anm document

"Monographée succinte de Cercle de Mopti par Lalande (July 5, 1923)
in ANM 1 D 49 fonds anciens.

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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(p2) After Gao was destroyed during the Moroccan invasion of 1591, Macina (the region surrounding Mopti) was controlled by Moroccan pashas from Timbuktu. However, by the 18th century, the descendants of those Moroccan leaders were nearly powerless. The Peuls of the Mopti region became the vassals of the Bambara in Segou, until they were liberated by Sekou Amadou Bari.

(p3) Sekou Amadou Bari crossed the Bani River and built his capital near Mopti at Hamdallahi ( "Louange Dieu" or "Praise to Allah"). He captured Timbuktu in 1827, but after he died in 1844, Timbuktu won its freedom with help from the Tuareg. Sekou Amadou Bari's son recaptured Timbuktu, but he abdicated in favor of his son Ahmadou Ahmadou in 1852, who reigned until 1862 when Umar Tall conquered Macina and killed him. Ahmadou Ahmadou's brother Ba Lobo continued to resist from a small kingdom in the Niger Bend, and even though the Peul provincial governors submitted to Umar Tall, the people of Macina revolted. Ba Lobo led a combined army of Peul and Kountas that trapped Umar at Hamdallahi before he could return to Segou.

(p4) Although Umar finally managed to fight his way out of Hamdallahi, he was killed in a gunpowder explosion at Dayambéré along the cliff near Bandiagara.

Lt. Caron visited Macina in his gunboat in 1887. Tidiani Tall, the Tukolor governor of Macina, died 1888.

(p5) In 1902, Macina was organized as the Cercle de Djenné. The French headquarters moved to Mopti in 1917 "pour faciliter l'administration des territoires." By 1923, the Cercle had two subdivisions - Mopti with 39 cantons and Djenné with 19 cantons.

(pp5-9) The 1923 population of the Cercle de Mopti was 160,000 people of various races. They included Bozos (Muslim farmers and fishermen, Mandé origin), Markas (Muslim traders), Bamanas or Bambaras (animist Mandé whose main fetishes were named Koma and Nama). Their sorcerers were Soubakas), Somono (Bambara fishermen), Songhais, Peuls or Fulbes, Rimaïbes (former slaves of the Peul), and Bobos (fetishists).

(p10) Commerce: there were 17 European and 19 Syrian commercial houses in Mopti. Five of the European houses were headquartered in the cercle: Roux et Simonetti (Mopti), Danel (Mopti), Vendenheim (Djenne), Giafferie (Tenenkou) and Vialle (Dia). All of the Syrians were headquartered in the Cercle of Mopti except for Watchi, who was based in Bamako.

(p11) This is a list of imported goods found in Mopti in 1923: various kinds of cloth including silk, and blue and white cotton cloth, glass and porcelain beads, fake and real amber, tobacco, perfumes, salt from various sources including sea salt from France and rock salt from Spain, Mauritania and Timbuktu, etc.

Local products for export or local consumption: "wool, wax, a small quantity of cotton, rice, millet, cow and goat skins, dried fish, and Shea butter ( "beurre de Karité" ).

One of the main commercial activities is the export of cattle to the coastal colonies, especially the British Gold Coast. This trade increased recently and as a result, local beef consumption was down.

Rice was the main agricultural product. It was grown during the rainy season between August and November. The main rice farmers were the Rimaïbés . In good years, they produced enough to satisfy local needs and export a large quantity.

(p12) There was very little corn and almost no peanuts, but they grew lots of millet and exported large amounts. Fonio (a grain) cultivation was possible, but needed to be encouraged.

There was very little cotton, although there were experimental cotton fields at Diafarabé, located at the junction of the Diaka and Niger Rivers. There were also some experiments with "da," a "plante textile." Karité was produced for local consumption only.