Monday, April 21, 2014

DIDO ELIZABETH BELLE: THE AFRICAN (BI-RACIAL) LONDONER WHO HELPED END SLAVERY IN BRITAIN

Dido Elizabeth Belle (1761–1804) was a bi-racial (an African at that time) Londoner noted by British historians for helping to end slavery in Britain. Belle grew up at Kenwood House, Hampstead, London NW3, (now an English Heritage property, 020 8348 1286). She was the great-niece of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, who as Lord Chief Justice presided over many of the historic cases that affected enslaved Africans. Dido was the illegitimate daughter of Lord Mansfield’s nephew, Admiral Sir John Lindsay, a British Navy captain, and an enslaved African woman known as Marie Belle whom Sir John encountered while his ship was in the Caribbean. A film of Belle`s extraordinary life, Belle, directed by the Ghanaian-born British film director Amma Asante is out this spring with a cast including the South African-born British actress Gugu Mabtha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson,  Emily Watson, Tom Felton, Miranda Richardson etc.
Painting of Dido Belle with her cousin Elizabeth, formerly attributed to Johann Zoffany. circa 1799

Dido Elizabeth Belle was born around 1761. She was baptised in 1766 at St. George's Church, Bloomsbury. Her baptism record shows that she was born while her father, John Lindsay, was in the West Indies and that her mother's name was Maria Belle. It has been suggested that her mother was an African slave captured from a Spanish ship during the capture of Havana from the Spanish in 1762. Lindsay was at the time a Royal Navy captain on HMS Trent, a warship based in the West Indies that took part in the battle.
Lindsay sent the child Dido to her uncle, the Earl of Mansfield, who lived with her family at Kenwood House in Hampstead, just outside London, England. Mansfield and his wife, who were childless, were already raising Dido's cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray after her mother's death; Dido was about the same age as Elizabeth. It is possible that Mansfield took Dido in to be Elizabeth's playmate and, later in life, her personal attendant (her role within the family, as outlined below, suggests that her standing was more that of a lady's companion than a lady's maid).
Dido spent some thirty years at Kenwood House. Her position was unusual, because she was formally the daughter of a slave, and as such would have been considered a slave outside of England. But she was to some extent treated as a member of the family. Lord Mansfield himself resolved this paradox in his capacity as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. When called on to judge the case of an escaped slave, Somersett's Case, he decreed:
            "The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons,
              moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons,
              occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it's so odious,
              that nothing can be suffered to support it but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore,
              may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England."
Mansfield's decision was taken by abolitionists to mean that slavery was abolished in England, although his wording reserves judgment on this point, and he later said his decision was only to apply to the slave at issue in the case. Historians have since suggested that Mansfield's personal experience influenced his decision.
A painting of 1779, formerly attributed to Johann Zoffany, depicts Dido alongside her cousin Elizabeth, carrying exotic fruit and wearing a turban with a large feather. Dido is portrayed with extraordinary vivacity, while the depiction of her cousin is stiff and formalized. The painting, which hangs at Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland, is owned by the present Earl of Mansfield and in 2007 was exhibited in Kenwood during an exhibition to run alongside events marking the bicentenary of the  Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807.
Dido lived at Kenwood for 30 years and despite Lord Mansfield's revulsion for slavery, the social conventions of his household are unclear. Her status in the household was commented on by several visitors.
There is evidence that Dido was not treated as a full and equal family member, dining separately from the family when they had guests, only joining the women for coffee after the meal. Although Dido’s £30 allowance was a considerable amount at the time, it was much less than her cousin Elizabeth’s. However despite the lack of full acceptance of Dido as a mixed race family member, a guest to Kenwood House remarked that Lord Mansfield “called upon [her]…every minute for this and that, and showed the greatest attention to everything she said.”
In 1779 following a dinner at Kenwood House, American Thomas Hutchinson, ex Governor of Massachusetts, wrote in his diary,
“A Black came in after dinner and sat with the ladies and after coffee, walked with the company in the gardens, one of the young ladies having her arm within the other. She had a very high cap and her wool was much frizzled in her neck, but not enough to answer the large curls now in fashion. She is neither handsome nor genteel – pert enough. I knew her history before, buyt my Lord mentioned it again. Sir John Lindsay having taken her mother prisoner in a Spanish vessel, brought her to England where she was delivered of this girl, of which she was then with child, and which was taken care of by Lord M., and has been educated by his family.  He calls her Dido, which I suppose is all the name she has. He knows he has been reproached for showing fondness for her – I dare not day criminal.
A few years ago there was a cause before his Lordship bro’t by a Black for recovery of his liberty. A Jamaica planter being asked what judgement his Ldship would give? “No doubt” he answered “He will be set free, for Lord Mansfield keeps a Black in his house which governs him and the whole family.”
Hutchinson continued that "She is a sort of Superintendant over the dairy, poultry yard, etc, which we visited. And she was called upon by my Lord every minute for this thing and that, and shewed the greatest attention to everything he said.”
As well as supervising the poultry and dairy yard, typical genteel hobbies for a lady, Dido acted as secretary to Lord Mansfield in his later years writing out letters on his behalf.
It is not certain what Dido’s legal status was in her early life, as in his will Lord Mansfield stated “I confirm to Dido Elizabeth Belle her freedom.” On her father’s death in 1788 the London Chronicle reported that,
“…he has died, we believe, without any legitimate issue but has left one natural daughter, a Mulatto who has been brought up in Lord Mansfeld’s family almost from her infancy…”
Dido married John Davinier, a gentleman steward, in 1793 at St George’s, Hanover Square together they had three sons: twins Charles and John (baptised at St George’s on 8 May 1795) and William Thomas (baptised at St. George’s on 26 January 1802).  They lived in  what is now Ebury Street, Pimlico.
Dido died in July 1804, at 43 years of age and was buried in St George’s Fields. In the 1970′s the burial ground was deconsecrated and sold off by the church to developers.  Dido’s body was exhumed and reburied as were the other bodies buried there.

