Some historical facts

Front view of Fon's palace, Bafut
Front view of Fon's palace, Bafut

Oral tradition traces dynastic origins to the Ndobo or Tikari areas.
By 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.

Relations 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.

History was made by Germans in Bafut. ...

by Dr. Wilfred F. Ngwa