Thursday 12 October 2023


The first book in the Igbo language (Isoama-Ibo: A Primer) was written by a Yoruba man, Samuel Ajayi Crowther (1809-1891) in 1857.

The book had 17 pages, with the Igbo alphabet, words, phrases, sentence patterns, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and translations of the first chapters of Matthew's Gospel.

In 1882, Crowther also wrote the "Vocabulary of the Ibo Language", the first comprehensive dictionary in Igbo.

Crowther, a descendant of King Abiodun, an Alaafin of the Oyo Empire, was the grandfather (through his second daughter, Abigail Crowther) of Herbert Olayinka Macaulay (1864-1946), founder of Nigeria's first political party, whose father, Thomas Babington Macaulay (1826-1878), founded the first secondary school in Nigeria in 1859.

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