Colonial History and Documentary Sources: Insights from Southern Nigeria

Published In

Transformations in Africana Studies: History, Theory, and Epistemology

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



International relations, Africa -- History -- Study and teaching


This chapter is part of the ongoing contribution to the African side of the story as it seeks to understand the nature of relations and interactions between the British and the Igbo people during colonial rule through the study of petitions. Moreover, the researcher on African colonial history will always battle with the fact that in popular literature, the relationship painted has been that of colonizer and victim, in which case, the local people were subjects and/or victims without right of say or expression whatsoever during the period. This chapter draws upon extensive archival research at the Nigerian National Archives, explores the complexities, interactions, negotiations, challenges and responses that trailed the British encounter with Igboland. It stakes a claim on these ideologies based on insights drawn from examining colonial petitions in Nigeria. The petitions have offered insights into the nature of colonial interactions and show the people as active participants in the process of colonial administration.


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