Onitsha was founded in the 16th century by immigrants from the Kingdom of Benin and from the Niger Delta under the name Ado N'Idu and later became the capital of the empire of the Ibo. 1857 established the UK a commercial establishment in the place. 1884 Onitsha came under British colonial rule. Since 1960, the city is the independent state of Nigeria. Today, the city residence of the Obi of Onitsha, a chief of the people of the Ibo and seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop in the Archdiocese of Onitsha.
Onitsha is an important industrial and commercial center of the region. The city trades with fruits, vegetables, palm products, corn and nuts. Industrial products in Onitsha include petroleum products, textiles, tires and nails.