secondary work

A. S. Kanya-Forstner, The Conquest of the Western Sudan

(Cambridge University Press, 1969).

in the University of Delaware library.
Notes © 2002 by Jim Jones , Ph.D.

Go to Archive Table of Contents Read Disclaimer

Chapter   Begins on page
I Introduction: the Colonial Army and the Western Sudan 1
II The Background of the Conquest 22
III The Revival of the Niger Plan, 1876-80 55
IV The Occupation of the Niger, 1880-83 84
V The Problems of Occupation, 1883-86 113
VI The Consolidation of the Sudan and the New African Policy 142
VII The `Total Conquest' of the Sudan, 1888-93 174
VIII The Civilian Administration of the Sudan, 1893-95 215
IX The Last Years of Military Rule, 1895-99 237
X Conclusion: French African Policy & Military Imperialism 263
XI List of Sources 275
XII Bibliography 279

SUMMARY

This is a detailed description of how the French Marines (naval soldiers) created a military empire in the Western Sudan. They were able to do this because they were the only effective instrument of French policy in a remote region, and because they operated at a time when fear of British strength, fear of Islamic jihad, the loss to Prussia and the weakness of the civilian government of the Third Republic made arguements about the security of Frenchmen in Africa compelling.

The opportunism of individual French soldiers aggravated the situation - particularly Faidherbe, Desbordes, Archinard and Combes. Various ministers supported their efforts, particularly Jauréguiberry and Delcassé. The empire they created was counter-productive to France's "mission civiliatrice" and wreaked economic havoc on the area. That, plus consistent budget overruns, provoked parliament to control the military officers and finally, to replace them with a civilian administration.


I. Introduction: the Colonial Army and the Western Sudan

(p1) The French conquest of the Sudan was remarkable because it was accomplished by a relatively small number of French naval troops who created an empire that was larger than France. This book seeks to explain why it came about.

(p1) Based on European ideas about strategy and trade in the 19th century, the conquest should never have taken place. France had been a colonial power for a long time, but its primary interests were in Europe and its main strategic problem was its eastern frontier. [i.e. the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to the Germans in 1871]

(p1) In a footnote, Georges Périn, the Radical deputy, was quoted concerning his opposition to French participation in the 1882 occupation of Egypt. He said, "La France doit être économe du sang de ses soldats; ses malheurs passés. sa situation en Europe aujourd'hui, lui en font un devoir. Ce que les Anglais peuvent faire impunément nous n'aurions pu le faire sans péril. A ceux qui nous disent: `Vouse êtes les timorés,' je reponds: `Vous êtes des aveugles et des sourds. Aveugles qui ne voyez pas la frontière ouverte du côté des Vosges; sourds qui n'entendez pas ce grand bruit d;armes qui se fait en Allemagne. ..." [Source: Georges Périn, speech at limoges, 17 September 1882, cited in G. Clemenceau and H. Schirmer, eds., Georges Périn, 1838- 1903: Discours politiques et notes de voyages (Paris, 1905), xiv.]

(p2) French commercial interests were also focused in Europe. Until mid-century, France was mostly an agricultural nation whose farmers had little need or interest in tropical products. Once industrialization slowly began to get underway in the 1850s, the demand began to increase, but the boom in public works, especially railroads, kept most interest focused on internal development. By the end of the 19th century, French investors looked to Britain, Germany and Russia for overseas opportunities rather than colonies. Russia offered the most attractive possibilities, and until 1900, French colonial trade was less than 10% of the total.

(pp2-3) There were some earlier French endeavors in Africa, but the 1830 expedition to Algeria sent by Charles X was intended to bolster his rule at home, not to acquire overseas trade. It proved very unpopular, and only Marseilles businessmen made any money (supplying the invasion force) because the Boroubons were overthrown three weeks later and the Orleanists under Louis Philippe ended up embroiled in a war that lasted until the 1840s.

(p3) Napoleon III tried but failed to achieve very much. He sent an expeditionary force to China in 1858-1860, but his British allies got the most advantage from "the Treaties of Tientsin and Conventions of Peking." He also tried to create a French empire in the Levant, but backed down the first time the British expressed opposition. He also sent Maxmillan to Mexico, and that ended in disaster.

(p3) The Franco-Prussian defeat stalled French expansion for a time since it cost the French 150,000 soldiers, 5 billion francs, the industries of Alsace and the iron mines of lorraine. It ended French dreams of primacy in Europe, left France diplomatically isolated, and ended social stability. For the first decade after the defeat, the country's resources were applied to internal reconstruction. It led to a decade without colonial expansion. Colonial expenditures were reduced to a minimum and had to support penal colonies as well.

(p4) Only in 1879 did the French government begin to admit the possibility of a colonial policy, but Napoleon III's failures left Frenchmen skeptical about colonial expansion. The 1881 Tunisian expedition produced a political storm that ended Jules Ferry's government, and Freycinet fell in 1882 when he suggested sending troops to aid in the Egyptian crisis. In 1883 Ferry returned to power and advanced into Indochina, but when the French were forced to retreat from Lang-Son, his government fell and his political career was ruined. His successor, Brisson, also fell following the Chamber's vote on the Tonkin budget in November 1885.

(p4) A note contains figures for French colonial budgets from 1869-1873: [Source: ANF Série AD XVIIIf (Budget Reports), 900, 913, 888, 892, 893.]

Year Credits Granted Service Pénitentiaire Net Credit
1869 25,207,217 5,129,580 22,077,637
1870 28,320,705 4,801,040 23,519,665
1871 24,737,595 5,034,011 19,703,584
1872 21,751,545 5,036,860 16,714,685
1873 24,889,484 8,678,866 16,210,618

(pp4-5) Despite their failures, all of these activities at least addressed French strategic or economic needs in the Mediterranean. The Tunisian operation was intended to protect Algiers, as well as French investents along the northern coast. It also made France dominant in the western Mediterranean and signaled her return to Great Power status. In addition, the French considered Egypt to be within their sphere of influence ever since the epxedition of Napoleon I, and they feared that the British occupation of Egypt would upset the balance of power in the region and interfer with french access to eastern Asia.

(pp5-6) On other hand, the Sudanese empire made no sense except possibly to improve the security of Algiers. The region's trade was insignificant to France and despite promises of riches, the only products were some gum, groundnuts and palm oil. Only some Bordeaux and Marseilles traders wanted to pursue it further, and they had to decide if increased government protection was worth the problems that would follow from increased government scrutiny of their operations.