Mansfield family tree

David Murray
 
Majory Scott
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
David Murray
 
Anne Stewart
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2) Louisa Schaw Cathcart
 
David Murray
 
1) Henrietta Frederica Bunau
 
James Murray
 
John Murray
 
 
 
 
Catherine Murray
 
Marjorie Murray
 
Amelia Murray
 
Sir Alexander Lindsay of Evelick
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Five children
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Daniel Finch
 
Anne Hatton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elizabeth Belle
 
John Lindsay
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other children
 
Edward Finch
 
Elizabeth Finch
 
William Murray
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dido Elizabeth Belle
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elizabeth Murray
 
 
George Finch-Hatton
 

source:http://mixedracemagazine.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/dido-elizabeh-bell/
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dido_Elizabeth_Belle

The story behind Dido Belle - the bi-racial Londoner who helped end slavery in Britain
Susannah Butter tells the tale of Dido Belle, ahead of the release of a film about her extraordinary life starring Tom Felton and Miranda Richardson.
Dido Elizabeth Belle

Among the many aristocratic faces gazing out of frames in Hampstead’s newly refurbished Kenwood House, there’s one that sticks out. Standing next to Elizabeth Murray in a print of Johann Zoffany’s portrait from c.1799, there is a smiling girl wearing pearls. But although she looks equal to her playmate, she is black. This girl is Dido Belle, the daughter of an enslaved woman. Belle was brought up at Kenwood, a house partially built with “blood money” from the Triangular Trade, and she made her own contribution to the abolition of slavery. A film of her extraordinary life, Belle, is out this spring with a cast including Tom Felton and Miranda Richardson.
It comes after two films examining the black historical experience: British director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Lee Daniels’s The Butler, both set in the United States. But there is another story of slavery that needs telling and it’s set in London.

