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Derrick, Jonathan (1979) Douala Under the French Mandate, 1916 to 1936. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Douala arose from the settlement founded by the Dualas beside the Wouri river estuary, initially called Cameroons. A fishing and farming community, the Dualas became successful palm produce traders with the Europeans in the 19th century. Then they were ruled by Germany from 1884 to 1914. In the formative German period the Dualas showed their approach to European rule - collaboration aimed at seeking advantages, combined with criticism culminating in the protests against land expropriation effected in 1914 - which they continued after the First World War had led to French rule from 1916. There was widespread opposition to France initially, with calls for self- government. After 1920 this movement declined temporarily, but protests continued. Douala was the main commercial centre of French Cameroun. Economic expansion provided many opportunities seized by Dualas, as traders and especially as cash crop planters. They served the French, to mutual advantage, as clerks. They extended their education further, mainly through the Protestant Mission which most followed. French policy reduced but did not eliminate their influence over non-Dualas. Continued anti-colonialism was shown in the movement surrounding the independent Baptists; the movement for restoration of land expropriated in 1914; and active nationalism including approaches to the League of Nations (1929-32). The last phase coincided with the Depression. Economic damage to Duala interests in the Depression was limited, but politically they were more subdued after 1932. They were then outnumbered by African immigrants. With the French at the height of their power, ruling through the Dualas' important traditional rulers and the Strangers' untraditional ones, Douala in 1936 exemplified a West African city at the zenith of colonialism.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:13

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