The Nigeria Nostalgia Project - Pre Nigeria Discussion




Yeah…that’s why I fear for the kids of nowadays…


@Darryice is that not our uncle having 3 on his chest in this pishure


Badagry people😁


Iffa hear


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Thanks alot @NaijaLander


Narrative of travels and discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824 by Denham, Dixon (1828)

From Murmur to Kano

Jan 29 -…The cavalry were armed with shields, swords, and spears, and otherwise more sumptuously accoutred.

The spear is about six feet long, the wooden shaft slender, and the point of iron.

The swords are broad, straight, and long, but require no particular description, as, by a vicissitude somewhat singular, they are in fact the very blades formerly wielded by the knights of Malta.

These swords are sent from Malta to Bengazee [Benghazi], in the state of Tripoli, where they are exchanged for bullocks.

They are afterwards carried across the desert to Bornou, thence to Haussa, and at last remounted at Kano, for the use of the inhabitants of almost all central Africa.

The shields, covered with the hides of tame or wild animals, are generally plain and round.

There is, however, a remarkable variety, not uncommon, of an oval shape, somewhat broader below than above, with an edging of blue cloth, forming six little lappets, one above, one below, and two on each side.

In the centre of the shield there is a stripe of scarlet cloth fastened by the same studs that clinch the iron handle, and around it is scored a perfect Maltese cross.

This kind of shield is borne by horsemen only ; but it is found of the same shape and figure, equally among Tibboos, Tuaricks, Felatahs, and Bornouese.

A cross of the same form, moulded in a sort of low relief, is not an unfrequent ornament on the clay plaster of their huts.

Crosses of other forms also are sometimes cut in the doors of their houses.

  • photo from People of All Nations (1920)


Narrative of travels and discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824 by Denham, Dixon (1828)

From Kano to Sackatoo

March 27.-Clear and warm. In the morning I was very ill with ague, and at eleven the Sultan sent for [the gadado Mohammed] El Wordee and me, with a request to bring my English saddle along with me.

We were conducted farther into the interior of his residence than I had ever been before : the Sultan was sitting reading in one corner of a square tower: on showing him my English saddle, he examined it very minutely, and said it was exactly like the ancient Arab saddle, described in one of his books.

It was a second-hand saddle which we bought at Malta, and having often also served myself and my servant for a pillow, I had it re-stuffed at Kano: on seeing the maker’s card, “Laurie, Oxford-street, London,” under the saddle lap, the Sultan, surmising perhaps that it was a charm, requested me to explain its meaning; upon which I told him, that in England a tradesman generally attached his name to the articles made by him, which, if of superior quality, brought him into notice.

He again renewed the subject of the establishment of an English consul and physician at Sackatoo, as well as of the likelihood of receiving guns and rockets from England, which he now recommended to be sent by the way of Tripoli and Bornou, under the escort of El Wordee.

To the latter part of this proposal I gave a direct negative: I assured him, that unless he undertook to convey them to Rakah at his own expense, they would not be sent at all, as the expense and delay by the other route were obstacles of too serious a nature to be repeated; besides, should the bashaw of Tripoli even allow the guns to pass, the Sheikh of Bornou, who was famed for prudence and foresight, would forfeit all claim to that character, if he did not seize them on reaching his territory.

“Oh no,” said the Sultan, “he will never do that ; he is my friend.” I again expatiated on the futility of this mistaken confidence, so opposite to sound policy.

At this discourse El Wordee seemed to be quite crest-fallen; and it plainly appeared that this was his own device, in order that he might be sent by the bashaw along with another English mission; and after fleecing them throughout the route, have another opportunity here of playing the same game over again.

All my former suspicions were now confirmed; and I attribute, in a great measure, to his machinations the necessity of abandoning my journey to Youri.


Carved Altar Tusk
Benin Kingdom, Nigeria, mid 18th century
Ivory, 238 cm
Ethnologisches Museum - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
(coll. Hale & Son) III C 7638

This aged carving is one of Benin’s earliest remaining altar tusks. It was carved by the Igbesanmwan between 1735 and 1750, to honour a former Oba of Benin. Mounted on a bronze pedestal head, the tusk was part of a group of matched elephant tusks installed in a shrine, around an altar of hardened clay.

