Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/554

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210 THE BRITISH EMPIRK : — NIGER TERRITORIES

the Niger, to Barrawa on Lake Chad, ' drawn in such a manner as to comprise in the sphere of the Niger Company all that fairly belongs to the Kingdom of Sokoto, thei line to be determined by Commissioners to be appointed.' In accordance with the Anglo-German agreements of July and August, 1886, and November 15, 1893, the limit between the British and German spheres of influence is a line drawn from the point on the Cross River, " about 9° 8' of longitude east of Greenwich, marked ' Rapids ' on the English admiralty chart," to a point on the river Benue three miles below the centre of the main mouth of the river Faro — or about 30 miles east of Yola — and thence to a point on the southern shore of Lake Chad, " situated 35 minutes east of the meridan of the centre of the town of Kuka," the capital of Bornu. This Anglo-German agreement and the Anglo-French agreement of 1890 thus secure to British in- fluence the large Western portion of the important kingdom of Bornu. A re- adjustment of the Company's frontier on the west and north was made by an agreement between Great Britain and France dated 14 June, 1898, but this treaty has not yet been ratified. The term for ratification has by mutual consent been extended until the 14th June, 1899. Total area of Niger Ter- ritories and the regions secured to the Company's influence by the above in- ternational agreements is estimated at 500,000 square miles; population variously estimated from 20,000,000 to 35,000,000.

The Fulah empire of Sokoto is the most populous and extensive in the whole of the Sudan. The king of Gando, in the middle Niger Valley, as well as all the other Fulah chiefs, recognise the suzerainty of the Sultan, who has conferred on the Royal Niger Company sovereign power throughout a large part of his dominions, and jurisdiction, civil, criminal, and fiscal, over non-natives throughout the remainder. Sokoto and Gando together cover an area of 219,500 square miles, with a population of 15,000,000. The empire, which is conterminous on the east with Bornu, on the west with the Borgu and Mossi countries, and stretches from the Sahara southwards to the unexplored regions beyond Adamawa, is rich in agricultural resources. Cotton is largely grown and manufactured, and leather ware is exported in xchange for salt from the Sahara and European goods.

The Sultan of Sokoto exercises direct jurisdiction over only a comparatively mall portion of his dominions, most of which are ruled by tributary vassal kings and chiefs. The Niger Company has forestalled any questions as to title or sovereignty by making alternative treaties with these vassal kings. Wurno is the present capital of the empire, on the river Gandi, population 15,000. There are a great many other large centres of population and busy market towns, such as Gando, capital of the Kingdom of Gando ; Yola, capital of Adamawa, population 12,000 ; Kano, 35,000 ; Bida, 90,000 ; Gerki, 15,000 ; Kebbi, 22,000 ; Yakoba, 50,000 ; Tessawa, 12,000 ; Katsena, 7,500 ; Gurin, 12,000 ; Duku, 15,000 ; Illorin, 50,000. Islam is the religion of the domi' nant class, but paganism still prevails largely throughout the empire.

BoRGU, which is attached to the Company by treaty similar to that with Sokoto, occupies a considerable portion of the right bank of the middle Niger to the south of Gandu and north of Illorin, two of the provinces of the Sokoto empire. Borgu, which is also known under the name of Bussang, extends westward to the meridian of Greenwich, and thus forms the northern boundary of Dahomey. Its military power must be considerable, as it has throughout tliis century successfully resisted the attacks of the Fulah empire. No trustworthy statistics of this countiy are available. Both its government and people are Pagan. The Company maintains two military posts in Borgu — one being at Leaba, about 30 miles south of Boussa, the other at Fort Goldie, 30 miles south of Leaba.