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  You are in: Home > History > Mandates and Empire  

Mandates and Empire
The League of Nations and Africa, 1914–1931

Michael D. Callahan

Author text to follow


This book compares the impact of the League of Nations mandates system on British and French rule in the African mandated territories. It examines the mandates system with particular attention to international relations as well as to national politics, the activities of pressure groups, and the bureaucracies of the two largest overseas empires. The book studies developments in international law, international organization, and the powers of the Permanent Mandates Commission.

The mandates system not only reflected the changing face of European colonialism, but also played a transforming role in its operation by influencing the economic, political, and cultural lives of Africans and Europeans within the mandated territories. The system led to the development of policies that transformed the relations between Europeans and Africans, and changed the way in which the colonial state exercised power within the mandated territories.

List of Abbreviations
Map of Africa, 1931


1 The Great War and Imperial Expansion

The New Scramble for Africa
Lloyd George, Wilson, and “Self-Determination”
Annexation vs. Internationalization
Preparing for the Paris Peace Conference

2 Reforming European Imperialism, 1919
Wilson and the Fight for Mandates
Milner and Simon
“Nomansland,” the Duala, and French Resistance
The Lone “B” Mandate?

3 Accommodating the League of Nations, 1920
“The Tanganyika Territory”
French Capitulation
“There is no more Annexation”

4 The United States, Germany, and the Permanent Mandates
Commission, 1921–1925
America’s Departure and Demands
Germany’s Protests
Geneva and the PMC
Lugard and the League

5 The British Mandates between Theory and Practice, 1921–1925
Slavery and Land Legislation
Rwanda and Religious Freedom
Military Recruitment and Africans
Cameron, Indians, and White Settlers
“Mandated Territory and League of Nations Stupidities”

6 The French Mandates between Theory and Practice, 1921–1925
“Separate and Autonomous”
Military Recruitment and Africans
African Protest and the League
International Criticism and Imperial Legitimacy

7 Germany Joins the League: The British Mandates, 1926–1929
Chamberlain Confronts the PMC
Dr Kastl and Kenya
Cameron’s Mandated Territory
The British Empire as Article 22

8 Germany Joins the League: The French Mandates, 1926–1929
French Fears and Colonial Control
The Return of the Bund
Taxation and Labor Laws

9 Mandate and Empire in British East Africa, 1929–1931
The “Closer Union” Debate, 1919–1929
Labour’s White Papers
Lugard’s Questions
The Law Officers’ Answers
The Failure of “Closer Union”


A Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant
B Text of the Mandate for the Tanganyika Territory
C Text of the Mandates for Togo and Cameroon
D Constitution of the Permanent Mandates Commission


“A fascinating study of the advent of the League of Nations mandate system in Africa.” Choice

“Provides us with the best account we are likely to get of the French and British ‘official mind’ about mandates.” Susan Pedersen, Professor of History and James P. Shenton Professor of the Core Curriculum at Columbia University, in a review essay in American Historical Review (October 2007)

“In this definitive book the meticulous research and critical analysis of Michael Callahan has brought clarity in the evolution of these murky mandates from the old imperial order to the acceptance of neo-imperial trusteeship at the beginning of the new. His scholarship will be rewarded as the source for students, their teachers, and those scholars of every nationality who seek to understand Africa in the lost but formative years between the two great wars of the twentieth century.” Robert O. Collins, Professor of History Emeritus, University of California Santa Barbara

“The best study of the colonial mandates in Africa and raises important questions about the evolution of colonial empires.” The International History Review

“An extensively researched and detailed study.”Journal of African History

“A book of profound historical research…which deserves to become a work of incalculable value to scholars of African history as well as international relations.”Anthony Kirk-Greene, St. Antony’s College, Oxford


Publication Details

Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
304 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
September 1998
  Illustrated:   No
Paperback Price:
£22.50 / $37.50

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