Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1985. 420 pages
Shortly after the capture of Tamba Umar began to turn his attention to the north and the next campaign, against the Bambara of Karta. He sent envoys to Fuuta-Tooro and to the French to negotiate the purchase of weapons. In June of 1854 he sallied forth from Dingiray with about 1,500 soldiers and announced to them: “If you are the army of God, if you are faithful, you will open up Karta and Segu without fail.” 1
The Massassi dynasty of Karta had dominated eastern Senegambia since the early nineteenth century 2. From their strongholds north of the Senegal River they controlled the east-west trade from the Niger basin. When their interests or allies were threatened, they swept into the valley, destroyed villages, and took the women, children, livestock, and grain. Khasso was reduced to a small cluster of villages, tribute was extracted from Ɓundu and Bambuk. One ruler was called “the killer of the Fulbe”. The mere mention of the Bambara in eastern Fuuta-Tooro was enough to make the inhabitants “flee from their homes and fields to the interior, so great was their fear” 3. In 1806-7 a Kartan army had led the fight against Abdul Kader in Fuuta. The Almamy, according to traditions extant in the 1840s, warned his contemporaries that the Bambara “will treat you like they have treated me today” 4.
The Kartan armies fulfilled his prophecy many times 5.
The Bambara represented the same kind of threat for Senegambia that Tamba had posed for Fuuta-Jalon, and Umar designed a similar strategy. His primary recruits would come from the threatened region, especially the Fulbe societies of Fuuta-Tooro and Ɓundu. Guns and powder would come primarily from the French and their Senegalese agents, who would fill the same role that the British had played from Freetown. But Karta was a much more daunting foe than Tamba, and the French were poised for expansion in the Upper Senegal. This chapter charts Umar's efforts to implement his strategy against these substantial obstacles. It is based on a rich lode of internal narratives, external traditions and archival sources.
Senegambia could reasonably be classed as part of the West African Dar al-Islam in the nineteenth century. Its Muslim identity derived only in part from the states of Fuuta-Tooro and Ɓundu. Just as important was a long tradition of Islamic presence reflected in the large infusions of Arabic words into local languages. Muslim trading and educational communities dotted the landscape. Clerics were present at the courts, and most of the rulers professed some kind of allegiance to the faith. Islamic concepts governed much of the interaction between the local societies and the Europeans.
Senegambia was also the only West African area where a European trading diaspora functioned in the interior in conjunction with indigenous commercial networks 6. The two rivers which gave the region its name had roughly equivalent potential. British ocean-going vessels could push about 470 kilometres up the Gambia, while the French river boats could mount the Senegal for twice that distance—but only during the high water season from August to December. The French, in order to capitalize on the potential of their route, established their presence in the upper valley of the Senegal, where a series of ridges forced the Niger trading caravans to pass. There they cultivated the Soninke, Jakhanke, and Mandinka traders and sought, with some success, to cut off the overland route to the Gambia.
After the Napoleonic period the French had reoccupied Saint Louis, the traditional headquarters of European trading interests near the mouth of the Senegal. Then, repeating the pattern of their predecessors of the eighteenth century, they created an upper valley base, at Bakel 7. The commander of the post had a garrison of only about twenty-five men. For at least six months of the year he was isolated from all direct contact with the Governor in St Louis. He none the less played a key role in attracting the Moorish caravans of gum, which formed the principal raison d'être of French commerce in the region. He was responsible for maintaining good rapport with political overlords, like the Bambara of Karta, and keeping a watchful eye upon British initiatives from the Gambia.
During the early nineteenth century Paris was neither willing nor able to invest the resources of men and money to dominate the commercial system of the upper valley. The French consequently operated within an old regional pattern in competition and collaboration with the indigenous traders. The Senegambians of the nineteenth century expressed this limitation in a metaphor of contrast: the Europeans were “masters of the water” but not “the land”. According to a version noted by Gaspard Mollien in 1818,
the blacks believed that Europeans live exclusively upon the water; that they have neither land, houses nor cattle; they added that the rivers and great waters belong to us, in the same manner as all the earth is their patrimony. I therefore concluded that this was the reason why white men alone were forced to pay imposts to the Negro kings, who regard them as their tributaries. They had not a high opinion of our courage, affirming that we did not even know how to fire a musket, and that this science belonged exclusively to the Moors and Fulbe 8.
The image conformed to Senegambian experience in many ways. European merchants, trading companies, and governors came and went. They paid duties to local chiefs for the right to trade. Their garrisons were small, their soldiers and officials often became sick and were repatriated. Rarely did local inhabitants observe Europeans riding horses or firing guns. At the same time, the image of “master of the water” paid due respect to European maritime technology: the ocean-going vessels, the steamboats that had recently entered the river service, the barges and sailboats that carried goods up and down the valley. It could even encompass the occasional demonstration of superior military power: the gunboats could deliver a devastating barrage of cannon fire against a riverine village 9.
The French position was stronger than the British presence in Sierra Leone or Gambia. While the British could send their naval squadron to destroy a slave barracoon along the coast, they made no effort to bring pressure on an interior state like Fuuta-Jalon or Ɓundu. They could more easily be assimilated to the classical Islamic conception of dhimmi or “protected person”, a category reserved for non-Muslims who accepted Islamic authority and paid taxes for the right to live or travel within the confines of an Islamic state 10. A variation on the dhimmi status was obviously operative in the “imposts” which Mollien remarked and which the French paid with some regularity to those who controlled the river banks and brought in the gum. But the Senegambians also knew that their European “guests” could be “masters” of the Lower Senegal at any time, “masters” of the middle and upper river at the high water season, and highly influential through their sales of guns, cloth, and other manufactures.
Almost all of the nineteenth-century European headquarters were located on the African coast. The French, despite their limited capacity in the interior, were no exception. St Louis was the base for the colonial administration, headed by the Governor, the Bordeaux commercial firms and their African employees. It was the starting point for the annual trading season along the river. Senegambians grew accustomed to seeing a few Frenchmen and a much larger group of Africans venture forth every year. They called them the “white Europeans” and “black Europeans” respectively; the Governor was their chief and Ndar—the local name for St Louis—was their home 11.
In 1850 the capital contained about 13,000 inhabitants 12. About 1,000 were French: 200 merchants, including dependants, and up to 800 members of the civilian and military administration. The mulatto community, the result of the relations between the predominantly male European population and local women, consisted of several hundred persons who identified fully with the metropolitan French. Below these strata came the free African population of about 6,000, largely Wolof and Muslim in culture. They furnished the bulk of the traitants, the traders who staffed the river and coastal ports during the commercial season. Some worked on their own account, but most were employees of the Bordeaux firms. The remaining half of the people were indentured servants drawn primarily from the slave population of the interior. They worked as domestic servants, stevedores, deck hands, and soldiers in the garrisons.
St Louis was the headquarters of a commercial network based on the gum of the river valley and the peanuts of the coastal regions. The exportations of these raw materials to French factories were valued at about 3 million francs a year. To maintain the ships, posts, and trading fairs, France budgeted 1 to 1.5 million francs and sustained a military establishment of about 1,000 men through the Ministry of the Navy and Colonies. About 70 per cent of the men were European, and most of the installations were at or close to the coast 13.
The gum came from two areas along the river valley. The lower valley produced the lion's share, and the Trarza Moors dominated the collection, transport, and marketing of the gum to the St Louis merchants. The upper river produced a smaller quantity but higher quality of gum as well as hides, gold, and other products. The Idawaish Moors played a significant role here in conjunction with Soninke and Mandinka traders. Fuuta-Tooro lay in between these two spheres and was implicated in both. Its western provinces hosted some of the trading fairs. It provided grain for the St Louis population and controlled shipping to the Upper Senegal. This control took the form of annual payments which Almamy Abdul and his successors exacted from each boat and the colonial administration. The weak central government was rarely able to guarantee security from attack, while merchants often tried to pay their tolls with shoddy merchandise. In the minds of the French these difficulties were associated with “Tokolor” arrogance and Muslim fanaticism 14. This image was sometimes extended to the Fulbe as a whole, who were then contrasted with the tolerant and tractable Mande-speaking peoples. The Soninke, who lacked the tradition of jihaad and Islamic statecraft, usually lay at the base of this stereotype. They brought caravans to the upper river ports, they furnished stevedores and deck-hands, in short they cooperated with the commercial purposes of St Louis.
