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OKO JUMBO (d.1891) Autograph Signature
Name: OKO JUMBO (d.1891) Autograph Signature
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  OKO JUMBO (d.1891) Autograph Signature
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Description

OKO JUMBO Autograph Signature.

De Facto ruler of the African kingdom of Bonny.
 
Autograph signature on paper piece from foot of an ALS, with the subscription "Kind regards, yours truly" in another hand. Laid down on part of an old album leaf with provenance "the signature of Oko Jumbo Chief of Bonny".
 
The blue paper piece bearing the signature of Oko Jumbo measures approx 4.75 x 2 inches. It has some edge chipping and mounting remnants to verso but is otherwise in very good condition.
 
Bonny or Bonny Town was an independent trading state on the Niger Delta. It was originally called Okola-Ama. It was an ancient and important slave trading state but, following the abolition of the slave trade, turned to a lucrative trade in palm oil. The hereditary rulers of Bonny were the Pepple family or tribe. However, in 1854 the ruling chief, William Pepple, was deposed by the British and sent into exile with his son, GEORGE PEPPLE. This effectively sparked a civil war between two factions, the Manilla Pepple tribe, led by Oko Jumbo and the Annie Pepple tribe, led by Jubo Jabogha (Ja-Ja).  Oko Jumbo gained the upper hand in the war and became the effective ruler of Bonny until the British restored William Pepple to the throne. Following William's death in 1866 his son George, succeeded to the throne but his close ties with the British enabled Oko Jumbo to depose him and declare himself King. In February 1886 a protectorate treaty was concluded between Bonny and Britain. A ruling council was established, and King George Pepple was restored to his throne. Oko Jumbo was publicly degraded and his bans on Christianity were repealed. Afterwards he was a spent force in Bonny POLITICS. Oko Jumbo was the son of a slave who had amassed great wealth and power as a result of astute trading. In 1866 Oko Jumbo was described by Bishop Crowther as "the most sensible and wealthy man in Bonny". He had learned to read and write and from lowly origins had risen to the very top of politics in this part of Africa. A contemporary account published in 1886 described him as "a grand old pagan of the bygone school, tall and strong, with a  fine handsome face and powerful head, with very little attempt at European dress or dress of any sort". His sons were educated in England and the same account describes them as "civilized gentlemen". His signature is very rare.
 
From a 19th century album compiled by Gladys Margaret Coles, the daughter of Frederick W. Coles, an East India merchant of the Cedars, Epsom. Frederick Coles was the son of the East India Merchant, Richard Cooke Coles (1812-1888) and Elizabeth Regina Kreett, only daughter of Christopher Kreett, a British diplomat and Consul-General.

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