Imperialism Case Study: Nigeria

A New Period of Imperialism
The imperialism of the 18th and 19th centuries was conducted differently from the explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the earlier period, imperial powers often did not penetrate far into the conquered areas in Asia and Africa. Nor did they always have a substantial influence on the lives of the people. Each European nation had certain policies and goals for establishing colonies. To establish control of an area, Europeans used different techniques. European rulers also developed methods of day-to-day management of a colony. Two basic methods emerged. Britain and other nations preferred indirect control.
-Kenny R. Gomez

A British colony in Nigeria

Britain’s rule in Nigeria shows the ways European Imperialist used to gain control over an area and it also shows the ways they used to manage and continue to control economic and political life in that area.

The British got control over Nigeria in both the hard way and the good way. In a good way, because some of the local leaders agreed to sign treaties of protection with the British and to accept British residents in Nigeria and in the hard way, because even though the local leaders signed a treaty with the British, others didn’t accept the intervention from the British and rebelled against the intervention, therefore Britain used military force to put the rebels down. Since the Nigeria was such a complex area with three large groups (the Hausa-Fulani, the Yoruba, and the Igbo), they decided to manage the area indirectly with local leaders from the three groups. This indirect management of the groups worked out well in the Hausa-Fulani, but it wasn’t so efficient in the other two groups.
-Luis Restituyo

the legacy of colonial rule

the European colonial rule over africans brought both negative and positive effects. beginning with the bad news would be how the Africans lost control of their land and their independence. millions died because of diseases or if not of this, they were killed. they were also affected in a traditional aspect, many of their traditional authority figures were replaced. the most harmful effect was the division of Africa, many rival chiefdoms were sometimes united while others were in constant rivalry.
on the other hand, there were also some positive consequences. for example colonialism reduced local warfare, colonies improved sanitation and provided hospitals and schools. because of these benefits life-spans and literacy rate in Africa increased. to provide a way of economic stability railroads, dams, telegraph lines, and telephones were built in African colonies. this so called positive effects benefited only European business interests not Africans' lives.
-gabriela j


The British took control of Nigeria. Europeanshad a thirst to seek for more raw materials and resources that could quickly fuel the growing industrial production. So they turned their eyes to Africa. There were oposing groups,the ones who agreed and wanted their protection and rule,and the ohers who opposed and rebelled. This conquest was succesful thanks to the Royal Niger Company. This copany gined control of the palm-oil trade along he Niger River after the Berlin Conference gave Britain a protectorate over the Niger River delta. In 1914, Nigeria was claimed as a colony. In order to have everything under control and to their benefit, they had to have the people in Nigeria tamed. This task gave much trouble to the British, beacuse Nigeria was divided in about 250 different ethnic groups. All with different religion, languages, and culture. There weren't enough troops to handle the situation going on, so they sought to control indirectly. This didn't work so well either, beacuse local chiefs that were appointed by them,started to resent the limited power.

The forms of imperialism used by European powers to gain control of an area. Britain aimed for the control of economic and political life of the area. British gained control of Nigeria through diplomatic and military. Basically Britain used imperialism as if it was a take over. British conquest of northern Nigeria was accomplished by the Royal Niger Company which supports them with the economic conditions since they have control of the palm-oil trade along the Niger River. British claimed the entire area of Nigeria as a colony. British ended having limited power over Nigeria because it was large and many ethnic groups lived there so for Britain to still have power but not all of it the chief made them have it limited.

-Jonathan Vargas

A British Colony

Britain gained control of Nigeria through both diplomatic and military means. Some local rulers agreed to sign treaties of protection with Britain and accept British residents. However, many opposed this foreign intervention and rebelled against it. These Britians in return used force to put down and defeat these rebellions.

The British were able to conquer the northern part of Nigeria with the Royal Niger Company. The company gained control of the palm-oil trade along the Niger River after the Berlin conference gave Britain a province over the Niger River delta. In 1914, the British, however claimed the entire area of Nigeria as a colony.
Erialbania Lopez

The Imperialism of the 18th and 19th centuries was quite different from that of the earlier 15th and 16th centuries. First of all, Imperial powers didn't penetrate very far into the conquered areas of Africa and Asia nor did they ever have great influence over the lives of the people inhabiting these regions. That would all change during these later periods where Europeans would begin demanding more influence over economic, political, and social aspects of the lives of their conquered subjects. The were determined to exploit and shape the economies of their conquered countries to benefit their own. They were also wanted the people to adopt their customs. The Europeans eventually developed 4 forms of colonial control: sphere of influence, colony, protectorate, and economic imperialism. Depending on the nation, the Europeans exercised either direct or indirect control.

