My 1999 doctoral dissertation, "Military Turbulence, Population Displacement and Commerce on a Slaving Frontier of the Sokoto Caliphate: Nupe c. 1810-1857", to a large extent, was a study of the Nupe people and, especially, Bida emirate of the Sokoto Caliphate. As an expansionist jihad state in 19th-century Nigeria, its military-political and economic activities significantly impacted on the political, socio-economic, and military-demographic development of states, communities, and peoples in its neighborhood like the Kedye, Ebira, Bassa, Igala, Kakanda, Eki-Bunu, and some Igbomina. In the course of researching the 19th-century Nupe jihad, I accumulated some archival, field, and oral documents that constitute this collection.
Niger-Benue Confluence (Lokoja) Area
The Igala, Ebira, Basa, Kakanda people of the Niger-Benue area were all caught up in the economic and military-political crisis associated with the Nupe jihad of the 19th century. I conducted some oral interviews among the Kakanda in the mid-1990s and collected information about their pre-colonial and colonial experience from the National Archives, Kaduna, Nigeria. Some of the archival documents in my possession which were themselves photocopies are fast fading away with age. They will be digitized and deposited here. These and other such archival documents provide information on communities like Aboh, Akassa, Onitsha, Lokoja, Gbebe, Budon, Bida, Egga, Idah, and their neighborhoods. For my recent book (2019) that explored the history of the relationship between CMS (Church Missionary Society) missionaries and communities on the banks of the upper Niger and especially the people of Gbobe (Gbebe) and Lokoja, CMS missionary documents constituted its main source. My 2012 book, The Journals of Church Missionary Society Agent, James Thomas, in Mid-nineteenth-century Nigeria, was a transcription, introduction, and annotation of James Thomas’ journals during his sojourn in Gbebe and Lokoja in the mid-nineteenth century as a resident missionary of the CMS Anglican mission, under the leadership of the famous Bishop Samuel Adjai Crowther. The journals and diaries of these missionaries will be transcribed and put up here on AH_digITalPortal.
In the late 1980s, while rounding up my Master's program of study, I did some research among the Igbomina people, a subgroup of the Yoruba, the majority of who are today located in what is Kwara state of Nigeria. Visiting the chief town of each Igbomina subgroup, I accumulated more than a dozen audio cassette recordings of interviews that I conducted on the impact of colonialism on their agricultural life up to the period of political independence. Much of the archival information that I used for the dissertation I had written with hand. I made copies of a few published colonial records of provincial and district officers that supplied information that I then thought were relevant for my purpose. The audios from this research are slated for conversion into digital format and will be available here.
A commissioned officer of the British navy, a scientist, explorer, administrator, and imperialist, Baikie was the first British consul to northern Nigeria. He was resident in Lokoja and is one of the British officials whose name has been adopted and indigenized as a family name in Nigeria. Also, his name has passed into the lexicon of the Igbo whose phrase for the white man’s country derived from Baikie – ala beke. I have worked with a substantial portion of his unpublished official dispatches to the British Foreign Office. The CMS also kept a file of a couple of his communications with them.
These documentary sources are from popular archives within and outside of Nigeria grouped according to their provenance: Church Missionary Society (CMS) which I consulted and copies of their missionaries’ files which were made for me at the Heslop Library of the University of Birmingham in the early 1990s before the materials were moved to their current location; NNAK (Nigerian National Archives Kaduna) and its colonial-era files, which are designated according to the administrative provinces they derived from, hence, Lokoprof, (i.e. provincial files from Lokoja Province); and Ilorprof (provincial files from Ilorin Province). The NNAK files that are designated SNP (Secretary to the Northern Provinces) cover all the colonial Northern Nigerian provinces; and the British FO (Foreign Office) and CO (Colonial Office) files, many of which are available by order from the PRO (the Public Record Office) and a few of which are now in the public realm online, are all sources that I have had to look at during the course of my research. Other primary source documents that fall outside of these sources, I have put together under the Miscellaneous heading.