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Title: Badagry 1784-1863. the political and commercial history of a pre-colonial lagoonside community in south west Nigeria
Author(s): Sorensen-Gilmour, Caroline
Issue Date: 1995
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: By tracing the history of Badagry, from its reconstruction after 1784 until its annexation in 1863, it is possible to trace a number of themes which have implications for the history of the whole 'Slave Coast' and beyond. The enormous impact of the environment in shaping this community and indeed its relations with other communities, plays a vital part in any understanding of the Badagry story. As a place of refuge, Badagry's foundation and subsequent history was shaped by a series of immigrant groups and individuals from Africa and Europe. Its position as an Atlantic and lagoonside port enabled this community to emerge as an important commercial and political force in coastal affairs. However, its very attractions also made it a desirable prize for African and European groups. Badagry's internal situation was equally paradoxical. The fragmented, competitive nature of its population resulted in a weakness of political authority, but also a remarkable flexibility which enabled the town to function politically and commercially in the face of intense internal and external pressures. It was ultimately the erosion of this tenuous balance which caused Badagry to fall into civil war. Conversely, a study of Badagry is vital for any understanding of these influential groups and states. The town's role as host to political refugees such as Adele, an exiled King of Lagos, and commercial refugees, such as the Dutch trader Hendrik Hertogh, had enormous repercussions for the whole area. Badagry's role as an initial point of contact for both the Sierra Leone community and Christianity in Nigeria has, until now, been almost wholly neglected. Furthermore, the port's relations with its latterly more famous neighbours, Lagos, Porto-Novo, Oyo, Dahomey and Abeokuta, sheds further light on the nature of these powers, notably the interdependence of these communities both politically and economically. Badagry's long-standing relationship with Europe and ultimate annexation by Britain is also an area which has been submerged within the Lagos story. But it is evident that the, annexation of Badagry in 1863 was a separate development, which provides further evidence on the nature of nineteenth century British imperialism on the West Coast of Africa.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
History and Politics

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