(p6) Since the interests were so small, West African policy was delegated to the Colonial Department of the Ministry of the Navy (Ministère de Marine). Until the 1880s, this was a minor department headed by a civil servant, a directeur des colonies. [Source: See A. Duchéne, La politique coloniale de la France (Paris, 1928); and F. Berge, Le sous-secrétariat et les sous- secrétaires d'état aux colonies (Paris, 1962).] During the 1880s, the status of the Colonial Department increased as its director became an Under-Secretary, but that meant the under-secretaries were also politicians and junior members of the government, subject to direction (and pressure) from the Minister of the Navy. Until 1889, the Under-Secretary of Colonies' authority was determined by minsiterial arrêté and the department was shifted back and forth between the naval or commercial ministries. After 1894, the role of the colonial department was clarified by the creation of an independent colonial ministry, but the ministers tended to be minor figures in govenment. [A note says that of the seven colonial ministers in the first five years, only Delcassé was an important figure, and André Lebon achieved some fame for his handling of the Dreyfus Affair.

(pp6-7) The undersecretaries were nominally under the supervision of the Ministry of the Navy, but in fact they often acted independently, since the Ministers were preoccupied with other naval or commercial matters. After 1889, the appointment of colonial undersecretaries (USC) (like other ministers) by presidential decree made them fairly independent. Undersecretaries signed decrees as if they were ministers, attended all Cabinet discussions on colonial affairs, answered parliamentary questions and had their statments treated the same as statements from ministers. Critics calimed that they enjoyed minsterial power without ministerial responsibility.

(p7) Unlike other ministers in the Third Republic (which went through 42 governments in 30 years), who were often dominated by their professional staff, the colonial undersecretaries were able to withstand the rapid cabinet changes of the Third Republic by ignoring the political battles, concentrating on colonial issues and developing specialized expertise. Three great Undersecretaries, Felix Fauré, Eugène Étienne and Théophile Delcassé all became leading political figures. Although Amédée de la Porte and Emile Jamais were not particularly successful in office, they were both considered to brilliant men.

(pp7-8) The western Sudan offered the greatest opportunity for the USC because they were were forbidden to interfer in Egypt and North Africa. Only in the 1890s did the USC become involved in Egypt, thanks to Marchand's thrust to the Upper Nile. Along the West African coast, the presence of other European powers meant that the USC had to work in tandem with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. But the Sudan was in the interior, remote and sufficiently isolated to reduced cabinet-level scrutiny. Their distance from the political battles of Paris meant that the USC and his Sudanese administrators could focus on long range goals instead of short-term expediency. That allowed their actions to take into account their expectations for the region.

(p8) However, the ideas that came out of Paris (hte "official mind") are not enough to explain what happened in the Sudan. They could issue directives, but it fell to the men on the ground in the Sudan to execute them, so the ideas held by members of the Colonial Marines are also significant.

(p8) The development of the colonial military mind began in Algeria in the 19th century. There, they learned to be insubordinate to civilian control by systematically disregarding instructions from Paris, and "During the Governorship of General Bugeaud (1840-47), military insubordination was raised to the level of an art."

(p9) For soldiers, an Algerian post was the most desireable assignemnt in the Armée De Terre. They received overseas pay bonuses, and their time in Algeria counted double towards seniority, and that determined the rate of promotion. There were also many relatively risk-free opportunities (only 304 officers were killed in action from 1830-1847) for action which provided the chance to win medals or a mention in the ordre du jour de l'armée, which offered the only way to circumvent the seniority system. As a result, the best graduates of Saint-Cyr almost also took assignments with the zouaves of Algeria. [Source: See P. chalmin, L'officier français de 1815 à 1879 (Paris, 1957).]

(p9) The Algerian experience also taught two generations of soldiers everything that they thought they knew about colonial warfare. They learned the tactics of the "daring and rapid advance" and the organization of compact mobile units used to combat an equally mobile enemy. In addition, they acquired the attitude and confidence that only they understood conditions in the colonies. They learned to resent any interference from Paris and to believe that only they could make policy decisions. They distrusted military science and had nothing but contempt for civilians. Eventually, this mystique pervaded the entire army, with terrible consequences for the French army.

(p10) In contrast with Algeria, the French army in the Sudan had a very different experience. The Algerian force numbered as many as 100,000 while the maximum in the Sudan never exceeded 4000. The Algierans of the Armée de terre were commanded by field marshals and generals while the Sudanese were led by majors and colonels. The soldiers in the Sudan came from the less prestigious infanterie and artillerie de marine.

(p10) Soldiers in the marines were despised by their naval superiors and discriminated against. Like the army, marine officers came from both the ranks and the grands écoles. Only the worst graduates of Saint-Cyr (which didn't do a very good job to begin with) went to the artillerié de marine; the best went to the zouaves, the turcos, or the chasseurs. The école Polytechnique provided a somewhat better education, but most of its graduates went into civilian work, only a few joined the army, and almost none joined the marines. Of the postings that were available to the class of 1969, thirteen were filled by graduates from the bottom of the class. [Source: Class list of Louis Archinard, Archinard Papers.]

(pp10-11) The defeat of the French army in 1871 made the situation worse for colonial troops. The rehabilitation of the army became a national need, and nothing could be done to question its reputation. Any further failures had to be blamed on individuals or organization, but not on the ability of the army as a whole. Since the army's sole mission was to prepare for the day when it could regain the Lost Provinces, there were few funds for colonial troops.

(p11) After 1880, the need for colonial troops became more evident, since the 19,000 marines was insufficient for the Tonkin and Tunisian campaigns, the Armée de l'Afrique could not be moved from Algeria, and the Armée de la Terre could not be moved from France. The solution was to create two separate armies--a large one for continental campaigns and a second one composed of a smaller expeditionary force to handle problems overseas.

(pp11-12) The first attempt to organize a colonial army began in 1881, but ended in 1885 without producing anything concrete. The debate resumed in 1891, but by then, the situation was completely confused. Troops were under the authority of colonial governors who answered to the Colonial Department of the Ministry of the Navy in Paris. When the colonial department was transferred to the Ministry of Commerce in 1889, the Ministry of the Navy no longer had authority of marines in the colonies. That was a violation of the General Law on Recruitment of July 1889, and it produced more debate, but by 1893, all they had decided was how to recruit soldiers for overseas.

(p12) The formation of an independent Minister of Colonies in 1894 with responsibility for defnding the colonies was the final straw. While the Minister of Colonies should have been granted oversight over a colonial army, there was too much political opposition to the creation of a third military ministry. The bickering also blocked efforts to place the colonial army under either the Minsitry of War or Ministry of the Navy. Thus, the Armée Coloniale did not come into existence until 1900 as an autonomous group under the Ministry of War. [Source: Loi de 7 July 1900 in JO (8 July 1900), 4373-5.] In the meantime, the French conquest of the Western Sudan took place under conditions of near anarchy.

