The real gist of the Amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914. Amalgamation means combining two or more areas into one. In 1914, Nigeria’s Northern and Southern areas were joined together to make one country.
This happened after the British took control of different parts of Nigeria. At first, the British ran these parts separately. Then, they combined them to help the country grow and trade better. Now, the whole country follows the same rules and plans for development.
In 1912, a man named Sir Federick Lord Lugard became the leader of both the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria. His job was to join these two areas into one country.
On January 1, 1914, Nigeria officially became a country. The name “Nigeria” was actually suggested 16 years before by a woman named Flora Shaw. She later married Lord Lugard. She thought that the British areas near the Niger River should all be called “Nigeria,” which means ‘Niger areas.’
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Why did Nigeria combine its territories in 1914? Here are some simple reasons:
- Easier Management The Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria were joined to make running the country easier. The British didn’t have enough people to manage both areas separately.
- Using Resources Both areas of Nigeria have valuable minerals. The British combined them to make it easier to use these resources. This also helped improve the economy.
- One Money Pot The British wanted to put all the money and resources from both areas into one place. This made it easier for them to manage everything.
- Better Transportation Combining the areas made it easier to move goods and services. It also helped connect the railway lines between the two areas.
- Sharing Stuff One reason for joining the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria was to share things like money, telegraphs, mail, police, and the army.
- Bringing Tribes Together Combining the two areas also helped bring different tribes in Nigeria closer. It helped them focus less on their differences.
How Nigeria Was Combined
The idea to combine Nigeria started before 1914. But it officially happened in 1914 when Lord Lugard became the leader of the new, bigger Nigeria. He had his main office in Lagos and had helpers for the Northern and Southern areas.
Before 1914, there was another try to combine Nigeria. In 1886, Captain Taubman Goldie’s company got special permission to trade and have some power in the Niger Area.
Who Helped Combine Nigeria Some important people in this process were Sir George Taubman Goldie, Sir Federick Lord Luggard, missionaries, and local leaders.
1. Sir George Dashwood Taubman Goldie (1846 – 1925)
Captain Taubman was born in 1846 and was a British Navy officer, engineer, and explorer. He played a big role in joining Nigeria together.
In 1875, he bought a struggling trading company in Nigeria. He moved there to fix the company. He thought British businesses should join together to beat competition. So, he led the effort to combine different companies into one, aiming to make more money.
He succeeded and his company, Royal Niger Company, joined with others to form the “United African Company” in 1879. He was the secretary of this new company.
Not everyone liked this new company, and there was competition from German and French companies. So, in 1882, he brought these foreign companies into a new group called the National African Company.
This new company helped Britain claim ownership of the area at an international meeting in 1884-1885. Taubman’s goal was to help Britain take control of Nigeria through trade.
In 1886, the National African Company became the Royal Niger Company and got special permission to trade and have power in Nigeria. Before the company lost this permission in 1899, Taubman had made over 300 deals with local leaders. This helped bring a big area under one rule, working towards uniting Nigeria.
2. Sir Federick Lord Lugard
Sir Federick Lord Lugard was born in 1858 in what is now Chennai, India, but he grew up in England. He was a soldier in the British Army and fought in many places like Burma, Sudan, and Afghanistan from 1878 to 1888. Before coming to Nigeria, he had a lot of experience and even got a special award in 1887. He also managed Uganda’s military from 1890 to 1892.
In 1894, Lugard made deals with local leaders in Central Nigeria for the Royal Niger Company. The British chose him to keep their interests safe in Nigeria and stop the French from taking over.
In 1899, to stop the French, he made the local army bigger and called it the West African Frontier Force. He then became the top official for Northern Nigeria. In 1901, he was called “sir” for doing a great job in taking control of Nigeria. He quit this job in 1906.
From 1912 to 1914, he was the governor of both Northern and Southern Nigeria. He joined these areas together in 1914 to make running them easier. He also started a way of ruling through local leaders.
From 1914 to 1919, he was the Governor General of Nigeria.
3. The Missionaries
In the 1800s, European missionaries came to Nigeria with a big goal. They wanted to spread their religion, so they built churches. But they did more than just that. They also started schools, which was a big deal for the people living in Nigeria at that time.
These schools were special because they brought together kids from different tribes and backgrounds. Before, these tribes might not have had much to do with each other. But now, their kids were learning together in the same classrooms. This was a new experience for everyone and helped people from different groups understand each other better.
The missionaries taught in a common language, usually English. This was important because Nigeria is a country with many languages and dialects. Having a shared language made it easier for people to talk to each other, even if they came from different parts of the country.
Because of these schools and the common language, people started thinking about how they were all part of one bigger community. This led to talks about joining the different areas of Nigeria into one country. The missionaries didn’t plan this, but their work helped make it happen.
So, in a way, the European missionaries set the stage for Nigeria to become a united country. Their schools and churches made it easier for different groups to come together, share ideas, and eventually become one nation.
4. Traditional Rulers
In Nigeria, traditional rulers have always been important people. They were the bosses of their communities and made sure everything was running smoothly. People listened to them and respected their decisions, so they had a lot of power in their areas.
When the British came to Nigeria, they saw how much influence these traditional rulers had. Instead of trying to rule directly, the British decided to work with them. This way of ruling through local leaders is called “indirect rule.” The British understood that these rulers already had the trust of their people, so it made sense to keep them in charge under British oversight.
During the time when Nigeria was being joined together, or “amalgamated,” these traditional rulers played a big role. They were part of important talks and decisions about how the new, bigger Nigeria would be run. Their involvement was key to making sure that the joining of different areas went smoothly. People were more comfortable with the changes because they saw their own trusted leaders involved in the process.
The way these rulers were included in talks and decisions had a lasting impact on Nigeria. It helped shape how the country would be governed in the future. Even today, the influence of traditional rulers can be seen in Nigeria’s system of government.
So, in summary, Nigeria’s traditional rulers were not just important in the past; they played a crucial role in shaping the country we know today. Their partnership with British administrators during the amalgamation period helped create a stable and unified Nigeria.