These images conditioned the policies which the French formulated as they began to expand along the river in the mid-nineteenth century. The basic plan was designed in 1844. The following year a small fort was established at Senudebu, south of Bakel, to keep the interior caravans away from the Gambia. In the early 1850s the French sought ways to secure their system against Trarza pressure, civil war in some of the states and near famine conditions in some grain producing areas 15. The first major step came in March 1854, when a flotilla seized Podor, about 35 miles from Umar's home town of Halwar, and constructed a fort. In May the French razed the capital of Dimar, the westernmost province of Fuuta. In October they strengthened their installation at Bakel and applied an embargo on the sale of firearms and powder 16. Just at the time that Shaikh Umar was making his presence felt, the French were moving from “water” to “land” and breaking out of the conventions which local Muslims had long accepted.
The two most critical arenas in the competition of Umar and the French were Fuuta-Tooro and Ɓundu. Fuuta had a population of about 300,000 and constituted the only area from which Umar might recruit sufficient numbers of committed Fulbe to wage a successful war against the Bambara 17. Ɓundu was the critical link between Gambia and Fuuta-Tooro in the west, Fuuta-Jalon in the south, and the Bambara country to the east. Both areas became pawns in the titanic struggles of the 1850s.
Umar had not neglected his homeland since the journey of 1846-7. His Tijaniyya cells kept him informed and supplied new soldiers, especially after the victories against Tamba. He sent important delegations throughout the 1852-4 period to prepare the ground for the Karta campaign. The conjuncture of French aggression, local strife, and bad material conditions created fertile soil for his message in 1854.
Two coalitions continued to dominate Futanke politics in the 1850s. Mamadu Biran Wan of Mbumba controlled one side 18. The Wan lineage had amassed considerable wealth in slaves, land, and the share of tolls which fell to the Almamy. Mamadu often received that share even when he was not in power because of his alliance with the family of the Alcaty, who stopped the boats and demanded the payment. The toll was called, in the Arabic copies of the commercial treaties, the jizya or tax paid by non-Muslims to Muslim authorities 19. Wan wealth made up for an obvious weakness: the absence of direct representation on the electoral council. The pre-eminent elector, Eliman Rinjaw Falil of the Ac lineage of Bossea province, led the other faction 20. He selected a number of rival candidates, often from Mamadu's province of Law, to serve as Almamy. None, however, could stand for long against the patronage of Mamadu, and Falil could not effectively break the bond between the Wan and the Alcaty nor the close relationship which the Alcaty had nurtured with members of the St Louis administration. Both coalitions courted the French, but neither could afford to ignore the tradition of the authority of the Islamic state or the hostility of a Muslim populace to European intrusion.
Both sides also exploited the western provinces in the old pattern. The French counted upon that exploitation and the fragmentation of Fuuta as they constructed Podor in 1854. They also used the hostages of noble families, taken the previous year as an earnest of good faith in a new commercial treaty, and the issue of compensation for the death of a traitant in an altercation 21. The alleged assassin was Mamadu Hamat Wan, from the junior branch of the lineage in eastern Fuuta. He was a close relative of Mamadu Biran, who returned to power in May of 1854.
Almamy Mamadu was in no position to solve Fuuta's problems. His kinship ties called him to protect his cousin; his habit of co-operation with the French suggested surrender. Most of his constituents, particularly those in Toro, demanded action against the aggression at Podor, but Mamadu knew the disaster which awaited any frontal assault on French fire-power. The competition between coalitions and the resentment against central Fuuta made any unified response to the European intrusion that much more difficult. Consequently Mamadu waited through the summer months and progressively lost control of his constituents, who disrupted the trade in gum and millet to give vent to their frustration. This was the situation when an Umarian delegation arrived to recruit for the jihaad. Its leader was Alfa Umar Baila, a member of the junior branch of the Wan lineage. He was a cousin both of the alleged assassin and the Almamy. The combination of his connections, his cause, and Fuuta's crisis produced an enormous contribution to the holy war 22.
Ɓundu had no outstanding topographical or agricultural feature like the Senegal River, and its population at mid-century was probably no more than 25,000 23. Most of the land was dry savannah used by Fulbe pastoralists for their cattle, but on the eastern fringes some large farming villages could be found. The regime was called an Almamate. Power alternated theoretically, as in Fuuta-Jalon, between two branches of the Sisibe dynasty. One was based at Kussan, the other at Bulebane. The Bulebane house became quite strong and wealthy in the 1830s and 1840s thanks to two external alliances 24. The first was with the Massassi of Karta, who had given one of their daughters in marriage to Almamy Sada, in the interest of consolidating their hegemony in eastern Senegambia 25.
The other bond was sealed with the French. Sada allowed the French to build the small fort at Senudebu, at some cost to his popularity at home, but he enveloped it in his own expansion into the Faleme valley. He did not allow the French to dictate his commercial policy; in fact, he maintained good rapport with the British in Gambia 26. Through tolls on the caravans and heavy taxes on agricultural and livestock production, he garnered considerable wealth for himself and his court. Sada favoured the Fulbe majority in the kingdom, but he also nurtured the Soninke and Mandinka trading cells.
The death of Sada in 1852 unleashed an intense struggle for the coveted Almamyship 27. The throne by rights should have gone to the Kussan branch, which opposed the Senudebu fort and was reputed friendly to the British. Soon several candidates from both houses disputed the succession, each with his own following and territorial fief. The ensuing civil war lasted two years. It destroyed the economic base of Ɓundu and made it difficult to conduct trade in the upper valley. Outside of the armed fortresses of the competing parties, the land was deserted. In the late summer of 1854 one of Sada's sons, with the help of Bambara troops, was on the verge of gaining a Pyrrhic victory when Kussan appealed to the new external authority—the Umarian jihaad.
The Upper Senegal Valley was inhabited mainly by societies speaking Mande languages. The Soninke of Gajaga and Gidimaka lived just up river from Fuuta-Tooro, while the Mandinka inhabitants of Khasso and Bambuk occupied the area to the south-east. All four societies, to varying degrees, fell under the sway of the Bambara. In domestic terms, none had an Islamic social charter comparable to Fuuta-Tooro or even Ɓundu. The Soninke were at least nominally Muslim, and their clerical lineages had a much older tradition in the faith than most Fulbe. Most of the Mandinka did not practise Islam, but neither did they maintain the centralized traditional rituals of the Bambara 28.
The Soninke shared the conventional savannah divisions of slave, artisan, and free classes, but they also divided the free stratum into lineages with political and military functions, on the one hand, and those with commercial and religious ones, on the other 29. Gidimaka was constituted by dispersed farming and commercial settlements stretching from the river to the Assaba hills. They had no central authority and often fell victim to Moorish raids from the north. Gajaga consisted of a concentration of villages on the south bank of the river which formed a state many centuries old 30. The villages dominated by commercial lineages were large and prosperous, attaining a size of several thousand in a total population of perhaps 50,000. The merchants earned their living by running caravans along the well-established east-west and northsouth routes, which intersected with the French-dominated system in Gajaga, and by investing in land, cattle, and slaves.
They supported schools and mosques, staffed by members of their own lineages and designed to sustain the Islamic heritage which was part of the commercial vocation 31.
