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ONSV21NOS102

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Original British 1899 Royal Niger Company’s Medal: Bronze Constabulary Issue

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Royal Niger Company’s Medal was a campaign medal issued in 1899 by the Royal Niger Company for service in minor military operations in Nigeria between 1886 and 1897. The award was approved by the British Government and could be worn by British servicemen.
 
The medal is 38 millimeters (1.5 in) in diameter. It was awarded in silver to Europeans (about 100 awarded) and bronze to native Africans. All bronze editions such as this one, were issued with a single clasp, inscribed "NIGERIA".
 
On the obverse is a left facing portrait of Queen Victoria, designed by Sir Joseph Boehm with the inscription "VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX".
 
On the reverse is the arms of the Royal Niger Company (a shield bearing the words "PAX, JUS, ARS", Latin for Peace, Justice, Skill), with a trophy of arms and flags behind, all surrounded by a laurel wreath.
 
On the Silver edition medals, the name and rank of the recipient was impressed or engraved on the rim. Bronze medals were issued with a number impressed on the rim. The number on the rim of this medal is 2010.
 
The medal was designed and manufactured by Spink and Son of London.
 
The 31.7 millimeters (1.25 in) wide ribbon has three equal strips of yellow, black and white, with the yellow to the left when facing the wearer.
 
The overall condition of the medal and ribbon is incredible given how old the award is. There is little damage to the ribbon, it appears as if a pin or tack was being used to hang the medal. The medal only shows a minor amount of aged patina, still showing a beautiful bronze color.
 
A welcome addition to any British colonies collection. Comes ready to display!
 
The award covered a series of small punitive expeditions in the company’s territory between 1886 and 1897, with only operations where casualties had occurred qualifying. Those involved were locally recruited troops and constabulary employed by the Royal Niger Company, as well as a small number of British army officers and non commissioned officers seconded to local forces. No British Army units took part. For native forces, only those who were still in service when the medal was issued received the medal.
 
No further awards were made after the Royal Niger Company had its charter revoked in 1899, with any operation justifying an award covered by other campaign medals, including the East and West Africa Medal and the Africa General Service Medal.
 
The Royal Niger Company was a mercantile company chartered by the British government in the nineteenth century. It was formed in 1879 as the United African Company and renamed to National African Company in 1881 and to Royal Niger Company in 1886. In 1929 the company became part of the United Africa Company, which came under the control of Unilever in the 1930s and continued to exist as a subsidiary of Unilever until 1987, when it was absorbed into the parent company.
 
The company existed for a comparatively short time (1879–1900) but was instrumental in the formation of Colonial Nigeria, as it enabled the British Empire to establish control over the lower Niger against the German competition led by Bismarck during the 1890s. In 1900, the company-controlled territories became the Southern Nigeria Protectorate, which was in turn united with the Northern Nigeria Protectorate to form the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914 (which eventually gained independence within the same borders as the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1960).
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