History of West Africa Southern Nigeria

Oil Rivers Protectorate

The British sphere of interest in the Niger basin was internationally recognized in 1885, as the second British outpost in the Niger river region, after Lagos (1862). The administrative center 1885-1894 was at Bonny; British consuls were stationed at Old Calabar. In 1891 the Oil Rivers Protectorate was formally proclaimed, named after Palm Oil, the major export product. In 1893 it was extended and re-named the Niger Coast Protectorate. In 1900 this enlarged protectorate was amalgamated with the southern part of the territory that had been administered by the Royal Niger Company to form the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria (1900-1914).
In 1885 the Oil River Irregulars were established, a unit of Africans commanded by British officers. In 1891 they were renamed the Oil Rivers Constabulary; they served in several campaigns against native emirates. In 1893 they were renamed Niger Coast Constabulary.

In 1892 the British undertook an expedition against Ijebu, the only Yoruba state to refuse access to missionaries. The Ijebu army was routed; the Yoruba states recognized British military superiority and signed treaties. In 1895 the British took the city of Oyo under artillery fire, to force the ruler of Oyo to accept British conditions. When several Englishmen had been killed in the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the British launched an expedition, confiscated their art treasures and burnt the capital.

A Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of the Niger Coast Protectorate, 1894-1899, National Archives of Nigeria, Enugu, by U.O.A. Esse from Humboldt Univ., Berlin; scholarly, extensive
Timeline of Nigerian History, from Nigeria Exchange
Encyclopedic description of Kamerun's Philatelic History from Sandafayre's Atlas (scroll down)
Bonny, article from infoplease
Index of Regiments and Corps of British West Africa, from regiments.org
Military History of Nigeria 1862-1945, by U.O.A. Esse, from Descriptive Index to Records Relating to the Military History of Nigeria, National Archives of Nigeria, Enugu 1993
Oil Rivers Protectorate to England, Augut 2 1893, from Today in Postal Hitory, has summaric history of Oil Rivers Protectorate
Yoruba War 1877-1893, from ACED
British Cionquest of Benin 1897, from ACED
Map of Africa 1890, from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Am. edition, 1890, from Perry Castaneda Library, Utexas, does not distinguish various British colonial entities in Nigeria
Map of Africa 1892, from Gardiner's Atlas of English History, does not distinguish various British colonial entities in Nigeria
Map of Central Africa 1895 from Annales de Geographie IV, from Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas, has Kamerunese/Nigerian border, does not distinguish various British colonial entities in Nigeria
Act of Navigation for the Niger, from General Act of the Berlin Conference, 1885, posted at this site
From British Military Medals : East & West Africa Medal, 1887-1900
Original treaty on Bakassi: 1885, 1890 & 1893, from Niger Delta Congress<./B>
British Niger Coast Protectorate, posted by States and Regents of the World, list of British officials
Reginald Bacon, Benin Expedition 1897, posted by Hillsdale
REFERENCE Toyin Falola, The History of Nigeria, Westport : Greenwood 1999
M'Baye Gueye and A. Adu Boahen, Southern Nigeria, pp.134-137 in A. du Boahen (ed.), Unesco General History of Africa Vol.VII : Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, Paris etc. 1985
Article Niger Coast Protectorate, in : Statesman's Year Book 1898 pp.193-194 (on events of 1897) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on October 3rd 2006

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