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Webb, Anthony William (1970) The Establishment and Development of British Administration in the Niger Delta With Special Reference to the Work and Letters of C. M. Macdonald 1889-1895. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Chapter one examines the reasons for the establishment of a British protectorate over the Lower Niger in 1885, and the placing of part of the Protectorate under the administration of a Chartered Company, leaving the other part under a Consul. In chapter two the early career of Macdonald is examined providing the necessary personal background to the central figure in the work. The years 1886-9 saw the breakdown of consular administration in the Niger Delta, accusations against the Company's administration, and government policy of extending the Charter over the coastal region coming under increasing attack. Doubts as to the future government of the area, and German pressure, caused Britain to appoint a commissioner to make a comprehensive enquiry in a bid to settle all problems (chapter three). The enquiry conducted by Macdonald and its results are discussed in chapter four. Chapters five and six deal with the mechanics of the new administration for the coastal region. Chapters seven, eight and nine look at the administration's policy towards trade and the missions; its attempts at hinterland penetration as part of the process of civilisation; and its relations with its neighbours during a period of general progress up to 1894. During the latter part of 1894 and throughout 1895 the administration went through a series of political crises which determined the government after enquiry to establish a greater control over its functions. A resurgence of enthusiasm at the Colonial Office for ruling subject peoples meant that greater control took the form of a more orthodox colonial administration which passed from the purview of the Foreign Office in 1900 (chapter ten). The conclusion assesses Macdonald the person, the significance of his report, and the administration emerging from it.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:25

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