A great example of European Imperialism is Britain's rule of Nigeria. Britain had acquired Nigeria through both diplomatic and military means. While some local rulers agreed to sign treaties of protection with Britain and accepted British residents, others opposed the foreign intervention and rebelled against it.
-Genesis A. Landestoy

Imperialism in Africa and the Rest of the World

The Europeans wanted control over Africa's land, its people, and its resources. With this in mind, they wanted to take advantage of the policy of imperialism to make their "wish come true". The Europeans so, demanded more influence over the economic, political, and social lives of the people. They wanted the economies of the country to fit that of theirs, and theu wanted their customs to be adopted as well. They used the four forms of imperialism, colony, protectorate, sphere of influence, and economic imperialism, to fulfill their goals.
The British took control over Nigeria through both diplomatic and military force. Some of the rulers agreed upon this colonization, yet others, were completely against it, which was when the British military had to apply force. The British conquest was fully acquired by the Royal Niger Company, which helped it claim entire control of Nigeria. After this colonization, the Europeans wanted more, and so spread to other parts of Africa. As in Nigeria, these people tried to resist against the Europeans, but ultimately failed to do so. All except Menelik II, emperor of Ethiopia, who was intelligent enough to go beyond all borders and scared and fought off the Europeans out of his nation.

Paternalism and Assimilation

Paternalism refers to an attitude or a policy reminiscent of the hierarchic pattern of a family based on patriarchy, that is, there is a figurehead. (literally meaning 'father like')., pater in Latin) that makes decisions on behalf of others (the "wife" and "children") for their own good, even if this is contrary to their wishes. In Nigeria, Europeans used this method because they didn't think that Africans were able to handle the complex business of running a country. Using this policy, Europeans governed people in a parental way by providing for their needs but not giving them rights. To accomplish this, the Europeans brought their own bureaucrats and did not train local people in European methods of governing.

Assimilation, or cultural assimilation is a political response to the demographic fact of multi-ethnicity which encourages absorption of the minority into the dominant culture. It is opposed to affirmative philosophy (for example, multiculturalism) which recognizes and seeks to maintain differences. The French were the ones to assume this policy in Africa.

- Lily S.

Imperialism in Africa

European nations thought of Africa as a nation that was unable to govern themselves, they would never reach a level of stability or of modernization as them. They thought of Africa as a lesser people, which was why they decided to divide it among themselves. They didn’t even reason in this, they divided it how they thought it would be better for them, not for the Africans. They didn’t even care if there were two distinct cultures in the area they had control of. They did this in the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 and the Boer War. Different techniques were used in the colonization of these areas. These were indirect control and direct control. In indirect control the area is yours per say, but it keeps its ruler and doesn’t change in what is its management. The colony would then have a legislative council that would train the people in the ways of the foreign nation.Then the colony would reach a level of modernization in which they can get to govern themselves. This form was used by the United States and Britain. In direct control the colonies were forced to learn all the ways of the parent nation. They thought Africans couldn’t take proper care of the complex business of their lands. They didn’t give any rights to the Africans, not training these in European ways of governing. They also thought that this way the colony would assimilate European ways and become European. The French, for example, used direct control.

-Gaby H.(:

"Imperialism is a policy in which one country seekd to extend its authority by conquering other countries or by establishing economic and political dominance over other countries. The first chart below disscusses the four forms of imperialist authority, The second chart shows the two mangaement methods tha can be used to contorl an area.

Forms of Imperialism

Form Definition Example
Colony A country or territory governed internally by a foreign power Somaliland in east africa was a Frech colony
Protectorate A country or territory w/ its own internal government but under the control of an outside power Britainestablished a protectorate over the Niger River delta
Sphere of Influence An area in which an outside power claim exclusive investment or trading privileges Liberia was under the sphere of influence of the U.S.
Economis Imperialism An independent but less-developed country controlled by private business interests rather than other governments The Dole fruit company controlled pineapple trade in Hawaii

-Priscilla Franjul

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