The warrior-dominated settlements were smaller and less prosperous, but they determined political alignments and often drew the whole population into conflicts which disrupted commerce. The king or Tunka was chosen from the Bacily lineage. By the mid-nineteenth century rival factions of the Bacily were at loggerheads and had broken the state into two. The upriver settlements, collectively called Kamera, coalesced around Makhana, which sustained its position by virtue of an alliance with Karta 32. Down river the villages followed the lead of the Tuabo faction and took the name of Goy. They had no patron comparable to the Bambara, but they sought support in Bakel, Ɓundu, and Fuuta-Tooro. In 1854 they turned to Umar.
Khasso was also divided and weak. It lay at the upper limit of navigability of the Senegal, on both sides of the river, and included perhaps 50,000 people 33. In the seventeenth century a dynasty of Fulbe origin had created a sizeable state based upon a mixed economy of farming, livestock, and some trade. Succession struggles broke the unity into a number of competing chiefdoms in the late eighteenth century, whereupon Karta extended its sway over the north bank and reduced the authority of the old royal family to a handful of villages around Medine. Hawa Demba, by skilful diplomacy and military strategy, was often able to circumvent Bambara domination, but his son Kinti was not very successful in the 1830s and 1840s. He and the Medine lineage looked to the Umarian jihaad for liberation 34.
The final piece of the eastern Senegambian puzzle was Bambuk, a vast collection of small, dispersed villages with no central authority, set between the Bafing and Faleme tributaries of the Senegal. In a total population of perhaps 50,000 with a density of only 2 to 3 per square kilometre, the largest villages with up to 2,000 inhabitants lay along the Tambaura ridge, which rose about 150 metres above the plain and formed the watershed between the rivers 35. The mountain settlements used their natural defences, thick walls, and imported firearms to fend off their stronger neighbours. As a consequence they attracted displaced rulers, slaves, and other refugees from Senegambia. The most famous asylum was Farbanna, which “was almost entirely populated by slaves from neighbouring areas who find there a sure refuge against the claims of their masters. After serving the village chief five years the slaves are free and never returned” 36. Farabanna threatened one major source of wealth of the ruling classes of Khasso and Ɓundu.
The sparse population reflected the limited agricultural potential of the area. The soil was poor, rocky, and uneven. The better land in the Faleme valley had been taken by Ɓundu. Bambuk compensated for its deficiency by mining the gold contained in quartz pipe veins at or near the surface. During the dry season Mandinka families panned the streams and dug ore at depths of 10 to 20 metres 37. Men handled the excavation while women extracted the gold from the ore. The finished product, in the form of dust, nuggets, or jewelry, was sold to the caravans organized out of Gajaga and other areas. Several military powers, including the French in the late 1850s, tried to expand Bambuk gold production, but none succeeded in supplanting or significantly improving upon the slow, labour-intensive methods developed by the Mandinka.
Bambuk and the other societies of the region were caught in a downward spiral of violence. Umar and the French offered solutions to the problem while they competed for control over the next five years. The advantage lay initially with the Shaikh, who could hardly have chosen a more propitious time to recruit. The long-simmering resentment against Karta, the exhaustion from civil war and bad harvest, and reaction against the more recent advances of the French—all reached their height in late 1854.
Umar chose his route carefully to avoid Kartan influence, which ran some distance up the Bafing 38, and the French presence at Senudebu. This left only one option, to strike up through the Tambaura ridge of Bambuk. The jihadists mounted the ridge at Jalafara in July 39. Over the next three and a half months they progressed slowly from south-east to north-west, establishing their headquarters at Sirmanna and finally Farbanna. By seizing this well known Bambuk settlement and appropriating its slaves, Umar signalled to the dominant classes of Senegambia that he was no advocate of class revolt, that he accepted the existing social order and would replicate it in his dominions 40.
The slow movement along the ridge had several causes. The Shaikh was waiting for the end of the harvest, when men traditionally were available for war. His envoys were preparing for that time. He also wanted to acquire the maximum booty: grain and cattle to feed the troops; gold, ivory, and slaves for exchange. This required many small forays against the dispersed settlements, especially those arrayed between Tambaura and the Faleme. It also meant the thorough destruction of houses to recover the gold that had been buried in the walls 41. The most important factor was the determined Mandinka resistance.
Umar, after securing his southern territories, could only afford a small force. Some of the Fuuta Jalonke, who still formed the majority of his troops, had little enthusiasm for a campaign in difficult terrain, far from home, with no large caches of booty, against a determined enemy 42. The Bambuk men used ambush, guerilla tactics, and fortress walls to best advantage. The toll in human lives was consequently heavy, probably heavier than in the Tamba and Gufde campaigns. The Bandiagara source puts the Sirmanna toll at 50 Umarians and 600 Mandinka killed, with 1,545 women and children taken prisoner 43. The violence was intensified by Umar's intention to amass booty and use Bambuk as a staging area for Senegambian recruitment. He could not incorporate Mandinka farmers and gold-miners into his army or run the risk of revolt by male prisoners. The rule of thumb became to execute the men and send the women and children back to Tamba and Dingiray. No permanent administration was established in any part of the conquered territory.
By November the jihaad had expanded to about 10,000 men, 44 almost all of whom hailed from Senegambia. Fuuta-Jalon would now play a relatively minor role in the campaign. The large influx was the result of carefully focused recruitment in an atmosphere of crisis. The most striking success came in the Fulbe states. In Fuuta-Tooro Alfa Umar Baila offered the embarrassed leadership a way out of their insoluble dilemmas: consultation with Shaikh Umar and participation in the jihaad. In November 3,000 Futankobe, including a reluctant Mamadu Biran and four of the five electors, travelled to Farbanna. In the words of Carrère and Holle, two St Louisians with good connections, some of the leaders
explained to Al-Hajji that Mamadu Hamat had put to death in blatant fashion a Senegalese [traitant], that their children were held hostage in St. Louis where the Europeans could justifiably kill them, since the Almamy refused to hand over the murderer. “Judge between the Almamy and us,” they said. “Should we not give satisfaction to the Europeans?”
Al-Hajji answered them:
“I told you before that you would come to me. I already knew about the affair. I cannot make a decision about it right now. The time for that will be when I return to Fuuta. Right now it is more urgent to work for the conversion of the unbelievers. You will thus accompany me in the war I'm undertaking against Karta. On my return, Fuuta will see me and know my decision. Mamadu, the one you call Almamy, will return to your country. He is no longer Almamy, but my Alfa (Lieutenant). He will administer Fuuta until the end of the war [in Karta], having as his auxiliary Eliman Mbolo, responsible as the Alcaty for receiving the duty paid by the Europeans. Mamadu, as my Alfa, and during my absence, you will abstain from eating meat and will not leave your house…”45
Umar, the cleric of modest origin from Toro, was giving instructions to the great notables from central Fuuta.
The achievement in Ɓundu was no less stunning. The Kussan house was ready to submit, but Umar insisted that all the Sisibe men, about 30 in number, together with their partisans, mount the Tambaura ridge. Once there, he
gave audience to the two parties [Kussan and Bulebane]. When he had heard them out, without raising the slightest objection, he said: “Why these quarrels? Why, believers in God, do you wish to destroy yourselves in internecine war? That would be an evil action for which God would punish you later. So forget your disputes and join up with us to combat the infidel.” 46
In contrast to Fuuta-Jalon, Umar could transform his criticism of dynastic strife into a command to join the jihaad. The Bundunke leaders and followers, in their embarrassment and exhaustion, enlisted almost to the man. Most were incorporated into Ɓundu units in the army, but some returned home to convert their strongholds into centres of recruitment and supply for the jihaad. Ɓundu would remain under Umarian hegemony until the late 1850s.
