European Trading Companies and Economic Development in the Cross River Basin of Eastern Nigeria, 1888 – 1960
AbstractEuropean trading companies and economic development in the Cross River Basin 1888 to 1960 is a historical topic that should attract the attention of current economic historians. The paper focuses on the gradual planting of European colonial presence in the interior of the Basin through the agency of their trading companies and the activities of the African middlemen. With time, the result was the establishment of pioneer oil mills and a gradual but peaceful interaction with the rural dwellers of the Basin. The interaction with the rural people resulted into the flow of trade into the
interior, a boost in the trading activities between the companies and the Africans, and consequently to the opening up of the interior markets, and a gradual economic development of the Cross River Basin and the entrenchment of colonial rule in the area. This paper also views trade as a factor in colonizing the peoples of Africa. In the case of the Cross River Basin, the planting of commercial companies from Calabar on the coast to the interior following the Cross River simply showed the subtle manner in which Europeans acquired lands and territories in the African continent, and how after the pacification, other agencies of colonialism such as the
planting of Christian missions, churches, schools, hospitals, courts of equity and transportation aided colonial rule and the entrenchment of western civilization in the region. The sources and methodology adopted for this paper are based on archival, secondary, and oral sources.