The Arochukwu people, popularly known as the Aro, are the most debated sub-cultural group in Igboland. The Aro, whose ancestral home is near the Cross River, and their co-Igbo neighbors were an integral part of the early history of the hinterland of the southeastern region of Nigeria. The Aro dominated commerce, politics, and religion in the region in precolonial times. With the introduction of the Atlantic slave trade in the fifteenth century, they emerged as significant players. The Aro’s role in the region in both precolonial and colonial times has shaped the way they are perceived in contemporary Igbo society. This article examines two sides of the image of the Aro people in contemporary Igbo society and argues that the negative and positive experiences that neighboring Igbo communities had of the Aro since the fifteenth century helped to evoke hatred, fear, and horror on the one hand, and wonder, awe, and admiration on the other. The article traces the origins of this dual perception of the Aro and analyzes the reasons why it persists.
Njoku, Ndu Life. "The Dual Image of the Aro in Igbo Development History: An Aftermath of their Role in the Slave Trade." Journal of Retracing Africa: Vol. 2, Issue 1 (2015): 29-48. https://encompass.eku.edu/jora/vol2/iss1/4