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.

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VII. The `Total Conquest' of the Sudan, 1888-93

(p174) Louis Archinard's appointment as the Commandant Supérieur du Haut Sénégal-et-Niger in 1888 completed the military victory over civilian control. Archinard was an undistinguished graduate of the école Polytechnique who got his first overseas experience as a captain of the colonial artillery in Indochina. He went ot the Sudan in 1880 to take charge of military construction and became a friend of Desbordes. He was also close to Col. Bourdiaux, head of the Upper Senegal Bureau, who tried to have Archinard appointed as Desbordes' successor in 1883. When Brière and Desbordes returned to Paris from Tonkin in 1885/6, they were in a good position to support Archinard's advancement. Even Galliéni, Brièr's protege, supported Archinard to become his replacement of CommSup in 1888.

(p175) During the summer of 1888, Galliéni advised Archinard on how to deal with Ahmadu, Samory, Tiéba, and the Colonial Department. Galliéni recommended following an aggressive policy against both Ahmadu and Samori, and ignoring the Under-Secretary of the Department of Colonies (de la Porte) as much as possible.

The destruction of the Tokolor Empire

(pp176-177) Undersecretary for Colonies de la Porte desired the peaceful consolidation of existing French territory. He instructed Archinard to remain neutral in local conflicts and to cease Galliéni's efforts to foment rebellion in the Tokolor empire. At first, Archinard complied, but in February 1889, Archinard defied his orders and led troops to capture the fortress at Koundian on 18 February. He informed the Ministry after the fact, and they were forced to acquiesce.

(p177) The conditions were ripe for the destruction of the Tokolor empire by the FRench, since "The defeat of Mahmadou Lamine and the completion of the Railway to Bafoulabé had greatly improved both the security and the efficiency of the French supply lines." In addition, the treaty with Samori quieted the southeastern border, and Ahmadu's influence in Kaarta was so weak that he could not count on reinforcements from that quarter.

(p178) The attack on Koundian provoked Ahmadu. He cut off all trade to Médine once again, and according to Archinard, would have issued a declaration of war if his soldiers in Kaarta had not refused.

(p178) To offer further provocation, Archinard sent a small force to occupy Nyamina and Lt. Marchand to reconnoiter Segou.

(p178) Archinard had his own motivation. He wanted war in order to win promotion to Lt. Col., and timed his attack on Koundian with the drafting of the year's promotion lists, but was a day too late. Archinard went to Paris in summer 1889 to argue for an immediate attack on Segou.

(p179) The reaction in France was negative. Archinard's protector, Desbordes, was uninformed of the attack on Koundian. Since March 1889, Étienne returned as Undersecretary, and he was determined to control costs. Archinard argued that the defeat of the Tokolors would improve security and reduce administrative costs. Étienne was at least partially convinced, and allowed Archinard to take two 95mm siege guns with him back to the Sudan.

(pp179-180) In November 1889, Marchand gave a pessimistic report about the strength of Segou, but Archinard pressed ahead. Archinard continued to send friendly messages to Ahmadu as late as 16 January 1890, but sent messags to the Governor that Ahmadu was conspiring with Samori to attack the French supply lines.

(p180) Archinard continued to press Étienne to authorize the attack on Segou. Étienne was reluctant, and Galliéni argued that Segou would fall on its own as soon as Ahmadu died, but the security argument finally convinced Colonial Office of need to supply funds to the military.

(p181) On 27 February 1890, Étienne cabled Archinard to go ahead ("faites pour le mieux"). Archinard planned his attack for the end of April when the Niger was at its lowest (to facilitate crossing), and spent the month resupplying his forts. He ignored an uprising by Abdul-Bubakar in Futa Toro, and concentrated his army in the east.

(p181) On 6 April 1890, Archinard's force shelled and captured Segou without any French casualties. Archinard justified the act because Ahmadu refused to accept the border on the Senegal River or recognize French claims at Saboné.

(p182) The capture of Segou made the invasion of Kaarta a strategic necessity to protect Médine, according to Archinard.

(p182) At the end of May 1890, Ahmadu responded to the fall of Segou with an attack on the railroad at Talaari. On 3 June, Ahmadu attacked Kalé, and on 6 June they attacked Kayes. That gave Archinard a pretext for invading Kaarta, and on 16 June, to take Koniakary.

(p182) War meant increasing costs. In 1888, the Sudan spent 925,000 francs more than its budget. In 1889, the excess was 1,405,000 francs. In 1890, it was 1,200,000 francs.

(p183) On 27 April 1890, Archinard got his promotion to Lt- Colonel, and in May, Archinard was reappointed for another term.

(p183) During the rainy season, Ahmadu unsuccessfully tried to retake Koniakary, and that provided the pretext for Archinard's next invasion. On 1 January 1891, Nioro fell. The French suffered 5 dead and 53 wounded, while over 3000 Tokolors were killed or captured.

(p183) Archinard won the real battle in Paris, not the Sudan.

The war against Samori

(p183-194) In 1891, the French under Commandant Superieur Humbert and again under Archinard chased Samory out of Fouta Djallon, but didn't defeat him. He went to the Ivory Coast hinterland near Kong.

(p183) Although Ahmadu was defeated, Samori remained the most powerful threat to the French in the region. Both sides consistently violated the treaty of 1889 by raiding acorss the Niger River. In May 1889, Samori repudiated the agreement and sent back his copy of the treaty.

(pp183-184) Archinard invited ambassadors of Tiéba of Sikasso to witness the destruction of Segou in April 1890, and afterwards sent a diplomatic mission to seek an alliance with Tiéba against Samori. Capt. Quiquandon led a force of 3000 Bambaras from Segou to help Tiéba in his siege of Kinian, a "well-defended town hostile to Sikasso."

(p184) Archinard's tactics for convincing the home office included warning that Samori had ties to the British in Sierra Leone. He also argued that Samori supported anti-French rebels in Segou.

(p184) Étienne was opposed. He was alarmed by the heavy losses incurred during the anti-French rebellion in Segou. The new Governor of Senegal, De Lamothe, was equally concerned. In April 1891, Étienne sent Capt. Péroz to negotiate a new treaty with Samori. On 17 March, Archinard sent a message to Étienne arguing that this was useless, and less than a week later, he launched an attack against Kankan.

(p185) Archinard sent a column across the Niger River to attack Kankan, and on 9 April 1891, a "flying column" burned Bissandugu. Back in St. Louis, there was considerable dismay since Gov. Lamothe had received no advance warning of the operation. Both he and the Commandat Supérieur des Troupes considered the Kankan garrison too weak to defend itself. Under-secretary étienne was enraged and ordered the governor to investigate the possibility of withdrawing, but Archinard ignored them both. He rejected the under-secretary's reprimand by saying that the French attack could not have violated the French treaty with Samori because Samori had already repudiated the treaty.

