Why Britain was Reluctant to Annex Cameroon
1) Britain was reluctant to annex Cameroon because there were conflicting views between the British foreign office and the British colonial office. The foreign office favoured annexation while the colonial office was against it.
2) Also, Britain had the feeling that she already had enough territories in West Africa. By this time Britain had already colonized, Sierra Leone, the Gold-Coastand Lagos.
3) Britain was still exercising confidences in the treaties, which she had with he coastal chiefs. By the terms of these treaties the coastal chiefs had agreed’ that they would not favour any other European power more than Britain and that they would take care of British:Property as if it was their own.
4) Britain was more interested in trade and British trade was doing well without annexation.
5) She believed that the territory was poor of resources. And that annexing it would be an unnecessary financial burden to British tax payers.
6) Britain feared annexation would lead to wars with the interior tribes especially if she engages in operations such as the suppression of slave trade and slavery.
7) The British annexation of Egypt in 1882 had already alienated France more over they had come into tacit agreements with the French that they should not create colonial empires just because of petty…quarrels among European traders.
8) Britain at the time did not foresee that Germany or, any other European power was interested in annexing Cameroon. Even the French advance was not yet considered a threat.
9)The French advance from the South of Cameroon was riot yet considered or seen as a threat to
British interest in Cameroon.
10) The British discovered Gold in South Africa and were more interested in other areas like Australia that were considered to be richer than Cameroon.
Why the Britain later changed her Attitude and entered the race to Annex Cameroon
1. Britain eventually entered the race for the annexation of Cameroon because in 1884, Britain discovered a secret plot by Germany to annex Cameroon.
2. The French advanced from the South of Cameroon was now seen as a threat to British commercial interest. The French had even signed treaties with King Pass All of Malimba.
3. Consul Hewett’s reports on the Cameroon Coast influenced the British. In his reports he revealed that the Cameroonian soil was suitable for plantations and also that the English traders were willing to bear the cost of administration.
4. Britain discovered that the area around mount Cameroon had a suitable climate for European settlement. They therefore wanted to make Buea the headquarter at the Oil river protectorate.
5. Britain entered the race to annex Cameroon to safeguard her pride. The French or German annexation was bound to bring disgrace to Britain, as a leading colonial power.
6. There was pressure from British traders Britain therefore wanted to safe guard their interest.*
7. Pressure also came from English Baptist Missionaries. They feared that they would be expelled as in Fernando Po should Britain fail to annex the territory.
8. Britain wanted to protect her source of raw materials and also open up the interior for British trade.