Not all resistance during the early years of European colonial rule took the form of pragmatic violence Most was more subtle and directed toward local issues of political and economic autonomy Particularly in British territories Africans commonly used local movements to resist European colonial policies or practices by the colonial administrations African proxies The 1929 Aba Women’s Revolt or Igbo Women’s War in southeastern Nigeria reflects this trend What is unique about the movement that produced the revolt is that its leadership was composed entirely of rural women It is also unique because it was the only mass protest to take place in Nigeria prior to the years leading to independence in 1960 There was a history of economic and social autonomy among Igbo women and they were well organized through communal associations. In 1929 Igbo women felt that their autonomy was threatened by an impending tax imposed by the local colonial administration. Rumors of this tax spread after the district administrations census of men, their wives, and cattle Within days of the census’s completion, up to ten thousand women reportedly confronted the Warrant Chief Okugo who had overseen the census on behalf of the district administration, and demanded that he resign The protests spread throughout the region and resulted in the death of fifty-five women The Aba Women’s Revolt was an effort on the part of Igbo women to protect their economic and political interests. It was not a movement against European colonial rule; rather, it aimed at particular policies that the women perceived to originate with the British-imposed warrant chiefs



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