Belle’s tale spans Hampstead, Pimlico and 1970s South Africa. “It’s about identity and finding one’s place,” says the film’s producer Damian Jones, whose previous work includes The History Boys. He lives near Kenwood and wanted to tell Belle’s story after seeing the portrait there (the original is now at Scone Palace in Perthshire but a print is displayed in London). “I thought it was extraordinary — in a rare move for that time a black woman is portrayed as an equal to a white woman. It opens up a lot of questions. Belle’s story ticks the romantic period movie boxes but there’s also a message that’s resonant today.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, star of 12 Years a Slave, recently said we have a “reflex fear” that stops us telling the truth of Britain’s debt to slavery. “People have a fear of questioning societies to which they owe their whole system of reality ... not just in the States, wherever countries still have benefits of that today ... I want [the history of slavery] taught in every school, because ultimately it speaks to human respect, and what happens when there are prejudices and where that has led the human race in our history. And could again, very easily.”
Laura Houliston, English Heritage’s curator at Kenwood, says: “Slavery wasn’t just about sugar kings living on land. It affected most homes in England.” So who is the girl in the picture, and what is her relevance to the capital today?
Belle was born the illegitimate daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay of the Royal Navy and Maria Belle, a slave who he met en route from England to Jamaica around 1761. When Lindsay went back to the navy, he entrusted five-year-old Belle to his uncle, Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, who lived at Kenwood. Lord and Lady Mansfield had no children of their own but raised Belle with Lady Elizabeth Murray, the daughter of Mansfield’s other nephew, David Murray.

“The idea that there was this girl who was part of our cultural legacy in England — a mixed race woman in the 1780s — hooked me,” says Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the London actress who plays Belle. “Speaking as a mixed-race woman in 2013, there aren’t many historical stories about people like me. When people think of ‘dual heritage,’ they think it’s a modern concept but it’s not. I wanted to do justice to Dido.”
Houliston says: “Visitors were astonished that a black girl was allowed to join the family after dinner; she could converse and play piano.” Mansfield appears to have treated Belle and Elizabeth Murray equally, buying them the same silks. This equality is evident in his will, where he left Belle a large amount of money. He also restated there that she was free. The film’s director Amma Asante was impressed that Mansfield treated Belle as he did: “I’m in awe of the level of courage that must have taken.”
In 1772, when Belle was around 11, her great-uncle made a ruling that would change history and eventually lead to abolition in 1833. In the Somerset slavery case, he declared that slavery was unsupported by existing law in England and a master could not export British slaves. Then in 1781 he presided over the Zong Massacre case — when 142 African slaves were hurled from a ship and drowned so that their owners could claim insurance for “damaged cargo”. In a major blow to slave traders, Mansfield ruled that the slave owners could not claim money.
Mansfield was a man with a reputation as a legal moderate, who could have decided either way. How far did his great- niece influence him?
Misan Sagay, who wrote the screenplay for Belle, says: “The abolition story is often told without a black person being there. But Belle living with such a force who made judgments that affected slavery must have had some impact. Unless you know about Belle, Mansfield’s decision is left of field.”
Belle left Kenwood in 1793, when she married John Davinier, an English steward at Kenwood. They lived in Pimlico and had three sons. Belle died in 1804, aged 43, but her family line continued. Her last recorded relation is a great-great grandson in South Africa, who died in 1975. In his death certificate his race is listed as white. He was a retired mechanic, married with no children. His father was called Charles Lindsay, “so they must have known there was a link to the Lindsay family,” says Houliston.
Belle’s mother, Maria, ended up in Florida, where John Lindsay gave her land and property. “This raises questions about his obligation to her,” says Houliston.
Of course being in the strange position of young, wealthy but mixed-race — neither a servant nor a legitimate member of the family — was trying. As a character, Belle is “feisty,” says Mbatha-Raw. “She realises the Mansfields protected her. It comes as a shock to her when some treat her like dirt.”
McQueen has said: “People somehow do not want to look at this particular time in history. Slavery lasted 400 years and there are fewer than 20 [films]. We have to redress that balance.” This morning his film 12 Years a Slave, gained 10 Bafta nominations to add to its seven for the Golden Globes.
Asante says: “The world is more ready for these stories than ever, to look at our history both good and bad.” As for Dido Belle, “her story belongs to all of us.”
Sagay adds that she was drawn to Belle because: “This is a period in our history that we should keep being reminded of. Today there are also judges like Mansfield debating questions that have frightening consequences. We need to remember those who stood up for what is right even though they knew it would have a difficult impact. Belle’s story is that of a quiet revolution, of not only a woman but a black woman influencing history.”

