“Our Anglo-Saxon Colleagues”: French Administration of Niger and the Constraining Embrace of British Northern Nigeria

  • Barbara M. Cooper
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


The Hausa-speaking region of West Africa, including French Niger (1900–1958) and British Northern Nigeria (1897–1953), allows an exploration of how French and British administrators perceived one another as they looked across the border and what they made of the differences they saw. Britain’s portion of Hausaland was home to the largest Islamic state in Africa—the Sokoto Caliphate—becoming in many ways a model for indirect rule. The French took territories hostile to Sokoto, including Maradi, Tsibiri, and Zinder, the colonial boundary reiterating precolonial divides. Drawing from French administrative reports, this chapter explores how French administrators’ readings of precolonial history affected their interpretation of the British, how local dynamics became projected onto the opposing colonial power, and how the differing strategies of the two powers (relative to ending the slave trade, managing the hajj, regulating Anglophone missionaries, and recruiting military labor) prompted rethinking, readjustment, and reassessment of French policy, particularly in the postwar era.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara M. Cooper
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA

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