(pp185-186) The Colonial Office couldn't reverse the fait accompli. After Archinard fell ill with blackwater fever, étienne could not recall or reprimand him. Instead, Archinard received a promotion to Colonel.

(p186) étienne was forced to promise parliament in December 1891 that there would be no new military campaigns in the Sudan.

(pp186-187) Archinard's successor as commandant supérieur du Haut-Fleuve in late 1891 was Gustave Humbert, his friend and classmate. Like Archinard, he continued to defy orders from Paris

(p188) Humbert's campaign failed dismally. The French were plagued by Samori's guerilla war, and Lt. Marchand's clumsy diplomacy alienated Sikasso, creating a manpower shortage. His decision to to reduce the French garrisons in order to mount an effective invasion force endangered existing French territory. Samori's scorched earth tactics caused starvation among the French soldiers, whose 1300-man expeditionary force was too large to supply efficiently.

(p188) Although Humbert managed to chase Samori as far as Kerouané, he ran short of supplies and to return to Bissandugu with his main force, leaving small, exposed posts at Kerouané and Sanankoro. New rebellions broke out in Segou and Sansanding. Even before the campaign started, an outbreak of yellow fever killed thirteen officers and sixty-seven men. By the end of the campaign, another twenty Europeans were dead and the cost overrun was 1,500,000 francs.

(pp188-189) Humbert sought scapegoats for his failure, including the failure of Paris and St. Louis to support him. Later, he blamed Archinard for launching an impossible campaign that overextended the French resources.

Archinard's last campaign

(p189) In February 1892, the French cabinet ministers were reshuffled. Étienne, Archinard's biggest enemy, was removed and replaced by Emile Jamais.

(p189) Colonial Department returned to Ministry of the Navy where Briere was the inspector-general of infantry and Desbordes, the inspector-general of the artillery. By March, their protégé Archinard was engaged in talks with the new Marine Minister, Jamais, and in June, he formally requested the assignment to lead the 1892-93 campaign in the Sudan.

(pp190-191) In August 1892, Archinard was reappointed as commandant supérieur du Haut-Fleuve, but on 27 August 1892, the Under-Secretary of Colonies Jamais of the Navy Minister placed Upper Senegal (except Bondu and Bakel) under the control of its own Commandant-Superieur des Troupes, making it independent of the Senegal governor in St. Louis. That made Archinard the equivalent of Governor Lamothe in Senegal, and turned him from a military commander into an administrator. Jamais included instructions to Archinard that his appointment was not intended to extend military action, but to prepare the way for full civilian administration. His objectives were to be "consolidation, commercial development and the reduction of expenditure."

(p191) Archinard authorized his military commander, Combes, to launch assaults against Samori before a civilian governor (Grodet) could arrive and take charge. Col. Combes attacked Guéliba (100 km east of Sanankoro) and proceded to the Baoulé River, while Commandant Briquelot of Kouroussa takes Farana near Sierra Leone and in February 1893, captured headquarters of Samori's sidekick Bilali at Erimakono.

(p192) Neither Under-Secretary Jamais, nor the new Under- Secretary, Théophile Delcasse, were able to restrain Archinard.

(p192) Archinard's assaults in the direction of Sierra Leone angered British and created a border dispute over Farana and Erimakono. In response, the British cut the French road to the coast at Benty, so Archinard ordered Briquelot to advance beyond Erimakono in pursuit of escaping sofas to new positions along the Niger-Benty road and to intercept all caravans headed for British territory.

(p193) Archinard's intransience finally won the dispute and the French retained Erimakono.

(p193) Archinard's last initiative was towards Mopti in the kingdom of Macina. Immediately after the fall of Segou in April 1890, Archinard sent Mademba Si to serve as the fama (king) of the newly created kingdom of Sansanding, with instructions to prepare the way for the French advance into Macina and as far as Timbuktu.

(p194) At the end of 1892, Ahmadu was reported to be in Macina, and in March 1893, a rebellion in Minianka provided Archinard with a pretext for an advance to the north, and on 12 April 1893, Archinard's expeditionary force captured Jenne after heavy fighting. On 17 April, they captured Mopti without a struggle, and on 29 April, they took Bandiagara. Ahmadu fled eastward, and the French installed his brother Aguibou as the new Sultan of Macina.

(pp194-195) All of this entailed several violations of Archinard's orders, since Under-Secretary Jamais had forbidden him to lead an expedition and Delcassé had ordered no further advances. Delcassé was new at his job, so he did not condemn the Macina campaign publicly, but told Archinard they would discuss it when he retruned to Paris in the summer.

The Sudanese military empire

(p195) Archinard claimed that all he had done by conquering Ahmadu and attacking Samori was solve the security problem encountered by his predecessors.

(pp195-196) After the conquest of Segou, Archianrd had the Segu Tokolors deported to Futa Toro. A rebellion in Futa Toro kept the French from doing the same after their conquest of Kaarta, but the Commandant of Nioro received orders to extend French protection first to the animists and then to the non- Tijaniyya Muslims in the area. The Tokolorwere divided into two groups, forbidden to travel without passes, and prevented from communicating with Futa Toro. The Commandant was further ordered to actively provoke dissension between Tokolors.

(p196) Archinard installed more pliable rulers to replace the Tokolor. They considered the Bambara to be the true allies of the French, and restored the Diara dynasty to power in Segou. However, loyalty to the French was the primary consideration, and in 1891 Sansanding went to Mademba, a Tokolor member of the torodbe caste. In 1893, Ahmadu's brother Aguibou was named king of Macina after his surrender to the french at Dinguiray in 1891. The only direct French rule was in Nioro, where no suitable substitute for the Tokolor could be found.

(pp196-197) Archinard's administrative system was not the result of a belief in indirect rule, but of the need to conserve resources and personnel for military operations. Archinard conceived of the new territories as bases for further expansion.

(p197) The new rulers were not independent. When Mari Diara became the French king at Segou, Bodian of the rival Massassi clan was installed at Nango. Mademba had no legitimate claim to authority in Sansanding, so he was entirely dependent on French support. Aguibou was useful because his surrender to the French meant that he could no longer command the loyalty of the talibes.

(p198) To make the new states more manageable, Archinard kept them small. Sansanding was a former province of Segou, and in 1893 he reduced it further. Kaarta was divided between the cercles of Nioro, Kayes, Bafoulabé and Kita.

(p198) All of the European leaders were military men. Archinard's goal was to create an independent military preserve that was protected against rebellion by using collaborators, and also protected from Parisian interference by the Ministry of Marine. Archinard deliberately excluded all civilians from the governance of the colony and replaced civil servants with military officers.

