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Title: An economic history of Lagos, 1880-1914
Author: Hopkins, Anthony Gerald
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1964
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No one would dispute the generalisation that a number of fundamental economic changes took place in West Africa during the period from 1880 to 1914. At the same time, there is also widespread agreement that detailed knowledge of the origin, the course, and the effect of these changes is still lacking. This thesis attempts to contribute towards an understanding of some of these problems as they appeared in the context of the economic history of Lagos, the capital and principal port of Nigeria. The main emphasis naturally falls on the theme of trade. The commerce of Lagos was geared to an export economy which depended almost entirely on palm produce. The import trade showed more variety, but was also concentrated on two products, namely cotton goods and spirits. Germany attracted the largest share of the export trade by her virtual monopoly of palm kernels, while England dominated the import trade through her supplies of cotton goods. The fortunes of trade as a whole were determined mainly by market trends in Europe; changes in demand altered the price of produce and affected purchasing power in west Africa, thus establishing a cyclical pattern of booms and slumps. On the basis of this outline of the economy, it is possible to distinguish three main periods between 1880 and 19140 In the 1880's falling produce prices and reduced profit margins signalled the advent of a severe depression. From the 1890's until after the turn of the century, there was a period of fluctuating trade, during which time prices failed to make any significant recovery, and prosperity depended on short-term booms based on the exploitation of newly discovered rubber and timber resources. From 1906 to 1914 there was a period of prosperity marked by the revival of produce prices and by a large increase in the volume of trade. Within this framework there is room for detailed treatment of four important topics. In the first place, there is a re-assessment of the causes of imperialism in West Africa, and an examination of government economic policy during Joseph Chamberlain's tenure of the Colonial Office. Secondly, an attempt is made to analyse the far reaching changes which occurred in currency and banking. Thirdly, there is a survey of the developments which took place in transport. Finally, throughout this thesis great emphasis is placed on the study of the merchant group, and particularly on the fortunes of the African merchants.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available