Flora Shaw was born in Woolwich, the child of a Royal Artillery captain. When Flora was in Woolwich in 1870, she attracted the consideration of John Ruskin, who had just been elected educator of fine art at Oxford (Nupur & Strobel, 1992). The subject of Ruskin’s first lecture was imperial duty, and his words guided a different era in the British Empire – the end of the 19th century. The emphasis in Empire was to be Britain’s duty imperial mission to govern and improve the colonies. The lecture had a significant impact on Britain. It ushered in an era of new imperialism when the Empire was at the center of British politics (Nupur & Strobel, 1992). Imperial issues were then often discussed on the front pages of the popular newspapers. Flora was just as strongly affected by Ruskin’s ideas, which later made her one of the influential journalistic figures in imperial politics.
Later, Flora met Cecil Rhodes at the maximum of his authority. Rhodes came to Britain to convince the British court to grant his South African Company a charter to build railways and telegraphs for Nigeria and encourage colonization and trade. Flora Shaw was working for the Times by this time, and she was an essential supporter of Rhodes’ scheme in the paper. Flora had a vast influence on the way the Times reported on imperial politics. In 1897 Flora wrote about the situation in West Africa and developed the term Nigeria to represent the area at the delta of the Niger River ((Nupur & Strobel, 1992). In this way, Flora Shaw was able to influence colonial politics and implement imperial policies in Nigeria.
Nupur, C., & Strobel, M. (1992). Western women and imperialism: complicity and resistance. Indiana University Press.