Henry Gallwey: Lessons From The Ancient Benin Kingdom

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Lessons from the Ancient Benin Kingdom In the example of the ancient Benin Kingdom, elements of both abolitionist and “trade interests” converged to explode a volatile situation that had been steadily nurtured by commercial ambitions and the abolitionist will of the colonialists and the sheer determination of the Benin rulers to uphold the status quo and protect their territory. As has already been mentioned above, the Ancient Benin Kingdom is on record to have covered almost the entire length and breadth of present-day Nigeria at its peak.(25) It had thrived on trade and military conquests to keep a vast region intact. When the British colonial forces in the region began to develop ideas, however, the empire could hardly be sustained. Trouble began towards the end of the 19th century when one Henry Gallwey allegedly signed a treaty with Oba Ovonramwen – one of the most dogged characters ever known to have ruled over the Benin Kingdom. The British Vice Consul Henry L. Gallwey of the Oil Rivers…show more content…
… "The King of Benin agrees and promises to refrain from entering into any correspondence, Agreement or Treaty with any foreign nation or power except with the knowledge of her Britannic Majesty's Government" (Article 2) … "It is agreed that full jurisdiction, civil and criminal over British subject's and their property in the territory of Benin is reserved to her Britannic Majesty, to be exercised by such consular or other officers as Her Majesty shall appoint for the purpose...The same jurisdiction is likewise reserved to her Majesty in the said territory of Benin over foreign subjects enjoying British protection, who shall be deemed to be involved in the expression "British subjects" throughout this Treaty" (Article 3)
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