Northern Nigeria Protectorate

Northern Nigeria Protectorate
Northern Nigeria Protectorate
Protectorate of British Empire

God Save the Queen
Northern Nigeria (red)
British possessions in Africa (pink)
Capital Zungeru
Language(s) English
Government Constitutional monarchy
 - 1900-1901 Victoria
 - 1910-1914 George V
High Commissioner, Governor
 - 1900-1906 Sir Frederick John Dealtry Lugard
 - 1912-1914 Sir Frederick John Dealtry Lugard
 - Established 1 January 1900
 - Disestablished 1 January 1914

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 [1], and also believed that administration of the whole area would be easier if united, especially since northern Nigeria had no access to the sea. At the time, neither Lugard nor other British administrators, nor Africans, considered Nigeria to constitute a potential national unit- in fact the north and south were considered culturally radically different- and the merger was an economic and administrative convenience. Under an umbrella administration for all Nigeria, the north and south continued to have their own separate administrations, and each had its own Lieutenant-Governor answering to Lugard and his successors. Sir Richmond Palmer was a strong advocate of the Lugard principles of Indirect Rule and argued strongly for decentralisation of funding and budget management. However, nationalism developing in Nigeria soon took the whole of Nigeria as a natural future national unit.

See also

  • Sir Richmond Palmer

External links

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