French Colonial History

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French Colonial History: From Vietnam to Mali : 

French Colonial History: From Vietnam to Mali Moulaye Ely DIARRA Stanford University Chief of the Technology and Data Production Department Observatoire Marche Agricole ( Market Information System ) Mali ( West Africa)     Professor: Bruce Lusignane Stanford University

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Introduction This document about the French Colonial History form Vietnam to Mali, is not from historians. Its purpose is to share events that we have heard, learned and read from oral testimonies, classroom and documents. Oral testimony a valid source in Malian culture in Africa, from old to young people or by special ethnic ( griot ), was a system to teach, to inform and also to record event.

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West Africa Background 1- Cities and Communities Before the colonization, there were empires, kingdoms, dynasties, cities and communities. People were doing activities such as: Moving, War, Trade and Religious to convert. In Africa religions step the colonization. Muslin religion, supposed to be the first, started from north to west by Arabic and Black explorers through: Religious conquests and expansion of Islamic faith ( Jihad ). After European explorers ( British mainly ) came by trying to stamp out the slave trade, to spread the word of Christ and to search Scientific & geographical knowledge.

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Education The hunger for knowledge was great all over the continent: In Timbuktu there was a flourishing university in the 16th century. The oldest institute of higher learning on the continent of Africa was al Azhar University ( Egypt ) and dedicated to a broad range of Muslim studies

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Indochina ( Vietnam ) Background Cities and Communities The Vietnamese first appeared in history as one of many scattered peoples just before the beginning of the Christian era. The area was taking over or controlled successively by Chinese or Vietnamese dynasties. Vietnam was primarily an agricultural state with the cultivation of wet rice. Commerce and manufacturing thrived, and local crafts appeared in regional markets throughout the area. Education The educational system reflected the Chinese model. Young Vietnamese grew up conversant with the great figures and ideas that had shaped history.

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The Colonization The colonization started in Africa at the end of the British abolition of the slave trade in 1807; Commercial greed, territorial ambition, and political rivalry all fuelled the European race to take over Africa The territorial occupation of Africa’s land by European powers provoked an enormous amount of resistance from different quarters - both rulers and people - all over the continent. Some African rulers tried to retain or even increase power by to fight their enemies with European support

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Territorial Occupation – Procedure- Period and People Resistance The European powers divided Africa up amongst themselves without the consent of people living there.This Africa's partition took place at the Berlin Conference 1884-5. Until the 19th century the French had played a smaller role in Africa than the British, but their defeat in the Napoleonic War made them look to Africa for compensation.

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People and Country Resistance Vietnam: In 1858 to punish the Vietnamese and force the court to accept a French protectorate, French attack at Da Nang Harbor and failed. A second farther south was more successful, and in 1862 the court at Hue agreed to cede several provinces in the Mekong delta (later called Cochin China) to France. In the 1880s the French returned to the offensive, launching an attack on the north. After severe defeats, the Vietnamese accepted a French protectorate over the remaining territory of Vietnam Algeria:In 1830 the French occupied Algiers; they came up against the Berber jihad launched by the Qadiriyya brotherhood under the leadership of Abd al-Kadir who was defeated in 1847and sent into exile. But Berber and Arab fighters continued to resist the French until well into the 20th century

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Tunisia: Status of French Protectorate in 1881 after an outbreak of violence, Morocco: French domination in 1909 through negotiations Senegal: Resistance from Tukuler and coast native. In 1854 Louis Faidherbe began the French conquest of the Senegal valley Benin ( Dahomey ): In 1863 Porto Novo (capital Benin) was declared a French protectorate, final occupation in 1904 Ivory Coast: Resistance from Agnis and Baoules tribes. In 1868 a series of French protectorate treaties, final occupation in 1915

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The Tukuloor Empire Part of Mali-Guinea-Burkina:Located in what is now part of modern Mali and Burkina Faso, was founded in the 1860s by the hugely effective and militarily successful Al Haj Umar. His son Ahmadu came under growing pressure from the French in 1880s. Ahmadu decided to launch a Holy War against the French, calling on Muslims throughout the region; the response was weak and he was defeated in 1890 The Mandinka Empire ( or Empire du Mali ): A far more successful and formidable enemy of the French was Samori Toure with his Mandinka Empire, defended by an army 30,000 strong. He kept this force very mobile, constantly surprising the French and had a tremendous sense of military tactics. After his death, his son was defeated by the French in 1901.

