of the Upper Cross River Region of Nigeria has suffered neglect in the area of scholarly interest for a very long time. Until recently, the area was one of the least known in Nigeria. Early European mariners to the region cast aspersions on the culture history of the people and labelled them indiscriminately as “fragments of earlier world”, “human clusters”, and “splinter zone”. Given this lacuna in the culture history of the Upper Cross River Region, this paper is a bold attempt at documenting and articulating some coherent perspectives of the culture history of the people. Using sources in its methodology, the paper highlights the level of sophistication of the economy which existed in the area prior to the nineteenth century. It also serves to situate the history of the region in its proper context, showing that far from being a mere subsistence economy which was dormant, rigid and unprogressive, it was flexible and basically dynamic. The research concludes that contrary to the misconception of visitors to the region, the people had developed a viable and vibrant economic system which utilised a variety of currencies in exchange transactions. This also depicts the contributions made by ancestors of the people towards development in the region long before the coming of Europeans.
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