A Century In The Development Of Nigeria History Essay

The period 1860 – 1960 was important in Nigeria ‘s economic development. In order to analyze the major alterations Nigeria experienced throughout these old ages one must place the factors that gave rise to these alterations, and in Nigeria they were related mostly to British expansionism and colonialism. An analysis of the causes and effects of developments that occurred is besides cardinal. The century chosen is peculiarly relevant to Nigeria ‘s development as the British disposal in Nigeria officially began in 1861, when Lagos became a Crown settlement, a measure taken in response to factors such as the now-illegal activities of slave bargainers, the break of trade by the Yoruba civil wars, and frights that the Gallic would take over Lagos. Through a series of stairss designed to ease trade, by 1906 contemporary Nigeria was under British control, and it gained its independency on the 1st October 1960. The British came to Africa in order to guarantee an efficient and undisputed development of Nigeria ‘s resources in order to profit the British Finance industry. And in order to accomplish those ends the British employed colonial policies.

The pre-colonial period in Nigeria ( pre 1860 ) consisted of the slave trade which was n’t abolished until 1834. This period of contact with Europeans prior to colonialism contributed elements to the underdevelopment of the country. The slave trade took a deathly toll on the Nigerian capacity for a rapid economic transmutation and development. The regular slave foraies disrupted production in parts of Nigeria, peculiarly on the seashore, and the ensuing depopulation disrupted production dealingss and crippled the domestic labor force. This led to a immense loss of possible excess, and hence partly stagmented development in Nigeria in the early nineteenth Century. Okwudiba Nnoli best amounts up the effects of the slave trade in his book ‘Path to Nigerian Development ‘ ( 1981, P.95 ) , the slave trade “ amused attending off from local originative potencies and resources by concentrating on the procurance of slaves or the production of primary resources needed by Europeans. More peculiarly, the slave trade caused the loss of many able bodied work forces from the local economic systems, with a attendant lowering of economic activities and potency. ” Therefore Britain had a tall order in developing Nigeria economically from 1860 and conveying it up to rush with the industrializing states of Europe. Some believe Britain had small involvement in developing Nigeria but instead intended to merely work her for the benefit of the Empire ( Nnoli 1981 ) . Others hold a different sentiment in believing that stuff advancement was particularly marked and extended in Nigeria ( Peter Duignan, L. H. Gann, 1975 ) . However economic advancement during the colonial period differed from part to part like with, say, parts of Southern Nigeria compared with the Tiv in the North. The economic experience of many and varied societies in colonial Nigeria ranged from relatively small alteration to big scale transmutations of conditions.

The slave trade was a beginning for underdevelopment in Nigeria in the pre-colonial and early colonial periods. The British colonial disposal of Nigeria had to develop the state in order to pull out the maximal excess out of her development. Therefore the first stairss taken were to stomp out bondage, set up ‘legitimate trade ‘ , present engineering and develop exports. In analyzing the extent to which Nigeria developed in the colonial period, one must research the causes of its development. These chiefly centre around the dominant motivations and mechanisms of British colonialism on specific sectors of the economic system. “ Colonies such as Nigeria became portion of British imperial enlargement that focused on working natural stuffs, minerals, and groceries of import to Western industrial development. Britain tried to promote tropical export harvests in Nigeria and to excite demand at that place for British manufactured goods. ” ( hypertext transfer protocol: //countrystudies.us/nigeria/53.htm, Beginning: U.S. Library of Congress ) Indeed the extraction of natural stuffs was at the bosom of British motive for colonization and enlargement in Nigeria. This was because Nigeria was so rich in resources such as cotton, which Britain needed for its fabric mills, and gum elastic, palm oil, meat, fells and teguments, lumber, Sn and coal. The mechanisms of colonialism used by the British included military conquering and political coercion through a British laterality of the colonial province setup. This political power was utilised to make a state of affairs of unequal trade.

First, Nigeria ‘s economic excess was centralized through the infliction and aggregation of revenue enhancements, and the “ canalisation of agricultural excess into Marketing Board surpluses, the control of banking through the West African Currency Board, the monopoly of commercial banking and appropriation of net incomes by British endeavors such as the United African Company ” ( Nnoli 1981, p. 81 ) . The British attempted to incorporate the economic system of Nigeria with that of Britain. Therefore Nigeria ‘s import-export trade was wholly monopolized. Nigerian merchandises were exported at British monetary values, and chiefly sold to British topics. Furthermore, Nigeria ‘s imports were British produced and sold at monetary values determined by the British. This exploitatory system of trade was lay waste toing on development, and created a immense demand for inexpensive primary merchandises. Nigerian agribusiness so lost any internal stimulation for development. This was because the gap of Nigerian agribusiness to the imperialist market insured stagnancy as unequal trade meant green goods was exported cheaply and therefore small money could be made by the productive categories. Therefore the physical and societal base of this colonial economic system developed into going fragile and export orientated, and one could reason that this signifier of trade contributed more to the underdevelopment of Nigeria.