The jihaad enjoyed similar success in Khasso. The Jallo lineage of Medine came to the Tambaura ridge early in the Bambuk campaign. For them Umar offered the opportunity to remove the Kartan yoke and extend Medine's hegemony over the other factions of Khasso 47. The response in Goy was enthusiastic, in Kamera and Gidimaka somewhat grudging 48, but it was only among the French and some of the traitants that Umar was rebuffed. The Shaikh was counting on European arms for the Kartan campaign. Beginning in June he cultivated the relationship with the commanders of Senudebu and Bakel and the governor, sending deputies who knew the francophone milieu. He relied in particular on Abdullay Ndar, a master mason from St Louis who had once been a Bambara slave 49. The French received the ambassadors politely and sent envoys of their own to observe the Umarian camp. They equivocated about the request for arms until the October application of the embargo.
The news of that decision, communicated to Umar by Abdullay Ndar, came as a rude shock to the jihaad. According to a messenger sent by the Commandant of Bakel, 'Al-Hajji changed his attitude and ended up declaring that he had no response to make but that, if he was prevented from buying war munitions, he would certainly be prepared to arrest the caravans [heading to the French river posts] 50. In a letter to the commander of Senudebu, Umar expressed his concern directly: “I am quite angry about what you people have done in preventing me from buying powder and guns, although I can certainly do without 51”. He obviously did not “do without”, for he had already amassed a considerable quantity of weapons and was securing more from friends among the traitants. But the embargo did rankle in his mind and soon brought about a sharp turn in relations.
By the middle of November Umar, in the words of the Senudebu officer, “reigned from Fuuta to Khasso” 52. Like a Moses from his Farbanna mountaintop, he gave orders to lieutenants to patrol the valley and verify the loyalty and support of the citizens. He had a structure of recruitment, supply and communication throughout the region, bolstered especially by the Ɓundu strongholds and their proximity to the middle valley and Gambia. Few dared oppose the jihaad, and they were obliged to flee to safety at places like Bakel. The French provided a modicum of protection and strengthened their fortifications, but they were careful to avoid any action which might antagonize the jihadists.
One order given to the Umarian patrols was to seize the Mandinka who had fled from Bambuk. Several Kamera villages refused and were accordingly destroyed, their women and children taken prisoner 53. The worst offender was Makhana, the principal political centre in Kamera under the command of Barka Bacily. Barka was the son of Samba Yasin, who was a long-time ally of Karta and a participant in the assassination of Almamy Abdul 54. Barka initially submitted to the demands of the jihaad to avoid destruction. He then dispatched two envoys: his brother Sule to Karta for help, and a messenger to Umar to stall for time. Umar did not fall for the ruse. He ordered the destruction of the town, execution of the royal family and most of the men, and the capture of the women and children. In one of the most often remembered passages of the jihaad, Barka is compared to Yimba as a nay-sayer and the destruction of his town is celebrated:
The Shaikh sent a column under Modi Mamadu Jam to Makhana, to Barka, the nay-sayer who will never convert.
Modi arrived, stayed with Barka Samba, camped there.
Sule fled, crying for help to the Suncu [royal family of Karta], none of
that would help their cause.
The Differentiator [Umar] wrote a letter, gave it to Mamadu of
Sending for Modi Mamadu, in order that he know [what to do].
When he arrived, the army was assembled, Barka was called.
The letter was read, the shots were fired, the deed was done.
On that Tuesday, in the month of Safar, Makhana was destroyed 55.
The external accounts, generated by the Bacily resisters and transmitted by French colonial spokesmen like Carrère and Holle, tell a different story. They put the onus of deception on the jihadists: the contingent entered Makhana with words of peace, gained the confidence of their hosts and cut their throats at night 56. The sources make no mention of the Bambara connection, nor do they note that the French were not very critical of the “Makhana massacre” at the time. Like the Umarians, the French turned the event into an instrument of propaganda.
In interpreting these conflicting accounts, it is first of all evident that Makhana stood for Kartan hegemony and posed a serious threat to the jihaad. The executions themselves were not exceptional in the context of the civil war which had plagued Gajaga since the 1830s; they reflected the old animosity of Goy towards Kamera. Finally, the incident shows that Umar now considered himself the master of eastern Senegambia. In this capacity he had little tolerance for disobedience.
The main enemy of the jihaad was the Kartan army, which had come into the valley in response to Makhana's call and the growing challenge to its hegemony 57. In early December Umar moved down from the hills and camped on the south bank of the river, on the frontier between Kamera and Khasso, opposite the Bambara forces 58. For about a month the rival armies remained in place, taunting each other across the water.
The jihadists put the time to good use. New recruits were trained and integrated into the army. Umar consulted about strategy with his local supporters, particularly members of the Khassonke court of Medine who knew the terrain and the ways of the Bambara military 59. One of the Shaikh's greatest achievements was obtaining the support of a highly renowned Soninke cleric from western Ɓundu. Alfa Umar Jakhite reassured the Soninke soldiers, vastly outnumbered by the Fulbe, and sanctified the campaign for the merchants of the upper valley. He had travelled in Karta, probably had disciples there, and could assist in planning the battle. According to the Nioro sources, which were composed by the cleric's grandson, Jakhite made some diplomatic overtures to the Bambara, probably as a way of diverting their attention, and then prepared a special charm to ensure victory 60.
In mid-January 1855 Umar launched the attack. One wing of the army crossed downstream and surprised the Bambara on their western flank. The other wing crossed near the camp and caught the enemy in a crossfire. After an intense struggle around the village of Kholu, as this battle is usually called, the superior position, fire-power, and determination of the Umarians won the day. The enemy fled, leaving behind almost 2,000 prisoners, many of whom were incorporated into the ranks of the jihaad 61. The survivors took up more defensible positions within Karta proper. Kholu rivalled in importance the triumph over Tamba two years earlier. The winners could claim that they had decisively cleared the upper valley of “pagan” hegemony for the first time in 50 years. Reinforcements flowed in from the remaining hesitant pockets of Gidimaka, Kamera, and Khasso, bringing the army up to a strength of about 15,000. When Moriba Safere, the leading Khassonke of the north bank and son of a Massassi princess, made his submission, it was clear that Kartan hegemony in the upper valley had been replaced by Umarian domination 62.
Umar quickly moved into the interior of northern Khasso and made his camp at Konyakary, the old capital of the kingdom. He sought to press his gains against Karta. To accomplish this he needed, in addition to new recruits, a large infusion of supplies, especially the munitions to maintain his advantage in weaponry over the Bambara. To this end he sent Alfa Umar Baila in early February 1855 to confiscate the merchandise left in the commercial depots of Khasso and Gajaga 63. Alfa Umar took the goods, burned the installations and brought some of the traitants to Konyakary. The value of the merchandise was estimated at 100,000 to 150,000 francs by French merchants and officials—the equivalent of 5 per cent of the annual exports and 10 per cent of the annual budget of the colony 64. The guns and powder were distributed to the army while most of the rest of the goods went to Tamba for exchange. Umar then called for a general boycott of trade with the French, the measure which he had threatened several months before.
Alfa Umar spared the independent Senegalese traders and focused his efforts on the factories belonging to Bordeaux firms. Most of the agents were Muslim. They had ignored the Governor's plea to bring their goods to Bakel for safe-keeping during the dry season, and several of them actually enlisted in the jihaad 65. The data suggest that some traitants had been planning, since the implementation of the embargo, to circumvent the restrictions. They now made explicit their support of a militant Islamic movement. This was the most disquieting feature of the raids for the French.
The resident trading community in Bakel quickly dispatched an envoy to inquire about Umar's motivations. Njay Sur was a knowledgeable Muslim and head of the upper valley operations of Maurel and Prom, the premier Bordeaux concern which had suffered the largest losses and at least one defection from its staff. Umar cited to Njay the sale of weapons to the Bambara as an instance of discriminatory application of the arms embargo 66. Then he composed a letter to the Bakel traitants and the African Muslim community of St Louis in general, a letter which has played a large role in the “resistance” interpretation of the jihaad.
The Shaikh began by distinguishing between the Muslims and the Europeans:
From us to all the children of Ndar.
