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The British Occupation of Southern Nigeria, 1851-1906

Description: The study indicates that the motives which impelled the creation of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria were complex, variable, and sometimes contradictory. Many Englishmen within and without the government, indeed, advocated the occupation of the area to suppress the slave trade, but this humanitarian ambition, on balance, was not as significant as political and economic interests. The importance of the Niger waterway, rivalry with France and other maritime nations, andmissionary work, all led Britain to adopt a policy of aggrandizement and to proclaim a protectorate over the Niger districts, thereby laying the foundation for modern Nigeria. The London government acquired territory through negotiating treaties with the native chiefs, conquest, and purchase. British policy and consular rule between 1851 and 1906 was characterized by gunboat diplomacy, brutality, and flagrant disregard for treaty rights; nonetheless, the British presence has made a positive impact on Nigeria's historical, political, economic, intellectual, and cultural development.
Date: December 1979
Creator: Igbineweka, Andrew O.