LOUIS LéON CéSAR FAIDHERBE (3 June 1818 – 29 September 1889) was
a French general and colonial administrator. He created the Senegalese
Tirailleurs when he was governor of
* 1 Early life
* 2 West Africa
* 2.1 Direct control of the
* 2.2 Conflict in the interior
* 2.3 War with the Toucouleur
* 2.4 War with the
* 2.5 Economics
* 2.6 Legacy in French colonialism
* 3 Marriage and family
* 5 Political life and retirement
* 6 Works
* 7 References
* 8 Sources
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
Faidherbe was born into a lower-middle-class family in
Lille . He was
the fifth child of Louis César Joseph Faidherde, a hosier , and his
wife, Sophie Monnier. His father died in 1826 when he was seven and
he was brought up by his mother. He received his military education
École Polytechnique and then at the École d\'Application in
Metz . From 1843 to 1847 he served in Algeria , then for one year in
Guadeloupe , and again from 1849 to 1852 in Algeria.
In 1852 he was transferred to
Senegal as sub-director of engineers,
and in 1854 was promoted chef de bataillon and appointed governor of
the colony on December 16. He held this post with one brief interval
(1861–1863) until July 1865.
The work he accomplished in
French West Africa
French West Africa constitutes his most
enduring legacy. At that time
France possessed in
Senegal little else
than the town of Saint-Louis and a strip of coast. Explorers had,
however, made known the riches and possibilities of the
and Faidherbe formed the design of adding those countries to the
French dominions . He even dreamed of creating a French African empire
Senegal to the
Red Sea . The
Senegal River valley
upon the arrival of Faidherbe (1853). View of Saint-Louis in
DIRECT CONTROL OF THE SENEGAL RIVER
Faidherbe's actions were not of his own creation, but were an
implementation of "The Plan of 1854": a series of ministerial orders
given to Governor Protet that originated in petitions from the
powerful Bordeaux-based Maurel and Prom company, the largest shipping
interest in Saint-Louis . The plan specified in detail the creation of
forts along the
Sénégal River to end African control of the acacia
gum trade from the interior. Faidherbe's push to build fortifications
farther out, his conflicts with Protet, and his protests to
Protet's inaction earned him the governorship in 1854.
Within three months of his appointment as governor, he had begun work
on the first in a series on inland forts up the Sénégal, at Médine
just below the
Félou Falls (1855). By 1860, Faidherbe had built a
series of forts between Médine and Saint-Louis, launching missions
against the Trarza
Waalo (north of the Sénégal river), who
had previously collected taxes on goods coming to Saint-Louis from the
CONFLICT IN THE INTERIOR
French military forces had previously avoided conflicts with the most
powerful states in the area, the Toucouleur empire along the Niger
River , and the
Cayor in the south. By sending emissaries to sign
protectorates with weaker states (Bubakar Saada of Bundu , King Samba
Khasso ) and by completing the "pacification" of
Casamance and the
Wolof peoples through what is now northern Senegal, Faidherbe quickly
came into direct conflict with these states.
WAR WITH THE TOUCOULEUR
To accomplish even the first part of his design, he had very
inadequate resources, especially in view of the opposition from El
Umar Tall , the
Muslim ruler of the countries of the middle
Niger. By advancing the French outposts on the upper
Senegal , and
particularly by breaking Umar Tall's siege of Medina Fort , Faidherbe
Muslim advance. Striking an advantageous treaty with Umar
in 1860, Faidherbe brought the French possessions into touch with the
Niger. He also brought into subjection the country lying between the
Senegal river and
WAR WITH THE SERER PEOPLE
At the Battle of Logandème (18 May 1859), Faidherbe launched war
Serer people of Sine, during the reign of Maad a Sinig
Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (King of Sine). After his victory, he gave
the order for
Fatick (one of the provinces of Sine) and its
surrounding villages to be burned to the ground. The French
Paris criticised him for undertaking a military campaign
without their authority. To answer his critics, Faidherbe claimed that
he only occupied areas that belonged to
France since 1679. Scholars
like Martin A. Kelin notes that, Faidherbe was merely playing with
words and was making political decisions in
Senegal without any
authority whatsoever. The
Kingdom of Sine nor any of its provinces
never belonged to France.
