anfom document

Gouverneur p.i. Desanti, "Rapport politique, Année 1938"
(Koulouba, April 1939)
in ANFOM Affairs Politiques, Carton 603, Dossier 9

Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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This long (120+ pages) document provides a wide variety of information about French Soudan on the eve of World War II.

The following table lists the population of each of the cercles of French Soudan in 1937 and 1938:

Cercle 1937 total 1938 total European citizens African citizens Other citizens
Bamako 426,072 429,341 762 222 84
Bougouni 186,625 185,672 14 - -
Gao 152,158 153,935 147 13 116
Goundam 120,880 121,240 25 7 -
Issa Ber 117,924 118,500 7 - -
Kayes 253,713 254,852 207 296 48
Kita 83,537 83,000 46 22 -
Koutiala 176,859 176,888 26 - -
Mopti 401,785 407,840 54 23 70
Nema 123,202 125,368 14 8 -
Nioro 171,370 173,493 14 5 -
Ouahigouya 414,216 441,080 23 1 -
San 148,895 149,673 22 2 -
Segou 283,278 286,730 325 86 -
Sikasso 209,304 209,250 16 18 -
Timbuktu 77,954 77,881 155 - -
Tougan 265,834 262,114 20 1 -
TOTAL 3,614,607 3,655,662 1,687 704 318

This table gives the population figures for principal towns, divided into many subcategories:

Category Bamako Kayes Gao Djenné Mopti Ségou Timbuktu
French citizens 542 141 80 3 38 125 88
Foreigners (European) 311 30 9 0 95 45 13
French métis 184 25 16 4 9 24 6
Foreign métis 7 5 0 0 0 5 6
African citizens 178 220 9 1 10 25 5
African subjects 24,960 15,615 6,655 5,347 5,200 8,293 6,428
Foreign subjects 27 26 2 0 0 8 12
European soldiers 69 19 65 0 1 22 77
African soldiers 365 400 195 0 6 850 525
European police 7 1 1 0 1 1 1
African police
(Police et Gardes de Cercle)
136 15 26 25 52 40 25

This table shows the origin of immigrants into each cercle during the course of 1938:

Cercle AOF Other (non-French) West Africa
Permanent Temporary Permanent Temporary
Bamako - 6,000 - -
Bougouni - 6,500 - -
Gao - 1,200 - -
Goundam - - - -
Issa Ber - - - -
Kayes 64 1,724 19 15
Kita - 768 - -
Koutiala 32 410 15 60
Mopti - 500 125 350
Nema - 450 - 200
Nioro - 5,570 - 10
Ouahigouya 1,215 - 4,000 -
San - - - -
Segou - 334 - 16
Sikasso - 1,050 - -
Timbuktu - - 3 -
Tougan - 200 - 100
Total 1,311 24,906 159 4,756

This table shows the destinations of emigrants from each cercle during the course of 1938:

Cercle AOF other West Africa (non-French)
Permanent Temporary Permanent Temporary
Senegal 74 19,166 - -
Algeria - - - -
Guinea 2 1,580 - -
Gambia - - - 15
Mauritania - 50 - -
Gold Coast - - 15 4,379
Morroco - - - -
Côte d'Ivoire 850 2,210 - -
Niger 385 1,200 - -
Nigeria - - - 10
France - - - -
Other - 500 144 350
Total 1,311 24,706 159 4,754

Nearly all of the temporary emigrants to Senegal are navétanes. They come from Bamako (5,000-6,000), Bougouni (5,000), Kita (468), Kayes (1,670), Nioro (5,000) and Sikasso (221). The total is 19,166.

These numbers are based on the issue of cartes de navétanes and can only be considered approximate. For example, Bamako delivered no cartes de navétane during the year, but railroad statistics show of the roughly 10,000 navétanes who headed for Senegal, 5,000-6,000 came from Bamako. Administrators in Kita gave out 468 cartes de navétane and and administrators in Kayes gave out 975. Of the 5,000 navétanes from Nioro, 1,321 got their cards at Kayes and 2,500 got their cards in Nioro. The rest went on foot.

The black Bellahs (former slaves) in the Cercle de Goundam are not entirely free of their nomad masters, despite French policy.

