In order to understand and evaluate the effects that colonialism has had and, arguably, is having on Nigeria and Jamaica, it is necessary to first understand and become familiar with the history of these countries and how it was before there was a european presence in these countries.Initial ColonisationNigeriaPrior to 1901 Nigeria as a whole was not officially governed by western powers however, to say that there was not a European presence and influence would be incorrect as British companies were operating in Nigeria, especially the Niger Delta, before multiple protectorates were established and the British had already established The Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1884 in the Niger Delta.
The protectorate was later enlarged in 1893 and the name was changed to the Niger Coast Protectorate. The amount of Nigeria possessed by the British grew again when the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was established and formed from territory which was administered by the Royal Niger Company.The Berlin Conference (15 November 1884 – 26 February 1885) largely influenced the British decision to declare a Protectorate over the Niger Delta because it was ruled that, unless power over an area was officially declared, no claim was held over it which would have allowed other countries to profit from the resources possessed by Nigeria. JamaicaKnown as the ‘Redware People’, the first recognised inhabitants of Jamaica likely went to the island from the east in around 600 CE.
A very small amount is known about these people outside of the red pottery that was left behind by them. After the Redware People, Jamaica was inhabited by the Taino people who spoke Arawak and also made up the majority of the population of Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Cuba and Hispaniola.The economy of the Taino community was heavily reliant on fishing and agriculture, specifically maize and cassava.This economy was able to support over 60,000 people who lived in various villages led by Caciques.Christopher Columbus reached the Island in 1494 and between 1503 and 1504, he was shipwrecked on the island for a year.
Columbus named the island ‘Santiago’, but the natives continued to call it ‘Xaymaca’. The family of Columbus was granted Jamaica by the Spanish Crown however, it was mainly used as a ‘supply base for food and animal hides’ as gold had not been found which caused a decrease in the islands perceived value.The town of Seville la Nueva (New Seville) was founded on the north coast of the island in 1509 by Juan de Esquivel and was the first permanent European settlement on the Island. The capital was moved from Seville la Nueva to Villa de la Vega (the name was later changed to Santiago de la Vega), which is now called Spanish Town.Many of the Taino people became enslaved by the Spanish and were forced to work in plantations and gold mines on neighbouring islands. The majority of the Taino people died from being overworked and from contracting diseases brought to the island by the Europeans. The Spanish also brought the first African slaves to the island to work.
Many of the Taino had died by the early 17th century and very few remained on the island, around this time the population of the island was about 3000. This included a small number of African slaves however, this population would increase dramatically.Financial FactorsNigeriaThe large opportunity for wealth drew the British into Nigeria where they profited off of a variety of goods in different areas across the country. While ground nuts were the main cash crop across Nigeria, some areas specialised in a certain crops. For example, cocoa was the main crop produced in South-Western Nigeria whereas the Palm Oil business was extremely successful in the Niger Delta. Despite the fact that Nigerians ‘successfully campaigned to keep white farmers’ from taking over the agriculture industry by preventing them from settling, they were unable to stop The Royal Niger Company (1886-1900) from continuing to keep African traders out of the Palm Oil industry by force.
The Royal Niger Company was not the only organisation to use Nigerian produce and labour for their own financial gain. The British Colonial Government built a railway from ‘Lagos to Ibadan and Kano in modern-day Nigeria helped cocoa to prosper in the territories of Yoruba.’JamaicaThe Royal African Company The Royal African Company was formed in 1672 with a monopoly of the British slave trade, and from that time Jamaica became one of the world’s busiest slave markets, with a thriving smuggling trade to Spanish America. African slaves soon outnumbered Europeans 5 to 1. Jamaica also became one of Britain’s most valuable colonies in terms of agricultural production, with dozens of processing centres for sugar, indigo, and cacao (the source of cocoa beans), although a plant disease destroyed much of the cacao crop in 1670–71.
People and CultureJamaica’s cultural development has been deeply influenced by British traditions and a search for root in folk forms. The latter are based chiefly on the colorful, rhythmic intensity of the island’s African heritage. Cultural milieu Jamaican culture is a product of the interaction between Europe and Africa. Terms such as “Afro-centered” and “Euro-centered,” however, are often used to denote the perceived duality in Jamaican cultural traditions and values. European influences persist in public institutions, medicine, Christian worship, and the arts. However, African continuities are present in religious life, Jamaican Creole language, cuisine, proverbs, drumming, the rhythms of Jamaican music and dance, traditional medicine (linked to herbal and spiritual healing), and tales of Anansi, the spider-trickster.