(p198) Archinard publicly supported the Chad Plan, but privately considered the subjugation of Muslim opponents to be the more immediate goal. He thought that the government's use of small, private exploratory missions was a waste of resources and instead favored expansion by armed column.

(p199) In the south, Archinard's propensity for military conquest ruined any prospects for trade. The almamys of Futa Jallon were suspicious of the French and turned to Sierra Leone for trade.

(p199) By 1890, Archinard and Gallieni became enemies because of Archinard's regular insubordination. Gallieni's 1890 report to the Sudan Commission recommended giving up the railroad, abandoning forts and foregoing conflict with Ahmadu, according to Humbert Archinard described Galliéni as a "scoundrel wit whom I'll never shake hands again." [Source: Archinard to Humbert (8 March 1890), published in Humbert, La Politique Coloniale (7 September 1897).]

(p199) When Galliéni published his Deux campagnes au Sudan français, it concluded with a sustained attack on everything that Archinard had done since 1888.

(p200) In a sense, Archinard and the military "won" because he was reappointed to the Sudan in 1892. However, military officers who sought advancement through action were not great administrators, and military expansion was very expensive. Officers had to be enticed to serve as administrators with the promise of a campaign if they did well, but that meant that as soon as an officer became a good administrator, he was removed from his post.

(pp200-201) The use of a native authority system of administration did little to advance mission civilsatrice. It failed to maintain peace, stop the slave trade or reduce the colonial budget. Archinard told the Resident at Bandiagara to ignore it when Aguibou raided neighboring Segou, and argued that the tradition of razzia was so ingrained that it could not be suppressed without provoking rebellion. Mademba, the fama of Sansanding, became so well known for his brutality to his subjects that Archinard reprimanded him in 1893, but did not remove him.

(p201) Within a few months after the conquest of Segou, Mari Diara began to plot against the French, who had him executed. His successor, Bodian, was more obedient, but unable to maintain control, so Segou revolted during every campaign. To suppress the 1891 rebellion, Archinard's forces had to take the town of Diéna, whcih cost them more casualties than the entire campaign in Kaarta (11 klled and 109 wounded, compared to 5 and 53 in Kaarta, and 4 and 12 against Samori).

(pp201-202) With all of this military activity, there was no chance for economic development. Inspector Picanon described the Sudan as "a barren and sparsely inhabited land whose population ... shows neither initiative nor enterprise and whose climate is one of the worst in the world." [Source: Picanon to Étienne (1 September 1890), in ANFOM Sudan XIX 2.] Archinard recognized the role played by the Senegalese commercial houses in supplying his troops, but distrusted them for placing greed ahead of country. Merchants, on the other hand, remained opposed to military rule, so that by 1893, Archinard resorted to seeking merchants in his home town of Le Havre to invest in the Sudan.

(p202) Archinard's campaigns nearly doubled the cost of Sudan operations. To avoid scandal, the Ministry had begun to tone down its budget requests, and after 1886, requested an annual average of 3,500,000 francs. In the three years from fall 1888 to spring 1891, Archinard's government exceeded its budget by a total of more than 3,500,000 francs, and by more than 6,000,000 francs from 1892 to 1895. By 1893, the military occupation cost roughly eight million francs per year. As the Ministry began to request supplementary credits, opposition stirred in parliament.

(p202) By the time Archinard returned to Paris in the summer of 1893, he had made made enemies among merchants, the Department of Colonies, and with everyone who favored peaceful expansion for economic development.

The growth of opposition to the military

(pp202-203) Once the "special budgetary chapter for the Sudan" was eliminated at the end of 1885, there was no parliamentary criticsm for the next two years, sicne the colony's budget was hidden in various colonial budget appropriations. By 1887, the Budget Commission resumed its criticism of the costs of military expansion in the Sudan, and in March 1888 called for the reestablishment of a sepcial Sudan budget so that costs could be more tightly controlled. To avoid a parliamentary backlash, the Department of Colonies granted the Budget Commission's request in February 1890 by estabishing a separate Sudan Chapter in the budget.

(p203) Once parliament saw the true cost of Archinard's campaigns, there was trouble. Parliament passed the 1891 request for 3,890,000 frans without much trouble, but balked at the news that the 1892 request would be for at least 5,200,000 francs. The Budget Commission passed it, but not unanimously, and when it came before the full parliament in October 1892, several deputies accused the govenrment of operating a campaign of conquest without parliament's approval. The Budget Commission added its voices to the criticism and called for better accounting.

(p204) After 1891, the French Chambre des Deputés rebelled against the cost of Archinard's conquests and refused to increase subsidies. Despite Étienne's promises that he would not support an effort to create the Chad Empire by force, parliament resisted in February 1892 when Under-Secretary Emile Jamais asked for an additional 1,300,000 francs. The request was approved, but three weeks later, Jamais requested an additional 350,000 francs for the troops engaged against Samori, and got it only because Étienne and Félix Faure prevented the Budget Commission from withholding its approval. The Boulangist deputy Martineau led the opposition, and was joined by Deloncle, Pelletan, Déroulède, de Launay, and Paul de Cassgnac. A motion to "adjourn" the credit request was feated by only 267 to 228.

(p205) Before the end of 1892, continued operations against Samori, the rebellion at Segou and another yellow fever outbreak had added two million francs to the cost of operations. The Ministry increased its request for 1893 to 5,730,000 francs, but Deloncle nearly persuaded the Budget commission to cut the Sudanese appropriation by 1000 francs as symbol of protest. Martineau criticzed Archinard personally, Delcassé promised to rein things in, and Archinard went ahead and invaded Macina. As a result, the Sudan operation went over budget again by almost 2,290,000 francs in 1893.

Summary of budget appropriations and overruns, 1887-1893
Year Appropriation Overrun
1887 3500,000 0
1889 3235,000 765,000
1890 3230,000 770,000
1891 3890,000 1,300,000
1892 5200,000 2,360,000
1893 5730,000 2,290,000]

(p205) The government's opposition was ineffective, since they depended on the military men for information and execution of their policies. The security argument excused all other excesses, since no politician wanted to risk a disaster by withholding money needed for "security."

(p206) Nevertheless, there were some currents of effective opposition. Étienne won support from the Chamber with his rousing speeches during the 1890 Dahomey crisis. The Groupe Coloniale de la Chambre, which formed in 1892 and contained more than ninety deputies from all different parties, advocated expansion of the French empire by private enterprise. It was led by Étienne, Admiral Vallon, Martineau, and included Delcassé, Deloncle, and other critics of Sudanese military policy. However, its hands-off approach to Sudanese policy earned it criticism from the newspapers by 1893.

(p206) The Comité de l'Afrique Française provided a model for other public pressure groups with interests in French colonial expansion. In 1893, a group of businessmen engaged in colonial trade formed the Union coloniale française to support the expansion of colonial trade by peaceful means. New newspapers were founded, lecture tours arranged and annual banquets held.

