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British Cameroons
Mandate of the United Kingdom

1922-1961
 

Flag

Anthem
God Save The Queen
Capital Buea
Language(s) English
Religion Christianity (Southern), Islam (Northern)
Political structure League of Nations Mandate
Historical era World War I
 - Kamerun partitioned July 20, 1920 1920
 - Integration into Nigeria and Cameroon October 1, 1961 1961
Cameroon over time      German Kamerun      British Cameroons      French Cameroun      Republic of Cameroon

British Cameroons was a British Mandate territory in West Africa, now divided between Nigeria and Cameroon.

The area of present-day Cameroon was claimed by Germany as a protectorate during the "Scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century. During World War I, it was occupied by British, French and Belgian troops, and later mandated to Great Britain and France by the League of Nations in 1922. The French mandate was known as Cameroun and the British territory was administered as two areas, Northern Cameroons and Southern Cameroons. Northern Cameroons consisted of two non-contiguous sections, divided by where the Nigerian and Cameroun borders met.

French Cameroun became independent in January 1960, and Nigeria was scheduled for independence later that same year, which raised question of what to do with the British territory. After some discussion (which had been going on since 1959), a plebiscite was agreed to, and held in February 1961. The Muslim-majority Northern area opted for union with Nigeria, and the Southern favored Cameroon/Cameroun.

Northern Cameroons became a region of Nigeria May 31, 1961, while Southern Cameroons became part of Cameroon on October 1. In the meantime, the area was administered as a United Nations Trust Territory.

Postage stamps

The territory had long used postage stamps of Nigeria, but in order to avoid the appearance of bias, the government issued the current Nigerian stamps overprinted with CAMEROONS / U.K.T.T. in red. These went on sale October 1, 1960. Although available in both northern and southern areas, most usage was in the southern area, northerners continuing to use Nigerian stamps. These stamps became invalid in each area when its separate existence ended.

The stamps are readily available to collectors today, the lowest values all selling at minimum price used or unused, with the 1-pound stamp of the series selling for about five US$.

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