Goods that the British acquired from Igboland were spices, iron, palm products, timber, and elephant tusks, just to name a few. At first, the British were trading at the coast of Africa, but greed motivated them to make their way into Nigeria and take over the Igbo people, exploiting them and their resources in order to gain as much as possible (Litvack, "The Igbo People--Origins and History," 2001).
The British colonization of southern Nigeria had a devastating impact on the Igbo people. For one, it caused the clans and the villages to turn against one another. Where there was once unity, there was now dissension, disharmony, and upheaval. Their once familiar way of life was now destroyed, never to be the same again. They were forced to adapt a new way of living, be subject to new rulers, and even adhere to a new religion, which was very much contrary to what they were used to. All of these devastating effects were what was responsible for the breakdown of the Igbo people, as well as the extreme loss of identity and culture (Litvack, "The Igbo People--Origins and History," 2001).
Before the British colonists forced their religion upon them, the Igbo followed their traditional tribal religion. They believed in several gods who were led by one God named Chukwu. Chukwu was responsible for the creation of all things, and he was the leader of all of the minor deities. Chukwu was believed to be an almighty and powerful god who was omnipresent. Being that the people held this belief about Chukwu, temples, sanctuaries, symbols, and numerous representations of the god were all throughout the land. Aside from Chukwu, there were minor deities who competed amongst themselves. The minor deities each had their roles. Some punish people for offending the Igbo society, while others made sure people did not take advantage of their privileges. Then there were the gods who controlled the weather, as well as the growth of the crops (Litvack, "Religion and the Igbo People," 2001).
Families and villages had their own gods that they adhered to, and each individual person had what was known as a Chi, which was a spirit that was returned to them at death by Chukwu. The Chi could either be good or bad. It was all dependent upon how the person behaved throughout life (Litvack, "Religion and the Igbo People," 2001).
The Igbo also believed that the spirits of their deceased family members would watch over them to ensure that nothing bad came upon them and caused them harm. Because of this belief, it was common practice that the people prayed to the dead and asked them to ensure that they had a good and prosperous future. If anyone spoke against one of the deceased people who died an honorable or socially acceptable death, they were violating the law. Those who died in ways that the Igbo felt to be socially acceptable were who they considered as the good spirits that ensured safety and good fortune. That who died in a way that was not acceptable to Igbo society was considered to be the spirits that caused harm and upheaval. Deaths that were considered to be socially unacceptable were mothers dying during labor, babies dying before they had teeth, those who committed suicide and any who died during the sacred month. Multiple births were also considered disgraceful. For instance, if a mother conceived twins or more, those babies were left to die