Catholics are organized into three vicariat apostoliques based in Bamako, Bobo Diuolasso and Ouagadougou. The following table shows the number of Catholic and Protestant Africans in the Soudan, by cercle:

Location Catholics Protestants Note
Bamako (town) 475 50 -
Bamako (surrounding area) 1,040 n/a -
Bougouni 20 0 Protestant mission has no followers
Gao 9 10 -
Kayes (town) 470 0 -
Kayes (surrounding area) 810 n/a -
Kita (town) 320 0 -
Kita (surrounding area) 705 n/a -
Koutiala 109 250 -
Mopti - 60 -
Ouahigouya 3500 108 -
San 3,000 1,200 -
Ségou (town) 1,918 0 -
Ségou (surrounding area) 964 n/a -
Sikasso 10 14 -
Timbuktu 0 0 American Protestant mission has no followers
Tougan 1810 0 -

This table shows the distribution of weapons by cercle and ethnicity:

Cercle European African
Population Revolvers
& pistols
Rifles Non-rifled
weapons
Population Revolvers
& pistols
Rifles Non-rifled
weapons
Trade arms Trade arms seized
Bamako 1,568 13 30 189 429,257 0 1 162 12,095 100
Bougouni 26 1 3 8 185,672 0 0 27 4,961 0
Gao 254 0 1 22 153,814 0 1 20 19 0
Goundam 54 2 3 10 121,240 0 4 21 103 22
Kayes 334 2 7 124 254,804 0 0 33 6,117 0
Kita 61 1 1 18 83,000 0 0 39 3,381 196
Koutiala 50 2 2 10 176,888 0 0 45 3,286 0
Mopti 204 0 5 27 408,170 0 0 77 3,691 42
Nema 56 0 0 7 125,368 1 19 52 1,996 0
Niafunke 18 0 3 7 118,500 0 0 24 630 0
Nioro 31 1 0 10 173,493 0 0 15 662 41
Ouahigouya 24 1 13 13 441,080 1 1 62 815 25
Ségou 458 7 23 97 286,730 0 1 68 4,684 0
Sikasso 35 2 1 7 209,250 0 0 41 2,754 11
Timbuktu 260 0 4 12 77,881 0 4 11 2 0
Tougan 34 0 1 9 262,114 0 0 71 2,787 101
TOTAL x 31 98 570 x 2 31 768 47,983 x

This table shows the number of Africans in each cercle who were forced to carry loads for the French administration, the number of days they were employed in transport, and the amount that they were paid:

Cercle Number of men Total number of days Total salaries (francs)
Bamako 295 1,097 8,126
Bougouni 0 0 0
Gao No information given
Goundam 118 1,142 3,813.50
Issa-Ber 115 1,315 5,775
Kayes No information given
Kita 75 150 656.25
Koutiala 0 0 0
Mopti 150 1,070 4157
Nema 585 5,980 68,470 (includes animal rental)
Nioro 256 2,115 6,642.5
Ouahigouya 63 585 2045
San 5 620 2707
Ségou 0 0 0
Sikasso 26 52 1,457.50
Timbuktu 43 420 1,155
Tougan 0 0 0
Total 1,731 14,546 105,004.75

This report contains a description of the progress made on constructing a road from Bamako-Ségou-Douna in the area around San and Koutiala. The report mentions material used, including a 5-ton steam roller and a 3.5-ton Citroen truck and a 4-ton Renault truck. The construction also relied on the use of the narrow-gauge railroad from Ségou to the Bani River to haul material for the section Segou-Douna.

This table contains information on the sentences handed out by the native justice system (Indigenat):

Cercle Number of sentences Total days of imprisonment Number of fines Amount of fines (francs)
Bamako 125 616 251 3,015
Bougouni No information given
Gao 272 1360 19 185
Goundam 93 339 31 174
Issa Ber 38 170 0 0
Kayes 107 535 0 0
Kita 22 110 0 0
Koutiala 76 355 19 274
Mopti 230 1075 137 890
Nema 23 115 11 155
Nioro 74 370 0 0
Ouahigouya 74 315 1 15
Segou 104 510 6 90
Sikasso 4 20 0 0
Timbuktu 92 460 64 370
Tougan 45 221 9 150
Total 1,379 6,571 548 5,198

There was a lot of work done on constructing roads across the Sahara Desert (Pistes Transahariennes). The route from Timbuktu to Tindouf was marked as far as Chegga in southern Morocco in February 1938, a water well was dug at Teghazza, 400 kilometers north of Timbuktu, and the piste opened to automobiles in November 1938. The route from Gao to Raggan (Reggane, in Algeria) was improved with road markings around Bourem, Anefis and Gao.

1,428 tons of salt were transported from Taoudenni to Timbuktu in 1938. Everything had to be brought through the deesert to supply Taoudenni, and the prices of all goods in Taoudeenni were calculated in salt. The following table gives some of the prices in 1939:

Item Amount Price in salt (barres)
Shelled rice (riz décortiqué) 1 aouli 2.5
Millet (petit mil) 1 aouli 2
Millet (gros mil) 1 aouli 1.5
Butter 3 liters 2
Smoked meat 1 kilogram 1
Dates 2 kilograms 1
Tikomarine 2 kilograms 1

The French intended to reestablish the salt caravan (azalač) from the Sebkha de Tinioulig in 1939. It has not operated since 1903 after the last one was entirely wiped out by a raid by the Regneibats.