The Anglo-African came after Iwe Irohin as the second of the twelve main newspapers in Nigeria. Anglo-African was founded on the 6th of June, 1863 by Robert Campbell, a printer and businessman. The newspaper appeared in English Language and was the first of its kind in Lagos.
Robert Campbell was a Jamaican businessman who had settled in Lagos with his family. One of the grandchildren of Campbell attested to his grandfather’s origin when he said, “Robert Campbell was one of the sixteen foreign traders residing in Lagos at that time”.
The period of arrival of the newspaper coincided with when Lagos was ceded to the British in 1861. It was also a period crowded with stories of inter-tribal wars and punitive expeditions by which the British suppressed the slave trade and established public law and order.
Records have it that Governor Freeman was furious when he heard that Anglo-African was to be launched, he took steps to frustrate the effort by writing the Colonial Office in London to approve a tax to be imposed on any new newspaper coming up in the colony. The Secretary of State did not however approve Freeman’s request.
Eventually, the paper did not oppose the colonial administration in Lagos when it started publishing. It was published fortnightly from Campbell’s Printing press in front of the present Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos and it carried news of local and overseas interest and had its editorial columns devoted to a critical appraisal of the problems of the times. It ranged between four to eight (4-8) pages and sold for three pence per copy.
The coverage was certainly more than that of the Iwe Irohin of Henry Townsend. It culled advertisements and published stories from a variety of sources such as magazines, books, overseas newspapers and novels. The primary aim of the proprietor as documented was to exploit the growing interest in western education and enlightenment in Lagos then by providing cheap and accessible materials which would help in educating, informing and entertaining its readers.
Campbell’s type of journalism can best be described as literary journalism. It was meant to exploit the growing interest in education, which started in 1859 with the establishment of the C.M.S Grammar School by the C.M.S. mission.
Anglo-African newspaper was used to promote the interest and welfare of Lagos and its people. The newspaper weekly circulation was between 30 and 50 copies. Campbell was noted to have assisted Townsend’s Iwe Irohin during his many visits to Abeokuta.
Though Anglo-African held sway at the time (early 1860s), the proprietor lacked enough resources to effectively run the paper and for this reason, it went into doldrums on the 30th of December, 1865, having existed for two years and six months.
After the death of the paper, the proprietor, Professor Robert Campbell as he was nicknamed, devoted his time to the political emancipation of Lagos. When Lagos was merged with the Gold Coast for administration, Campbell led several protest marches against the decision.
Robert Campbell was active in Lagos politics and became popular as a Lagosian. Robert Campbell died in 1884, a day after he protested the administration of Lagos and Gold Coast by one colonial governor.
Thanks for reading, OldNaija
- Daramola, I. (2006). History and Development of Mass Media in Nigeria. Amsterdam University Press.
- Omipidan, T. (n.d.). First Twelve Newspapers In Nigeria. Teslim Omipidan. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://oldnaija.com/tag/first-twelve-newspapers-in-nigeria/
- Anglo African (1863–1865). (n.d.). Internet Archive. Retrieved September 12, 2021