(p13) The dispute over the control of the colonial army continued between the Ministries of War & Marine. The troops were deployed by Colonial Department of the Minister of the Navy, and their officers were controlled by the Undersecretary for Colonies, a civilian, but they had the right to correspond with the Minister of the Navy on technical subjects such as pay, postings and promotions. Since Ministers of the Navy rarely had time to focus their attention on the concerns o the colonial officers, that responsibility fell to the Inspectorates-General which were staffed by senior marine officers. In effect, the troops policed themselves.

(p13) There were several incentives for regular army troops to serve in the colonial army. Although the infanterie de marine had been nearly wiped out at Sedan, it acquired a reputation for heroism and by the end of the war, recruited enough new soldiers to field a force of 13,000. By 1885, they were entitled to the same benefits as soldiers in Algeria, including increased pay, shorter terms of service and early retirement.

(pp13-14) The opportunities for promotion wre also better than in the regular army, where seniority determined the "dreadfully slow" rate of promotion (25 years to reach the rank of major). In the colonies, disease and action killed more officers and opened up more positions for advancement. As a consequnce, the colonial army tended to attract those who had no patience for garrison life--"the most energetic adventurous elements of the Nation and the Army" according to Godfrey Cavaignac, Projet de loi (9 July 1895) in JO Doc. Parl. Chambre, no. 1488, 1313.

(p14) The colonial volunteers brought a unique personality to their positions and developed it further. They generally enjoyed more authority than they would have held in other posts at home. They also exhibited extreme self-confidence and contempt for civilians and metropolitan life. They stayed away from home for a long time and developed an intense feeling of comraderie with their fellow marines. They craved excitement.

(pp14-15) The Sudan was an ideal billet because the Colonial Army was boss; no rivals from navy or regular army, and no obligation to share control with any other branch of the service, unlike in Tonkin, Dahomey or Madagascar. The conquest of the Sudan was exclusively an affair of the infanterie and the artillerie de marine, and the African contingents their offices led.

(p15) "What Algeria had once been for the Army the Sudan was to become for the troupes coloniales. The course of Sudanese expansion was to depend as much upon the attitudes and aspirations of the officier Sudanais as it did upon those of the policy-makers. So the motives for the conquest must clearly be sought in the military as well as in the official mind of imperialism."

(p15) There was also an African contribution to the motivation that led France to its Sudanese empire. The marines arrived during a period of militant Muslim revivalism.

(p15) Background on Islam in West Africa: 1000AD Tekrur people on Senegal River converted; 1100AD Almoravids reached south to Ghana; Islam in the Sudan began to decline following 1591 invasion by Morocco; Muslim empires were replaced by animist Bambara kingdoms of Kaarta and Segou.

(p16) In the 18th century, Muslim reform movements formed to purify Islam. The Wahhabi movement of the Arabian desert is possibly the purest example, while similar movements in North Africa were expressed as variations of Sufiism. Sufiism taught that individuals could reach mystical union with Allah through faith by means of asceticism, special prayers and religious exercises. They became organized as tariqas led by shaikhs who claimed relationships with Muslim saints back to the founder of the Sufi movment, al-Junaid (died 916). They were thought to have supernatural powers because of their ability to channel Allah's baraka to the faithful, even after death (making their tombs into places of pilgrimmage).

(pp16-17) By the 19th century, ottoman rule in West Africa was focused on security and collecting revenue, so it permitted the new religious ideas to develop unchecked. The tariqas filled the administrative vacuum and their shaikhs became powerful political leaders.

(pp17-18) The Qadiriyya order, founded in the 12th century in North Africa, was influential among the Kunta Arabs of Timbuktu. The Tijaniyya, founded in the 1780s in Algeria, became influential in the region of the Lower Senegal River, especially among the Fulfulde-speaking peoples, including the Tokolors and Fulani who ranged between the Senegal River and Lake Chad. In 1720, Fulani immigrants from Macina managed to establish a Muslim state in Futa Jallon (modern Guinea) and that inspired the torodbe (Tokolor clerical aristocracy) to overthrough their rulers and create a clerical state in Futa Toro about 1770. That inspired Uthman dan Fodio to lead a jihad in northern Nigeria that created the Sokoto Empire. Another "itinerant cleric," Ahmadu Hammadi Bari, revolted against the local Ardo (descendants of the Arma who conquered Timbuktu in the 1590s) and their Bambara masters to create a Muslim Empire at Macina. Finally, in the 1850s al-Hajj Umar conquered everything from Timbuktu to the border of French Senegal.

(p18) The revolutions had great significance in the region, but their interpretation is a subject of controversy. They have been described as movements for social justice by peasants who revolted against corrupt Hausa rulers; as manifestations of Fulani nationalism; and as religious movements whose goal was purification through the creation of a religious state.

(p19) The French thought that Islamic states were a problem because theocratic rule made peaceful acceptance of French advance impossible. In 1832, after the French invasion of Algiers, the interior tribes united, declared a jihad against the French, and appointed Abd el-Kader of the Qadiriyya order as their leader. The resulting war lasted fifteen years and required a third of the French army to defeat it. Muslim opposition cvontined after Abd el-Kader's defeat.

(pp19-20) Despite the French experience with Islam, Muslims were not strictly opposed to them specifically. The jihad was a traditional response to any form of outside domination. Abd el-Kader wanted French recognition of his sovereignty over the interior, not the destruction of the French. On two occasions, he signed treaties of peace and friendship with the French (1834 and 1837). The Tijaniyya viewed the French invasion as divine retribution against Turkish misrule, refused to join a jihad called by a member of the Qadiriyya and formed an alliance with the French.

(p20) The religious states formed in the first half of the 19th century failed to produce stable political orders, and by the time the French arrived in the late 19th century, the political order of West Africa was crumbling.

(pp20-21) Several French officers brought memories of the anti-French jihad in Algeria to the Sudan and vowed to eliminate Islam. This "ends justified the means" attitude led to French atrocities against civilian populations.

(p21) In summary, this chapter outlines the factors that influenced the French decision to conquer the Sudan.

II. The Background of the Conquest

(p22) The first part of this chapter reviews the early history of Europeans in West Africa. In brief, Europeans were drawn to Africa by tales of the wealth of Timbuktu, derived from Mansa Musa's 1324 pilgrimmage to Mecca and the stories that were circulated by Italian bankers and Iberian courts. In the 1440s the Genoese merchant Antonio Malfante traded at the Tuat oasis. In the 1480s, Portuguese merchants tried to establish commercial relations with Timbuktu from their coastal base at Arguin. In 1470 the Florentine merchant Benedetto Dei actually reached Timbuktu. The 16th century publication of Leo Africanus's History and Description of Africa popularized the myth of Timbuktu.

(p22) In the 17th and 18th century, European interest in Africa declined as their energies became focused on the Americas and the Indies, and the slave trade limited European interest to the West Coast. Europeans received some information on Saharan trade via their agents in Morocco, who saw the gold brought back after 1591. [Source: See E. W. Bovill.]

