What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule

What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule


What Britain Did to Nigeria is a definitive, head-on confrontation with Nigeria’s experience under British rule, showing how it forever changed the country—perhaps cataclysmically.

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Most accounts of Nigeria’s colonization were written by British officials, presenting it as a noble civilizing mission to rid Africans of barbaric superstition and corrupt tribal leadership. Thanks to this skewed writing of history, many Nigerians today still have Empire nostalgia and view the colonial period through rose-tinted glasses.

Max Siollun offers a bold rethink: an unromanticized history, arguing compellingly that colonialism had few benevolent intentions, but many unjust outcomes. It may have ended slavery and human sacrifice, but it was accompanied by extreme violence; ethnic and religious identity was cynically exploited to maintain control, while the forceful remolding of longstanding legal and social practices permanently altered the culture and internal politics of indigenous communities. The aftershocks of this colonial meddling are still being felt decades after independence. Popular narratives often suggest that the economic and political turmoil are homegrown, but the reality is that Britain created many of Nigeria’s crises, and has left them behind for Nigerians to resolve.

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Max Siollun

11 reviews for What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule

  1. 4 out of 5

    Segun Abodunrin

    I don’t expect anything less than factual and interesting account in this book. Max Siollun is gradually becoming an authority and reference when it come s to Nigeria history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Olatunde Makanjuola

    Gripping, comprehensive,educative, eye opening will be a few of the adjectives to describe What 🇬🇧 Did to 🇳🇬, Max really went to town and has produced a must read for any student or lover of Nigeria/ Nigerian history.
    Imagine this as a syllabus for understand what’s going on in 2021 seen in the years before 1900,1904,1914,1960.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Osamudiamen Imasuen (verified owner)

    Max writes in a way that is clear. I think that’s what I value most about this book, the clarity and honesty. What is written in this book is unbiased and I believe this book should go past being a personal item to become part of the curriculum in secondary schools.

    Let the kids learn about history that is unbiased and interesting.

    100/10 would recommend any day any time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Damilola Ogunsipe

    The book does a good job in depicting the socio-economic complexities at play in the formation of the country; Nigeria.

    However, the title of the book is a disservice to the rich content of the book. The book rightly demonstrate that at least 3 distinct groups played a key role in affecting the destiny of Nigeria, that is the missionaries, the industrialists (RNC) and the colonial govt (Britain), although I’ll had a 4th – the explorers (the window of colonialism).

    The distinction among these groups has huge political significance which cannot be glossed over by simply categorising them in all the same basket as what Britain did to Nigeria. Only one group represents Britain and that’s the Colonial Govt (to a limited extent the RNC).

    While I find the title to be a bit reductionist, as it downplays the tension among these groups in the course of furthering their aims (sometimes contradictory and at odds) even though it inadvertently defined Nigeria today, the book is super rich and there are fewer books out there that lays the ground work/pretext of the military coups of 1966 and the Civil War.

    Importantly, majority of the events shaping Nigeria today, predates colonialism and this book brilliantly highlights it.

  5. 5 out of 5


    A concise narrations of what transpired pre-colonisation in Nigeria and the cruelty of British imperialism on the local population pre-independence.

    Max needs to write another book detailing the roles played by our ‘founding fathers’ leading to Nigerian’s independence from Britain. The Struggle for Nigeria’s Independence maybe?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rabiu Abdullahi

    Finally something we can trust and quote from someone that we trust. Most of Nigeria’s colonial past is written by expatriates. Amazing book. Well chronicled.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Nasir

    It is educative, enlightening and marveling to know that most of our colonial heros and heroines we celebrate and immortalize are cruel and wicked individuals.
    This book should awake a national consciousness, to rewrite our history as a nation and people. In appreciating our own Natives effort towards our national development. NO BODY IS A SAINT.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Abubakar Abdullahi

    What Britain Did To Nigeria is a well-documented history of Britain’s colonial journey in Nigeria — the use of brute force, forced labor, sex escapades, and the formation of Nigeria in itself — from its army to the amalgamation and the mistakes in the 1914 amalgamation.

    It’s a masterpiece from Max, a source to trust. Since history is no longer being taught in Nigeria’s schools, this is a great piece to pass to future generations of Nigerians.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Salim Gidado

    Another blockbuster book from the master historian of Nigerian history. It’s a fully gripping narration of our history that unearths many missing links and helps one understand the faulty foundation upon which Nigeria was formed.
    Max has taken up the objective style of writing a notch here – a rarity for Nigerian authors.
    A must read for everyone!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarafadeen Babatunde Olawale

    It is a good book from a good writer. Every Nigerian deserve to go through it to see where we are coming from.

    I recommend it for all.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter Aisagbonhi

    11/10 book. It provides the much needed perspective on the effects of colonialism whilst painting the true picture of events of the past. Much needed read for any student of history

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