Northern Nigeria Protectorate

Northern Nigeria Protectorate

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Northern Nigeria Protectorate

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Northern Nigeria was a British protectorate formed in 1900. The basis of the protectorate was the 1885 Treaty of Berlin which broadly granted Northern Nigeria to Britain, on the basis of their protectorates in Southern Nigeria. There was, however considerable uncertainty about the borders which Britain could assert and the trade rights other Europeans might have, and as a result British involvement in Northern Nigeria was initially considered a political priority in Africa due to the threat of German and French rivals. There was particular uncertainty over the border with French colonies in the North West.

Britain's chosen Governor, Frederick Lugard, with limited resources, slowly negotiated with, and sometimes coerced, the emirates of the north into accepting British rule, finding that the only way this could be achieved was with the consent of local rulers through a policy of indirect rule which he developed from a necessary improvisation into a sophisticated political theory. Lugard left the protectorate after some years, serving in Hong Kong, but was eventually returned to work in Nigeria where he decided on the merger of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate with Southern Nigeria in 1914. The unification was done for economic reasons rather than political — Northern Nigeria had a budget deficit. Frederick Lugard sought to use the budget surpluses in Southern Nigeria to offset this deficit , and also believed that administration of the whole area would be easier if united,...
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