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Patrons, Clients, and EmpireChieftaincy and Over-rule in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific$
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Colin Newbury

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257812

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199257812.001.0001

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Western Africa

Western Africa

(p.101) 7 Western Africa
Patrons, Clients, and Empire


Oxford University Press

In Western Africa, practices of clientage were applied to incorporate merchants for as long as they accepted the terms of trade and residence. The establishment of imperial enclaves modified this dependency. Governors and consuls worked for a wider sphere of influence through African allies, treaty states, and stipending chiefs. Reversal of status from the 1870s followed from greater reliance on treaty jurisdiction and use of force against the Asante, some Yoruba states and the Hausa–Fulani emirates. But officials had to come to terms with the chiefdoms and hierarchies they found to meet the obligations of protectorate administration. Chiefs were utilized for judicial and financial purposes as official clients. In each of the colonial states the pattern of over-rule was conditioned by local political structures. Administrative histories provide contrasting examples of the decline of chieftaincy or its empowerment, in the face of elite competition in local government and in state politics during decolonization.

Keywords:   clientage, reversal of status, Asante, Yoruba states, Hausa–Fulani emirates, elite competition, decolonization

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