Lugard, Frederick John Dealtry
British colonial administrator
Frederick John Dealtry Lugard played an important role in British colonial Africa. Lugard worked to end African slavery and slave trading. He also created the system of “indirect rule,” which gave traditional African authorities considerable control over their local affairs. Born in India of missionary parents, Lugard attended school in England and began a career in the military. In the 1890s he led several expeditions in Africa and helped bring the territory of Buganda under British rule. From 1900 to 1906, Lugard served as high commissioner of the protectorate of Northern Nigeria, where he introduced the system of indirect rule. As governor-general of Northern and Southern Nigeria from 1912 to 1919, he sought to unify these two colonies. Only partially successful, he failed to create an efficient central administration on which to build a united NIGERIA.
After retiring in 1919, Lugard continued working on matters related to Africa. As British representative to a commission on colonial affairs with the League of Nations, he dealt with issues related to slavery and African labor. An opponent of the transfer of power to European settlers in KENYA, he also opposed the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Throughout his career Lugard worked on behalf of Africans. He believed that the ultimate aim of colonial rule was to grant independence to African peoples. However, he considered his task to be protecting Africans from exploitation rather than preparing them for independence. (See also Colonialism in Africa, Government and Political Systems, Slave Trade.)