             Casts of Belle
source:http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/the-story-behind-dido-belle--the-biracial-londoner-who-helped-end-slavery-in-britain-9046065.html







Saturday, April 12, 2014

NANA OLOMU: THE GREAT NIGERIAN MILLIONAIRE OIL MAGNATE OF THE 19TH CENTURY, NATIONALIST AND AN ITSEKIRI CHIEF WHO WAS THE GOVERNOR OF BENIN RIVER

Nana Olomu (1852–1916) was an Itsekiri chief, Palm Oil Super Magnate, nationalist and a fighter from the Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria. He was the fourth Itsekiri chief to hold the position of Governor of Benin River. As a powerful nineteenth Century indigenous entrepreneur and greatest millionaire, Nana who  lived in a creek near the mouth of the Benin River and Oba Ovonramwen of Benin were the two powerful Africans that successfully prevented European penetration of the hinterland of the Benin and the nearby rivers.
Nana Olomu the great Nigerian millionaire entrepreneur, nationalist and Itsekiri chief in Accra after his defeat and deportation there.

Nana was respected and feared for his wealth and power, and the Oba of Benin for his suzerainty and juju power. Most Urhobo people did not believe that the Oba could be, and in fact be captured by the white-man, because of their belief in his juju power to transform himself into a spirit.
Nana Olomu was the last of a series of governors that started with the installation of Chief Idiare in 1851 by John Beecroft who was appointed in 1849 by the British Government as Consul for the Bights of Benin and Biafra.  Chief Idiare, along with Idibofun, Olomu (Nana's father), and a host of other elders subsequently signed a treaty with Beecroft to protect trade in the area. Nana succeeded his father, Olomu of Ologbotsere, as governor. It was a historical fact that Numa of Batere Emaye family who was expected to succeed Olomu, is believed to have raised his son, Dogho (Dore Numa), to avenge the disgrace to his family when Nana got the nod. Dogho (Dore Numa) an imperialist stooge was later to provide valuable help that the British needed to defeat Nana.
Nana`s wealth was an inherited one but he managed to expand his business through his shrewd business acumen by monopolizing trade. As a reflection of the grandeur of his achievements, Nana built a magnificent edifice at the turn of the century. It houses his personal effects and evidence of his contact with the Queen, administrators and traders of the British Empire. Many European Merchants, Missionaries, Explorers and Consular Officers who visited the Benin River in the second half of the last century, and had occasion to meet Chief Nana, had nothing but great admiration for his outstanding personality, intelligence, wealth and hospitality. His ability to speak the Urhobo language coupled with his liberality won for him the favour of practically all Urhobo traders on the River. He, of course, had enough force to bring to submission any one who was so unreasonably stubborn as to interfere with his trade anywhere. For many years, he concentrated his commercial activities on the Urhobo oil markets until he practically established a perfect monopoly over all the oil markets.
Indeed, Nana was credited with having a fleet of 200 trade canoes and another 100 war canoes with the ability to muster 20,000 war boys. In fact, after his defeat in 1884, the arms seized in Ebrohimi included 106 cannons, 445 blunderbusses, 640 guns,10 revolvers, in addition to 1640 kegs of gunpowder and 2500 rounds of machine gun ammunition (Ikime 1966:41). Therefore, there was no doubt that his impressive military machine, enormous wealth and great influence were critical factors in his virtual monopoly of the palm oil trade.
location.....KOKO,DELTA STATE NIGERIA by Tsan
Statue of NANA OLOMU, Merchant prince of the Niger delta at Koko, Delta State,Nigeria.
Governor (GOFUNE) of Benin River......1884-1894
A great itsekiri leader/nationalist and a Nigerian national hero.
This statue was unveiled in the year 1995
During the centenary commemoration of the BRITISH/NANA EBROHIMI WAR.... 1894
BY HIS EXCELLENCY GEN SANI ABACHA
Head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces of the federation of Nigeria