(p207) All of this provided a place for an amorphous parti colonial to discuss their priorities, which included peaceful commercial expansion. They resented military excess and hated both Archinard and Combes. They advocated private expeditions like those led by Monteil and Mizon which extended French influence and tweaked the British at minimal cost to the French government.

(p208) The Comité de l'Afrique Française was the least unsympathetic to the military officers in the Sudan, since Desbordes was one of its leaders, but despite providing a grand send-off to Archinard and Combes in the summer of 1891, it remained fairly neutral.

(p208) The Union coloniale française was much much more hostile to the military, and its members included Paul Cousins, François Deloncle, and Léon Tharel, the sponsor of the Mizon expedition. Cousin's newspaper La Politique Coloniale acted as its unofficial newsletter and supported peaceful economic expansion.

(pp208-209) The Colonial Department also supported the opponents of the Sudanese military, and even military officers like Monteil expressed public criticism. Under-Secretary Delcassé's opposition was the most alarming because unlike Étienne, he was prepared to deal with insubordinate officers, and in December 1893, became an associate member of the Union coloniale française.

Archinard's dismissal

(pp209-210) By the summer of 1893, Archinard's opposition was strong enough, and his insubordination with the Macina (Mopti) operation provided them with a pretext. The anti-military newspapers called for his replacement with a civilian governor, and in august 1893, a minor civilian offical named Paul Bonnetain, recently returned from the Sudan, said in an interview in Le Figaro that "the Sudan had become the personal property of the artillerie de la marine, whose officers were only interested in their own advancement." [Source: Le Figaro (11 August 1893).]

(pp210-211) At the end of November 1893, while he was on annual leave in Paris, Archinard was dismissed from his position as commandant supérieur des troupes in Upper Senegal. His replacement was Albert Grodet, an official in the Department of Colonies.

(p211) Archinard learned of his dismissal in newspapers and reacted with vehement criticism of superiors and refused the "Order of the Green Dragon of Annam," a medal he had recommended for one of his African soldiers. Archinard leaked official correspondence to the right-wing press and a scandal ensued.

(p212) Archinard was saved by strength of right-wing support including Desbordes and Brière, as well as the end of the Dupuy Ministry of the Navy in November 1893. The new minister, Admiral Lefèbvre was a friend of Desbordes, and Archinard was appointed to the Inspection-générale of the artillerie de marine where he could continue to work with Desbordes.

(p213) Delcassé's open criticism of the colonial troops broke into a public confrontation with Desbordes. Before accepting the post of Under-Secretary for Colonies, Delcassé had insisted that it be removed from the Ministry of the Navy. Now, as an independent Department of Colonies based at the Pavillon de Flore, the Department of Colonies rejoiced at Archinard's dismissal while the Ministry of the Navy brooded. To show their displeasure, Brière and Desbordes refused permission for Commandant Quiquandon to go to the Sudan as Grodet's military advisor.

(p214) By the end, neither side had obtained a complete victory. The civilians in Paris gained control of the Sudan, but created an irreparable split between military and civilians. The military managed to save Archinard's career, but not their influence over colonial policy. In Archinard's April 1894 report of his last campaign, he criticized his opponents, but they were by that time in control of the newly independent Ministry of Colonies.

VIII. The Civilian Administration of the Sudan, 1893-95

(p215) Albert Grodet became the first civilian governor and the replacement for Archinard. Under-Secretary Delcassé instructed him to end the military expansion and stay within the budget. He could count on Grodet's obedience because Grodet's checkered past as an administrator made him manageable. Grodet had been associated with the Panama scandal and mismanagement in Martinique, and had been dismissed from his post as temporary governor of French Guiana as recently as April 1893.

(p216) The military officers in the Sudan did not immediately accept Grodet's appointment. Étienne Bonnier eventually assumed the command of the military in the Sudan. He was a friend of Archinard who had served as Desbordes's officier d'ordonnance in Indochina. His loyalty was to his military superiors, not civilians.

(pp216-217) In September 1893, Archinard sent unofficial instructions to Bonnier to continue the war against Samori. Desbordes sent similar instruction and Bonnier replied that he would do a much as he could under the circumstances. Bonnier led a column that occupied Bougouni on 12 December 1893, but returned quickly and assembled his troops at Segou on 21 December 1893.

(p217) Bonnier knew by 21 December that Archinard had not been reappointed and that Grodet was on his way to the colony. He learned of Grodet's arrival at least as early as 8 December, and on 19 December he wrote to Richard, the Commandant of the Southern Rivers, to tell him that he should disregard Grodet's orders if they interfered with the campaign which was already in progress against Samori.

The capture of Timbuktu

(pp217-218) Timbuktu had been a French objective since Faidherbe's days, and Archinard had laid much of the groundwork by instructing Aguibou to offer French protection to the Grand Council of Timbuktu and by dispatching French gunboats to accompany Jenne's traders to Timbuktu. In 1893, he ordered the commander of the flotilla, Lt. Boiteux, to build as many transport barges as possible for use in an expedition the following year.

(p218) In September 1893 Archinard warns Bonnier against action, citing the unfavorable political climate in Paris. But Bonnier could not resist the lure of Timbuktu, so he went ahead. He forbade the headstrong Boiteux from accompanying the Jenne traders, but continued with his own preparations.

(p218) French relations with Timbuktu's Grand Council were not good. Although Combes reported the receipt of a request for protection in August 1893, the Under-Secretary replied that he should not act unless it was genuine, and he should not commit France to the defense of the town.

(pp218-219) Ever since Lt. Caron reached Timbuktu in 1887, the Grand Council looked to Morocco for protection against the French, and asked Sultan Mulay Hassan to renew the protectorate in 1888. They repeated the request after the French conquest of Macina and sent an embassy to Marrakech. Bonnier believed that the approach to the French was intended to delay the French advance until the Moroccans could reply.

(p219) Bonnier went ahead with his plans anyway. He appointed Commander Joffre head of the northeast region in November, and on 25 December 1893 Bonnier dispatched Joffre's force before Grodet could arrive and issue other orders. (Bonnier knew that Grodet was due to arrive at Kayes on 26 December.)

(p219) On 27 December, Grodet telegraphed his instructions to Bonnier, who acknowledged their receipt and promised to send a full report by mail. In the report, he explained the campaign against Samori which he intended to pursue after inspecting the northern frontier and collecting more information on Timbuktu's submission.

(p220) Grodet was suspicious when information about Bonnier's coloumn was delayed and immediately sent him orders to suspend all military operations and return to Segou. At the same time, he contacted Paris and got permission to relieve Bonnier of his command if his orders were not followed.

