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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Empire builders and mushroom gentlemen: the meaning of money in colonial Nigeria
Author:Hermann, Robin
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:monetary policy
trading companies
economic history
colonial period
Abstract:This paper examines how the interests of the British colonial government in Nigeria and Lagosian merchants dovetailed because of money matters. The alleged moral and financial chaos created by the Royal Niger Company's barter trade clashed with the British government's imperial goals for the territory. Both thought the Company's reliance on barter rather than cash as a medium of exchange had dire consequences, and that the only solution was the creation of a government that could impose the pound. Tracing the roles of money through the various stages of the colonial enterprise in Nigeria demonstrates how the cowrie and the manilla were replaced by the pound and what this change meant for both the British and the Africans. The meanings of money in Nigeria were constantly in flux, and it was the inability of the colonial government to cope with these variable meanings that drove them in part to expand their rule throughout the Delta. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]