anfom document

Gouverneur p.i. Rapenne, "Rapport politique, Année 1941"
(Koulouba, April 1939)
in ANFOM Affairs Politiques, Carton 603, Dossier 9

Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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This long (150+ pages) document provides a wide variety of information about French Soudan under Vichy rule in 1941.

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

Cercle 1940 total 1941 total Europeans
Bamako 430,803 428,927 973
Bougouni 183,371 194,838 15
Gao 160,074 167,540 400
Goundam 118,933 115,391 38
Issa Ber 122,146 123,833 7
Kayes 269,265 250,094 134
Kita 90,046 92,207 56
Koutiala 176,636 170,180 22
Mopti 409,862 416,111 48
Nema 144,021 146,980 23
Nioro 186,298 187,919 22
Ouahigouya 458,820 462,084 16
San 149,353 159,102 30
Ségou 302,981 307,566 346
Sikasso 210,791 210,807 13
Timbuktu 77,546 82,568 29
Tougan 267,946 272,707 24
Total 3,750,952 3,788,852 1,896

The total land area of French Soudan is 1,530,077 square kilometers, so the population density is 2.47 people per square kilometer.

This table shows the growth of the population of French Soudan in the years leading up to World War II:

Year Total population
1937 3,614,607
1938 3,658,607
1939 3,703,734
1940 3,750,952
1941 3,788,852

This table shows the destination of emigrants from French Soudan in 1941:

Destination Permanent Temporary
Senegal 305 1,315
Guinea 285 1,440
Mauritania 0 18
Côte d'Ivoire 1,993 1,965
Other colonies 0 65
Niger 9 97
Total 2,592 4,900

This table shows cercle of origin of emigrants from French Soudan in 1941:

Cercle of origin Permanent Temporary
Bamako 180 700
Bougouni 600 2500
Gao 0 434
Kayes not given
Kita 10 80
Koutiala 0 24
Mopti not given
Nema 0 421
Nioro 0 168
Ouahigouya 1802 0
San not given
Ségou 0 83
Sikasso 0 300
Timbuktu not given
Tougan 0 190
Total 2,592 4,900

In addition, one was Liberian expelled from Ségou back to his own country.

The number of navétanes has diminished over the last three years, according to an investigation made in June 1941. The author speculated that the causes included the intensification of peanut culture in Soudan, and the introduction of new agricultural products in Soudan such as rice and kapock.

The largest number of immigrants come from Côte d'Ivoire and Guinée. Some are miners, and others return to the Soudan as a result of government efforts to "décongestionnement de l'agglomeration de Dakar" (reduce congestion in Dakar) which forced them out.

This table shows the number colons (male heads of resident farming families) and their organization into cantons and villages at the Office du Niger project duuring the period from 1937 to 1941.

Year Colons Cantons Villages
1937 147 6 9
1938 595 10 36
1939 274 10 21
1940 501 15 38
1941 1164 22 67

This report also contains tables showing the number of Christians in each cercle in the French Soudan in 1941: Catholics dominated in all cercles except Sikasso (21 Protestants and 10 Catholics).

Cercle Total Christians
Bamako 3,246
Bougouni 208
Gao 0
Goundam 0
Issa Ber 0
Kayes 1,055
Kita 943
Koutiala 400
Mopti 100
Nema 0
Nioro 0
Ouahigouya 4,000
San 5,200
Ségou 1,300
Sikasso 31
Timbuktu 0
Tougan 1,941
Total 18,424
Total population 3,788,852

The author showed the numbers of Catholics by cercle in previous years and observed that Protestantism lost ground in 1941. The following table shows the total number of Christians in the colony in previous years:

Year Number of Christians
1934 10,105
1935 10,654
1936 11,084
1939 13,826
1940 17,591
1941 18,424

This table shows the number of European and African weapons in the colony:

Cercle European-owned arms African-owned trade arms Arms seized from Africans
Bamako 2,970 10,319 638
Bougouni 33 1,289 3,468
Gao 305 23 1
Goundam 63 109 17
Issa Ber 10 628 1
Kayes 267 5,770 227
Kita 68 3,690 54
Koutiala 32 3,109 79
Mopti 166 3,833 49
Nema 51 2,006 151
Nioro 38 1,084 274
Ouahigouya 33 819 0
San 68 4,494 12
Ségou 1,083 4,717 82
Sikasso 32 2,444 280
Timbuktu 125 9 0
Tougan 28 2,858 87
TOTAL 5,372 47,201 5,420

The report contains a chart showing the amount of gunpowder and cartridges imported into the colony that only gives figures for Bamako, Kayes, Kita, Ségou and Mopti, plus a little for Gao, Goundam, San and Timbuktu.

