Yola - Encyclopedia

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YOLA, once a native state of West Africa, forming part of the Fula emirate of Adamawa, now a province in the British protectorate of Nigeria. The province, which has an area of 16,000 sq. m., occupies the S.E. of the protectorate and both banks of the upper Benue. It is bounded S. and E. by the German colony of Cameroon, N. by the British province of Bornu, and W. by the British provinces of Bauchi and Muri. It has an estimated population of 300,000. The capital is Yola, a town founded by the Fula conqueror Adama about the middle of the 19th century. It was the capital of the emirate of Adamawa, the greater part of which is now a German protectorate. The town is situated in 9° 12' N., 12° 40' E. and is built on the left or S. bank of the Benue, 480 m. by river from Lokoja. It can be reached by shallow draught steamers when the river is in flood. The Niger Company had trading relations with Yola before the establishment of British administration in Northern Nigeria. In 1901 the reigning emir, a son of Adama, forced them to evacuate their station, and, all attempts to establish friendly relations proving unavailing, the British government despatched an expedition from Lokoja in August 1901. The emir was deposed and a new emir installed in his place. The hostility of certain pagan tribes had to be overcome by British expeditions in January and April of 1902. By 1903 the province was brought fairly under administrative control, and divided into three administrative divisions - the N.W. with a station at Gazi, the N.E. and the S. with Yola for its station. The new emir proved friendly and loyal, but though appointed in 1901 was not formally installed till October 1904, when he took the customary oath of allegiance to the British crown and accepted all the conditions with regard to the suppression of slavery, &c. The slave markets were immediately closed as a result of British occupation, and any slavetrading which is still done is smuggled. In 1903 an exploring expedition was sent up the Gongola, one of the principal rivers of the Yola province, and as a result the navigability of the river for steam launches as far as Gombe at high water was demonstrated. An important means of communication with the province of Bornu was thus established, and a rich agricultural district opened to development. The Gongola valley was in ancient times extensively cultivated, and the population are readily returning to the land. Cotton, rice and tobacco are among the heavy crops (see Nigeria, Adamawa) .

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