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Former secessionist state, West Africa. It constituted the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, inhabited principally by the Igbo. In a period of political and economic instability in the 1960s, the resentment of the Hausa in the north toward the more prosperous and educated Igbo exploded in fighting and massacres, which led to the secession of the Eastern Region as the state of Biafra in 1967. A costly civil war and the death by starvation of an estimated one million civilians ended in Biafra's collapse and reincorporation into Nigeria in 1970.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Biafra, visit Britannica.com.