Igbo is the language spoken in Nigeria’s Ala Igbo or Ani Igbo (Igboland) area by the people known as „Ndi Igbo”; their community is known as „Olu no Igbo” („those in the lowlands and uplands”). Prior to European colonialism, Igbo-speaking peoples lived in localized communities and were not unified under a single cultural identity or political framework, though unifying processes such as expansion, ritual subordination, intermarriage, trade, cultural exchange, migration, war, and conquest were present. Villages and village groupings were often distinguished by the names of their ancestors or by particular names such as Umuleri, Nri, Ogidi, Nnobi, Orlu, Ngwa, Ezza, and Ohaffia. There are various ideas on the origins of the word „Igbo” (wrongly spelled „Ibo” by British colonialists). The term was spelled „Heebo” or „Eboe” in eighteenth-century manuscripts, and it was assumed to be a perversion of „Hebrew.” The term „Igbo” is widely used to refer to „the people.” The root -bo is said to be of Sudanic origin; some academics believe the term is derived from the verb gboo and hence has meanings of „to protect,” „to shelter,” or „to prevent”—hence the concept of a protected people or a peaceful community. Other hypotheses attribute it to the Igala, among whom onigbo is the term for „slave” and oni means „people.” Igbo is a West African language that belongs to the Kwa Subgroup of the Niger-Congo Language Family. It is claimed that between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, Igbo began to split from its linguistically similar neighbors such as Igala, Idoma, Edo, and Yoruba. There are several dialects, two of which are widely known and used in standard texts: Owerri Igbo and Onitsha Igbo. Owerri Igbo appears to be the most widely spoken of the two.