(p23) In the 1790s, the "African Association" talked about commercial possibilities in the African interior and continued to think of Timbuktu as a city of riches.

(p23) The French were well-positioned at mouth of Senegal River, which was navigable to shallow-draft boats for 6 months of each year. French merchants reached Galam (400 miles upriver) by 1700, and under the leadership of André Brüle, the Compagnie du Sénégal built forts as far as the Falémé River. They sent agents to look for the Bambuk gold fields, but failed. They did manage to establish limited gum trade.

(p23) The late 18th century was a period of loss and retrenchment for the French, especially as a result of losses in the Seven Years War and the French Revolution.

(p24) France never gave up the idea of African possessions, making comebacks in 1802 (Fort Saint-Joseph, reconstructed on the Falémé River under the authority of Gov. Blanchard), 1808 and 1817.

French policies towards the Western Sudan, 1816-54

(pp24-25) In 1816, Louis XVIII was optimistic about Senegal's future. They prepared reports that compared its fertility to that of the Nile, and proposed plantations of coffee, cotton, sugar, and indigo to replace those lost in the West Indies. In 1818, a detailed plan was drawn up which called for the expenditure of 11 million francs over the next five years, the dispatch of one thousand French colonists, and the construction of three forts to secure communications with Galam. According to Governor Schmaltz, the goal was to expand the gum and gold trade, and to make contact with the people of the material so that they could be integrated into the french economy.

(p25) The French illusions were quickly dispelled. Africans did not seek wage labor and a year later in 1817, the French were at war with the Trarza Moors. Schmaltz was recalled in 1820, the budget for Senegal was gretly reduced, and by the end of 1830, the experiment in Senegal was abandoned. Senegal's status was downgraded from colony to comptoir (trading factory).

(p25) Efforts to expand inland were equally unsuccessful. Although the French built a fort at Bakel in 1818 and Schmaltz and Rogers sent expeditions to Bambuk, there were few results. Expeditions were planned to Timbuktu in 1824 and 1826, but never left. Neither did a proposed consul at Bamako. Although the Compagnie du Galam obtained a monopoly on the gum trade in 1824, the Moors continued to control it and with prices high and profits low, they made no large-sale investments. When the monopoly ended in 1835, competition drove prices higher, making the situation worse.

(p26) The conquest of Algeria in the 1840s renewed French interest in the Sudan since it offered a second route to the Sudan. Réné Caillie had already reported by 1830 that Timbuktu, although less impressive than imagined, was still an important commercial center. The conquest of southern Algeria was completed under Governor Marshal Randon (1851-1858) including Wargla (Ouargla) in 1853, Laghouat in 1852, and Tuggurt (Touggourt) in 1854.

(pp26-27) In 1843, the expansionist Governor of Senegal, Bouet-Willaumez, sent a new mission to Bambuk and signed a commerical treaty with the ruler of Bondu. In 1844 the Compagnie du Galam established comptoirs at Sénoudébou & Sansanding. By 1847, the Minister of Marine said "It is absolutely vital for us to prevent any European nation from challenging our pre-eminence ... or from sharing in the commercial advantages we are seeking to develop there." [Source: MMC to Gov. Sen. (16 Nov. 1847), cited in C. Schefer, Insturctions générales données de 1763 à 1870 aux Gouverneurs et Ordonnateurs des établissements français en Afrique occidentale (paris, 1921), vol. II., 188.]

(p27) In 1853, the French appropriated money to build a fort at Médine and began to talk of building another fort even further inland. By 1854, they began to talk of Timbuktu as the lynchpin in a West African empire.

(p27) The object of all this talk was to increase trade, not military conquest. They wanted to further "the cause of civilisation and humanity, for which so much remains to be done in Africa, and which cannot be better served than by the peaceful conquests of commerce and industry." [Source: MinMarine et Colonies to Gov. Sen. (15 April 1831), cited in Schefer, II, 24- 25.] The process was intended to be peaceful, and the greatest opportunities were expected to be found on the Upper Senegal & Niger Rivers.

(pp27-28) The Cie. Galam finally lost its last trading privileges on the Lower Senegal River in 1848. That led to a rapid icnrease in the gum trade, but that illustrated the weakness of the French vis-a-vis the Moors in the region. In 1850 the government sent a commission to study France's economic position in West Africa, which recommended continued free trade but emphaized the need for political control to provide security. Minister of the Navy Ducos accepted the commission's recommendations, and as a result, the money was appropriated in December 1852 to strengthen the French position on the Senegal River by retaining their forts at Richard-Toll, Dagana and Bakel, reinforcing the post at Sénoudébou and rebuilding the fort at Podor. When Governor Protet hesitated, he was recalled and replaced by Faidherbe.

Faidherbe and the occupation of the Senegal

(pp28-29) In November 1854 Faidherbe became the Governor of Senegal. He was young (36 years old), and a graduate of the école Polytechnique )entered in 1838) with a reputation for idleness. He got one of the last available postings to Algeria in 1844 and stayed for three years without distinguishing himself in the campaigns against Abd el-Kader. In 1848, he was transferred to Guadelope, where his Republican and abolitionist sympathies alienated the settlers and his fellow officers. He returned to Algeria in 1849 and received a decoration for his actions in the conquest of Khabylie. In 1852, he was assigned to Senegal as Protet's sous-directeur de génie and fortifications expert. Their relations were poor and Faidherbe's report on the mismanagement of the campaign against the town of Dialmath contributed to Protet's dismissal. Their main dispute was over the Governor's timidity in the face of "upstart local rulers."

(pp29-30) Faidherbe's Algerian experience made him conquest- minded because he believed that security was of primary importance before economic development could take place. According to the author, he dismissed his critics, who claimed that trade could precede conquest, as "those engaged in `illicit operations.'" Within weeks of his arrival, he began tor equest more money and reinforcements, and within three months he asked permission to start work on the fort at Médine.

(p30) The Minister of Algeria and Colonies wrote back on 21 Nov,. 1859 (in ANFOM Sénégal I 41 (b)) that he rejected Faidherbe's Algerian analogy and warned him not to initiate an era of war. The Minister instructed him to promote commercial activity and not to excede the Senegalese budget, which was less than 1,500,000 francs that year. Although Bakel was reinofrced in May 1855, but Podor was reduced. Faidherbe received 30,000 francs to begin work at Médine, but not the company of colonial artillery that he requested for the garrison.

(pp30-31) From 1855-1858, Faidherbe moved successfully against the Trarza Moors in Walo (left bank of the Senegal). That brought peace and encouraged the expansion of French trade, which Faidherbe encouraged by granting concessions around the French forts. Faidherbe become bored.