(p220) Bonnier could no longer be stopped. He had learned that Lt. Boiteux had disobeyed Bonnier's orders and set sail north from Mopti. Before Grodet's order arrived, Bonnier knew that Boiteux was at Timbuktu and requesting help, so that provided him with a pretext to march on Timbuktu. On 31 December, he telegraphed Grodet that he was going to Timbuktu to rescue the gunboats and organize the territory before resuming the campaign against Samori.

(pp220-221) Meanwhile, in Kayes on 2 January, Grodet discovered evidence that Bonnier had been planning the operation since as early as November 1893 and knew of Grodet's impending arrival since before he left Segou. Three days later, he relieved Bonnier and Joffre of their commands and ordered Bonnier's replacement, Commandant Hugueny, to lead the column back to base. Under-Secretary Lebon confirmed Bonnier's recall on 30 January.

(p221) It was too late. On 10 January 1894, Bonnier reached Timbuktu. He telegraphed Grodet on 11 January that he was witing for Joffre's column, on on 12 January, he marched with half of his force towards Goundam to meet it. On 17 January, the stragglers returned to Timbuktu and reported that Bonnier, ten officers, the Native Interpreter, two European NCOs and 68 tirailleurs had been killed at a camp near Goundam on 14 January. [Source: Commandant de Timbuktu (Philippe) to Commandant-Supérieur des Troupes à Kayes, report (21 January 1894), enclosed with Grodet to Under-Secretary (23 February 1894), in ANFOM Sudan I 6(b), published in J.O. (15 March 1894), 1217-1218.]

(pp222-223) The aftermath increased tensions between the military and civilians. The government backed up Grodet, and public opinion went against the military. The newspapers were nearly unanimous in placing the blame for Goundam disaster on insubordinate military officers.

(p223) The military circulated their own version of events that blamed the disaster on Grodet's orders that Bonnier should return to Kayes. But the myth of the Sudanese military expertise could not be resurrected.

Grodet's war with the military

(p224) Most of the Sudanese officers continued to resist Grodet's orders and criticize him. Grodet ordered Richard to abandon the campaign against Samori, and only learned by chance that he had continued because Grodet had all of his telegrams censored. The officers used code to keep them secret from Grodet, since all of the code books had been removed from Kayes.

(p224) When he could catch them, Grodet ruthlessly removed insubordinate officers.

(pp225-226) In Segou and Macina, Commandant Quiquandon responded to a request by Aguibou for assistance against Bossé in February 1894. Quiquandon sent Grodet a telegram from Segou to Kayes saying that he would act unless told otherwise, and timed it to arrive on 17 June 1894, too late for Gordet to reply before he left on 20 June. On 11 July, the relief column under Bonnacorsi sacked Bossé, but suffered heavy losses so Bonnacorsi ordered them to sack the nearby town of Kombori. Grodet ordered Bonnacorsi imprisoned for thirty days, and arrested Quiquandon and sent him home at the end of July.

(pp226-227) Grodet also had trouble with his commandants at Timbuktu. Joffre had not been dismissed, and when he avenged Bonnier's death by routing the Tuaregs who were responsible, he was promoted to Lt. Col. In April 1894, Joffre proposed anew campaign against the Tuareg and the construction of new forts, but Grodet refused. Grodet specifically wanred him against attacking the Kel Temoulai and the Irregentanem, two Tuareg groups who had not participated in the attack on Bonnier's force. When Grodet learned that Joffre had attacked them anyway, he had Joffre replaced as Commandant of Timbuktu by Lt. Col. Ebener. Joffre returned to France in July 1894, but Ebener was no better, and after more bitter exchanges between Ebener and Grodet, Grodet replaced Ebener with a civilian in January 1895.

The failure of the civilian experiment

(p227) The failure of the civilian experiment was evident by beginning of 1895. Part of it was due to Grodet's rough personality and his preoccupation with military insubordination, which led him to neglect coordination with Senegal government.

(p227) But Grodet acted with the full support of Paris, including Delcassé, who became the Minister of Colonies in May 1894.

(p228) The military officers deserved to be disciplined, such as Lt. Mangin, who was imprisoned for thirty days for distributing slaves to his servants and interpreters. They were continually insubordinate and their efforts to discredit Grodet's administration succeeded.

(p228) Grodet's problem was a vicious circle: no change was possible without removing high military officers, but the military was necessary to keep the peace. Since the military could create the conditions that produced unrest, they could guarantee that the circle continued.

(p228) All of this unrest made economic development impossible.

(p228) Delcassé opened the railroad for commercial use in 1894 in order to stimulate trade in an area whose commercial potential had been destroyed by military activity. In the first year, the railroad earned an average of only 7000 francs per month. [Series Geographique, Sudan XII, Dossier 4(a). Railway receipts, January to December 1894]

(p228) Only the slave trade was profitable amid the devastation caused by the French campaigns, and slaves were openly sold at all French posts.

(p229) To support the troops following the capture of Timbuktu, Grodet was forced to ask for an additional 1,700,000 francs, leading to a total request for 1894 of 12 million francs. Although Delcassé promised parliament in June 1894 that his ministry could control expenditures in the Sudan, by that time he had presented a request for 1895 for 9.4 million francs. He justified this in terms of the need to pay for the expense of conquering Timbuktu, plus one million a year needed to maintain the garrison there. Unfortunately, in November 1894, Delcassé had to go back and ask for another four million francs. The parliamentary budget commission approved it because they realized that it was the previous military govenrment which created the problem, but reduced it by 100,000 francs as a warning for future requests.

(p230) Samory regained strength in 1894 following the Bonnier massacre and dismissal of Commandant Richard. In Jasnuary, while exploring the territory between the Côte d'Ivoire and the Sudan, Capt. Marchand heard rumors that Samori planned to attack Kong. Governor Binger of Côte d'Ivoire disagreed, and Paris supported him. In March 1894, Grodet reported that Samori seemed willing to sign a new treaty, but as marchand continued to report on an impending attack on Kong, Binger and others started to believe him. In late 1895, Delcassé authorized an attack on Samori using funds appropriated the previous summer for "the defense of French interests in Africa" following the May 1894 Anglo-Congolese Agreement, which was designed to keep France out of the Congo.

(p231) An expedition that was already enroute to the Congo under the command of Commandant Monteil provided the troops, and after Foreign Minister Hanotaux refused to allow them to march to the Nile, they landed at Grand Bassam in late August/early September.

(p231) Monteil was instructed not to destroy Samori, but to confine him to the region near the Liberia/Sierra Leone border and then head north to link up with other treaty-making expeditions from Dahomey which were designed to pin the Germans and British along the Guinea Coast. When the Ministry requested Grodet to send 3000 Sudanese troops to support Monteil, he refused because he claimed it was too far away.

(p232) Monteil's hasty departure left him ill-prepared, and he suffered heavy losses near Kong before withdrawing. Monteil was also wounded, and the expedition exceeded its budget.

