The Defence of Gagadama: Siege Warfare and Ethnographic Knowledge

Author(s): Scott MacEachern

Year: 2013


The extension of European rule into the southern Lake Chad Basin was one phase in a process of impingement into the area of globalising systems of power and connection that began centuries earlier. It contributed to the disruption of indigenous systems of regional domination, but took place sporadically, especially in the rugged and densely populated terrain of the Mandara Mountains. One significant episode in that process was the First World War siege of a German military unit along the Gagadama ridgeline. This siege combined the familiar accouterments of European colonial warfare  (‘native’ troops, European weapons) with elements of pre-colonial politico-military activity (retreat into the hills by plains elites under pressure, alliance with non-Muslim montagnards), in a struggle for control of an intensely domesticated landscape. It marked the first time that Europeans intensively interacted with Mandara montagnard communities, and its memorialisation in mountain localities remains a significant element in montagnard histories.

Cite this Record

The Defence of Gagadama: Siege Warfare and Ethnographic Knowledge. Scott MacEachern. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428459)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 113