Until the European partition of West Africa, the growth and ultimate failure of Euro-African trade had limited impact on West African economies, let alone West African social life. Even during the 20-year period of partition and conquest, the colonial powers were so preoccupied with their conquering stratagems-and with one another's territorial appetites-that even the maneuvers of European armies had little impact on the everyday routines of most West Africans. In most regions social and economic life remained virtually unchanged. Such stasis was short lived, however, for the sudden imposition of British and French colonial rule provoked widespread social and economic change in many regions of West Africa.