(p31) In June 1858, the control of Senegal was transferred from Ministry of the Navy to newly-created Ministry of Algeria and Colonies under Prince Jerome Napoleon. After visiting Paris in September 1858 to press his proposals, in Feb 1859, the ministry authorized new forts. Faidherbe took that as an excuse to launch a military expedition into Sine in 1859, to avenge "outrages committed against French nationals there, he later explained to the Ministry."

(pp32-33) Faidherbe offered the justification that victory did not compel the French to occupy the former Portuguese posts at Rufisque, Portudal and Joal; victory made it possible for the French to do so. Although he was reprimanded by the new Minister of Colonies Chasseloup-Laubat, the conquest was permitted to stand and the government accepted the fait accompli. Emboldened, he sent a force south into Cayor five months later and replaced the damel Macodou with Madiodio.

(p33) In 1860 the Ministry of Algeria and Colonies was dissolved and Senegal returned to the Ministry of the Navy. The acting Governor of Senegal Jauréguiberry was ordered to decease conquest and consolidate the French poistion in Senegal. Instructions urged the production of cotton to replace supplies cut off by US Civil War. Caotain Jauréguiberry was more pliable than Faidherbe, since he was a naval officer whose professional future depended on the support of the Minister of Marine.

(p34) Jauréguiberry was ineffective. Macodou and Lat Dior revolted in Cayor. Jauréguiberry was recalled in May 1863 and General Faidherbe returns. He asked for an additional 100,000 francs to send an expedition against Cayor in August 1863 but the colonial budget was already strained by Indochina and Mexico. The Minister approved the Cayor campaign but told Faidherbe to pay for it by cutting other expenditures. He finally gave in after the force sustained heavy casualties (more than 100 men) at Ngogol in December 1863. Faidherbe was forcd to ebgin evacuating the interior forts before he left for good in 1865.

(p34) Conclusion for this section: During his tours in Senegal, Faidherbe transformed it from a collection of fragile coastal trading posts into the dominant military power in the Lower Senegal River Valley. Trade had started to increase and groundnuts (peanuts) promised to increase it further, and the post at St. Louis was secure against attack. The Senegal River and Cayor still harbored enemies, but Faidherbe's real objective was the [supposed] wealth of the Niger Valley. Senegal was only good as a base from which to plan the invasion of the interior.

Al-Hajj Umar and the Tokolor Jihad

(pp35-36) Umar was an Islamic leader from Futa Toro who reached Mecca in 1828 and came under the protection of Muhammed al-Ghali, the leader of the Tijaniyya in the Hijaz (Arabia). During his return to the Sudan, he married into the ruling families of Bornu and Sokoto, and became an intimate friend of Muhammed Bello. After Bello died in 1837, Umar returned home to Futa Jallon with a group from Sokoto in the 1840s. Although his reception in Macina was somewhat hostile and he was imprisoned in Segou, he reached Fouta Jallon and establised a "religious hostel" at Diagouku.

(p36) His prestige was already considerable and it grew quickly after he toured Fouta in 1847. His followers were farmers who traded for gold and used that to buy arms in Sierra Leone. Finally, the local rulers expelled him in 1849. He went to Dinguiray and defeated the small animist states of the region, then declared a jihad in September 1852 against all non- believers. In a decade, he conquered the Western Sudan including Dinguiray, Buré, Segou, Kaarta and Macina. By 1863, his envoys demanded tribute from Timbuktu.

(p37) Umar's strength was due to his prestige as a religious leader. He modelled his campaign after that of the other Muslim revivalist leaders he had known, especially Muhammed Bello of Sokoto. Umar justified his attack on Muslim Macina in the same terms used by Bello to justify the invasion of Muslim Bornu. He portrayed his life in the same terms as Muhammed: the hijira to Dinguiray, with his muhajirin followers and later, the ansar.

(pp37-38) Umar's religious beliefs and his use of loyal subordinates enabled him to rule conquered provinces. His talibes (religious students) were mostly Tokolor from Futa. They were infused with the spirit of jihad and served as a military elite while comanding other soldiers. Umar relied even more on those who were personally loyal to him--his slave Mustafa received command of Kaarta after it was conquered. He also granted power to non-Muslims who converted, many became the sofas who formed the backbone of his army, seeking profit from military campaigns.

(pp38-39) Umar got some valuable recruits from the French colonies, like Samba N'Diaye, a laptot from St. Louis who serviced Umar's cannon and fortifications. Umar even tried to obtain arms from the French, who refused and instead armed Umar's enemies. In early 1855 Umar raided French installations at Bakel and Sénoudébou, kidnapping the commandant at Sénoudébou. He issued a declaration of war on the French in 1855, but didn't follow it up with an attack, focusing instead on the conquest of Kaarta.

(p39) In note 2, the author quotes a passage from Faidherbe, Le Sénégal, 170 in which he quotes Umar's declaration of war: "Les blancs ne sont que des marchands; qu'il m'apportent des marchandises dans leurs bateaux; qu'ils me payent un fort tribut lorsque je serai maître des noirs, et je vivrai en paix avec eux. Mais je ne veux pas qu'ils forment des établissements à terre ni qu'ils envoient des bâtiments de guerre dans le fleuve." ("The whites are nothing but merchants. If they bring goods to me in their ships and pay me tribute because I am the leader of the blacks, I live in peace with the whites. But I do not want them to build permanent structures nor send military forces to the [Niger] River." - translation by Jim Jones)

Faidherbe, Islam and the Niger

(p39) Faidherbe was now the governor, and his experience in Algeria influenced his response to Umar. Faidherbe was sympathetic to Africans, but hated fanatical Islam. He viewed Umar as another Abd el-Kader.

(p40) Faidherbe wanted to advance towards the Niger with the help of alliances with Umar's enemies. The French supported Bubakar Saada, the ruler of Bondu, against Eli, a pretender who supported Umar. They also backed Samba, the king of Khasso, who signed a treaty that permitted the French to build the fort at Médine.

(p40) Faidherbe viewed Médine not only as an obstacle to Umar but also as the next step in the advance to the Niger River. He presented his program to Prince Napoleon in 1858, calling for a second fort at the confluence of the Bafing and Senegal Rivers (Bafoulabé), and a third fort on the Niger. Umar's empire in the Upper Senegal Valley was an obstacle, and Faidherbe vowed to remove it.

(p41) Once Kaarta was secure, Umar besieged the French fort at Mediné with 20,000 soldiers in 1857 and nearly defeated it (reinforcements arrived in a nick of time). Umar launched smaller attacks against French positions on the Senegal as far west as Matam for the next two years, and harassed Bakel continuously from the Tokolor fort at Guémou.

