British Central Africa: Native Tax

British Central Africa

Native Tax


In 1891, Administrator Harry Johnston was dependent on Cecil Rhodes to fund British Central Africa. Johnston believed that if the Africans were to receive protection from the Administration, they would need to contribute something to support this.

Initially, he sought to collect revenue through a Poll Tax of 6/- which was moderate compared to the 14/- per hut which was the rate in Bechuanaland. This was still a heavy burden on most and in practice as little as 1/- per head was collected and often in produce.

Eventually, it was set at 3/- per hut as per the 1893 Hut Tax. The tax was only compulsory in those areas the Administration could enforce its authority (such as the Shire valley and Highlands). In the Northerly part of the protectorate, it remained optional.

British Central Africa