Saint-Louis was placed under formal military control, and a telegraph
and road link was set up to the other French colonies in Gorée Island
Rufisque . In 1857, the French seized the inland region between
these two from the Lebu Republic, and rechristened their capital
Ndakarou as the new colonial city of
Dakar . Work was begun on the
Dakar–Saint-Louis railway , as well as a rail line along the Senegal
into the interior.
Faidherbe Bridge in Saint-Louis
Faidherbe's large-scale projects included the building of bridges and
provisioning of fresh drinking water. But Saint-Louis' place as a
door of French trade into an African interior began to wane with the
expansion of direct colonial rule. Access to its port became
increasingly awkward in the age of the steamship and the completion of
the Dakar-Saint Louis railroad in 1885 meant that up-country trade
effectively circumvented its port. Large French firms, many from the
Bordeaux , took over the new commercial networks of the
interior, marginalizing the
Métis traders who had always been the
middle men of upstream commerce.
Faidherbe also placed under direct French control large scale
seasonal groundnut cultivation near the fort systems, and then along
the rail lines. This created the navétanes system of seasonal labor
migration, first in Cayor, then spreading along the rail lines to Baol
Sine-Saloum , and eventually along the Thies-Kayes railway . This
would be a pattern spread throughout
French West Africa
French West Africa and French
Equatorial Africa well into the 20th century.
LEGACY IN FRENCH COLONIALISM
When he resigned his post French rule had been firmly established
over a very considerable and fertile area and the foundation laid upon
which his successors built up the position occupied after 1904 by
France in West Africa.
The first half-century of French colonialism in
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.
In 1863 he became general of brigade. From 1867 to the early part of
1870, he commanded the subdivision of Bona in Algeria, and was
commanding the Constantine division at the commencement of the
Franco-Prussian War .
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
Soon after his arrival in Saint-
Louis Faidherbe took as a mistress,
Diocounda Sidibe (Dionkhounda Siadibi), a fifteen-year-old Sarakolé
girl. She helped him in his study of the Wolof , Pular , and Sarakolé
languages. On 15 February 1857, she bore him a son, Louis Léon
Faidherbe. In 1858, when Faidherbe was 40, he married his 18-year-old
niece, Angèle-Emilie Marie Sophie Faidherbe. She was the daughter of
his older brother, Romain, who had died eight years earlier. The
marriage produced three children: Gaston, Mathilde and Wilhem. Angèle
also helped care for Louis, the son of Sidibe.
Another of Faidherbe's nieces, his wife's older sister Clarence,
married the naval officer
Théophile Aube in May 1861. At the time
Aube was serving in Senegal. He would later be promoted to admiral.
Charles Édouard Armand-Dumaresq showing Faidherbe
at the Battle of
After the defeat of Napoleon III and his French Imperial Army by the
Prussian Army in the summer of 1870, colonial officers such as
Faidherbe were recalled to
France and promoted to higher ranks to
command new units and replace generals killed or captured in the war.
Faidherbe was promoted to divisional general in November 1870, and in
December appointed as commander-in-chief of the Army of the North by
the Government of National Defence .
Faidherbe quickly proved himself to be the most able of the generals
fighting Prussian forces in the French provinces, and won several
small victories against the Prussian First Army at the towns of Ham ,
Pont-Noyelles , and
Bapaume . Despite his military skills,
Faidherbe was never able to form an army strong enough to seriously
worry the Prussians, as his army, composed of raw recruits, suffered
immense supply difficulties and low morale in the freezing winter of
1870/71. The Army of the North performed remarkably well by striking
isolated enemy forces and then retreating behind the belt of
Pas-de-Calais . Ultimately, however, Faidherbe was
ordered by Minister of War
Leon Gambetta to attack the Prussians –
Faidherbe rushed into an open battle at St Quentin and his army was
POLITICAL LIFE AND RETIREMENT
French stamp issued in 1906 honoring Faidherbe Equestrian
statue of Faidherbe by
Antonin Mercié in
During the course of his military career Faidherbe was decorated with
the five degrees of the
Legion of Honor : the Chevalier in 1852, the
Officier in 1855, the Commandeur in 1861, the Grand Officier in 1871
and the Grand Croix in 1880.