We have not destroyed your hope in us but rather increased and strengthened it, because we have not taken what belonged to you, not one coin [fals], and we never will. Instead, we have taken the possessions of the Christians [Europeans]. We have returned to the children of Ndar everything that belonged to them.
He then explained his grievances, beginning with the arms embargo:
If you ask the reason for the seizure of the Christian property, it is because they have committed injustices many times. Among these is the decision not to sell us arms nor the means to use them [munitions]. They did not know that we could dispense with them. Indeed, we replied to the envoy of the tyrant [Governor at St. Louis], when he came to us at Sirmanna and told us it was because of the people of Fuuta [Toro], that he must know as of this day that we are not the people of Fuuta but rather those who wage the jihaad against the enemies of God, that he must not lump us with them or act towards us as towards them, or it would be a reason for us [jihadists and Futanke] to join together.
The “tyrant” was “one who had exceeded the limits”, who contravened the modified dhimmi conventions expected of the Europeans. Umar was taking pains to reject the St Louisian equation of “Tokolor”, Futanke and jihaad, but he also brandished the threat of a large Fulbe alliance against French commercial interests. He went on to describe his view of how the relationship with the Europeans had changed:
While waiting for his [the Governor's] envoy, God brought him [the Governor] together with Abdullay [Umar's envoy] in Bakel, and they had a discussion in which Abdullay said: “Do you not know that Al-hajj Shaikhu has the capacity to destroy you and your dependants and all your trade, blocking the routes, preventing all sales and purchases and destroying your property?” And the tyrant of Ndar replied: “Then let him do it.” Abdullay exclaimed: “Praise be to God, that I have heard this from your own mouth and not that of another.”
Umar then mentioned his other grievances:
Further, we told the tyrant in Bakel to deliver to us those who were fleeing from us, but he refused. We sent again to say that if he did not give them up, then we would have to take action. That message reached him, but he refused, saying it would amount to submission. In addition, when we [one of the patrols] were at Jagili [in Gidimaka], a young European began to attack us.
Finally, the Shaikh concluded with a warning couched in the language of the Koran:
Now we will take action by the power of God. We will not waver until we receive a plea of peace and submission from your tyrant, for our Lord said: “Wage war on those who do not believe in God nor in the last judgement, who do not conform to the prohibitions of God and His Prophet, who—having received revelation—do not follow true religion, until they pay tribute [jizya], for they are in the minority position”
Children of Ndar,
God forbids you to be in relations of dependence [muwaalaat] to them. Whoever joins them becomes an infidel, like them. As it is said, “Do not live among the Jews and Christians or you will become one of them.”
It is this last passage that has been singled out to show Umar's hostility to the French.
This letter is important at two levels of the jihadic story. First, it articulates the growing competition of Umarian and French for the allegiance of eastern Senegambia. The raids and letter represent Umar's response to the arms embargo, as well as to the needs of the Karta campaign. They ushered in a period of confrontation. Second, the letter has been widely used in interpreting the entire jihaad: by the French to portray Umar as a fanatic and thereby justify retaliation and increased material support from Paris, and by Senegalese intellectuals to show Umar as primarily a resistance hero 68. Both views ignore the context of Senegambian events in which the letter was written. First, Umar had expected the French to maintain their limited presence in the region. They had communicated such an intention to him in 1846-7 and several times in 1854. The jihaad against Karta was predicated on co-operation with the Europeans as a commercial but not a military and political power. In the second place, the French had changed this posture by implementing an arms embargo, and quite probably a discriminatory arms embargo. They had refused to recognize Umarian hegemony in the upper valley by returning refugees. This amounted, in Umarian eyes, to opposition to the jihaad and called for an escalation of the rhetoric and action. The Muslim commercial agents were reminded that their primary loyalty was to Islam, that they ran the risk of losing their Islamic identity if they continued to co-operate with a governor who “went beyond the limits” of convention. During 1854 Umar had ignored the construction of the Podor fort, the end of customs payments to Fuuta, and other signs of French expansion. Now he made himself the spokesman for the traditional Senegambian position 69.
The threat to drive a wedge between the Muslims of St Louis and their European patrons was ultimately more disturbing than the loss of merchandise. During the first half of the nineteenth century, Muslim and Christian, Senegalese and French had coexisted with little major friction. The governors had confined the church to a kind of chaplaincy which nurtured the expatriate and mulatto Christians. Muslims could worship in the local mosque and obtain posts within the colonial administration. Several thousand of them collaborated in the gum and peanut trades; without them the commerce would have collapsed. French expansion and Umar's response now called that co-operation into question.
Eastern Senegambia belonged to the jihaad in early 1855. Through a series of walled towns Umar maintained access to Tamba and Dingiray in the south, to the traitants in the Upper Senegal valley, and to sources of recruits in the Fulbe states. His critical Ɓundu garrisons served the additional purpose of keeping routes open to the Gambia. The boycott imposed upon the trade in gum and hides was effective throughout the 1850s, while the French embargo on arms had little initial success 70. The prestige and attraction of the jihaad extended to Muslims in St Louis and the Wolof territories of the coast. To be sure, Umarian recruiters and suppliers were careful to avoid confrontation with the French forts and gunboats, especially during the high water season, but they could move with confidence in most areas at most times.
The French responded to this hegemony and the challenge of Umar's letter of February by radically expanding their expenditures and strengthening their installations in the Upper Senegal. The architect of this process, and indeed of French colonial Senegal, was Louis Léon César Faidherbe 71.
He had served with an aggressive French military administration in Algeria before coming to West Africa in 1852 as head of the Engineering Corps. It was in this capacity that he participated in the seizure and construction of the fort of Podor, the expedition against the capital of Dimar, and the reinforcement of the defences of Bakel in November 1854. By that time he had already been chosen by the Paris Ministry, with the strong encouragement of the Bordeaux merchants, to become Governor, and he was duly installed in December. While Faidherbe did not design the plan of expansion nor implement its first stages, he did become its driving force during six consecutive years at the helm 72.
During the first half of 1855 Faidherbe could do little to alter the local situation. His commanders at Bakel and Senudebu were isolated from the colonial capital and encircled by hostile inhabitants responding to Umar's new policy. The jihadists arrested letter carriers, raided and burned a French brig anchored near a Goy village, and threatened at times to cut off the supply of grain and meat to the forts 73. The Governor did use the crisis to win significant new support, in the form of troops and expenses, from the Ministry in Paris. As the water rose in the river in July, he dispatched gunboats and soldiers to the Upper Senegal to reconnoitre the situation and raze Umarian centres in Goy and Kamera. On the one occasion when these men actually ventured “on to the land”, they suffered serious losses of men and one small cannon 74.
In September Faidherbe took personal charge of the most important French initiative in the upper valley since the establishment of Bakel in 1818. He sought to place a fort at the limit of navigability of the river. The new installation would split the Kartan and Dingiray dominions of the jihaad, strengthen French influence over the interior trade and open the way to the exploitation of Bambuk gold 75. The moment was opportune. The main Umarian forces were tied down in Karta. In mid-September a flotilla of six gunboats and 1,250 men anchored near Medine. One contingent quickly destroyed Gunjuru, the commercial town which the Umarians had transformed into a depot and link with Tamba 76. At the end of the month Faidherbe signed a treaty with the local chiefs of Khasso. By the end of October he had completed most of the construction of the new fort of Medine. Paul Holle, mulatto officer and author with long experience in the Upper Senegal, assumed command of a garrison of about sixty men 77.