(p41) Umar tried to resist the attacks against the French, but his more militant talibes forced him to besiege Médine and accept the other actions. The defeat at Médine was a blow to his prestige.

(p41) In October 1859, the French captured Umar's stronghold at Guémou on the Senegal River, forcing him to direct his efforts towards the Bambara in the east, and in 1860, he sent an emissary to make peace with the French.

(p42) According to the Treaty of 1860, the French accepted a ceasefire with Umar, and they agreed to guarantee each other's trade and borders, and to refrain from forcing each other's subjects to emigrate. They defined the border along Senegal and Bafing Rivers. That freed French troops to suppress Cayor.

(p42) Right after he began his second Governorship in 1863, Faidherbe proposed a program of military conquest with a base at Bamako. He sent Lt. Mage on a mission to reconnoiter the route from Mediné to Bamako.

(p43) Umar's cooperation was essential at this point, especially since Jauréguiberry's administration had left Senegal's security in question. Faidherbe told Mage he could offer to recongize Umar's future conquests and if necessary, supply him with cannon.

(p44) The Minister Chasseloup-Laubat supported efforts to improve trade, and agreed to mage's expedition, but refused to fund more conquest. His proposal for a fort at Bafoulabé was rejected and his plan to convert com[ptoirs into forts aroused scrutiny. The Ministry was intrigued by Faidherbe's proposal to exchange the Gambia for other territory to soldify the French coastline from St. Louis to the border of Sierra Leone, but did not think Gabon was worth the Gambia and wondered how to compensate Portugal for its enclave.

The Declining Fortunes of Senegal, 1865-76

(p45) Faidherbe left Senegal in 1865 and was replaced by Pinet-Laprade. Expansion ended and the budget was reduced. Pinet-Laprade's replacement was Col. Valière, was ordered not to expand, and in 1869 the Minister of the Navy recommended to the Emperor that the French abandon forts in Senegal (Dimar, Futa Toro, Cayor and Saniokhor) in order to reduce expenditures.

(pp45-46) The defeat by Prussia caused even further budget reductions. The metropolitan contibution to the colonial budget fell from 500,000 to 350,000 francs between 1866 and 1869. It was cut further to 153,650 francs in 1871 and abolished completely in 1873. Meanwhile, the price of peanuts fell and the value of exports dropped from 38.3 million to 28.8 million between 1868 and 1874. The French were forced to cooperate with Lat Dyor, while another leader, Amhadu Cheikou, preached against the French in Futa Toro until his defeat in 1875.

(p46) Mage became trapped at Segou for two years when an anti-Tokolor rebellion made it impossible to go to Macina. Mage finally got a treaty, but it favored the Tokolor by granting them a 10% duty on French imports, the right to buy whatever they wanted in Saint Louis, the right to future conquests, the right to maintain communications with Futa Toro, and it prevented the French from installed trading posts. By the time he returned in 1866, he thought that further expansion was too expensive and recommended that they try to get the Tokolors to trade at existing French comptoirs.

(pp46-47) By this time, Paris had lost interest in the sudan trade. there were still some efforts to expand south in Algeria, but the revolt of the Walad Sidi Shaikh in 1864 ended that. French interest shifted to the Southern Rivers where they built a small fort at Boké on the Rio Nunez and at Benty on the Mellacourie. By 1870, the Ministry was considering the abandonment of Médine.

(p47) Umar's empire faced its own problems. Although they conquered Macina in 1862, his attempt to appoint his son Ahmadu as the new sultan prompted a revolt in 1863. That prompted a Bambara revolt at Segu and in 1864, Umar was trapped and killed at Hamdallahi.

(pp47-48) Ahmadu spent the next two years trying to restore Umar's prestige, but the original 30,000 man army was greatly reduced and they had lost two cannon at Timbuktu. By 1866, Mage reported that the army consisted of 4000 talibes and at most 11,000 sofas. He took the title amir al- muminin in 1868, with no effect, and by 1871 small groups of talibes began to desert. In 1873, his own brothers rebelled because Ahmadu, altough first-born, was the son of commoner. In 1873 the sons of a princess of Sokoto, Mukhtar and Abibou, tried to overthrow him and were defeated.

(pp48-49) Ahmadu survived by placing his provinces under the command of brothers who remained loyal, and by sharing power with his councillors. But unable to obtain loyalty based on religious obedience, he had to use patronage and the growth of an entourage angered his talibes.

(pp49-50) Discussion of Ahmadu's relations with the French, especially the treaty with Mage, in light of his political problems at home.

(p50) In September 1874, Ahmadu apporached the French again, and Governor Valière agreed to a new treaty that moved the border 20 kilometers east of Médine, reduced the 10% tariff to one piece of guinée cloth per ton of gum, and required Ahmadu to trade exclusively with the French (but refused to sell 12 cannons to Ahmadu).

The Significance of the Early Years

(pp50-53) The first half century of French colonialism in Senegal produced neither solid political control nor economic gains. However, it established the basic principles for the later French advance. Senegal became the principal French base, not Guinea. French expansion was aimed towards the interior (which also encouraged expansion south in Algeria), and Faidherbe's vision of empire was confirmed.

(pp53-54) Faidherbe's use of "security needs" to justify conquest set a pattern for the rest of the period. The Ministers in Paris were unable to resist because their decisions had to be based on information supplied by military officers in the Sudan.

III. The Revival of the Niger Plan, 1876-80

(pp55-56) In June 1876 Governor Brière de l'Isle took over. Things were in bad shape, with the French in retreat in Senegal. They had recognized Lat Dior as the damel of Cayor, the posts on the Upper Senegal had been cut off by Abdul Bubakar, and other Tokolor groups threatened from Kaarta. The Minister of the Navy issued orders to Governor Brière de l'Isle that no new territory was to be annexed.

In the footsteps of Faidherbe

(p56) Colonel Louis-Alexandre Brière de l'Isle arrived in Senegal at age 49 after a long and distinguished career with the infantrie de marine. He graduated from Saint-Cyr, fought in China in 1860 and participated in the occupation of Cochinchina in 1866. After 1871, he was the chef du bureau des troupes coloniales in the Ministry of the Navy. His most notable accomplishment was as the leader of the infantrie de marine at the ill-fated resistance at Bazeilles in the Franco-Prussian War, which made him a Commander in the Legion of Honor.

(p57) Brière de l'Isle was an authoritarian ruler who angered French commercial interests and turned the colony into a quasi-military dictatorship. He reformed the colony's finances by demanding higher tariffs on imported cloth from other countries. He restored French superiority in the Southern rivers by successfully occuping positions near Benty in 1879 (the island of Kakoutlaye, and Matacong).

