Nigeria Briefing Paper

Kanem borno was a major trading center connected by

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Unformatted text preview: at 11 militarily powerful empires emerged. Kanem Borno was a major trading center connected by trade routes that extended across the Sahara Desert to the Middle East and Europe. By the sixteenth century, the Oyo Kingdom based in the southern town of Ife was a vibrant and proud expression of Benin culture. During the waning years of Benin dominance, a number of European colonial powers vied for control of the West African coast, with the Portuguese establishing trading stations at the end of the fifteenth century, and the French, British, and Dutch doing the same two centuries later. It was not until Napoleon was defeated in 1815 did the British emerge as the dominant power in the region. All of the European powers that contested for control during this period actively promoted, and benefited from, the lucrative slave trade, which forcibly relocated millions to the Caribbean, North America, and South America to work on plantations. The Colonial Period In 1861, Great Britain annexed Lagos and subsequently moved inland to conquer all of modern-day Nigeria under the leadership of Sir Frederick Lugard. Until 1900, this expansion occurred under the auspices of the United Africa Company (later named Royal Niger Company), which wanted to control the lucrative Niger River trade route. When the British government formally assumed control in 1900, Nigeria was divided into two separate protectorates, one in the north and the other in the south. This was the first step in a long process of repeatedly dividing Nigeria according to ethnic divisions, thus laying the foundation for the contemporary federal arrangement in the country. The colony and protectorate of Nigeria was formally established in 1914, comprised initially of the northern and southern regions. The northern region was administratively organized by a system of “indirect rule,” in which British colonial administrators worked through Muslim emirates. A “direct rule” administrative apparatus was established in the south of the country. In 1939, the colony was split into the peanut-producing north, cocoa-producing west, and Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at 12 palm-oil-producing east. These provincial divisions roughly corresponded to the major ethnic groups in the country: Hausa-Fulani in the north, Yoruba in the west, and Igbo in the east. By the end of the Second World War, these provinces were granted limited self-government by regional legislatures. There was also a federal parliament elected by the regional legislatures. From 1945 until independence, a series of three constitutions were introduced to Nigeria, gradually granting greater degrees of local autonomy and self-rule. The colony was granted full independence with a new constitution on October 1, 1960 (its fourth in less than 15 years). The Independence Period Throughout the independence period, Nigeria has alternated between civilian and military rule: there were three democratically elected government...
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This document was uploaded on 04/02/2013.

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