In origin the city is an amalgamation of three villages - Mankon, Mendakwe and Nkwen. The first was named for the Mankon people. An alliance of five ethnic groups founded a chieftaincy (a fon) known as the Mankon Fon. Bamenda's principal ethnic group is the Tikar. In the past, the Tikar faced invasions from peoples in the surrounding hills, and between 1700 and 1800, they joined a confederation established by the Mbum for defense purposes. Bamenda was subjected to German colonialism in the late 19th century, and evidence of Germany's former occupation of Bamenda can still be seen today in structures such as the Fort at the Bamenda station. After the defeat of the Germans in World War I (19141918) the League of Nations shared German colonial territories among victorious nations. Western Cameroon was administered jointly with Nigeria under the protectorate of the British until 1961 when following a plebiscite it attained independence by joining then the already independent République du Cameroun.