(pp57-58) Brière de l'Isle's most signifcant endeavor was a campaign along the Senegal River to forestall the growth of Abdul Bubakar's power. After the Ministry overruled him once, in October 1877 he sent a force to get Bubakar to submit and to extend French authority over the provinces of Toro, Lao and Irlabé. Although the Ministry was appalled at this act of independence, it accepted the new protectorates.

(pp58-59) In 1878 Brière de l'Isle initiated action against the Kaarta Tokolors. By arguing that Tokolor strength in Kaarta threatened an advance towards Futa Toro, and the British were trying to interfer, he justified his actions. The Ministry gave in and on 7 July 1878, a French force destroyed the Tokolor fort at Sabouciré, killing Niamody, the Tokolor vassal. The province was incorporated into Khasso (a French ally).

The Origins of the Senegal-Niger Railroad

(p60) Only a decade after the Prussian defeat, there was little justification for renewed French expansion towards the Niger. Support came from those who desired empire as an alternative to Revanche (revenge) against the Prussians. The strongest support came from the Geographical Societies.

(p61) In 1873, the Paris Geographical Society sponsored the ill-fated Dournaux-Dupéré Saharan expedition. The same year, the Algiers Chambre of Commerce sponsored Paul Soleillet's mission to Tuat oasis.

(p61) In 1875 Soleillet and Duponchel called for trans- Saharan railroad to link the Niger with Algeria. They still believed in the "African El Dorado" and in 1873, one of Soleillet's protégés, Eugène Warnier, the deputy from Algiers, predicted that the trade between Algeria and Tuat would easily reach 100 million francs per year [cited in Soleillet's book, Avenir de la France en Afrique (Paris 1876), 71-74.] In 1880, the deputy from Senegal (Gasconi) predicted that the Sudan trade would reach 300 million francs per year. Soleillet wanted to see the French Empire reach from the Atlantic to Lake Chad and from Algeria to the Gulf of Guinea. Duponchel, author of Chemin de Fer Trans-Saharien, proclaimed the purpose of the railroad was to create "a vast colonial empire . . . a French India, rivalling its British counterpart in wealth and prosperity; to open up unlimited markets for trade and industry, [and] to give free rein to our civilising impulses. [Source: Alphonse Duponchel, Le Chemin de Fer Trans-Saharien, jonction coloniale entre l'Algérie et le Sudan (Montpelier, 1878), 218.])

(p62) By 1877, the Third Republic seemed stable. The Congress of Berlin eased Franco-German relations.

(pp62-63) In May 1879, Paul Bert (a disciple of Gambetta) proposed to budget 200,000 francs for a study of a railroad route. As Maurice Rouvier of the Budget Commission explained, they approved the studies because "Concern for the greatness and for the interest of our country commands us to place ourselves at the head of this movement. A few days sail from our shores there lie vast regions watered by great rivers and great lakes, regions of unbelievable fertility inhabited by 200,000,000 people. Shall not these regions provide unlimited opportuniies for our tradem inexhaustible supplies and unhoped for markets for our industries?" [Source: Rouvier, report (10 June 1879), in J.O. Doc. Parl. Chambre, no. 1497, p. 6328.] The response was enthusiastic in the Senate as well, and in November they voted an additional 600,000 francs for the surveys.

(p63) Popular support definitely swayed French officials. Soleillet's original proposal to expand trade in Algeria in 1871 and build a railroad in 1875 went unacknowledged, Dournaux- Dupéré received a token 2000 francs in 1872, and and Duponchel received only 4000 francs in 1877 from the Ministry of Public Works. But after his book on the trans-Saharan railraod generated public interest, the government took notice, and in May 1879 Charles de Freycinet, Minister of Public Works, created a preliminary commission to study the project. Based on its recommendation, he created the Commission Supérieure du Trans-Saharien.

(p64) Freycinet was an engineer and a graduate of the école Polytechnique, and had a personal interest in railroads. In 1877, he began his Programme des Travaux Publics to equip France with a railroad network, and at the suggestion of President McMahon, added Algeria to the project in 1878. The trans-Saharan was merely an extension of the Algieran railroads.

(pp64-65) In February 1879 Admiral Jean Jauréguiberry was appointed Minister of the Navy. He continued his support for imperial expansion and supported railroad construction. Soleillet had first proposed the Saint-Louis-Niger railraod as part of the trans-Saharan railroad in 1875, and gone on his own expedition to Segou in 1878. [Source: Paul Soleillet, Voyage à Ségou, 1878-1879.] Brière de l'Isle agreed with Soleillet's conclusions and paid for his trip out of the Senegal budget. He added his recommendation for the railroad project, and Jauréguiberry and Freycinet brought it into being. They were aided by N. C. Legros, Freycinet's chief technical advisor, who sat on the preliminary commission that study the trans-Saharan proposals. Freycinet put him on the full commission whose title became the Comission supérieure pour l'étude des questions relatives à la mise en communication, par voie ferrée, de l'Algérie et du Sénégal avec l'interieur du Sudan, placing Algeria and Senegal together officially once again.

(pp65-66) The change in the government's attitude (to support the railroad) came about, not because of pressure from merchants, but because Freycinet and Jauréguiberry threw their support behind it. Saint Louis commercial interests actually opposed the railroad, but Freycinet and Jauréguiberry believed they were promoting France's long term best interests. They believed that the race for Africa's considerable wealth was about to begin and they wanted France to get off to a good start.

(pp66-67) The two men differed on how to proceed, however. Freycinet was a traditionalist who promoted commercial expansion without conquest, and warned Colonel Flatters not to stir up trouble in Algeria. The massacre of second Flatters expedition finally brought an end to the trans-Saharan railroad project by June 1881, but the Senegal-Niger RR remained as a separate project.

(p68) Jauréguiberry and his advisors considered the railroad project as a means to extend French political influence into the African interior.

(p68) Legros told the Sahara Commission that it was necessary to built a line of forts from Medine to the Niger and place gunboats on the Niger River in order to protect the railroad. [Procès-Verbaux ... 2ieme souscommission, séance du 21 Juillet 1879, ANF F14 12437.]

(p68) Now that the Commission had given the project official approval, Jauréguiberry threw his weight behind the project. In July, he ordered Brièe de l'Isle to submit a report on how to link Médine to Bafoulabé by road. When the Trans- Saharan Commission said that Parliament had to give its approval, Jauréguiberry waited until the summer recess to have the president approve the estimated 500,000 franc expense by decree. [NOTE: Parliament later approved the budget with the Law of 24 December 1879.] In October, he sent the colony's young directeur politique, Joseph Galliéni, to survey the route and get the necessary treaties. He returned in November and reported that the way was open to the Niger and Tokolor influence was negligible, although the British threat made haste a virtue.

(pp68-69) Jauréguiberry immediately authorized another 500,000 francs without parliament's approval (later approved by the Law of 24 June 1880).

