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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Germans in Mahinland (Nigeria) 1884-85: Threat to British Trade on the Niger?
Author:Olorunfemi, Akinsola
Periodical:Africana Marburgensia
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Great Britain
Subjects:colonial conquest
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Abstract:Mahinland (Nigeria), with a marshy coastline of c. 45 miles, lies between the mouth of the Benin River and the former British colony of Lagos. By 1884 this relatively unprofitable beach had assumed a disproportionate importance as a pawn in the Anglo-German chess game. European occupation of Mahin was instigated by the Hamburg firm of G.L. Gaiser in 1884, and in 1885 the Germans attempted to establish a German protectorate on Mahin Beach, despite its questionable value. In February 1885, G.L. Gaiser formally informed the British Governor that the whole 'Kingdom of Mahin' had been put under German protection. While this position was recognized by the British authorities in Lagos, the prospect of the extension of German commercial influence up the Niger was a menace for all the British merchants interested in the Niger trade. The British Foreign Office was persuaded to demand that the German government should acknowledge Britain's rights to the area between the Rio del Rey and Lagos. Bismarck seized the opportunity to exploit the situation in order to consolidate German hold on the Cameroons by asking for territorial concessions aimed at extending the frontiers of this protectorate westwards, in return for the withdrawal of German presence from Mahin Beach. These proposals presented great difficulties to the British Foreign Office. However, when the Germans feared that France was willing to take advantage of the prevailing Anglo-German colonial misunderstanding to move closer to London, Mahinland was transferred to the British colony of Lagos, in October 1885. Notes, ref.