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Beledougou: Part of Mali ( Komi Diossé story from oral and Malian written ): Located in the central part of Mali, this area occupied by ‘ Bambara ’ tribe made resistance to French penetration and was defeated by French troops Togo: First German colony, occupied by French troop in 1916 during World War I and finally mandate by the League of Nations which divided it between France ( East) and Britain ( West). Cameroun: Mandated like Togo by the League of Nations which divided it between France ( East ) and Britain (West). Congo Bazza: Treaties with sub-chiefs of the Bantou Empire or the Kingdom of the Congo in 1880’s (Count Pierre De Brazza). Gabon:Treaties of protection with various chiefs of the Bantou people between 1839 and 1841 (Count Pierre De Brazza )

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Ubangi-Shari ( Republic of Central Africa ): Occupied in 1889 when an outpost was establish at Bangui (Count Pierre De Brazza) Madagascar: Establishment of a French Protectorate at the Berlin Conference in 1885. Resistance from non-coastal people ( interior) up to 1947 Somaliland: Treaties with local chieftains in 1862 Mauritius: Dutch settled island in 1598, arrival of French in 1715 when Dutch withdrew

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Malaria Before the discovery of quinine, one of the main obstacles to European penetration of large parts of Africa was malaria. Others types of resistance Associations: - Aborigines' Rights Protection Society was formed in the Gold Coast ( Ghana ) in 1897 as an association critical of colonial rule, - In 1908, the People's Union was founded in Nigeria, - The Young Senegalese Club was founded in 1910, Journalists & Writers, Radio

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Colonial Rule Once Europeans could protect themselves from malaria with quinine, which they began to use in the 1850's, they became increasingly less reliant on Africans helping them achieve their objectives French colonial rule was more centralized, British colonial rule was less.

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Financial Rule: One of the central pillars of colonization was tax. The European powers did not want Africa to be a drain on their treasuries The competence of a French colonial official might often be measured by how much tax ( Impôt in French) he was able to collect

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Administrative Rule: People in Africa were burdened by colonial perceptions of who they were The French, by comparison, were prepared to treat Africans as equals, but only if they learnt to speak French properly and adopted the values of French culture For local affairs, a variety of local councils were permitted. There were distinctive administrative areas: French North Africa ( Afrique Nord Francaise), French West Africa (A.O.F. Afrique Occidentale Francaise) with administration from Dakar –Senegal, French Equatorial Africa (A.E.F. Afrique Equatoriale Francaise), and French East Africa.

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Army- War Contribution o      Troops: Without the cooperation of local leaders and chiefs, European powers would not have been able to raise the troops and carriers they needed, and some chiefs were very willing to help. In 1912, the French set about creating a permanent black army. There was compulsory military service for all African males. African troops under French command were combatant. The ‘Tirailleurs Sénégalais' in charge of artillery, with their distinctive red fezes, were famous. First World War, over two million people in Africa made huge sacrifices for the European Allies, 100,000 men died in East Africa and 65,000 men from French North Africa and French West Africa lost their lives

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o      Job As large numbers of Europeans went off to fight, more Africans moved into key positions. This was particularly true in French West Africa where jobs previously held only by Europeans, were now held by Africans. o      Food Production Production of more food ( like rice ) to support the war during the Second World War,

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Investment Rule For economic purpose (to transport minerals from mines to ports), territorial expansion (linking one part of a region to another), and better fight opponents to colonialism (transporting troops, supplied and controlling the areas where they had colonies), investment projects and works were set up. Education Of all the things that Europeans had to offer, education had been the most prized in Africa. European style of education was introduced. Most of the first groups of educated people did not achieved widespread enrollment due a shortage of trained teachers willing to live in Africa.