Between October 1871 and May 1872 Faidherbe undertook a scientific
Upper Egypt where he studied the monuments and
inscriptions. On the same trip he visited Jerusalem and Italy.
Faidherbe was elected on 5 January 1879 to the National Assembly for
the département of the Nord , He resigned his seat prior to the end
of his term in 1888.
An enthusiastic geographer, historian, philologist and archaeologist,
he wrote numerous works, including Collection des inscriptions
numidiques (1870), La Campagne de l'armée du Nord (1871), Epigraphie
phenicienne (1873), Essai sur la langue poul (1875), and Le Znaga des
tribes sénégalaises (1877), the last a study of the Berber language
. He also wrote on the geography and history of
Senegal and the Sahara
He was elected a senator in 1879, and, in spite of failing health,
continued to the last a close student of his favorite subjects. He
died on 29 September 1889, and received a public funeral. Statues and
monuments to his memory were erected at Lille,
Bapaume , Saint-Quentin
Senegal . Numerous streets are named after him and
also a subway station in
Paris (Faidherbe-Chaligny) .
* Faidherbe, L. (1854). "Les Berbères et les Arabes des bords du
Sénégal". Bulletin de la Société de Géographie (Paris). 4th
series. 7: 89–112.
* ——— (1856). "Populations noires des bassins du Sénégal et
du Haut Niger". Bulletin de la Société de Géographie (Paris). 4th
series. 11: 281–300.
* ——— (1859). Notice sur la colonie du Sénégal et sur les
pays qui sont en relation avec elle. Paris: A. Bertrand.
* ——— (1859). Vocabulaire d'environ 1,500 mots français les
plus usuels avec leurs correspondants en ouolof de Saint-Louis, à
l'usage des écoles indigènes. Saint-Louis, Senegal: Imprimerie du
OCLC 249063491 .
* ——— (1863). "L\'avenir du Sahara et du Soudan". Revue
maritime et coloniale. 8: 221–248.
* ——— (1864). Vocabulaire d'environ 1,500 mots français avec
leurs correspondants en ouslof de Saint-Louis, en poular, Toucoulor,
du Fouta, en Soninké, Sarakhollé, de Bakel. Saint-Louis, Senegal:
Imprimerie du Gouvernement.
OCLC 559326045 .
* ——— (1864). Chapitre de géographie sur le Nord-Ouest de
l'Afrique à l'usage des écoles de Sénégambie. Saint-Louis,
Senegal: Imprimerie du gouvernement.
OCLC 82569267 .
* ——— (1865). "Étude sur la langue Kéguem ou Sérè-Sine".
Annuaire de Sénegal et dépendances. Saint-Louis, Sénegal:
Imprimerie du Gouvernement: 173–245.
* ——— (1866). "Résumé historique et géographique du voyage
de MM. Mage et Quintin à Ségou". Annales des voyages, de la
géographie, de l'histoire et de l'archéologie. 4: 223–270.
* ——— (1870). "Collection complète des inscriptions
numidiques (libyques), avec des aperçus ethnographiques sur les
numides". Mémoires de la Société des sciences, de l'agriculture et
des arts de Lille. 3rd Series. 8: 361–425.
* ——— (1871). Campagne de l\'armée du Nord en 1870-1871, avec
une carte, des notes et des pièces justificatives. Paris: E. Dentu.
* ——— (1872). "Épigraphie phénicienne". Mémoires de la
Société des sciences, de l'agriculture et des arts de Lille. 3rd
Series. 10: 293–299.
* ——— (1873). Armée du nord. Réponse à la relation du
général Von Goeben pour faire suite à la "Campagne de l\'armée du
nord". Paris: E.Dentu.
* ——— (1875). Essai sur la langue poul, grammaire et
vocabulaire. Paris: Maisonneuve.
* ——— (1877). Le Zénaga des tribus sénégalaises:
contribution à l\'étude de la langue berbère. Paris: E. Leroux.
