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West African Transformations

Comparative Impacts of French and British Colonialism

by A.I. Asiwaju

This study arises from the need for comparative historical perspectives on the different styles of French and British colonialism, and the localised impacts of the regimes in West Africa. The work is broadly divided as: an overview, including a summary of new trends in African historiography; an examination of colonial methods; a study of socio-economic impact and the impact on indigenous political institutions and culture. A considerable part of the study addresses the question: How did the colonial styles of governance determine the post-colonial states? The author identifies a major point of divergence to be French centralising and assimilationist tendencies in education and the economy, as opposed to a British laissez-faire approach. This explains, in part, the uniformity in currency, language and culture which makes francophone Africa a distinctive cultural zone. Common concerns - which stem from the pre-colonial era - were mainly trade and trans-border co-operation. Pursuance of common goals, the author stipulates, paved the way for institutions of economic integration - e.g. ECOWAS.

ISBN 9789780231460 | 300 pages | 216 x 140 mm | 2002 | Malthouse Press, Nigeria | Paperback




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