History of the Amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 [Explained]

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Amalgamation simply means the joining/bringing together of two or more territories under a single administration. The Amalgamation of Nigeria took place in 1914, and involved the joining together of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of the country.

It happened after the British conquest of different parts of Nigeria. The British administered these parts separately, before they were brought together under a central administration. The amalgamation was obviously done to boost the trade and progress of the country; since the laws, methods and the country’s resource are unified, and their development is planned as a whole.

It was in 1912 that Sir Federick Lord Lugard was appointed as the governor of both the Northern and Southern protectorates with the responsibility of uniting the two territories into what evolved to become a state.

1st January 1914 marked the beginning of the colony protectorate of Nigeria. Nigeria was formed in 1914. The name “Nigeria” was first suggested in a The Times article 16 years earlier by Miss Flora Shaw (who later married Lord Lugard). She was of the opinion that the several British protectorates on the Niger River be collectively known as ‘Nigeria’ meaning ‘Niger areas’.

Amalgamation House
Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State: The house that hosted the amalgamation of Nigeria

Reasons For The Amalgamation of Nigerian Territories

Why exactly was Nigeria amalgamated? You may begin to ask. We cover a couple of reasons here:

1. Administrative Purpose

The protectorate of the Northen and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914 to make administration easier and convenient. Since the British lacked enough personnel, merging the two protectorates would help manage their personnels.

2. Exploitation of Nigerian Resources

Both protectorates of Nigeria are very blessed with minerals, the British colonial masters seeing this merged them to facilitate easy exploitation of the resources in the hinterland. This amalgamation aslo helped them further maximize the economy of the two protectorates.

3. Need For a Single Treasury

Essentially, there was rising need to put the resources of the the Northern and Southern protectorates in one treasure, since it would make the administration of the the entire country’s easy to manage for the British goverrnment.

4. Facilitated Transportation

Joining both will make the transportation of movement of goods and services easy between the two protectorates. It will also facilitate the joining of the railway line.

5. Sharing of Services

Another reason Nigeria was amalgamated was so as to share service with each other. For instance, the Northern and Southern Nigeria protectorates would be able to share such services as currency, telegraphs, post, police, and even the army together.

6. Unity of Tribes

Merging the Northern and Southern protectorates under one leadership, in a way, would unite the several tribes in Nigeria; making them forget their tribal differences.

Process of Amalgamation of Nigerian Territories

The move for the amalgamation started long before 1914; but it was not until 1914 that the first official process took place, when Lord Lugard was appointed as the Governor of the newly merged territories with his headquarters in Lagos. He was assisted in overseeing the Northern and Southern protectorates by the Lieutenant governors.

Before then, in 1886, there was an effort put towards Nigeria amalgamation – Captain Taubman Goldie’s company (United African Company) was given a Royal Charter that permitted them to not only trade, but also exercise political power in the Niger Area.

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