Biafra – 5 shillings

Biafra 5 front

The Palm Tree stands in front of the Rising Sun.  The national anthem of Biafra is “The Land of the Rising Sun”1, written by Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria, and considered the father of Nigerian nationalism.

Biafra 5 back
Biafra Map, from wikipedia

The Republic of Biafra is the name of a 1960s secessionist state in Western Africa.  The Ibo people, sometimes called Igbo, predominantly occupied the coastal region of southeastern Nigeria including the delta of the mighty Niger River.


  Economic, cultural and religious tensions issued in a secessionist movement which led to the Nigerian Civil War lasting from July 1967 until January 1970.  The independence of Biafra was recognized by a number of surrounding nations and was supported by with arms from France.  Most of the rest of the world supported Nigeria’s claim to control over the region.  Nigeria was further supported with supplies of military arms from Britain and the United States.


The international movement known as Medicins Sans Frontieres, or, Doctors Without Borders, was born in response to the crisis in Biafra.


A fuller history can be read here.


  1. Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish,
    Beloved homeland of our brave heroes;
    We must defend our lives or we shall perish,
    We shall protect our lives from all our foes;
    But if the price is death for all we hold dear,
    Then let us die without a shred of fear.
    Hail to Biafra, consecrated nation,
    O fatherland, this be our solemn pledge:
    Defending thee shall be a dedication,
    Spilling our blood we’ll count a privilege;
    The waving standard which emboldens the free
    Shall always be our flag of liberty.
    We shall emerge triumphant from this ordeal,
    And through the crucible unscathed we’ll pass;
    When we are poised the wounds of battle to heal,
    We shall remember those who died in mass;
    Then shall our trumpets peal the glorious song
    Of victory we scored o’er might and wrong.
    Oh God, protect us from the hidden pitfall,
    Guide all our movements lest we go astray;
    Give us the strength to heed the humanist call:
    To give and not to count the cost’ each day;
    Bless those who rule to serve with resoluteness,
    To make this clime a land of righteousness. wikipedia
  2. Map of Biafra, source Wikipedia
  3. For nations on both sides of the conflict, see contemporary article on nigerianinfopedia
  4. Doctors Without Borders who-we-are-page

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