Kolapo, Femi James Books

Dr. Femi James Kolapo holds a Ph.D in History from York University in Canada. He is an Associate Professor of African History at the University of Guelph.

Journals of Church Missionary Society Agent, James Thomas in Mid-Nineteenth Century Nigeria Introduction and Notes by Femi J. Kolapo
2012 0-7734-2935-2
This book consists of the complete compiled transcriptions of a nineteenth-century Christian missionary in Nigeria. James Thomas was born into slavery, and then converted to Christianity. Later in his adult life he was transformed was rescued from slavery by a British anti-slave trade squadron. He was then turned into a Christian missionary who converted people and built churches in Nigeria. This book not only gives a rich history of certain regions of Nigeria in the nineteenth-century, it also shows how Christianity and the slave trade molded its history as well. The book shows the history of the Nigerian Middle Belt, including the Niger-Benue Confluence area.

The author has compiled diaries and letters of James Thomas, a Church of England native missionary to Nigeria’s Niger-Benue Confluence area (or Upper Niger River). Transcribed are the letters and diaries from original archival sources and they are here provided with an introduction and annotations. As primary source documents they detail the career of James Thomas and his colleagues at their mission posts during about two decades of service.

They also provide information on the introduction of missionary Christianity to interior Nigeria. Some of the prospects and challenges that the missionary Christianization program faced in mid-nineteenth century Niger-Benue Confluence area of Nigeria are documented.

These letters and diaries open a revealing window onto the economic, political, cultural and social developments ongoing in the immediate vicinity and in the larger region of the Niger-Benue confluence area during the second half of the 19th century. There are glimpses into the early moments and the gradual process of the project of modernization to this part of Nigeria. James Thomas’s documents highlight the local and regional contexts of wars, displacement, and enslavement that various communities of Niger-Benue confluence area witnessed at this time. It shows how these processes were linked to the wider global currents that swept across both the Atlantic and the Sahara.