Vice-Consulate on the Benin River

This photograph shows the importance of the river systems in Nigeria for trade and administration. So much so, the authorities found it easier to adapt a river going vessel into the head of local administration rather than build on land. This was in August 1891 when the British Government established a Consular Administration over what was then called the Oil Rivers Protectorate, later, the Niger Coast Protectorate. The first Deputy Commissioner and Vice-Consul in charge of the Benin River District was Captain H. L. Gallwey. The District Office was at the mouth of Benin River, 5 mile from the sea coast. The jurisdiction of the Vice-Consul covered the whole of the Benin country and included the south-western part of the Itsekiri country and the north-western part of the Urhobo country particularly along the Ethiope River.


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by Stephen Luscombe