In 1862, shortly after the abolition of slave trade off the Atlantic coast of Lagos and after gaining full dominance, in the order that they wade off potential hijackers (French and Portuguese Government), the British administration employed the use of force and guns on the Lagoon. This move eventually compelled the then King of Lagos: Oba Dosunmu to ceding his kingdom to the British.
THE YORUBA EXPEDITION: How the Yoruba region was captured.
By the treaty (of ceding) signed by the King, it meant that the Queen (from London) shall then control and administer the Port and Island of Lagos with all rights, profits and territories so as to assist, defend and protect the people of Lagos. This was the beginning of official colonialisation in the coast.
Although, the King (Oba Dosunmu) alongside his dynastic rival, Kosoko was rewarded with a pension scheme of £1030/year, he
no longer had control over his hard earned dominion. Recall that Dosunmu went through a long dynastic rivalry with Kosoko for the legitimacy and sovereignty of the throne. Well, Dosumu had the British consul to thank for a timely intervention then.
As time went on, the territory expanded to include Badagry on the West and Lekki on the East. It was later amalgamated with the Gold Coast Colony in 1874 and subsequently became a distinct Colony of its own (Lagos Colony) on the 13th January, 1886.
Having established a colony in Lagos, it was then easy for the British to expand the control of the territories to cover the test of the Yoruba land in the now Western part of Nigeria. However, the expansion was initially on a financial motive and not of total dominance.
It happened that the British, realised that the running of the new Colony (Lagos) will cost more than they could bargained/budget for. And thus decided to begin imposition of custom and tax duties which later required a commercial relation with the people on the hinterland. Thus, a channel was created to road-network the Colony to the interior arrears for better relations. This step initiated the major contact with the people and their administrations.
Moreover, the real push started in 1891 under Carter Bridge when the Egba/ Ijebu alliance was forced to not only apologies for blocking one of the major roads that connected Ibadan with Lagos but was also made to sign the treaty to ensure the undisturbed access of people, goods and services on the roads.
The blockage of the roads had cost the Colony so lot of money as it disturbs the free flow of trades and relation causing a drop in the import and tax duties. Because, they were closer to the coast than any other yoruba kingdom, the Egba-Ijebu alliance had blocked the road since the 1864 Ijaye war to stop their opponents (Ibadan) from acquiring firearms through the coast.
With the treaty broken later in the reign, the Colony was forced to respond with military expedition on the road to stop further blockage. This met resistance from the Egba-Ijebu alliance. But the British army was too strong for the local force to handle. It took only 3 days to break through. This easy victory finally made it possible for the British to begin the dominance of the Yorubaland with confidence.
The defeat exposed the weak military strength of not only the Egba-Ijebu army but also speaks of the military strength of the Yoruba army in entirety. If it took only 3 days to conquer an army that had held the whole land to ransom for decades, it would obviously be easy to stroll in.
It was in 1893 that Carter began a ‘trek’ that captured the whole Yorubaland from Abeokuta (Egba) to Oyo and then to Ilorin and Ibadan. He only encountered minor resistance in Oyo in 1895.
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Edited and Published on Muzzammilwrites