Saturday, June 22, 2013

The faint imprint of European colonization in Africa

In much of Africa, therefore, the colonial imprint was barely noticeable.  Only a thin white line of control existed.  In northern Nigeria, Frederick Lugard set out to rule 10 million people with a staff of nine European administrators and a regiment of the West African Frontier Force consisting of 3,000 African troops under the command of European officers.  By the late 1930s, following the amalgamation of northern and southern Nigeria into one territory in 1914, the number of colonial administrators for a population of 20 million people was still less than 400.  The Sudan Political Service consisted of 140 officials ruling over 9 million people.  The whole of French Equatorial Africa in the mid-1930s was run by 206 administrative officers.  French West Africa, comprising eight territories with a population of 15 million, was served by only 385 colonial administrators. The whole of British tropical Africa, where 43 million people lived, was governed by 1,200 administrators.  
From Martin Meredith's The Fate of Africa.

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