(p233) The subsequent ministerial investigation criticized Grodet, but exonerated him of responsibility for the defeat of Monteil. The scandal of Monteil's expedition against Samori provided the impetus needed by the militarists to topple Grodet's civilian govenrment in the Sudan.

(p233) In January 1895 the Dupuy government fell and Delcassé was replaced by Emile Chautemps as Minister of Colonies. He chose not to resist the military's final assault on civilian rule in the Sudan.

(pp233-234) The debate on the colonial budget in March 1895 preceeded Grodet's demise. Archinard encouraged a right-wing deputy (Le Hérissé) to attack Grodet personally. He concluded by recommending that the budget be reduced by 1000 francs to symbolize the desire to reform the administration of the Sudan. Chautemps made no effort to defend Grodet.

(p234) Without the backing of the Minister, Grodet could no longer govern. He requested sick leave in April 1895 and was promptly recalled. Chautemps began to consult with Archinard about how to reorganize the Sudan, and for a time, the militarist press circulated the rumor that Arcbinard would be reappointed commandant-supérieur.

(pp234-235) On 16 June, however, 1895 Faure issued a Presidential Decree that united Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast and the Sudan into Afrique Occidentale Française under a civilian governor-general. Several provinces of the Sudan were attached to Senegal and the rest was placed under a civilian Lt. Gov., but when Archinard refused the position, it went to Col. Trentinian, the Commandant-Supérieur des Troupes du Sudan, who held it provisonally for the next four years.

(pp235-236) Minister of Colonies Chautemps received a great deal of criticism for these reforms from all sides. Even worse, in March 1895, the Sentate Finance Commission reduced the Sudan appropriation by nearly 400,000 francs to 9 million francs. In June 1895, Chautemps asked for a supplemental appropriation of two million francs to cover remaining expenses from the Timbuktu conquest, but the Budget commission turned him down completely for the first time in fifteen years. They also rejected a supplemental request for 380,000 francs to cover the cost of the Monteil expedition because it had been launched without parliamentary approval and financed with money voted for the Congo.

(p236) Chautemps was grilled in the Senate on his Sudanese policy, including the distribution of women to tirailleurs, which he admitted to, but claimed that the women did it voluntarily. [Source: Journal Officiel, Débates Parlementaires, Senate. Séance du 17 Juin 1895, pp619-629] At the end, the Senate rejected the appropriation requests for both the Sudan and Monteil's Kong expedition.

(p236) Jean Louis Deloncle was appointed to the Conseil de l'état in May 1895, removing Archinard's greatest opponent in the Ministry. Archinard was appointed Director of Defense under the Ministry of Colonies at the end of July 1895 and promoted to brigadier general within the year.

IX. The Last Years of Military Rule, 1895-99

(p237) Despite the apparent military victory, Grodet's civilian rule left traces. The administrative integration of the colonies meant that the military could no longer operate in complete isolation from Paris.

(pp237-238) Meanwhile, military expansion had continued elsewhere, particularly in Central Africa and Dahomey, where Governor Brazza had occupied the Sangha Valley and Casimir maistre had established French influence around Mayo-Kebbi. Monteil had arranged to revise the Say-Barruwa line in northern Nigeria to give Kuka and Katsina to France. In 1892, Mizon obtained treaties from Muri and Yola on the southwest side of Lake Chad. The March 1894 Franco-German Agreement gave France control of the southern shore of the lake including both banks of the Chari River, Bagirmi, Wadai, most of the Sangha Valley, and the town of Bifara on the Mayo-Kebbi, a navigable tributary of the Benue.

(p238) The French pressed the British to redraw the Say- Barruwa line to give France Bornu (plus Kuka) in exchange for French recognition of British rights south of the line.

(p239) French activity in the Niger Bend also accelerated. In 1892, Colonel Dodds went to Dahomey to destroy the opposition from Abomey.

(pp239-240) Minister of Colonies Delcassé used Dahomey as the principle base for French expansion into the interior, in order to keep subsequent acquisitoons from the hands of the Sudanese officers. He appointed known opponents of the Sudanese military clique like Monteil to head the military columns from Dahomey, and later on Chautemps did the same.

(p240) Archinard understood what Delcassé and his successors were trying to do, and began to take action to provide his military officers with opportunities in the East.

The Sudan and the occupation of the Niger Bend

(p240) The capture of Timbuktu kept the Sudanese officers in the race for the Niger Bend.

(pp241-242) In February 1895, Grodet's man, Commandant Destenave, was unable to obtain treaties from the Mossi and Wagadugu. That prompted Archinard to draw up plans for the invasion of Wagadugu, which were opposed by GGAOF Chaudie and Roume, the head of the Ministry's administrative division. Archinard pressed forward, however, and got the support of the new Minister of Colonies, Guieysse. Capt. Voulet was sent to Wahiguya, the second city in Mossi, and in September 1896 he occupied Wagadugu. He then went south to Sati, the capital of Gurunsi, signed a treaty and returned to Wagadugu. In February 1897, he left Mossi and headed east to meet up with a Frnech mission from Dahomey, which established French influence in Gurma. Meanwhile, Destenave garrisoned Wagadugu, built a fort at Wahiguya, sent Lt. Chanoine to occupy Sati and then headed north to Dori and Yagha. In May, he sent a detachment under Capt. Betbeder to occupy Say.

(p242) For a time, it appeared that the tension between the french and British would be resolved smoothly. Talks began in January 1896 but broke down in April because the French demanded unreasonable conpensation from the British.

(p243) The French resumed their advance from Dahomey and Guieysse's successor as Minister of Colonies, André Lebon, sent Capt. Cazemajou along the Say-Barruwa line to strengthen the French claims. He was instructed to stay north of the line, but given permission to go south to reconfirm Monteil's treaties and once he reached Lake Chad, to sign a treaty with Rabih Zubair, the conquerer of Bornu. Then he was to proceed along the northeast shore of Lake Chad and meet up with an expedition from the Congo led by Gentil. Cazemajou followed the spirit of his orders, and while underway, announced his intention to visit Sokoto.

(p243) All of these expeditions were promoted by the Ministry of Colonies in order to extend French influence as far as possible before negotiating a boundary with the British. The Foreign Ministry was opposed to provocations like Cazemajou's proposed visit to Sokoto.

(p244) The new British head of the Colonial office, Joseph Chamberlain, was just as obstinate as the French Lebon. Joseph Chamberlain arrived in 1895 and turned West Africa from a pawn in England's Egpytian strategy into a piece of property with its own value. In September 1895, he authorized a military expedition against the Ashanti to keep the French out of the northern part of the Gold coast, and in July 1897, he authorized Governor Maxwell to negotiate with Samori, reinforce his northern garrisons and occupy Bonduku in the French sphere. He authorized other actions which seemed designed to provoke the French.