The agreement with the chiefs took the form of a peace treaty. In substance it was an affirmation of European hegemony 78. The French owned the river and the fort. They could circulate freely without payment of duty and could retaliate for any seizure of goods. In return, they would provide protection under the fort and its guns. The treaty served as a model for Faidherbe's arrangements with other Senegambian authorities and significantly contravened the traditional limitations on European authority. The signers came from eleven of the twelve parts of Khasso (see Table 1) and both sides of the traditional cleavage of the state. The only missing leader was Moriba Safere, who stayed firmly in the Umarian camp. The governor could be pleased that several leaders who had supported the jihaad less than a year earlier, when it offered the opportunity of liberation from the Massassi yoke, were now willing to try what was obviously an anti-Umarian coalition under his patronage. The chiefs, for their part, were testing the French capacity to provide an alternative order for Khasso.
The Khassonke who stood to gain the most was Juka Sambala Jallo, the proprietor of Medine and recipient of Faidherbe's gifts. He was son of Hawa Demba and the younger brother of Kinti. He had sworn allegiance to Umar in Bambuk in 1854 and supplied soldiers and provisions at Kholu. According to Medine tradition, he grew disenchanted with the jihaad for two reasons: the lack of respect for chiefly authority within the Umarian community and the February raids of the traitants, long-standing allies of his family. The most important motivation, however, was the ascendancy which his brother Kartum had gained on the north bank under the watchful eye of Umar 79. Unless Juka found an alternative patron, he would be condemned to an insignificant career.
Khasso Chiefs and Signatories of The Treaty With The French in 1855a
|Bank||Province||Capital||Chief||Traditional coalition||Relation to jihaad in 1854|
|1. South||Medine (Dembaya)||Medine||Juka Sambala||Medinan||early supporters|
|2a. South||Logo||Musa Gia||Kane Birama||Medinan||early supporters|
|3. South||Nacaga||Massala||Semunu||Medinan||early supporters|
|4. North||Kholu (Gopela)||Kholu||Malu Mamudu||Anti-Medinan Medinan||hostile|
|5. North||Sero b||Sero||Moriba Safere||Anti-Medinan||early supporters|
|6. North||Kontiega (Gimbaya)||Kanamakhunu||Sani Musa||Medinan|
|7. North||Fansane||Julokhu||Jati Madi||Medinan|
|8. North||Tomora||Tambatinte||Amangasa Demba||Medinan||hostile|
|9. North||Sanakene||Sabusire||Samba Ule||Medinan|
|11. North||Dingira (Almamya)||Dingira||Dalla Demba||Anti-Medinan||early supporters|
|12. North||Makadenge (Jajeya)||Sonkunda||Jugu Sambala||Anti-Medinan|
Juka—usually called Sambala in the archival record— consequently formed an alliance with the French which lasted for the rest of the century. He and the commander of Medine protected the river trade, provided asylum to refugees from the jihaad, and supplied much of the information upon which French officials made decisions about the Umarian state. The fort and garrison enabled Juka to become the pre-eminent leader of all Khasso and to amass considerable wealth in land, houses, and slaves. In return he provided a certain cloak of legitimacy for French operations in the upper valley.
Faidherbe took one more significant step during his stay in the Upper Senegal: he identified a candidate for the Ɓundu throne who had the potential for restoring the alliance which had operated to French advantage under Almamy Sada. Bokar, son of Sada and a Massassi princess, had enlisted in the jihaad in late 1854 along with most of the Sisibe. According to Ɓundu and Nioro tradition, he became disillusioned after witnessing the summary execution of some of his Bambara relatives. More to the point, Bokar, like Juka, realized that he would not wield substantial authority within the new order, where a brother and a cousin were already fashioning an important niche 80. He escaped from Karta and met the governor at Medine in October. The two men quickly identified their common goals, as Faidherbe indicated in the impersonal style of the Annales sénégalaises: “The Governor proposed that he [Bokar Sada] play, in Ɓundu, the role [of collaborator] which Fara Penda had played in Walo [the Lower Senegal valley]. He accepted and all our subsequent efforts sought to get him recognized as Almamy of Ɓundu.” 81. While this new version of an old relationship had little of the drama of the Medine spearhead, it was ultimately just as decisive for the shift of allegiance away from the jihaad, since Ɓundu controlled access to recruits in Fuuta, weapons in Gambia and gold in the Faleme valley.
Before returning to St Louis, Faidherbe positioned a gunboat in Kamera, appropriately at the site of Makhana, and left specific instructions for the captain and the three post commanders. These orders called for close observation of traitants and sailors and ruthless punishment of any spies; encouraging allies to harass the jihadists: enticing Umarian slaves to desert while returning the slaves of allies; and intensive recruitment of workers and soldiers, especially among those who had just been enslaved in Karta and brought into Senegambia to demonstrate the fruits of jihaad 82. To set the example the governor took a prestigious prisoner downriver and had him shot and burned in the public square at Podor. Salif Bokar belonged to the Rinjaw lineage of Bossea by his father and to the Cam family of Halwar by his mother. Faidherbe could not have devised a more telling symbol for his campaign against Fuuta and Umar 83.
The French officers followed their instructions to the letter during the rest of 1855 and 1856. Commander Holle provided weapons and encouragement to the foes of jihaad and gave them refuge when needed at the fort 84. The gunboat captain bombarded local villages and made an occasional sortie. The greatest initiative came from the officers at Bakel and Senudebu and their new protege, Bokar Sada. Bokar's soldiers were poorly trained and hardly committed, but they joined in eagerly when good weapons and disciplined troops led the way to booty. The raids went in two directions: around the Bakel perimeter, where a number of walled towns kept channels of recruitment open to Fuuta, and to the south, towards the traditional centre of gravity of Ɓundu. There, near Senudebu and the Faleme, the French were anxious to pave the way to Bambuk gold 85. In the course of these expeditions the Bakel commander took his superior's instructions to heart: he sold almost 500 Umarian prisoners into domestic slavery at the town market 86.
By the end of 1856 Governor Faidherbe had by no means established French hegemony in the upper valley, but he had begun to create a workable alternative to Umarian control. The jihadists sustained the commercial boycott, but they had growing difficulty in obtaining weapons, recruits, and supplies to suppress revolt and administer the vast domains of Karta. Faidherbe had escalated the conflict to something approaching total war. During his furlough in Paris in late 1856 he sought the authorization to expand still further and to begin answering the ideological challenge of the jihaad 87.
1. Segu 3/Cam, p. 45. For the envoys of 1853 and 1854, Cam (pp. 41-4) is also the best source. For Faidherbe's views of Umar's intentions at a slightly later time, see ANF, OM SEN I 41b (2 Feb. 1856, Governor to MMC).
2. The most complete account of Karta domination in the Upper Senegal is Sekene-Mody Cissoko, “Contribution à l'histoire politique des royaumes du Khasso dans le Haut-Sénégal des origines à la conquête francaise, XVII siècle à 1890”, Doctorat d'Etat, University of Paris, 1979. See especially Part V. See also F.-M. Colombani, “Le Guidimaka”, BCEHSAOF 1931.
3. Monteil, Bambara, p. 116; Kamara in Samb, “Omar par Kamara”, p. 805. See also Sire-Abbas-Soh, Chroniques du Fouta sénégalais (1913), pp. 144-5.
4. Raffenel, Nouveau voyage, vol. 2, p. 346.
5. Repeatedly between 1816 and 1823 and again in 1846 and 1852. See Samb, “Omar par Kamara”, 804-18 and D. Robinson et al., “A tentative chronology of Fuuta-Tooro”, CEA 12.48 (1972), pp. 580-8.
6. See Philip Curtin, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa (2 vols., 1975), vol. 1, chapters 2 and 3, for an excellent description of the European and African trading diasporas; pp. 88-91 deal with the politics of competition between the Senegal and Gambia Rivers.
7. On Bakel, see Raffenel, “Le Haut Senegal et la Gambie en 1843 et 1844”, Revue Coloniale 8 (1846), pp. 315 ff; M. Saugnier and M. Brisson, Voyages to the Coast of Africa, 273 ff.; and Eugene Saulnier, Une compagnie à privilège au XIX siècle: la Compagnie de Galam au Sénégal, passim. As late as 1859 Bakel had only 33 soldiers and officers. ANF, OM SEN IV I 7a, extract from minutes of the Conseil d'Administration of 25 Aug. 1859.
