Colonial Treaties in Africa: British Protection Treaty with the Itsekiri of Nigeria 1884

Le partage de l'Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884
Le partage de l’Afrique a la Conference de Berlin de 1884

First of all, I would like to raise my hat to Peter Ekeh, the editor of the website who has done an amazing job archiving and analyzing some of the treacherous treaties signed between the British and the local populations of Southern Nigeria. I am publishing here a protection treaty signed on 16 July 1884; this was the first treaty signed by the British in that area. Here is what Ekeh says, “Although the first clause, Article I,  of these pro forma  Protection Treaties claimed that the British were engaging in their agreements in “compliance with the request of the Chiefs and People” of the political communities concerned, it was clear that the Foreign Office from London and its assigned imperial agents, in the Niger Delta and beyond, were driving the terms and purpose of the treaties.

Nigeria delta map

Indeed, it is doubtful that the Chiefs of any Nigerian communities understood the letter, let alone the spirit, of these Treaties of Protection whose pro forma texts were printed in England, written in English, and “interpreted” by British imperial agents to the signatory chiefs. However, the consequence of their signing the Treaties  was that these Chiefs and their people lost their sovereignty.” Below is one of them. Check out to read an in-depth analysis of the 16 July 1884 British colonial treaty with the Itsekiri people, as well as to see the appendix to the 1884 Treaty between the British and the Itsekiri.