(p244-248) Tensions ran high between French and British as their military forces drew close south of the Lower Niger River. After tense standoffs near Nikki, Mossi, Borgnu and Gurunsi, the French got possession of the first two. Then cooler heads in the respective foreign offices get control of their local military commanders, and the French recognized that their military was heavily outnumbered by the British.

(p248) The tensions over the border were finally relieved by the Anglo-French Agreement of 14 June 1898. [Hertslet, E. The Map of Africa by Treaty. 3 vols. 3rd ed. London c1909. pp785-792]. The Say-Barruwa line became the northern border of Nigeria, and the Lagos-Dahomey line was redrawn to give French a hope of acess to the Lower Niger, and a free trade zone was created between Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon.

(p249) The 1898 Anglo-French Agreement completed the diplomatic partition of West Africa. After that, the French military had no more opportunities to become involved in international diplomacy.

Commerce and Conquest in the Sudan

(p249) Minister of Colonies Chautemps instructed GGAOF Chaudié that his success would be measured in terms of economic development, not military conquest. Chaudoe was urged to be cautious with the issue of slavery, since it provided the basis for the economic activity of the dyulas, the only available commercial middlemen in the Sudan.

(pp249-250) Lt. Gov. Trentinian was a military man who was loyal to the Ministry and the most competent since Galliéni. From 1895 to 1897, the value of Sudanese exports rose tenfold from 300,000 francs. Local revenue, which totalled 1,300,000 francs in 1893, reached more than 3,000,000 francs by 1898. Railroad revenue also increased and by 1896, the Ministry was confident enough to ask parliament for the money to extend the railroad beyond Bafoulabé. The work went well, and in 1897, plans were drawn up to extend the line to the Niger by 1904 or 1906, financed by a loan of on emillion francs per year from the Caisse de la Dette, later increased to 3,200,000 francs in 1899. Work also began in 1895 on a road from Conakry to the Upper Niger Valley.

(pp250-251) Trentinian also got the Sudanese budget under control. In 1895, he ran 1,000,000 over the nine million that was budgeted, but came in two million under the previous year's total. In 1896, the Ministry reduced its request by 100,000 francs, accepted the budget Commission's reduction of 450,000 francs, and still came in under budget. That year (1896), Trentinian produced the first budget surplus in Sudanese history.

(p251) Following the disastrous Monteil expedition, Samori was still a threat in the south. Archinard recommended the usual solution--no negotiation, conquest if he acted up--and received Chautemps' support.

(p251) At first, it appeared as if the French could avoid a fight with Samori, since his efforts to carve out a new kingdom in the Côte d'Ivoire hinterland produced local resistance that induced him to negotiate, first with the gold Coast, and then when they rejected him, with the French.

(pp251-252) In March 1896, Chaudie and Guieysse authorized a diplomatic expedition led by Captain Braulot to negotiate with Samori. He refused to allow the Frenchmen to enter his territory, but continued to proclaim his peaceful intentions.

(p252) In order to avoid trouble with Samori, the authorities in Paris continued to refuse permission to the Sudanese authorities to garrison Bobo Dioulasso or Kong. When Samori renewed his request for negotiations, Braulot departed again to occupy Buna. He found it already occupied by one of Samori's military officers who refused him permission to enter. Braulot withdrew towards Lokosso, where he met Samori's son Sarentyenimori. Sarentyenimori offered to accompany Braulot and his force back to Buna and clear up the misunderstanding, but along the way, the sofas turned on the French and massacred them.

(p252) That brought on the final showdown. Lebon sent reinforcments under Commander Caudrelier who occupied Bobo- Dioulasso at the end of October 1897 and attacked Kong in January 1898.

(pp252-253) At this moment, Ba Bemba, the successor to Tiéba in Sikasso, chose to revolt against the French. In February 1898, he ordered a French expedition led by Capt. Morisson out of town. Lebon reluctantly authorized a pounitive expedition, and on 1 May 1898, a force led by Lt. Col. Audéoud conquered Sikasso with heavy casualties on both sides. Ba Bemba committed suicide and the town was sacked. [Source: ANFOM Section Geographique, AOF, Dossier I(2). Governeur General Chaudie à Ministère des Colonies]

(p253) With Sikasso captured and the Anglo-French Agreement signed, the French could move against Samori when they desired. By August 1898, Samori's army had been reduced to struggling bands by local opponents, and he offered to negotiate one more time with the French. While they were planning their response, a French column surprised him in his camp and took him prisoner.

(p253) The renewal of full scale military activity after 1896 was expensive. According to note 5, the 1898 expenditures were 10,545,000 francs, while the budget was only 6,165,000 francs. The Ministry asked for a supplementary credit of 485,000 francs in March 1898, and was still short two million francs by the end of December. In 1899, the shortfall was 4,380,000 francs, the worst figures since the conquest of Timbuktu. Half of that was due to the need to occupy territories captured in 1898 (much of the rest was to support the mobiization during the Fashoda crisis).

(pp254-255) The military/civilian split remained unhealed. Although things went relatively smoothly between Lt. Gov. Trentinian and GGAOF Chaudie, after Trentinian resigned in April 1897, relations with his successors Colonel Lamary and Lt. Colonel Audéoud were more hostile. Lamary resigned over disputes with the GGAOF, and Audéoud resigned, came back, threatened to resign, and finally abandoned his post. Actting GGAOF Ballay was glad to see him leave.

The End of Military Rule

(p255) The costly military campaigns ended any chance of improving the economic situation by 1898. The federal system failed to handle the Sudan's chronic problems any better than earlier systems.

(pp255-256) By this time, the military was no longer as powerful in paris as it had been. Despite the appointment of Archinard to Director of Defense for Colonies in 1895, the anti- militarists continued their attacks. A pamphlet by Lt. Col. Humbert, accusing Archinard and Desbordes of cowardice, disloyalty and indiscipline, reignited the attacks. Humbert claimed that in 1892, Desbordes had blocked his promotion because he had followed orders from the Under-Secretary, while Archinard was promoted for acts of war that were no more valorous than those done by Humbert.

(p256) Although Humbert's language was extravagant and Desbordes rebutted them, he was encouraged by the anti-militarist press and slowly they began to have an effect. Following some other setbacks, Archinard was reassigned to Indochina in October 1897.

(p257) After 1898, with the end to the tension with the British, and the demise of Samory and Sikasso, there was no more need for French military rule.

