Colonial Office and Nigeria, 1898–1914

Monday, April 1, 1985

Conventional scholarly wisdom supports the notion that the Colonial Office did little more than coordinate and review the proposals of others during the administrative occupation of Africa. Consequently, historians—in various ways, and in varying degrees—have come to accept that the Colonial Office and its staff had little to do with policy formation and implementation. Using Nigeria during the years 1898–1914 as a case study. Dr. Cartland's revisonist work reduces these interpretations. He establishes that, no matter what the subject under discussion, it was the Colonial Office's view—and not the colonial governor's, the Treasury's, nor the Crown Agents'—that prevailed. Furthermore, John Carland makes it clear that the Colonial Office staff did their work not out of any sense of imperial mission but because they were members of the Home Civil Service protecting their territory. They were an early-twentieth-century administrative manifestation of the territorial imperative.

Copyright 1985.