Throughout the 18th century, elephant hunters used firearms to supply a strong market for ivory in Europe. In the past, a few tusks had enhanced Edo altars, whenever sumptuary laws permitted their use.

When Oba Ewuakpe received ivories as royal tribute in the 17th century, he enjoyed carved ivory furniture and displayed eighteen tusks within his palace shrines. The bottom edges of these tusks were carved with decorative borders.

A more lavish use of ivory was documented in 1787, when sixty large tusks were noted in a shrine maintained for Eresoyen, who had died about 1750. The sixty ivories that were seen in the Oba’s palace could have been in two adjacent shrines, rather than one. Eresoyen was a generous patron of the Igbesanmwan, and would certainly have placed carved tusks in his shrine for Oba Akenzua I, who died approximately 1735.

source: Benin Kings and Rituals Court Arts from Nigeria


The Kingdom of the Akus

But Lagos is only an isolated and important seaport town in the kingdom of the Akus.

From want of a more specific name and from the whole of the tribes being once subjected to the king of Yoruba, the Church Missionary Society has designated it the‘Yoruba Country,’ but as most of the tribes, such as the Egbas and Egbadoes, have objected to their being 'called Yorubas, and as there is no national name by which all the tribes speaking the same language but differently governed is known, I have employed the name which is given to the whole nation at Sierra Leone, and which is generally adopted in every part of the Coast—viz., the Akus.

The kingdom is bounded on the north by the right or Quora branch of the River Niger, on the south by the Atlantic, on the east by Benin, Kakanda, and part of Igara, and on the west by the kingdom of Dahomy.

West African countries and peoples, British and native
With the requirements necessary for establishing that self government recommended by the committee of the House of Commons, 1865;
and a vindication of the African race
by James Africanus B. Horton

Published 1868

– This book, first published in 1868, became the best-known work of medical officer and writer James Africanus Beale Horton (1835–1883), who was born in Sierra Leone to parents of Igbo descent.

He was chosen by the British to train as an army medical officer and attended King’s College, London, and Edinburgh University. He returned to West Africa and published his doctoral thesis, which was a medical topography of the region; subsequent works called for health reforms. West African Countries, however, went beyond medicine.

In it Horton refutes the derogatory racial theories about Africans rife in Victorian Britain and its empire, and he examines the possibility of self-government and how it might function in Sierra Leone and other territories in West Africa, foreshadowing the decolonisation that took place almost one hundred years later.

– cambridge(dot)org


Narrative of travels and discoveries in Northern and Central Africa, in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824 by Denham, Dixon (1828)

From Murmur to Kano

Jan 18 - I had an attack of ague, the disease that chiefly prevails in these parts, and was obliged to rest all day under the shade of a tree.

A pretty Felatah girl, going to market with milk and butter, neat and spruce in her attire as a Cheshire dairy-maid, here accosted me with infinite archness and grace.

She said I was of her own nation; and, after much amusing small talk, I pressed her, in jest, to accompany me on my journey, while she parried my solicitations with roguish glee, by referring me to her father and mother.

I don’t know how it happened, but her presence seemed to dispel the effects of the ague.


Feb. 5 and 6.-I had a conversation with Abdelgader, a relation of Sultan Bello, at the house of a Ghadamis merchant.

Abdelgader was particularly inquisitive about our religious observances, prayers, the worship of images, and the eating of pork.

I told him we were commanded by our religion to pray without ceasing; but as no people on earth does as it ought, we generally pray at stated times.

The worship of images, with which I was repeatedly charged, I indignantly abjured. Of course, I represented the eating of pork as a mere matter of policy.

My Mahomedan catechist next inquired, with some degree of ridicule, as to the doctrine of the Trinity; and turning to his countrymen who were present, without waiting for my reply, exclaimed, in allusion to the three persons of the Godhead :—“Father, Son, and Uncle.”