(pp258-259) In July 1898, the Ministry authorized the Voulet- Chanoine mission to Lake Chad. It was intended to meet Gentil from the Congo and Lamy from the Sahara, joining at Lake Chad. The force of 300 armed men lived off the land and exhausted the areas they traversed. Local resistance led to atrocities, impressment, etc. By February 1899, reports reached Paris that the expedition was terrorizing the countryside in its search for porteurs. Lt. Col. Klobb was murdered while trying to relieve Voulet of his command. [Source: Newbury, C. W. `North African and Western Sudan Trade in the 19th Century: A Reevaluation.' in Journal of African History, VII (1966), 233-46.]

(p259) Chanoine was the son of the Minister of War who resigned suddenly in october 1898 during the Dreyfus Affair. That polarized the situation with respect to criticism of the military.

(p260) 1899 was a turbulent year in French politics, with the Dreyfus Affair, the Fashoda incident, and the sudden death of President Félix Faure on 16 February. Eventually, the Waldeck-Rousseau government took charge and one of their projects was the reorganization of the West African colonies. The new Minister of Colonies, Albert Decrais, set up a commission to prepare a plan. Trentinian was a member, and he proposed to revise tariffs and return some operations to civilian control in order to reduce the annual budget by five million francs.

(pp260-261) GGAOF Chaudié first proposed to divide the Sudan and attach the portions to the coastal colonies. He eventually agreed to create two interior military districts based on Timbuktu and Wagadugu and partition the remainder among the adjacent colonies. Everyone agreed on the need to reduced the garrisons to save money.

(p262) On 17 October 1899, the decree was issued that reorganized AOF with the Sudan partitioned between Senegal, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Dahomey. The GGAOF retained direct control over two military districts based at Timbuktu at Wagadugu.

(p262) The problem of how to control the Lt. Governor was the critical issue. It was clear that a civilian governor general could not do it, as the epxerience of Grodet illustrated. In the end, Binger (now with the African Department of the Ministry of Colonies) concluded that it was necessary to abolish the office of Lt. Governor, and the reorganization of French West Africa was the means to accomplish this.

X. Conclusion: French African Policy & Military Imperialism

(p263) The French policy in Africa was driven by illusions, including the belief that the Sudan would yield great wealth. In fact, the total budget for Sudanese expansion from 1879-1899 was around 130 million francs, while in general, French military activity destroyed the economic prosperity of Western Africa.

(pp264-266) The impetus for French imperialism came from several sources. The colonialists generated public enthusiasm with their newspapers and geographical societies. France also drew on its earlier history of informal empire since the days of Louis XVIII. Freycinet and Jauréguiberry believed in value of African empire and feared European competition. They believed that it was the government's responsibility to advance trade. They also imitated the British example.

(pp266-267) Once the wheels were in motion, it was the military officers who set French colonial policy. They were successful because of the confused role of the military in France at the time. The split between the armée and the infanterie de marine meant that the two services were rivals. Effective control was wielded by the Inspectors-General. They were able to ignore Paris' calls for the end to conquest.

(p267) Once they became engaged in military operations, the soldiers were invulnerable to criticism, since the defense of the colony superseded all other considerations. The soldiers were the sole source of information for the ministers who made the decisions. Only a military disaster could leave them open to criticism.

(p268) The soliders were aided by the government's general policy of expansion. The Sudanese officers were the tool of this policy, and they knew that their faits accompli would ultimately be accepted by the government, no matter what the official policy was.

(p268) The author rejects the Robinson & Gallagher idea that France merely reacted to a series of Moslem revolts led by Umar and Samori.

(p269) The French advances were keyed to the perception that native resistance would be too weak to halt them. When the interior states were at their maximum power, the French remained along he coast, and it was not until the 1880s, when Ahmadu's state was in decline, that the French began to move inland systematically.

(pp269-270) Samori's empire was the most serious threat, but his power rested on military organization rather than faith in Islam. He abandoned the struggle for the Senegal River Valley after the French demonstrated their power, and sought treaties by which he could use commercial relations with the French to aid his wars against his enemies. It was the French desire for domination instead of just commercial expansion led inexorably to war and conquest.

(p270) Individual French soldiers held beliefs that contributed to the conquest. They all desired advancement, thought that a preemptive attack provided better security, and feared Islamic jihad. Much of this originated with Faidherbe's experience in Algeria, so they saw Ahmadu, not as an individual leader with his own agenda, but as the representative of an alien, hostile faith.

(pp271-272) Other local conditions played a role. The Muslim rebellions in Algeria (1860s and 1880s) scuttled French plans for a united Sudanese empire. Once the French advance to Niger was complete by 1883, their lines were too extended to permit further advance, and the difficulties of transport and communication gave Ahmadu's empire a chance to rebound. Once Galliéni ended the Tokolor resurgence in 1888, the French realized that Samori was the more dangerous opponent.

(p272) Other local factors aided the French. They made good use of tirailleurs as an effective fighting force, although that obliged the French to adopt local military techniques, such as the use of plunder and épouses libres to reward soldiers, and the use of the villages de libertés to obtain labor. The Voulet-Chanoine expedition is the worst example of what could result.

(p273) French military rule also imitated African rule. It featured despotic total control by officers. It allowed the slave trade to continue.

(p273) Ultimately, this approach to military rule produced the conditions for its own destruction. The military's power was based on their ability to control the pace of French expansion, and they did this by keeping the Sudan out of mainstream politics where their acts would be scrutinized.

(p274) The articulation of the Chad Plan ruined that by subjecting Sudanese administration to oversight in connection with a united effort to reach Lake Chad. First, in 1890 the realization of the Chad Plan exposed the problems in the Sudanese administration, and then in 1895, the basis for French military advance shifted to Dahomey.

(p274) When economic development along the coast increased the French interest in economic development in the interior, the Sudanese military became an obstruction to that advancement. They could not pretend to act as a civilizing force.

(p274) The successful end to the military threat removed the need to safeguard security of the Sudan, and the raison d'être for the Sudanese military administration.

List of Sources

  1. ANFOM (Archives de France, Section d'Outre-mer)
    Afrique III, IV, vi and XII
    Senegal I, II, IV, VI, XII, XVI
    Soudan I-VII, IX, XII-XIV
    Côte d'Ivoire IV
    AOF I, VI, VII
    Fonds de missions (various)
    Registres de télégrammes
    Dossiers administratifs
  2. Ministère des Affaires étrangères
  3. Ministère de la Guerre
  4. Ministère des travaux publics: F14 12436-8 (Chemin de Fer Transsaharien).
  5. Parliamentary archives
  6. Private papers
    Archinard (collection of Madame Entremont-Archinard)
    Étienne (Bib Nat, 24327)
    Faure (possession of François Berge)
    Freycinet (École Polytechnique)
    Mizon (Bib Nat, 10726-7)
    Monteil (AN 66 AP)
    Rambaud (AN 81 AP)
    Documents relatifs au Sultanat de Ségou (Bib Nat, 25070)
  7. Official publications
  8. Newspapers and periodicals





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