European Penetration And Impact


During the 19th century, the European penetration and impact on the Nigeria area had a profound effect on the region. This period was marked by significant historical events that shaped the socio-economic and political landscape of the area.

One of the key objectives during this period was the exploration of the interior of Nigeria by European powers. The motive behind this exploration was multifaceted. European nations were driven by a quest for new trade routes, resources, and territories to expand their empires. The search for valuable commodities such as palm oil, ivory, and slaves fueled their interest in penetrating the Nigerian hinterlands.

As European powers delved deeper into the interior, they encountered the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which was a longstanding practice in the region. The brutal and inhumane nature of the slave trade, coupled with growing abolitionist movements in Europe, led to the suppression of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This suppression aimed to end the exploitation and trafficking of Africans for forced labor in the Americas.

Simultaneously, the development of commodity trade flourished in the Nigeria area. European traders sought to establish lucrative trading networks for products such as palm oil, rubber, and groundnuts. This trade not only bolstered the economies of European nations but also transformed the local economies of the region, leading to the rise of consular authority.

European activities in the Nigeria area were not limited to trade. Christian missionary activities played a significant role in the spread of Christianity and Western education. Missionaries often worked hand in hand with European colonial powers, influencing local cultures and societies.

Furthermore, European trading companies, such as the Royal Niger Company, played a pivotal role in shaping the economic landscape of the region. These companies wielded significant power and influence, often controlling trade routes and resources to maximize profits.

Overall, the European penetration and impact on the Nigeria area during the 19th century was a complex interplay of exploration, trade, missionary activities, and the establishment of colonial authority. This period not only altered the socio-cultural fabric of the region but also laid the groundwork for future colonial rule and modernization efforts.


  1. Examine Missionary And European Activities In The Area
  2. Examine The Motive For The Exploration Of The Interior
  3. Trace The Development Of Commodity Trade
  4. Account For The Rise Of Consular Authority
  5. Assess The Activities Of The European Trading Companies
  6. Give Reasons For The Suppression Of The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Lesson Note

The 19th and early 20th centuries were periods marked by significant interaction between Europe and Africa. During this time, European countries expanded their influence across the African continent through various means, fundamentally altering the political, economic, and social landscape of the affected areas. This period, known as European Penetration, had far-reaching impacts that we continue to study today.

Lesson Evaluation

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  1. What were the motives for European exploration of the interior in Nigeria during the 19th century? A. Spread Christianity and establish missionary stations B. Acquire new territories for settlement C. Control trade routes and resources D. All of the above Answer: D. All of the above
  2. Why did the European powers suppress the trans-Atlantic slave trade in Nigeria in the 19th century? A. Moral reasons and humanitarian concerns B. Economic interests in promoting legitimate trade C. Pressure from indigenous African leaders D. Political rivalry among European nations Answer: A. Moral reasons and humanitarian concerns
  3. Which of the following best describes the development of commodity trade in Nigeria during the 19th century? A. Shift from slave trade to palm oil, rubber, and other commodities B. Introduction of barter trade system C. Dependence on imported goods for local consumption D. Isolation from international trade routes Answer: A. Shift from slave trade to palm oil, rubber, and other commodities
  4. What were the main activities of European missionaries in Nigeria during the 19th century? A. Establishment of schools and hospitals B. Promotion of indigenous African religions C. Collaboration with slave traders D. Extraction of natural resources for European markets Answer: A. Establishment of schools and hospitals
  5. Which factor contributed to the rise of consular authority in Nigeria during the 19th century? A. Increased military presence of European powers B. Cooperation with African traditional rulers C. Decline of European economic interests in the region D. Absence of diplomatic conflicts between European nations Answer: A. Increased military presence of European powers

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Past Questions

Wondering what past questions for this topic looks like? Here are a number of questions about European Penetration And Impact from previous years

Question 1 Report

Highlight any five negative effects of the  trans-Atlantic slave trade on Nigeria.

Question 1 Report

The Richards Constitution of 1946 introduced a new political structure in Nigeria. What was a major criticism of this constitution by Nigerian nationalists?

Practice a number of European Penetration And Impact past questions