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Colonial Rule in Nigeria and Nigeria’s Struggle for Independence

Colonial Rule in Nigeria

During the reign of the Songhai empire in the 16th century, Islamic art and culture were widely spread throughout the whole land. But their fall in 1591 created political instability, making many states fall apart and causing the rise of war and conflicts between other empires and kingdoms.

After the Napoleon war, the British tried to expand their colonial rule in Africa and began to establish trade tides with Nigeria in 1898. Before 1898, the scramble for Africa by European countries led to the partition of Africa after the Berlin conference of 1884-85.

In the year 1901, Nigeria officially became a part of the huge British Empire. In May 1906, Lagos colony and the southern protectorate were joined together and had a different name, the colony and protectorate of Southern Nigeria.

Lord Frederick Lugard -Indirect rule in Nigeria
Lord Frederick Lugard

In the same atmosphere, Lord Fredrick Lugard in 1914 amalgamated the Lagos colony and Southern Nigeria with Northern protectorate to form a single colony called protectorate of Nigeria. It was said that the wife of lord Lugard formed the name Nigeria from the river Niger that flowed through the country.

Britain therefore governed Nigeria by the means of a system popularly known as ‘Indirect rule‘. Britain claimed that the system involved not governing the people directly, but through their traditional rulers and chiefs. And this was one of the factors that fuelled nationalism among the Nigerians.

Nigeria Independence Constitution of 1960

Years later, the whole of Nigeria later join hands together to fight for the independence of the country. Each region was granted self-governance; Northern region in 1959, Western region in 1956 and Mid Western region in 1963 (post-independence) and then, all together gained independence on the 1st of October, 1960 when the Nigerian flag which was designed by Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1960 replaced the British flag and was raised.

Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (November 5, 2014). Colonial Rule in Nigeria and Nigeria’s Struggle for Independence. OldNaija. Retrieved from https://oldnaija.com/2014/11/05/colonial-rule-in-nigeria-and-nigerias-struggle-for-independence/


  1. I thank you so much for your efforts here. But I wish to inform you that in mentioning regions in Nigeria and their years of independence you omitted Eastern Nigeria. Again mid-western region of Nigeria was created in 1963 and not otherwise. Thanks.

  2. Nigeria is a belove Country throughout the World, not what other country have that make them expand, no, but how they fear God will determine because we allow God in Nigeria and we Fear Him, thats why God totally love us in Nigeria. I Proud of my Country. N I G E R I A

  3. i am not proud of nigeria because all our leaders are corrupt, and there is no democracy in nigeria.

  4. i appreciate our current president “Buhari” because, he is trying to restructured our country

  5. Thanks it really helped with the info I was looking for, but does it mean that the mid Western region gained self governance after independence?

    1. Yes. It was after independence that the midwestern region became autonomous. But it should be noted that it was in the same 1963 that Nigeria became a republic thereby became fully independent of foreign intervention in her affairs.

      Thanks for the visit, Agatha.

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