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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Treaties or scraps of paper? A second look at the legal character of the nineteenth century British/African colonial agreements
Author:Mugambwa, J.ISNI
Periodical:The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Great Britain
international agreements
Abstract:This paper analyses the agreements which the British made with African chiefs in the late 19th century and establishes the legal significance of these agreements in international law and in British municipal law. It examines various arguments mooted to prove why these agreements were not treaties. The issue which intrigues the author is that, if the European colonizing states did not recognize the sovereignty of the African rulers over their territory and their capacity to cede it, why were they so obsessed with treatymaking in their scramble for Africa? He argues that the legal character of these agreements has to be determined in accordance with the law as interpreted during the period when they were made. The evidence he presents indicates that at the time the agreements were made they were regarded as legal documents in international law as well as in British municipal law. Notes, ref.