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Chronlogy of the Bamenda Grassfields

  • E. M. Chilver and P. M. Kaberry

Abstract

In 1964 the Bamenda Grassfields, then composed of the three West Cameroon prefectures of Bamenda, Wum and Nkambe, had a population of almost 575,000, which was densest in the Bamenda prefecture, adjoining the populous Bamileke prefectures. By 1967 these three prefectures had been increased to five–Bamenda, Gwofon, Nso, Wum and Nkambe– by division of the former Bamenda prefecture into three (Bamenda, Gwofon and Nso) and the addition to Gwofon of the Widekum-Menka area formerly administered as part of Mamfe Division. The distribution and age and occupational structure of the population are discussed in The Population of West Cameroon: Main Findings of the 1964 Sample Demographic Survey (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Planning, 1966). A census was carried out by the British administering authorities in 1953, based on socalled ‘clan areas’—a misnomer. The general picture given in administrative reports and reproduced in the 1953 census ethnic categories was of the broad division of the region into Tikar, Chamba (Bali), Tiv (Munshi) and Widekum, with small refugee enclaves on the northern borders. The significance and doubtful validity of these categories will be discussed in our forthcoming contribution to the Histoire des peuples et civilisations du Cameroun (ed. Claude Tardits), and are dealt with in some detail in E. M. Chilver and P. M. Kaberry, Notes on the Precolonial History and Ethnography of the Bamenda Grassfields (cyclostyled, 1966, for the Ministry of Education, West Cameroon).

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Chronlogy of the Bamenda Grassfields

  • E. M. Chilver and P. M. Kaberry

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