* ———; Quintin, L. (1881). "Dictionnaire de la langue poul,
par le général Faidherbe, augmenté par le Docteur Quintin".
Bulletin de la Société de géographie. 7th Series. 2: 334–354.
* ——— (1882). Grammaire et vocabulaire de la langue poul : à
l\'usage des voyageurs dans le Soudan. Paris: Maisonneuve.
* ——— (1887). Langues sénégalaises : wolof, arabe-hassania,
soninké, sérère, notions grammaticales, vocabulaires et phrases.
Paris: E. Leroux.
OCLC 6967898 .
* ——— (1889). Le Sénégal: la
France dans l\'Afrique
occidentale. Paris: Hachette.
* ^ Saint-Martin 1989 , p. 234.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , p. 15.
* ^ Barrows 1976 , p. 97.
* ^ Barrows 1976 , p. 95.
* ^ Kanya-Forstner 1969 .
* ^ Diouf, Cheikh, "Fiscalité et Domination Coloniale: l'exemple
du Sine: 1859-1940", Université Cheikh Anta Diop de
* ^ Klein, Martin A., Islam and Imperialism in
Sine-Saloum, 1847–1914, Edinburgh University Press, 1968, p. 55.
* ^ A B Klein, Martin A., Islam and Imperialism in
Sine-Saloum, 1847–1914, Edinburgh University Press, 1968, pp. 57-58.
* ^ Graëff, Eddy. "Histoire de Saint-Louis du Sénégal".
Retrieved 10 April 2015.
* ^ Jean Suret-Canele. French Colonialism in Tropical Africa
1900–1945. Trans. Pica Press (1971) pp.14,46–47,244–247.
* ^ *Jones, Jim. "Commentary on "The Conquest of the Western Sudan"
by A. S. Kanya-Forstner". West Chester University.
* ^ Barrows 1976 , p. 99.
* ^ A B Coursier 1989 , p. 101.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , p. 102.
* ^ Saint-Martin 1989 , p. 471.
* ^ Saint-Martin 1989 , p. 271.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , pp. 190, 214.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , p. 215.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , pp. 188-189.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , p. 12.
* ^ Coursier 1989 , p. 201.
* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Faidherbe, Louis Léon
César". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University
* Barrows, Leland C. (1976). "Faidherbe and Senegal: a critical
discussion". African Studies Review. 19 (1): 95–117.
JSTOR 523854 .
* Coursier, Alain (1989). Faidherbe, 1818-1889: du Sénégal à
l'Armée du Nord (in French). Paris: Tallandier. ISBN 978-223501888-3
* Kanya-Forstner, A.S. (1969). The Conquest of the Western Sudan: A
Study in French Military Imperialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. ISBN 978-0-521-10372-5 . .
* Saint-Martin, Yves-Jean (1989). Le Sénégal sous le second
Empire: Naissance d'un empire colonial (1850-1871) (in French). Paris:
Karthala. ISBN 2-86537-201-4 .
Wikimedia Commons has media related to LOUIS FAIDHERBE .
* Barrows, Leland Conley (1974). "The Merchants and General
Faidherbe. Aspects of French Expansion in Sénégal in the 1850\'s".
Revue française d'histoire d'outre-mer. 61 (223): 236–283. doi
* Cohen, William B. (1971). Rulers of empire: the French colonial
service in Africa. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press.
ISBN 978-081791951-1 .
* Demaison, André (1932). Faidherbe (in French). Paris: Plon. OCLC
* Gann, Lewis H.; Duignan, Peter (1978). African proconsuls :
European governors in Africa. New York: Free Press. ISBN
* Hardy, George (1947). Faidherbe (in French). Paris: Éditions de
l'Encyclopédie de l'Empire franc̜ais.
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* Pondopoulo, Anna (1996). "La construction de l\'altérité
ethnique peule dans l\'œuvre de Faidherbe". Cahiers d'études
africaines (in French). 36 (143): 421–441. doi
* Robinne, Christophe. "Louis-Léon-César Faidherbe" (in French).
École Supérieure de Guerre.
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