Colonial documents can offer a wealth of information about African lives during the colonial period, but they must be read with caution to filter out valuable information from the biases and prejudices of European officials. Oral accounts are open to distortion, as they are collected decades after the events a historian is trying to understand. Colonial documents and oral accounts are complex. Specifically, colonial documents are the invention of ignorant foreign observers and a self-centered account of ruling elite. The methodological difficulties associated with each of these sources have led to the consideration of other sources—the Native Court Records (NCRs)—for the study of African (Yoruba) history. These records while not without their own specific biases, allow one to overcome some of the difficulties that characterize official documents and oral interviews. This paper describes the NCRs and makes a case for their potential use in researching aspects of Yoruba history particularly gender relations, marital disputes and settlement, and the colonial marriage laws. This paper is part of a larger effort to alert scholars to the existence of these records and to encourage their use for historical narratives on Yoruba people of Southwest Nigeria.
|Article number||Vol. 42 Nos. 1&2|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2018|