Chapter

African and European Initiatives in the Transformation of Land Tenure in Colonial Lagos (West Africa), 1840–1920

Kristin Mann

in Native Claims

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794850
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919291 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794850.003.0010
African and European Initiatives in the Transformation of Land Tenure in Colonial Lagos (West Africa), 1840–1920

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This essay probes the messy and contested history of land tenure in the British colony of Lagos to show how it was shaped by the encounter between the colonized and colonizers. It demonstrates that major changes in land use and land rights were driven by the practices of Africans on the ground and later in the colonial courts, rather than by the policies of the British. The essay further shows that the major transformations in local land tenure during the colonial period were not linear, from inalienable, communally-owned family property to commercialized, private property, but involved a more complex interplay between the two ways of owning land. Finally, the essay investigates changes in Britain’s land policies in West Africa once her empire began to move inland from the coast after 1893.

Keywords: land tenure; land use; land policies; Lagos colony; West Africa; colonial courts; family property; private property

Chapter.  12093 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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