In this way Mahomedans are wont to turn to scorn the pure morals inculcated by Christianity, both in precept and in practice.

Abdelgader next expressed great curiosity to have my Jew servant, Jacob, sent for.

I declined; explaining to him that it was utterly inconsistent with the toleration to which I had ever been accustomed, to have any man interrogated by constraint respecting his religious opinions; but that, with his own consent, he might be asked any questions Abdelgader pleased.

I left the party soon after, and Jacob was prevailed upon to undergo a similar examination; but his holy zeal was quickly fired, for he soon returned home in a storm of passion.

To put a stop to such acrimonious and dangerous discussions, I afterwards hinted to the Ghadamis merchant, that a repetition of such conduct, in regard to my servants, would oblige me to complain to the Bashaw of Tripoli.

Feb. 7 –Rather sick to-day.


Calabash rattle 1851-1920

" This club-shaped rattle was used by a priest of Shango, the Yoruba god of thunder worshipped as a healing god. The priest would go into a trance-like state and, using the rattle to communicate with Shango, receive recipes for medical treatments.

Science Museum London


The romance of missions in Nigeria by Pinnock, Samuel George (1917)

The Bombardment of Oyo. — On the morning following the interview with the Magaji, a thick mist, such as is common in the harmattan season, hung over the town.

The field gun and Maxim had arrived from Ibadan and were placed in position under a large tree near the Isehin gate and trained upon the town.

No news had come from the palace. A deathlike stillness prevailed, and here and there little white stripes of cloth could be seen suspended from bamboo poles, indicating the desire of the populace for peace.

The distance in a straight line from the camp to the palace was approximately one mile, and as the quarrel was with the King, it was upon the area on which the palace stood that the field gun was trained.

At 7 o’clock the mist cleared and revealed the tall trees surrounding the palace.

The first shell went screaming right over the town into the open country beyond.

The second burst in the outer courts of the palace, and as we were informed afterwards, just as a deputation was preparing to comply with the Commissioner’s demands.

  • palace from Missions-Bilder (1870)

Cc @Aje


Contd from above

In less than half an hour people could be seen hurrying along every road leading to the farms, carrying what they could of their belongings and leading their sheep and goats.

At 8 o’clock the officers and native troops marched into the town.

No opposition was encountered until they came to the Crown Prince’s house, where from behind the high mud wall a stout resistance was offered.

The field gun with its seven-pound shells only scooped out handfuls of mud from the thick base of the wall.

The Maxim bullets only dislodged tiny bits of the tough clay, and the place had to be stormed.

A shell burst open the great door, and in a few minutes the native troops were driving out the defenders at the point of the bayonet.

From the Crown Prince’s house, they passed over to the palace, already vacated by the King and his wives and slaves.

They had fled to their farms.

The principal houses were looted and then set on fire, all returning to camp about noon.

Our feelings at this wholesale destruction were indescribable. It seemed as if the work of years had been flung into the fire.

One ray of light was permitted to penetrate the gloom.

The morning after the bombardment we were startled by an unusual noise, and on looking up we saw a troop of twenty-five shackled slaves hobbling along the path leading to the Mission House.

They sat down on the grass, exhausted by their long tramp from the King’s farm. I got permission from the Commissioner to set them free, and set to work on the heavy iron shackles with a hammer and cold chisel.

It was a long time before one pair was cut through, and as some of the slaves had two and three pairs of shackles I had to find a quicker method of liberation.

We called in all the native blacksmiths we could find, probably the very men who had forged and fastened these shackles on the feet of the poor wretches, and in a few hours all were set free.

As each one was liberated, he sang or danced, or prostrated to show his gratitude. One man went off as soon as his limbs were free, and returned in a short time carrying on his back a sick comrade.


Contd from above

[ leading up to the bombarment]

Diplomatic Clouds. — An ugly rumor was abroad to the effect that on an alleged crime of adultery with a wife of the Asehin (King of Isehin), a man had been horribly mutilated. [castrated]

It was further alleged that the punishment meted out to the accused was with the consent of the Alafin.