Another cardinal economic development in colonial Nigeria was the impact that was made on the production system. It was altered to go dominated by foreign private capital, and hence this new colonial system of production served the demands of this external capital instead than those of the local population. Productive ventures were altered to function the involvement of the colonialists that dominated the economic system, and the local population lost control of its production procedure. “ Export harvest production, excavation minerals for export and the importing of manufactured goods from Europe predominated. ” ( Nnoli, 1981, p. 98 ) The colonial period saw a immense sum of development in agricultural industry, and the British colonial authorities worked difficult to guarantee the endurance and efficiency of other sectors. For illustration, the Sn excavation industry was close to prostration until the extension of railroads to tin mining countries ensured its endurance. The palm oil industry was besides developed extensively with palm oil research Stationss being built in Benin and Onitsha in 1939. Between 1866 and 1945 thenar oil and Indian potato oil was critical to Europe ‘s industry due to the industry of points like soap and tapers. Other agricultural merchandises were promoted by the colonial authorities such as Indian potatos, rice and citrous fruit fruits. However, the colonialists system of production was chiefly developed to profit Britain and her Empire, and non the local population, through the wagess of inexpensive export stuff. An illustration is that attempts with rice and citrous fruit production were abandoned in the late nineteenth Century because merely local demands were served. Nigeria ‘s economic system became reliant on its colonial swayers as its production system took form as subservient and export orientated. Therefore, when Nigeria was connected to the universe market it had inauspicious effects on productiveness as the state had non developed the internal capacity to cover with the fluctuations of external market conditions. ( Nnoli, 1981 ) This meant she became a weak primary manufacturer.

Whether colonial regulation promoted or stagnated development can non be shown so once and for all, as one can non state what would hold happened without it. The colonization of Nigeria allowed for the inflow of external thoughts, fiscal and physical capital that initiated material advancement. The external contact of the British opened up big markets for local merchandises. “ By bettering communications and increasing public security they were instrumental non merely in associating Africa to the outside universe, but besides in set uping links within Africa. ” ( Peter Duignan, L. H. Gann, 1975, p.637 ) Arguably the most positive economic development that took topographic point in colonial Nigeria was the building of an extended rail web between the 1890s and World War II, and progressively more roads after the 1930s. It allowed provincials to present their harvests far more expeditiously to the planetary market, instead than being restricted to transporting marketable excesss via little river canoes or human porterage. “ Possibly the greatest stimulation to export production arose from strategic authorities investings in substructure. ” ( James M. Cypher, James L. Dietz, 1997, p.210 ) The new colonial system of production was made more efficient through the building of modern substructure. A railroad system was constructed from the South-East and South-West seashores to the major colonial economic Centres in 1911, leting easy export of merchandises, the conveyance of goods and services and better communications. Furthermore, telegraph and postal services were added to this spread outing web of substructure. These developments, along with the debut of the lb sterling as the cosmopolitan medium of exchange, encouraged export trade in Sn, cotton, chocolate, Indian potatos, and palm oil. Britain maintained its economic hegemony over the settlements through military power, strategic confederations, and the coaction of autochthonal swayers.

The constitution of an efficient conveyance system was critical in Nigeria ‘s economic development. A farther development in this period saw autochthonal currencies being replaced by new coins and paper money. Through the paying of revenue enhancement and the buying of imports the market expanded, and the usage of new currencies and banking installations gained an increasing popularity. “ Agriclulture was commercialized, as harvests and rural countries were connected to the international economic system ” ( Falola, 2004 ) . The new economic developments that emerged during the colonial period stayed concrete for most of the twentieth Century. Nigeria was integrated into an international system, as colonial regulation altered traditional economic systems to make what can be called a ‘new economic system ‘ based on the production of hard currency harvests and dependance on external markets. From the bend of the twentieth Century the Nigerian economic system was adapted to run into the demands of export-import trade. Nigeria was connected to the International system as a provider of natural stuffs and a market for finished merchandises. One can reason that without colonization Nigeria would non hold advanced rapidly plenty to go an of import participant in universe trade. The attendant development of the autochthonal economic system enhanced the Nigerian engagement in International Trade and the ingestion of imported points. A monolithic enlargement in Nigeria ‘s economic production took topographic point. Agribusiness brought the largest portion of grosss, and in the first half of the twentieth Century, “ the export of palm oil increased fourfold, that of thenar meats from 85,000 dozenss in 1900 to over 400,000 dozenss in 1950, and the combined value of thenar produce exports increased from ?1.3 million in 1900 to ?28.7 million by 1950. By 1960, the state had realized ?40 million in gross revenues. ” ( Falola, 2004, p.71/72 ) The success of agribusiness within the colonial economic system was a consequence of the being of 1000000s of husbandmans, the sensible monetary values offered to manufacturers and the demand for workers to gain money in order to pay revenue enhancement. Agribusiness by the terminal of the colonial period was surely the bedrock of the economic system. We have discussed countries of industry but the bulk of the population survived within the agricultural sector. “ The value of agricultural exports rose from ?78.6 million in 1950 to ?139.4 million in 1959. ” ( Falola, 2004, p. 86 ) The colonial period saw noteworthy additions in agricultural production end product and likewise with excavation.

