Historical records indicate no traditional migratory pattern among the Ibibio proper and the Anang; they appear to be longtime occupants of their present habitat. All of the other Ibibio-speaking groups were derived from the Ibibio proper. Direct references to the Ibibio are found in early historical records. This is presumably because of their activity in the slave trade. Their history is associated with the Calabar and Efik of the lower Cross River area. (The name "Efik" refers not to the Ibibio subdivision, but to the indigenous groups among whom the Efik Ibibio settled.)
The first Christian mission was erected in Calabar circa 1846. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, numerous military expeditions were undertaken to bring the Ibibio under British rule. As a direct result of the conquest, military posts were set up in 1903 in Ikot Epene, Itu, and Uyo.