No doubt this was the cause of the unrest at the palace, for it transpired that six weeks before [Oba] Adeyemi dictated to me the letter to the Queen, the Commissioner had written to ask if the rumor was true, and demanding an explanation of the affair.

No reply to this inquiry was vouchsafed by the Alafin, which of course laid him open to the charge that it was true.

A second and more peremptory demand for an explanation of the affair reached the palace, and as I learned afterwards was the immediate cause of the letter being sent to the Governor.

The facts were not revealed to me by the Alafin, viz… that he was ignoring the right of the Commissioner to investigate the charges referred to, nor did he tell me that he had declined to acknowledge the communications which had been sent to him.

“Conscience makes cowards of us all,” and whatever advice had been given he would not have welcomed it.

The simple and straightforward way out of the difficulty would have been to acknowledge the act as the customary punishment for the crime, and then to have promised that if it was regarded as an offence against the humane instincts of the Commissioner and therefore contrary to one clause in the Treaty of 1893, it should forthwith be abolished.

Instead of that, the Mohammedans were called upon to exercise their powers with Allah to prevent the Commissioner from coming to Oyo to investigate the matter, and oxen were sacrificed at each gate of the town to achieve this end.

The Babalowas ([fetish] priests) were called upon to exercise their powers with the orisas (idols) to effect the same purpose, and if spells and charms were potent, the end would have been attained.

These sorcerers were encouraged in their efforts by a report which reached Oyo of an incident that happened to the Commissioner on his way from Ibadan to Isehin, and which was confirmed by him when we met each other.

He was in camp between the towns named, when a thunderstorm came on, during which the wind tore up by the roots a large tree under which his tent was pitched, and hurled it away from the tent so that no harm was done.

This rather perplexed the medicine men, but they consoled themselves with the thought that their charms were working, although in this instance they miscarried.

The End


Christian Herald and Signs of our Times, February 1888.

the Ake Orphanage

A Rescued Orphan is that of James Pearse, now the principal schoolmaster at Ake.

When sixteen days old his mother died, and the child would have been buried with her, but a kind Christian woman, [who had been once a heathen priestess,] took charge of him, and thus rescued him from a premature death.

In due time he was baptized, educated, and trained under Mr. and Mrs. Townsend’s supervision, and eventually passed through the Training Institution at Lagos.

He is about thirty-one years old, and hopes soon to be able to pass on to the College at Fourah Bay, Sierra Leone, for advanced education.

Pearse was named after Mr. Townsend’s late father and brother, who often evinced an interest in him, by sending him suitable presents.

see also


The Negroland of the Arabs examined and explained; or, An inquiry into the early history and geography of Central Africa by Cooley, William Desborough (1841)


Though the people of Ghánah always kept in view the original application of the name Tekrúr, even after the territory where it grew into importance became part of the empire of Málí, yet beyond the circle of exact local knowledge, such propriety of language was never thought of, and at a distance the name Tekrúr was employed in a very comprehensive and indefinite manner.

Makrízí, in describing the pilgrimage of Mansá Músa, King of Málí, in A.D. 1324, styles him King of Tekrúr; but again, in the annals of A.D. 1351, he mentions another King of Tekrúr, who likewise passed through Egypt, and who certainly was not Mansá Suleimán, at that time King of Málí.

It is manifest therefore that Makrízí used the name Tekrúr in no properly restricted and perhaps in no fixed acceptation.

The Western Fellatah apply the epithet Tekrúrí to the religious classes of their own nation. In Egypt it is given generally to Mohammedan devotees, natives of Negroland; and when Sultan Bello makes Tekrúr comprise all Negroland from Dárfúr inclusively westward, he offers an example not of the correct use of that name, but of its widest abuse.

  • The Catalan Atlas 1375 showing “Musse Melly” (Mansa Musa), Lord of the Negroes of Guinea holding a sceptre ornamented with a fleur-de-lys and a golden disc


bread seller - 1961

location in Nigeria not stated

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