By the late 1930s, the French permitted Africans to make cash payments instead of providing days of forced labor. The following table shows the value of the days of prestation (forced) labor that were "purchased" by Africans in the period from 1937 to 1941:

Year Total payments (francs) Taxe additionelle (francs)
(implemented January 1939)
1937 672,860.50 -
1938 893,549.20 -
1939 1,949,184.50 975,462
1940 1,646,738.90 2,066,389.48
1941 1,728,824.50 2,305,433.70

This table shows the value of various components of forced labor in each cercle. In addition, the individual food ration of the population flottante (people without a fixed residence) was valued at the local rate, while their days of labor were valued at 4.50 francs per day, and they were expected to work for nine days.

Cercle Cost of one day's
food ration
Cost of one
day of labor
Number of days of forced
labor required
of each person
Bamako
(Bamako and Koulikoro)
2.25 4.50 9
Bamako
(Diočla and Kokolani)
1.75 4 9
Bougouni 2.25 4.50 9
Gao 1.25 3.50 9
Goundam 1.25 3.50 9
Issa Ber 1.75 4 9
Kayes 2.25 4.50 8
Kita 2.25 4.50 9
Koutiala 1.25 3.50 9
Mopti 2.25 4.50 9
Mopti (rest of cercle) 1.75 4 9
Nema 1.75 4 7
Nioro 2.25 4.50 9
Ouahigouya 2.25 4.50 7
San 2.25 4.50 9
Ségou 2.25 5 9
Timbuktu 1.75 4 9
Tougan 2.25 4.50 9

This table shows the number of men requisitioned by the French to provide transportation services (usually carrying loads):

Cercle Number of men Total days Total wages paid
Bamako 1,087 3,158 34,968.60
Bougouni not given
Gao 494 4,175 17,443.25
Goundam 1,130 3,753 15,340.50
Issa Ber 406 3,513 18,653
Kayes 312 1,670 11,354.20
Kita 540 2,016 13,041.30
Koutiala not given
Mopti 2,889 94,051 475,255
Nema not given
Nioro 615 3,398 21,138.50
Ouahigouya 529 4934 36,055.20
San 86 607 2,569.90
Ségou 400 2,290 15,275
Sikasso 20 224 579.30
Timbuktu 1,340 9,500 77,613.30
Tougan 9 31 137
Total 9,857 133,320 739,424.45

This table contains statistics on prison terms and fines handed out by the justice indigène ("native" justice system):

Cercle Number of sentences Number of days of imprisonment Average number of days per sentence Number of fines Total amount of fines (francs) Average amount of fines (francs)
Bamako 480 2,178 4.53 39 585 15
Bougouni none for the last four years
Gao 298 1,490 5 329 4,935 15
Goundam 414 2,021 4.88 25 370 14.80
Issa Ber 260 990 3.80 1 15 15
Kayes 238 952 4 263 3,156 12
Kita 73 325 4.5 4 45 11.25
Koutiala 133 665 5 21 225 10.71
Mopti 285 1,455 5 47 705 15
Nema 461 2,250 4.88 394 5,875 14.91
Nioro 782 3,910 5 6 60 13.33
Ouahigouya 30 144 4.80 2 30 15
San 84 332 3.95 39 495 12.69
Ségou 348 1,734 4.98 82 1,225 14.93
Sikasso 154 770 5 0 0 0
Timbuktu 297 1,481 4.98 37 384 10.37
Tougan 110 550 5 4 60 15
Total 4,447 21,247 4.77 1,293 18,185 14.06
Total 5,740 number of criminal sanctions

In 1941, the salt mines at Taoudenni sent 50,000 barres of salt to Diré, Mopti, Gao and Ouagadougou. The majority went to Ouagadougou. However, it has become practically impossible to know how much salt is transported because the transporters no longer travel in caravans to Taoudenni. The desert is now so secure that the nomads no longer feel the need to group themselves together.

The salt caravan from Tinioulig carried 5,100 barres of salt which the author estimated weighed 25-30 kilograms per barre. In other words, the caravan carried a total of 127.5 tons of salt. Tinioulig is about 26 days away from Oulata, somewhere in Mauritania. (NOTE: Another source placed Taoudenni at a distance of 16 days away from Timbuktu in 1957, so Tinioulig must be even further away.) This salt sold for at least 100 francs per barre in Nara and Sokolo.

The merchants of the colony have ordered 4,000 tons of salt from Kaolack, but transportation problems make it unlikely that it will arrive.

The author reported on the Affaire Nioro-Assaba. On August 24 to 28, 1940, Moors under the leadership of Cherif Hamallah Baba attacked caravans in the northern part of the Cercle de Nioro. Their action was directed against everyone who was not Tidjani. The Cherif claimed that French power was now finished in the region. The total cost was 247 dead and 4,950,000 francs. The French made more than 800 arrests and the detainees were placed in concentration camps at Tamchakett, Ayoun el Atrouss, Nioro, and Yélimané, and in prisons at Kayes and Bamako. Trials were held on June 24-30, 1941, and resulted in thirty-three death sentences, three sentences of hard labor for twenty years, one sentence at hard labor for ten years, and 558 other prison sentences.