Sub-Saharan Africa 1903: Pacification of Northern Nigeria
The 1899 Anglo-French agreement assigned Northern Nigeria to the British, even though the region was almost entirely dominated by independent African states. Although the British managed to persuade many of these states to accept protection, some, including the great Sokoto Caliphate, resisted. In early 1903 the British invaded Sokoto, cementing their control in Northern Nigeria.
? Sep–17 Oct 1902 Second Dervish Expedition▲
By late 1902, with troops freed up following the end of the Boer War, the British felt able to respond to the growing Dervish revolt of “Mad Mullah” Mohammed Abdullah Hassan in the Somali interior. Under the leadership of Commissioner EJE Swayne, a 2,400-strong British column marched to Bohotle on the border of British Somaliland, then on into the Ogaden. Encountering thousands of Dervishes at Erigo in October, Swayne’s force was almost defeated when his Somali levies came close to buckling. The battle ended with both sides withdrawing—Swayne to Bohotle and Hassan to Italian Somalia.
24 Dec 1902 French Sahara▲
The Saharan area to the south of Algeria was annexed to France as the Southern Algerian Territories, or Southern Territories. Although consolidated into a single unit, the territories would be separately administered from the Algerian départements of Algiers, Oran, and Constantine (which were themselves considered an integral part of France). The annexation was not completely formalized until 1905, when the four Saharan territories were organized as Aïn Sefra, Ghardaia, Oases, and Touggourt.
3 Jan–6 Jun 1903 Third Dervish Expedition▲
In an attempt to catch “Mad Mullah” Mohammed Abdullah Hassan while he was still recovering from the Second Dervish Expedition, the British attempted a three-pronged attack under the command of Brigadier William Manning. The main force was to be landed at Obbia (Hobyo) in Italian Somalia, with additional forces marching south from Bohotle, and a 5,000-strong Ethiopian contingent advancing from the west. Despite these measures, the British suffered a heavy defeat at Gumburu, prompting Manning to call off the operation until a much larger and better equipped force could be acquired.
19 Jan–? Aug 1903 Kano-Sokoto Expedition▲
In January 1903 forty British officers and 800 African troops under the command of Colonel Thomas Morland left Zaria for the Sokoto Caliphate. After capturing Kano and defeating the Kano cavalry at Kwatarkwashi in February, the British advanced to take Sokoto itself. Resistance in the east continued for several months, with the British facing a significant repulse at Burmi in May, before the caliphate was finally pacified.