Missions and the rise of the western maternity among the Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria
This project examines midwifery in the precolonial setting, the nature of Christian missionary activities in Southeastern Nigeria, the colonial process of erecting the maternity, and the collaborations between traditional and Western midwives. The colonial history of Nigeria can be traced to 1885 when British claims to a West African sphere of influence received international recognition. However it was not until 1900, following the British government's acquisition of the Royal Niger Company's territories, that Nigeria was officially considered a British colony. Nonetheless, the groundwork of colonial rule in Southeastern Nigeria predated these eras and is attributed to the establishment of the London-based Church Missionary Society (CMS) at Onitsha in 1857, followed by the Roman Catholic Missions (RCM) in 1885. The rivalry that ensued between them led to the development of a medical mission and the launching of the Western maternity in Southeastern Nigeria, undermining traditional childbirth practices, and providing new forms of training and facilities for a new class of midwives.