Another economic development that was critical to the British colonial residents was the organized revenue enhancement of the Nigerian people. Tax was regarded as an of import scheme as it basically forced people into work so that they could finance themselves every bit good as aid fund the economic system and do the British more marked as swayers in Nigeria. Frederick Lugard, who assumed the place of high commissioner of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria in 1900, linked revenue enhancement to the stimulation of industry and productiveness ( Falola, 2004 ) . He said that, “ there is no civilized State in the universe where direct revenue enhancement has non been found to be a necessity, and African communities which aspire to be regarded as civilised must portion the common load of civilization ” . What Lugard believed is partly true. The revenue enhancement that people would pay to the authorities provided the support for the building of a modern substructure, schools, infirmaries and a judiciary system etc, many of which still exist to the present twenty-four hours. Economic development could non hold advanced without the aggregation of some signifier of gross. However, it is problematic whether the gross collected form Nigerian revenue enhancement was really spent for the benefit of the people. Money merely was funnelled into making a more efficient production system from which the Nigerian people did non truly profit as extra capital was siphoned abroad and at that place was still a heavy trust on imports.

In decision, the foundations of modern economic life were laid during the colonial period: Public security and jurisprudence and order, wheeled traffic, mechanized conveyance, railroads, roads and big adult male made ports ; modern signifiers of money alternatively of swap or trade good money, such as bars of Fe, bottles of gin or cowry shells, the application of scientific discipline and engineering to agriculture, H2O control, forestry and excavation, modern commercialism, towns with significant edifices, H2O and sewage, infirmaries, public wellness steps and the control of endemic or epidemic diseases, formal instruction and the thought of material advancement. British colonial policy determined positive economic consequences and development to a certain extent. However, “ The West African state of affairs left the autochthonal population dependent on foreign manufactured goods, since colonial regulation had precluded industrialisation. ” ( Cypher, 1997 ) Indeed Britain helped develop Nigeria economically and this can be illustrated by the addition in production for export that occurred, but Nigeria besides became to a great extent reliant on the importation of European stuffs. The colonial period saw the betterment of Nigeria ‘s agribusiness and excavation industry but as her fabrication industry was hardly developed Nigeria was reliant on importing European goods. This meant fluctuations in the universe market left the economic system vulnerable to amendss. The most noteworthy developments throughout this period were the creative activity of an efficient substructure and the acceptance of a production system that increased green goods for export enormously, for illustration with palm oil. Much of the colonial bequest lasts today and I am in no uncertainty that the century of colonial regulation in Nigeria did profit her to a considerable extent. In footings of modernisation, the economic development that took topographic point surely advanced Nigeria ‘s place on the universe phase. She became a major exporter of of import natural stuffs and nutrient materials. However, much recent research into this field reveals that colonial regulation may hold contributed more to the economic underdevelopment of Nigeria as she became wholly reliant on the colonial decision makers and on importing European manufactured goods. Nigeria emerged as a nation-state by 1960 and after the economic discord that followed World War II for Britain, a rapid economic development of Nigeria was non in their involvements. The beginning of this period saw Nigeria ‘s economic system devastated by the slave trade, and so her people further exploited through the British colonial debut of unjust trade. However by the 1930s Nigeria was a major universe exporter of critical natural stuffs and had an substructure leting for efficient communicating and conveyance of goods and services. Indeed Nigeria did develop economically over this period but the colonial decision makers exploited the Nigerian people awfully every bit good. The business of Nigeria foremost and first benefitted the Empire. However, the procedure of acquiring Nigeria into a place where she could bring forth positive consequences in footings of agribusiness, excavation and industrial end product meant that there was immense economic development over clip, although the Nigerian people did non profit about plenty from this development.