(p69) In November 1879, Legros came up with an estimate for the cost of the project. According to the Ministry of the Navy's February 1880 proposal to parliament, the railroad was to consist of three sections. The first and second, to be built by private enterprise, connected Dakar to St. Louis and St. Louis to Médine, while the third section, to be built by the government, connected Médine to the Niger. It would also require the construction of six forts east of Médine. He estimated that it would take six years to complete. The estimated cost to the state was 49 million francs. [JJ: Note that this does not agree with the figure of 54.2 million given in McLane, 408.]

(p69) Jauréguiberry soon learned that the November 1879 Gallieni expedition report seriously understated the obstacles. An outbreak of yellow fever hampered the construction of the road to Bafoulabé. The commandants at Bakel and Médine were "slapdash and inefficient," and the chief engineer was only interested in looking for gold. The site of the Bafoulabé fort, chosen by Galliéni, was unhealthy and difficult to defend against attack. It offended local chiefs who refused to supply labor. Costs soared and threatened to surpass the original one million francs in the budget. By May 1880, the project was in serious trouble and French prestige in the area suffered.

(p70) Back in Paris, there was serious opposition to the railroad project in parliament. The Budget Commission, which had voted to approve the initial surveys, hesitated to approve a poorly conceived project that threatened to commit the government to spend 120 million francs.

(pp70-71) Minister Jauréguiberry mishandled the budget request. He ignored the Budget commission's request for more information, and although he knew by April that it would be rejected, he waited until June before offering a new proposal That plan called for a railroad from Médine to Bafoulabé and reduced the request to four million francs. By then, the Commission refused to commit itself and instead recommended a budget of only 833,000 francs for more surveys. On 12 July Jauréguiberry convinced them to raise it to 1,300,000 francs.

(p71) Although Jauréguiberry's confidence was shaken, Brière de l'Isle pressed on for the railroad project.

(p72) Because Minister of the Navy Jauréguiberry mishandled the railroad proposal to parliament, he ended up obtaining only a small portion of the subsidy that he requested. Once that occurred, however, he authorized the construction of a new fort at Kita, one hundred miles past Bafoulabé, and used the extra 467,000 francs obtained from the Budget Commission to form a new battalion of tirailleurs sénégalais.

(p72) In June, Minister of the Navy Jauréguiberry placed the Colonial Marines in charge of all construction. [See "Décret ministériel du 26 juin 1880," in Journal Officiel de la République Française (29 June 1880), 7185-7186.]

(p72) On 6 September 1880, Jauréguiberry appointed a Commandant Supérieur du Haut-Fleuve to take charge of all operations. The Ministry also created a Bureau du Haut- Fleuve to handle Sudanese affairs.

Franco-Tokolor relations: Gallieni's mission to Segou

(p72) The type of relationship with the Tokolor depended on French intent. Loose economic ties were possible within the context of a treaty with the Tokolor, but political domination required conquest.

(p73) Brière saw that conquest was inevitable, but wanted to postpone it until the French were in a position to challenge Ahmadu. Ahmadu was much stronger than Abdul Bubakar and could not be easily intimidated. To that end, he wanted to wait until the French could deploy gunboats on the Niger and their supply lines were assured.

(pp73-74) In July 1879 the Ministry sent Gallieni to Segou with the main objective of extending French political control to the Niger. That requiring beating the British to the Niger and subjugating the Tokolor. Lesser objectives included obtaining permission to build forts at Fangala and Kita, surveying the route to the Niger, and gaining a protectorate over Bamako. Tertiary objectives included continuing to Segou and signing a treaty with Ahmadu granting the French navigation rights on the Niger.

(p74) This was in fact an act of French duplicity. They proposed a treaty and offered friendship to Tokolors while plotting their destruction.

(p75) In 1880, Galliéni was a young captain with a hatred of Islam. At first, the results were promising. On 3 April 1880, he signed a treaty of protection with the chiefs in the Bakhoy region, and did the same in Fuladugu on 16 April. He established a protectorate over Kita on 25 April, but learned that the direct route through Beledugu was more dangerous than the route via the Tokolor stronghold at Murgala.

(p75) On 11 May 1880, Bambara ambushed Gallieni at Dio, killing 14 and capturing all of the presents intended for Ahmadu. Galliéni continued to Bamako but was disappointed to discover that it was a large village instead of a potential capital. Instead of establishing a French resident there, he crossed the river and continued towards Segou.

(p76) Ahmadu faced a dilemma. His power between Niger and Bafoulabé was weakened by Gallieni's advance and the capture of Sabouciré. Ahmadu could either attempt to strengthen his empire by declaring jihad against the French, or cooperate with the French.

(pp77-78) In the end, Ahmadu decided to accept good relations with the French in exchange for access to French weapons. Ahmadu welcomed Gallieni's mission, but refused to meet with him or to let them enter Segou. The French force remained confined at Nango while Ahmadu used the threat of an agreement with the British to intimidate the French.

(pp78-79) Negotiations finally opened at the end of October 1880. Ahmadu's councillor Seydou Djeylia represented the Tokolor. He insisted on the delivery of French cannon, confirmation of future conquests, free communications between Segou and Futa, and the destruction of the French fort at Bafoulabé. In exchange, the French would have the right to build trading posts, but not out of brick or stone, free movement (but no new roads), navigation rights on the Niger (but no steamships), and to install a French Resident at Segou as long as he was "Negro and a Muslim." The price was an annual payment of 50,000 francs, 4000 rifles, 4000 barrels of powder, 4000 saber blades and 5000 pieces of guinée.

(p79) Galliéni rejected the Tokolor demands and instead offered to pay four cannon, 1000 rifles, plus ammunition, flintlocks and other items. The French pledged not to build forts or invade the Sultan's territory. Djeylia agreed that the Tokolor would permit steamboats on the Niger, freedom of commercial movement and exclusive trading rights for the French; Ahmadu would accept a European Resident at Segou; and a French protectorate over the Niger Valley.

(pp79-80) Gallieni was satisfied by the treaty, but still believed that the French needed to dominate the region militarily. Upon his return from Segou, Galliéni called for the complete destruction of the Tokolor empire beginning with to animist kingdoms.

(p81) During subsequent communications, the French watered down the treaty even further, and in the end, Ahmadu refused to ratify it.

(p82) The French government reneged on the treaty because they feared the delivery of cannon and the loss of support from animist states.

(p83) "By 1881, the traditional conflict in French policy between commercial and political expansion had been resolved, and with it the ultimate fate of the Tokolor Empire had been decided. Paris and the local authorities were now at one in their belief that accomodation with Ahmadu was impossible and that war with him was inevitable. Only the time and place remained to be determined."


Go to next section of A. S. Kanya-Forstner's Conquest of the Western Sudan | Archive Table of Contents