Document Type




Format of Original

24 p.

Publication Date



Cambridge University Press

Source Publication

History in Africa

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1353/hia.2010.0034


This paper presents some preliminary conclusions drawn from an ongoing project which aims to collect and collate letters of petitions in colonial Nigeria as primary source for historians and other scholars. The goal is to show the potential use of petitions as a foundation for gauging African reactions and responses to colonialism focusing on the petitions that emerged during the Second World War in colonial Eastern Nigeria. The paper is based on the collection of petitions located at the National Archives of Nigeria at Enugu written by people living in the rural and urban areas in colonial Eastern Nigeria during the Second World War. Mainly addressed to District Officers in Colonial Eastern Nigeria from within the region, they reflect the concerns of individuals and groups as they relate to the crisis engendered by the Second World War and the policies and controls imposed by officials to bolster the British war effort.


Published version. History in Africa, Vol. 37 (2010): 83-106. DOI. © 2010 African Studies Association. Used with permission.

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