Bida - Encyclopedia

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BIDA, a town and administrative district in the British protectorate of Northern Nigeria. Bida town, situated in 9° 5' N., 6° E., 25 m. N. by E. of Muraji on the Niger, is the capital of the province of Nupe. It was founded in 1859 when Fula rule was established in Nupe, is walled and of considerable size. In 1909 it was connected by railway with Baro, 40 m. S.S.E., the river terminus of the Northern Nigeria railway. The inhabitants, mostly Hausa, carry on an extensive trade and are especially noted for their embossed brass and copper work. The Bida goblets, in which brass and copper are beautifully blended, are of extremely elegant design. The town also boasts a glass factory. The preparation of indigo and the dyeing of cloths are other flourishing industries. The streets are planted with huge shade-trees, so that as Bida is approached it looks like a forest.

In 1897 there was a two-days' fight outside the walls of Bida between the forces of the emir of Nupe and those of the Royal Niger Company, ending in the defeat of the Fula army (mostly cavalry). The victory was not followed at the time by a British occupation, and the defeated king returned after the withdrawal of the company's troops and re-established himself upon the throne. In 1900 he allied himself with other hostile chiefs and adopted an openly antagonistic attitude to the British government. In 1901 it became necessary for British troops to march on Bida. The emir fled, without fighting, to Kano. Another emir was appointed in his place, and the province of Nupe was placed under British administrative control. Since that date the town has been peaceful and very prosperous. A mission school has been established, and is attended by the sons of the emir and of the principal chiefs, who are desirous of learning to read and write English. The administrative district of Bida includes the town and is the western division of the province of Nupe. (See also NIGERIA: History.)

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