The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived secessionist state in south-eastern Nigeria. It existed from May 30, 1967 to January 15, 1970 (The Chief of Staff formally announced capitulation on the 12). During its existence, it was recognised by only a few countries. The country was named after the Bight of Biafra, the bay of the Atlantic to its south. The Biafra's national anthem uses the Finlandia tune by Jean Sibelius.
The secession in the country's former Eastern Region, home to most of Nigeria's 8 million Igbo (or Ibo) people, followed mass killings of Igbo migrants living in northern Nigeria (May, September 1966) after a short-lived bloody coup attempt by Igbo army officers the previous January. The East's military governor, Lt.-Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, himself an Igbo, declared the region independent with its capital at Enugu and began seizing Federal resources, for instance inbound postal vehicles. Nigeria retaliated with an initial economic blockade, and engaged in war starting on July 6, 1967 (see Biafran War). Nigerian troops advanced into the country, forcing the repeated transfer of the Biafran capital from Enugu to Aba, Umuahia and Owerri successively.
By 1970, Biafra had been ravaged by war and was in great need of food supplies. Ojukwu fled the country amid economic and military collapse, and the republic was incorporated in Nigeria once again. Around a million people are thought to have died in the conflict, mostly through hunger and illness.
Nigeria later renamed the Bight of Biafra as the Bight of Bonny.
There have been recent efforts to recognise and restablish Biafra as an independent nation.