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Political Support German occupied France in 1940. There was a Free French government in exile led by Charles De Gaulle. African colonies had to choose with whom to side. In Chad the black governor, Felix Eboue, made a bold and swift decision to support the Free French. The Governors of other French Equatorial territories fell in behind him. The capital of the French Congo, Brazzaville, became a temporary capital for Free France. By contrast governors in French North Africa and French West Africa declared their loyalty to Marshall Petain's puppet regime in France (the Vichy Government) which cooperated with the German occupation. When in 1942 the allies regained control of North Africa, the West African colonies abandoned their Vichy loyalties and declared for Free France.

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The Independence The people of Africa made a crucial military contribution during World War I. When the war ended, people felt that having fought for freedom in Europe, they were entitled to it for themselves The period between the World Wars saw a huge increase in political activity in Africa, much of it led by the younger generation. It was a time of intense political and intellectual change for people in Africa. For Europeans, it was a time of consolidation, during which they tried to build up a more effective colonial administration

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The Nationalism : Activity In 1919, African nationalists saw the Versailles peace Conference as an opportunity for their grievances to be heard even though this peace Conference was convened to provide for a lasting peace in Europe and punish Germany: they held the First Pan African Congress, in 1921 the second, in 1923 the third, in 1924 the Ligue Universelle pour la Defense de la Race Noire and the Comite de la Defense de la Race Negre, in 1927 the fourth Pan African Congress in 1945 the fifth Pan African Congress.

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The Nationalism: Influence and support The country which made the biggest impact ( Political ) on African nationalists was India which was led to independence by Mahatma Gandhi in 1947. His confident doctrine was non-violence. Oral testimonies of soldiers ( some are relatives who participated in World War II or Vietnam ) pointed out that Vietnam and Algeria independence wars made big changed in their mind

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The Independence accession After World War II, Vietnam and Algeria independence wars and economy reasons, the French were in no position to oppose nationalist demands of their colonies. By 1956, all French colonies in West Africa had internal self-government and majority rule. But this related only to domestic policy as France retained controlled over military and foreign affairs as well as economic planning ( The Overseas Reform Act- La Loi Cadre –Reforme d’Outremers) The passage towards independence of Vietnam, Guinea, Algeria and Madagascar was traumatic in different ways

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Case Vietnam In 1930 the revolutionary Ho Chi Minh formed an Indochinese Communist party and war broke out in December 1946. The conflict lasted for nearly eight years. In 1953-1954 the French fortified a base at Dien Bien Phu, after months of siege and heavy casualties, the Vietminh overran the fortress in a decisive battle. As a consequence, the French government in June 1954 agreed to negotiations to end the war

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Case Guinea: In 1958, President de Gaulle offered, by the creation of the French Community, a choice to Africans in West Africa: "Oui" or yes to a partnership with the French which was essentially paternalistic, or "Non" which meant total independence and the breaking of all links with France, and all support.  Guinea alone under Sekou Toure voted for a total break with France. Guinea and Sekou Toure paid the price for saying no, he brought the country to independence in 1959

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Case Algeria Algeria was the only French colony in Africa occupied by a white settler population. Known as the “ Pieds Noires ” (nearly a million ). The Algerians were determined to be independent, the result was violence. Troops were brought in from other parts of Africa to fight on the side of the French. In 1960, after six years of conflict, the French Government finally gave in and started to negotiate. In 1962, Ahmed Ben Bella, leader of one of the main factions fighting the French, led the country to independence.

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·       Case Madagascar Madagascar's path to independence was violent. It underwent a major insurrection in 1947 which slid into a guerilla war in the course of which over 90,000 people were killed by the French. Other French colonies Togo, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Haute Volta (later Burkina Faso), Cote d'Ivoire, Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon and Mauritania - accepted the French umbrella ( French Community), and arrived at independence relatively smoothly.  In 1960 independence came to most of the French colonies.

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French relationship with ex-colonies France encouraged an increasing closeness with her colonies on the eve of independence and thereafter; Creation of the French Community; Creation of the Franc Zone and the CFA currency to monetary and economically support ex-colonies pro-French The CFA is warranty ( in somehow) by France. In 1994 there has been devaluation of CFA

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French relationship with ex-colonies – Cont.. There is parity between French currency and CFA, which is actually 1 Euro for 100 CFA. There are 2 zones: Central Africa and West Africa Annual budget support: Regional Applied Budget Conference for Francophone Africa Periodical meetings with ex-colonies Heads of States for relationship improvement.

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