8. Gaspard Mollien, Travels in the Interior of Africa ( 1820), p. 137. For other impressions of European limitation, see Annales sénégalaises, p. 112; Eugène Bechet, Cinq Ans de séjour au Soudan français, pp. 170-4; Jacques Méniaud, Les Pionniers du Soudan, 1, p. 61; Mage, Voyage, pp. 66, 69, 189n, 193, 196; Raffenel, Nouveau voyage, I, pp. 193-4, 324; and Saugnier and Brisson, Voyages, p. 242. Barth found an interesting version of the same impression in the Middle Niger (Travels, III, p. 402): according to the Jawara of Masina, the Europeans were “sitting like women in the bottom of their steamboats and doing nothing but eating raw eggs”. In mid-nineteenth-century Khasso, however, the people distinguished between the technological capacity of the French and the English; according to a proverb collected by the French explorer Rey, “French guns are to be used for dancing, English ones for war.” Saint-Martin, Relations diplomatiques, p. 79.
9. See Robinson et al., “Chronology”, pp. 580-8, for a number of instances of bombardment from the river ships. On European navigation in Senegambia, see Curtin, Economic Change, I, pp. 128, 140.
10. H. A. R. Gibb and H. Bowen, Islamic Society and the West (2 vols., 1957), vol., 2, pp. 207 ff.; Joseph Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic Law, 1964, pp. 130-3.
11. On “white” and “black” Europeans, see M. Delafosse, “De l'origine du mot “toubab” ”, Annuaire et Mémoires du CEHSAOF, 1917; Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, pp. 28-9.
12. On St Louis, see Curtin, Economic Change, 1, pp. 112-21; Abbe P. D. Boilat, Esquisses sénégalaises, pp. 206-27; Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 7 ff.; J. D. Hargreaves, “Assimilation in 18th century Senegal”, JAH 6.2 (1965). The population figures come primarily from the Ministère de la Marine et des Colonies, Tableaux de population, de culture, de commerce et de navigation, 1843 - 62, 1864 - 7.
13. In addition to the Tableaux cited in the previous note, see C. Schefer, ed., Instructions générales données de 1763 à 1870 aux Gouverneurs et Ordonnateurs des Etablissements français en Afrique occidentale (2 vols., 1927), vol. 2, p. 357; Annuaire du Sénégal et Dépendances, 1860, pp. 55-9; Revue Algérienne et Coloniale, 2 ( 1860), pp. 55-6. Gorée was the headquarters of the South Atlantic Naval Division and had responsibility for the commercial factories along the coast south of Cape Verde.
14. For the negative view of Futanke and Fulbe, see the formulations of Roger in 1824 (ANS 3B 11, letter of 7 Jan. 1824, also contained in C. Faure, “Le voyage d'exploration de Grout de Beaufort”, Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, Bulletin de la Section de Géographie, 34 (1919), p. 165); Duranton in 1826 (in Faure, “Le premier séjour de Duranton”, RHCF 1921, pp. 251-3); of Laborel in 1844 (3B 53, 6 June 1844, Governor to Commandants of the Escales); of Caille in 1846 (RC 1846, pp. 6-8); of Raffenel (in Nouveau voyage, I, pp. 496 - 9, and II, pp. 55-7, 250 ff.); and of Carrère and Holle in Sénégambie française, pp. 123-38, 191-208. Raffenel (in op. cit, II, pp. 132-7, 251, 272 ff.) formulated the Mande view in its clearest form.
15. The most detailed synthesis of the conditions prevailing in Senegambia in the early 1850s is Leland Barrows, “General Faidherbe, the Maurel and Prom Company and French expansion in Senegal”, UCLA, Ph. D. thesis, 1974, especially chapters 2 and 4-6. Much of the information from the thesis is also found in Barrows' article, “The merchants and General Faidherbe: aspects of French expansion in Senegal in the 1850s”, RFHOM 1974.
16. The arms embargo was actually voted by the Conseil d'Administration on 7 Aug. 1854. Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, p. 255. Governor Protet, in his 11 Dec. 1854 letter to the MMC (ANS 2B 31, bis), reported 133 “defenders” at Bakel; even if this figure includes local militia, it represents a substantial reinforcement of the French presence in late 1854.
17. For a discussion of Fuuta's population in the nineteenth century, see Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, pp. 184-5.
18. For Fuuta in the mid-nineteenth century, see Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, pp. 38 ff.; Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 123-38.
19. For the use of jizya in the Arabic version of Franco-Senegalese treaties, see ANS 13G 7, passim. 20. Falil had played a very influential role in Futanke politics since the 1820s. Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, pp. 22, 39-40; James P. Johnson, “Almamate”, chapter 7.
21. The altercation and death occurred in far eastern Fuuta, but the issue involved the whole society. ANS 5B 14, letter of 11 Mar. 1854, and 1 3G 139, piece 87, 17 Mar. 1854; Kamara, Zuhuur, II, fos. 184-5. The French may have bribed two of the principal electors of Fuuta, Bokar Ali Dundu Kan and Alfa Ali Sidi Ba, to remain silent on the issue of Podor. See ANS I 3G 139, pieces 85-6.
22. Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, p. 40. Alfa Umar Cerno Baila, as he is usually called in Fuuta-Tooro tradition, joined Umar in 1847. See chapter 3, note 90.
23. Ɓundu had a population of almost 20,000 in 1911 (ANS S ID 1/15, “Monographie du Cercle de Bakel”, Mar. 1911). There is no census available for the 1850s, but the French put the population of several villages at 1,000 or more each (Annales sénégalaises, pp. 124, 126). These villages did not include the capitals of Bulebane, Gabu, Kussan, and Senudebu, which were probably larger. I conclude that it is reasonable to assume a population of 25,000 at mid-century.
24. For nineteenth-century Ɓundu, see Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 159-67; Hecquard, Voyage; and Raffenel, Voyage dans l'Afrique occidentale française (1843-4). The most complete accounts of Ɓundu history, based in large part on royal oral tradition, are André Rançon, Dans la Haute Gambie (Paris, 1894; also published in article form in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Bordeaux, New Series, 17, for 1894) and Emile Roux, Notice historique sur le Boundou (St Louis, Sénégal, 1893). See also Kamara, Zuhuur, I, fos. 147-57; a translation of Kamara has been made by Moustapha N'Diaye as “Histoire du Boundou par Cheikh Moussa Kamara”, BIFAN, B, 37.4 (1975).
25. Sada married Aisha, the daughter of Musakoroba Kulibali, “the killer of the Fulbe”. Kamara, Zuhuur, I, fo. 154; Monteil, Bambara, pp. 116, 118; Rancon, Gambie, pp. 472-3, 480 ff.
26. On Senudebu and the reaction to the French fort, see Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 164-7; ANS 13G 164, pieces for 1843-5.
27. The most vivid account of the turmoil of the civil war is Kamara, Zuhuur, I, fos. 155-7.
28. Europeans characterized the Mandinka religious practices, and especially those of Bambuk, as eclectic and almost “secular”. See, for example, S. Golbery, Travels in Africa performed during the years 1785-7, I, pp. 282-315; J. Ancelle, Les Explorations au Sénégal, pp. 230 ff. On the various Soninke and Mandinka societies, see Curtin, Economic Change, I, chapter 1.
29. In this respect the Soninke had a social organization comparable to the Moors of southern Mauritania. Stewart, Order, pp. 54 ff., and his article, “Emergent classes and the early state: the southern Sahara”, in D. Crummey and C. Stewart, eds., Modes of Production in Africa. The Precolonial Era, 1981.
