Revolutionary Mahdism and resistance to early colonial rule in Northern Nigeria and Niger

Hogendorn, J. S.
Lovejoy, Paul E.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
In early 1906 the French, Germans and British faced a series of challenges to their continued subjugation of the Sokoto Caliphate. An uprising which began in December 1905 in French Niger in the region of Dallol Mawri and Dallol Bosso, 160 km south of Niamey and 250 km west of Sokoto, spread north up the Niger River valley past Niamey through Zaberma and east across the boundary with British Northern Nigeria to the vicinity of Sokoto itself. Several British and French officials were killed. Another rising erupted in German Adamawa, far to the east, and the call for revolt was heard in Bauchi, Gombe, Kontagora and other parts of recently-conquered British territory. As these events demonstrated, resistance to colonial rule did not respect the new boundaries which European imperial decisions had imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. In the west - around Sokoto and in the Niger valley - resistance against the French and British was reasonably, well coordinated, considering the difficulty of communication. The eastern uprising against the Germans does not appear to have been connected with the western movement and indeed had different roots than its western counterpart. Nonetheless, the risings of 1906 were all Mahdist, advocated the expulsion of the Europeans, and called for the overthrow of those Caliphate officials who did not join the Mahdist cause. The British, French and Germans were successful in crushing these revolts, but the dangers presented by a coordinated revolt were real enough. (2) Not until these revolts were crushed can it be claimed that colonial rule had been firmly established.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented May, 1979