Oral tradition traces dynastic origins to the Ndobo or
was made by Germans in Bafut. ...
the time of the German annexation of the Cameroons in the late nineteenth
century Bafut had roughly assumed its present make-up. The German explorer, Dr
Eugen Zintgraff, visited Bafut in 1889. He had earlier stopped in Bali Nyonga
where he had received a warm welcome from Galega, the Bali Nyonga Fon. However,
Abumbi, the Bafut Fon, received him with circumspection since Bafut was not on
good terms with Bali Nyonga. Zintgraff is said to have committed two breaches of
etiquette. He seized the drinking cup from the Fon's hand and drank from it and
he insisted on calling Abumbi by his princely name 'Gualem'. This open display
of disrespect was interpreted in Bafut as a deliberate attempt to belittle the
Fon and it was assumed that Galega of Bali Nyonga was behind this.
between Bafut and the Germans subsequently deteriorated to the point of armed
conflict. In 1891 Bafut went to the aid of its neighbour and ally Mankon which
had been attacked by a German-led Bali Nyonga force en route to Bafut. This
force had been sent to avenge the death of two of Zintgraff's messengers sent to
Bafut to demand ivory. On the 31st of January 1891 it attacked Mankon and burnt
the town. As the attacking force retired Mankon warriors, assisted now by their
allies from Bafut, counter-attacked and inflicted heavy losses on their enemies.
Ten years later the Germans, under Pavel, returned in full force. Bafut suffered
a series of punitive raids in 1901 1904-5 and 1907, at the end of which the Fon
was arrested and exiled to Douala for a year. In the meantime a military station
had been established at Bamenda which served as the administrative headquarters
of the district until the Germans were expelled during the World War of
1914-1918. The Bamenda garrison fell in October 1915. After a brief period of
joint administration Britain and France provisionally partitioned the territory
and this, with only minor adjustments, was confirmed by the Milner-Simon
agreement of July 1919. Bafut fell into the British sector which was constituted
into the Cameroons Province and attached to the Southern Provinces of Nigeria
for administrative purposes.
Dr. Wilfred F. Ngwa