Major Claude Macdonald, the British Commissioner and Consul General for Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1887 who once reported that Nana was “a man possessed of great power and wealth, astute, energetic and intelligent” (Ikime 1966:44), wrongly accused him wrongly accused him of: disrupting commercial activities in the Niger Delta, of terrorizing the Urhobo and turning them against the British, of engaging in the inhuman
traffic in slaves, and the most blatant lie, of practising human sacrifice (Ikime 1980:278). But as it was to be revealed Nana’s real offence, however, was that his wealth, position and power gave him considerable influence over the areas surrounding the Benin River and the Warri district, thereby making the penetration
of British traders to be extremely difficult if not impossible.
By the end of 1893, the Vice Consuls at Benin River had started to accuse the Chief of gross disloyalty to the Government; but his actions, usually through his trading boys, appeared to reach a climax, when in July 1894, his boys seized fifteen Urhobo people (including a local Chief's wife), for an alleged debt of 200 puncheons of palm-oil. It was when Chief Nana refused to surrender those captives, blockading the River instead, that the government was obliged to use force to overthrow him towards the end of 1894.
Nana was therefore captured after a cessation of his  war with the British and was exiled in Gold Coast (Ghana). In Britain in 1899 the Aborigines' Right Protection Society led by some Gold Coast (Ghanaian) ethnic Fante intelligentsia with people like billionaire founder and president Jacob Wilson Sey, J E Casely-Hayford, George Hughes and others complained to the Foreign Office about "the arbitrary treatment" to which the chief had been subjected, the government's failure to carry out "the searching investigation of his case which he had always sought", and appealed for him to be given liberty to conduct his commercial affairs freely even if, for political reasons, he could not be restored to his old position. A letter from Olomu was also enclosed complaining his maintenance was inadequate for him to support himself and five other persons. In his reply the then Prime Minister the Marquis of Salisbury promised to look into the conditions of the chief's maintenance, but ruled out the possibility of a return to his homeland. A month later the question of his treatment was raised in parliament and the government again stated it would be unsafe to allow his return.
To all intent and purposes, as ikime (1966) rightly averred Nana was an African nationalist who refused to yield to British imperialist ambition and so had to be broken. For Nana was reported to have stopped all trade in 1886 and 1892 to force English merchants to pay higher prices. Opposition to Nana, grew not only from the merchants but also from those Itsekiri traders including Dore Numa, who had suffered from Nana's monopoly.
Source:

