chapter  Chapter III
36 Pages

The Royal Niger Company

WithArthur Norton Cook

The great rivers of Africa, despite their limitations, have always been the most convenient highways of imperialism, since they provided the easiest approach to the rich hinterland. The Niger, with the possible exception of the more famous Congo, was therefore the most dazzling prize in West Africa. The limits of the Lokoja Consulate were not well defined and, with the exception of the Nun mouth of the Niger, the delta was not within its jurisdiction. Sir George Goldie visited the Niger in the late seventies and was quick to realize that amalgamation of the rival interests was necessary if a legitimate and profitable trade was to be built up. The kings, chiefs, and peoples of the Niger basin after several years’ experience had come to recognize the benefits of intercourse with the Company and had therefore ceded to the Company their respective territories.