The kingdom was a haven for all those who had been rejected in their communities and also a place where slaves were set free from their bondage. Nri expanded through converts gaining neighboring communities' allegiance, not by force. Nri's royal founder, Eri, One of the better-known remnants of the Nri civilization is manifested in the igbo ukwu artifacts. Nri's culture permanently influenced the Northern and Western Igbo, especially through religion and taboos.
The kingdom appears to have passed its peak in the 18th century, encroached upon by the rise of the Benin and Igala kingdom, and later the Atlantic slave trade, but it appears to have maintained its authority well into the 16th century, and remnants of the eze hierarchy persisted until the establishment of Colonial Nigeria in 1911 and represents one of the traditional states within modern Nigeria.