Nana Olomu of Itsekiri: Palm Oil Super Magnate
Nana Olomu was born about 1852 at Jakpa in the Itsekiri region, and thus become the wealthiest Itsekiri trader of his age. Incidentally, his father, Olomu was also the richest and most powerful Itsekiri merchant during his life time. Nana’s remarkable success was predicated on his inherited wealthy status, his outstanding acumen in the organization of his financial and human resources and also on his formidable military machine (Ikime 1966:40-42). It has, however, been reasonably argued that his career was a striking example of how political advancement was based more on commercial prowess, rather than on inherited status (Soremekun 1985:149; Hopkins 1973:146).
Nana like Jaja was a state builder. He was able to build his kingdom due to his effective control of the trade in palm oil, which unlike the slave trade called for greater organization and financial resources (Law 1993:105). He also greatly developed the new capital at Ebrohimi which had earlier been founded by his father on an almost impregnable site by dumping heaps of sand on a hitherto muddy and swampy location (Isichei 1977:123; Ikpe 1989:53).
Subsequently, he stationed his trading agents who were responsible for the purchase and transportation of oil in the Urhobo hinterland. This arrangement was further enhanced with his decision to take wives from all the leading Urhobo clans with which he traded (Crowder 1968:121; Ikime 1966:40-41). In 1885 he became the Governor of the Benin and Ethiope Rivers.
A British official, Gallwey who toured the Urhobo region in 1892 affirms that:
"In terms of relations with the British, Nana was the Jaja of the
Western Delta. His hold on most of the Urhobo oil markets was
even firmer than Jaja’s. In terms of wealth, Nana was probably
much wealthier than Jaja and like Jaja was able to dictate his
own trade terms and had no need for trust" (Ikime 1977:46).
Correspondingly, Nana also held up palm oil exports between 1886 and 1887 when the price of palm oil suddenly fell by 40% in order to force European merchants to accept the terms and conditions of sale as laid down by local producers and suppliers. This was a strategic way of securing a favorable balance of trade for the Urhobo producers and Itsekiri middle-men (Hopkins 1973:155). In 1891 the British tried to undermine Nana’s economic interests by opening up another Vice-Consulate at Sapele, apart from the one on the Benin River in order to penetrate the hinterland and reduce the trade on the Benin River - the main source of his wealth. However, Nana retaliated by sending his agents to Sapele too. The British were astounded to find out that his agents were in firm control of the trade, and that his trading influence was extremely strong.
Indeed, he was so powerful and sufficiently wealthy to dictate his own trade terms, to hold up trade when it suited his fancy and to refuse to take trust from European firms (Ikime 1980:278).
During the era of treaty signing in Nigeria, Nana Olomu fully understood the immediate import of British imperial intentions in the Niger Delta. Like Jaja, he struck out offensive clauses which stipulated free access to British traders to trade wherever they pleased in his kingdom. These uncooperative tendencies on his part were the precursor to the Ebrohimi expedition of 1894 (Ikime 1980:276; Onabamiro 1983:56).
Thus, Major Claude Macdonald, the British Commissioner and Consul General for Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1887 reported that Nana’s influence was exceedingly widespread and that it would be in the best interest of British traders, missionaries and colonialists to urgently and decisively checkmate Nana’s growing influence and power. Macdonald further reported that at a particular occasion when he met Nana at the Benin River for a crucial meeting, Nana came in a war canoe paddled by about 100 people with four or five similar canoes serving as escorts, and personal bodyguards of twenty armed men with Winchester repeater rifles. Macdonald concluded that Nana was “a man possessed of great power and wealth, astute, energetic and intelligent” (Ikime 1966:44).
Indeed, Nana was credited with having a fleet of 200 trade canoes and another 100 war canoes with the ability to muster 20,000 war boys. After his defeat in 1884, the arms seized in Ebrohimi included 106 cannons, 445 blunderbusses, 640 guns,10 revolvers, in addition to 1640 kegs of gunpowder and 2500 rounds of machine gun ammunition (Ikime 1966:41). Therefore, there was no doubt that his impressive military machine, enormous wealth and great influence were critical factors in his virtual monopoly of the palm oil trade.
Nevertheless, the British wrongly accused him of: disrupting commercial activities in the Niger Delta, of terrorizing the Urhobo and turning them against the British, of engaging in the inhuman traffic in slaves, and the most blatant lie, of practising human sacrifice (Ikime 1980:278). Nana’s real offence, however, was that his wealth, position and power gave him considerable influence over the areas surrounding the Benin River and the Warri district, thereby making the penetration of British traders to be extremely difficult if not impossible. Consequently, in 1894, the British laid siege on Ebrohimi. Nana replied by further fortifying his capital. Henceforth, the resistance put up by him was bitter and daring, and as skillful as it was brilliant. Crowder (1971:2), rightly suggests that as far as military historians are concerned, wars are not assessed solely in terms of the victory or success of the victors, but also on the prowess and ingenuity of the vanquished, in the face of overwhelming odds.
Therefore Nana impressively combined conventional warfare with guerilla tactics, and used to the fullest advantage his superior knowledge of the creeks along the British had to sail to reach Ebrohimi, thereby making what they initially thought would be a casual military expedition, one their most difficult and costly imperial adventures in West Africa. In short, Nana forced the British to build up a large naval and military force off the Benin River, representing virtually the entire British naval strength in West Africa, and the most impressive collection of British forces in the Niger Delta up until that date (Onabamiro 1983:57 and Ikime 1977:47). This action prompted the British to send four warships: the HMS Alecto, HMS Phoebe, HMS Philomel and HMS Widgem to attack all the villages around Ebrohimi, which were destroyed. Yet, Nana
refused to surrender or obey British entreaties to come for a discussion at the Consulate, based on the memory of what happened to Jaja when he acquiesced to such a request (Onabamiro 1983:57).
And thus, all attempts to take Ebrohimi by going up the creek failed, and in fact, Nana successfully repelled the British forces on three occasions so they were forced to withdraw with ‘heavy’ casualties. And even cutting a path through the dense swamp forest also proved an impossible task which was rendered scary and dangerous because of Nana’s cleverly masked batteries. Attacking Ebrohimi by land also failed because of the heavy fire directed against the British by Nana’s forces. However, Nana’s capital eventually fell on September 25, 1894, mainly because, Dogho, (Nana’s local rival) provided the British with logistic and intelligence support and even showed them the best route to Ebrohimi, and as a result, Nana was eventually tried and exiled to Gold Coast (now Ghana). And interestingly, his goods were also sold and the proceeds were used to defray the cost of the expedition, marking the demise of his trading empire (Ikime 1980:278; 1966:47; 1977:47).
It must be noted that in about 2 ½ years before Chief Nana's fall, the Urhobo Chiefs of Abraka, north east of the Benin Consular district had concluded a Treaty of Protection with Her Britannic Majesty's Government placing themselves and their people under British protection. In the south and the south-east of the Urhobo country under Warri district not less than 14 such Treaties had also been entered into. The Treaty making activities were however intensified after the fall of Chief Nana.

