German Colonialism and the Cameroonian Chieftaincy Institution, 1884-1916: The Politics of Convenience, Tyranny and Hegemony

  • N Mbapndah
  • W Samah


Studies on the status of African traditional rulers during colonial rule have repeatedly emphasized the denigration of the position, power and influence of traditional chiefs during the colonial period. But for a more balanced appraisal of the impact of colonialism, African traditional rulers needed not only to be presented as losers. This paper focuses on the role played by traditional rulers in Cameroon during the period of German colonial rule. It demonstrates that notwithstanding the treatment meted out to chiefs by the German colonialists, African traditional rulers exploited their positions within the colonial dispensation to protect and advance their interests. One major outcome was that there were noticeable transformations and shifts in local and regional power relations amongst traditional chiefs. Some local chiefs gained greater recognition with indisputable accompanying influence and some of such gains have survived to the post-colonial period.

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eISSN: 1596-5031