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If Carthage must be destroyed

THE Gulf of Guinea bore the brunt of the trans-Atlantic commerce in human souls that went on for 300 years, from the 16th century to the 19th century. While the Arabs and Fulanis were raiding the North, the Europeans were wreaking havoc in the South. Glorious kingdoms were weakened, if not destroyed: Benin, Oyo, Kwararafa, Nok, Kanem-Borno and the Hausa City States. When slavery was no longer viable it was replaced with ‘legitimate commerce’. Lagos was annexed in August 1861 and before long the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria was established. In the North, the feudal Caliphate established by Sheikh Usman Ibn Fodiyo barely a century earlier, was brought down by a British expeditionary force in 1903.

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