Recently one one of the UK National Maritime Museum curators H Finch-Boyer revealed that three of the
Museum's African flags were owned by Nana Olomu who became 4th governor of Benin River in 1884.
Brief descriptions of the flags in the Museum's collection are below.
1. The personal flag of Itsekiri chief  Nana Olomu (1852-1916). The flag
is made wool bunting, with a linen hoist containing a rope and is hand
sewn. The background of the design is white with a  printed Union Flag
inserted (upside down) in the canton. Near the top edge is the name
'NANNA' in dark blue letters, below, the flag is painted with a naked
man shooting a leopard. The flag was captured during the campaign of
1894.

2. Personal flag of Itsekiri chief  Nana Olomu (1852-1916). A green wool
bunting flag with a machine sewn linen hoist with a rope attached. The
flag is hand sewn with applied lettering - in red wool 'NANNA', below in
white cotton 'ALLUMA'S SON'. It is said to have been acquired during the
1897 Benin expedition by F. W. Kennedy.
3. Personal flag of Itsekiri chief Nana Olomu (1852-1916). A red cotton
flag, hand sewn with a printed Union Flag placed vertically in the
canton. The name 'NANNA' is applied in white damask letters in the fly.
There are felt loops along the top edge.and a white strip at the hoist
with small cord loops.

Source: Reference: Rotimi K and Ogen O (2008). "Jaja and Nana in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Proto-Nationalists or Emergent Capitalists," The Journal of Pan African Studies, 2008 vol.2, no.7.
http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-africa&month=1002&week=d&msg=w%2BDfZxHL0PWhBdm21J1rWg&user=&pw=