Colonial rule
contributed to the decline of the powers of the
traditional rulers in West Africa through the
following ways.

  • Colonial rule led to
    breakdown of the existing Sinks between the traditional
    rulers and their subjects, making the former mere appendages of
    alien government.
  • The introduction of wage earning for working
    subjects by colonial  government 
    gave  the  subjects  
    economic independence from the traditional
    rulers.
  • The influence of western education resulted in the
    breaking down of traditional norms and values
    of society e.g. paying of homage and respect for the traditional
    rulers.
  • The influence of foreign religion scaled down the
    power of the traditional rulers as the spiritual authority of their people.
  • The establishment of law courts by the
    colonialists eroded judicial power of traditional rulers.
  • The setting up of legislative council by the
    colonial authority reduced the law making functions of
    traditional rulers. 
  • The introduction of native or local
    authorities which took over the traditional
    rulers absolute control over taxation and its disbursement.  
  • The use of forced labour and conscription
    by the colonial authority
    reduced the popularity of the traditional rulers.
  •  The colonial Governors was vested with
    appointment and removal of
    traditional rulers reduced the prestige of traditional rulers and
    misdirected their loyality.  
  • The
    stoppage of inter-tribal war put to an end the means by which traditional
    rulers accumulated wealth.