Rapports Commerciales du Cercle de
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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The main topic of this report was the rapid decline of trade in Bamako due to measures taken by the French against Samory Touré. The French forbade trade with the right bank of the Niger. Dioula traders began to stay away in January 1886 because they were afraid of being arrested by the French, prices were low in the Bamako market, and they knew that the French would requisition their animals if they came within reach.
Prices in Bamako: a slave sold for 250 francs, desert salt sold for 75 francs/ barre, cola sold for 100 francs/1000, and a pagne of cloth sold for 7.50 francs each. Caravans brought only 98 barres of salt, 39 slaves, 36 donkeys, 17 cattle, 148,000 kolas and 8 loads of pagnes in January 1886.
Captain Loyer oversaw the planting of a variety of trees in the "village des tirailleurs," especially fig trees.
Trade picked up as Samory Touré's forces suffered progresive defeats and his Sofas were captured or expelled. This reduced pillage and trade routes throughout the Cercle became safe.
The Oussourou was a 10% tax collected by the French on the value of goods carried by a caravan. For the 170 caravans mentioned in this report, the average value of goods carried was 391 francs, but the average Oussourou was 39.4 francs because the October caravans paid a little extra (or else the author made an arithmetic error).
|Month|| Number of |
|value of goods carried (francs)|
|Oct||10||1,020 (paid 1139.8 francs oussourou)|
2,732 Patentes de Dioula were issued in 1898. These patentes specify the number of people in the caravan, the goods carried, the value of the goods, the destination and the tax paid. The largest number were issued for caravans headed to Mininian on the Upper Niger River. Following that, there were 266 for Mediné, 160 for Bougouni, 125 for Banamba, 112 for Beyla, 102 for Siguiri, 80 for other places in the Cercle de Bamako and 78 for Sikasso.
In the east-west direction, there were 67 patentes issued for caravans headed to St. Louis, 40 for Kayes (plus 266 for Mediné mentioned above), 2 for Bafoulabé, 38 for Kita, 30 for Dioubéba, 5 for Koulikoro, 18 for Nyamina, 36 for Ségou, 15 for Djenné, 5 for Mopti, and 3 for Timbuktu. There were also 45 for Konakry, 12 for Fouta and even 1 to Mecca for someone carrying 2,400 francs in silver, plus one horse for trade, but nothing else.
NOTE: It is not clear how the amount of the Oussourou was determined. It does not seem to be directly proportional to the value of goods carried or to the number of people in the caravan, nor is it a flat fee per caravan.
The name Besan‡on was crossed out on the letterhead, so Didio must have taken over fairly recently. This is the cover letter for the next item which concerns Patentes de Dioula. The total amount collected for the patentes was 25,547.5 francs, up from 20,209 francs in 1887. The Oussourou was collected at Banamba.
The head tax ( "impôt de capitulation") was almost entirely collected during the second and third quarters and yielded 260,000 francs, very little of which was paid in produce.
The 1899 harvest in The Cercle de Bamako was smaller than that of 1898 due to insufficient rainfall.
The Oussourou was collected at a single location in the The Cercle de Bamako, Banamba, on the trade routes between Mediné, Bafoulabé, Nyamina, Sikasso, Bobo and the Niger Bend. The oussourou produced 1,461 francs in the fourth quarter of 1899, less than it did in the third quarter of 1899.
The revenue from the patentes de Dioula increased steadily, showing the growing importance of Bamako as a trading center:
|Month||1898 revenue (francs)||1899 revenue (francs)|