30. The most detailed treatment of Gajaga is Abdoulaye Bathily, “Imperialism and colonial expansion in Senegal in the 19th century, with particular reference to the economic, social and political developments of the kingdom of Gajaaga”, Birmingham University, Ph. D. thesis, 1975. Some of the thesis material appears in his articles in BIFAN 1969 and 1972. For Gidimaka see Colombani, “Guidimaka”, and J. H. Saint-Père, Les Sarakholle du Guidimaka, 1925.
31. Bathily (“Imperialism”, chapter 3) suggests a population of 100,000, but this appears much too high relative to the archival record.
32. Makhana doubled as a French commercial factory for much of the early nineteenth century. Cissoko, “Contribution”, Part IV. 33. The principal works here are Cissoko, “Contribution”, and Monteil, Les Khassonke's, 1915.
31. Cissoko, “Contribution”, Part IV.
35. On Bambuk the principal accounts for the mid-nineteenth century are Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 169-76; S. L. Pascal, “Voyage au Bambouck et retour a Bakel”, Tour du Monde, 1861 (also published in RAC, 1860, pp. 37-64); and P. Rey, “Voyage a Farabanna (Haut Senegal)”, RC, Dec. 1854. For maps, see Curtin, Economic Change, I, pp. 200-1.
36. MSD 24 Mar. 1857.
37. For an excellent synthesis on Bambuk gold, see Philip Curtin, “The lure of Bambuk gold”, JAH 1973.
38. Cissoko, “Contribution”, Part IV; map in Curtin, Economic Change, I, pp. 142.
39. The main internal sources on the Bambuk campaign are Bandiagara/ Abdullay Ali, Segu 3/Cam, Nioro 2/Adam, and Segu 2/anonymous. See also Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 174-5, and Carrère, “Le siège de Medine”, RC 19 (1857), pp. 199 ff.
40. Umar probably surrendered some of the slaves to the ruling classes of the areas from which they had escaped as an inducement to participate in the jihaad. On the use of slaves for recruitment, see Kamara, Zuhuur, II, fos. 30, 41. Farbanna slaves later appear in the archives of Segu. BNP, MO, FA 5689, fo. 56.
41. Mage, Voyage, p. 275
42. The reluctance of the Fuuta-Jalon contingents emerges in the Nioro sources (Nioro 2/Adam, pp. 619-20, 734, and Nioro 3/Delafosse, p. 359.)
43. Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, p. 251. See also BNP, MO, FA 5559, fos. 1 - 2.
44. This figure comes from the information available to the Commandant of Senudebu in December. ANS 13G 166, piece 91 (16 Dec. 1854, Commandant to Governor).
45. Carrère and Holle, Senegambie française, pp. 201-2. The migration is also attested in ANS 13G 166, piece 85 (11 Nov. 1854, Commandant of Senudebu to Governor); Soh, Chroniques, p. 77; Segu 3/Cam, pp. 49-50.
46. Nioro 2/Adam, p. 620. For the Sisibe who enlist, see Kamara, Zuhuur, I, fos. 155-7.
47. The Khassonke royal submission occurred at Jokeba, before the capture of Sirmanna. Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, p. 251; BNP, MO, FA 5559, fo. 2. For Khassonke motivations in enlisting in the jihaad, see Cissoko, “Contribution”, Part IV.
48. Goy went over quickly to the Umarian cause. Gidimaka required the coaxing of the patrols. Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, p. 253. For Kamera see below.
49. Also called John Bambara, reflecting both his stay in Gambia and his ethnic origin. He was probably a former slave. See Umar's letter cited in note 67 below; Segu 3/Cam, p. 43; Soleillet, Voyage, p. 321. On one occasion Umar apparently sent his son or nephew to Senudebu. This appears in the report of Commandant d'Erneville of Senudebu (ANS 13G 166, piece 89, 27 Nov. 1854, Commandant to Governor). D'Erneville said a son of Umar visited him and was about 15 years old. The likely candidates are Amadu Sheku, Makki, Habib, Moktar, and perhaps Umar's nephew, Amadu Tijani, all of whom would have been at least 15 by this time. There is no confirmation of this visit in the internal traditions nor in any other external source.
50. ANS 13G 166, piece 84 ( 19 Oct. 1854, Commandant Bakel to Governor). See also pieces 79 (1 Aug. 1854, Commandant to Governor), 83 (12 Sept. 1854, Commandant Senudebu to Governor), and 86 (28 Oct. 1854, Governor to Commandant Bakel); and 247, piece 18 (I Oct. 1854 Instructions for successor). For Governor Protet's ambiguous letter to Umar on I Sept. 1854, in which he asks Umar to restore peace to Ɓundu, see ANS 3B 92 (section Goye-Bakel).
51. ANS 13G 139, piece 94. French translation of an Arabic original which is no longer available. 94 has no date, piece 93 is dated 21 Oct. 1854.
52. ANS 13G 167, piece 24 (6 Apr. 1855, Commandant Senudebu to Governor). For the general ambience of the period, see ANS 13G 166-7 and 247, as well as Annales sénégalaises, pp. 106 ff., and Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, p. 261.
53. Nioro 2/Adam, p. 734; Nioro 3/Delafosse, p. 356; Segu /Cam, pp. 51-2; ANS 13G 166, piece 89 (27 Nov. 1854, Commandant Senudebu to Governor).
54. In addition to note 32, see Curtin, Economic Change, 1, pp. 144-5. 55. Segu 3/Cam, pp. 50-1. See also BNP, MO, FA 5559, fo. 2; 5689, fo. 56; 5732, fo. 24; Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, p. 253.
56. ANS 13G 166, piece 89 (27 Nov. 1854, Commandant Senudebu to Governor); Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 202-4; interview with Samani Sy at Bakel, 17 Feb. 1974; I. Bathily, “L'ancien royaume soninke du Gadiaga”, BIFAN, B, 31.1 (1969), p. 62; Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, p. 260. The French made great use of the 'Makhana massacre' in their propaganda in late 1855. See ANF, OM, SEN I 41d (I Oct. 1855, Governor to MMC, published in the Courrier du Havre of 23 Nov. 1855); ANS 15G 108, piece 6 (15 Oct. 1855, Faidherbe's notes).
57. For an analysis of Kartan society on the eve of the jihaad, see chapter 5, section A.
58. The main sources for the Kholu encounter are Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, Segu 2/anonymous, Segu 3/Cam, Nioro 2/Adam, and Nioro 3/ Delafosse.
59. In addition to the Nioro sources, see ANM 2E 61 (“fiches de renseignements” on Kaba Jakhite); Marty, Soudan, IV, pp. 210 ff.; and interview with Demba Sadio Diallo at Konyakary, 12 Sept.1976. See also Tauxier, Bambara, pp. 122-3, 151.
60. Diallo, in the interview cited in the previous note, has Shaikh Umar and Alfa Umar Jakhite crossing the river on magic carpets in competition with each other. See chapter I, note 38.
61. Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, p. 254. This marked the beginning of the significant incorporation of Bambara and Mandinka soldiers, called sofas, into the Umarian ranks.
62. On the jihaad's relation to Khassonke rivalries, see Cissoko, “Contribution”, Part IV; the Diallo interview cited in note 59; ANS 13G 167, piece 9 (1 July 1855, Commandant Senudebu to Commandant Bakel); and M. Rey, “Rapport au Gouverneur du Sénégal sur un voyage dans le Kasso en juin et juillet 1851”, RC 9 (1852). The 15,000 figure appears twice in Faidherbe's letters (ANF, OM SEN I 41b, letters of 27 July and I Oct. 1855).
63. The raids probably occurred before 8 Feb. 1855, when some of the traitants wrote a letter of complaint to the Governor (ANS 13G 167, piece 4). On the raids, see Mage, Voyage, p. 149; Annales sénégalaises, p. 104; letter of Marc Maurel to his uncle on 6 Mar. 1855, quoted in Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, pp. 261 -2.
64. On the value of the merchandise, see ANFOM SEN I 41b (11 Mar. 1855, Faidherbe to MMC), and SEN I1 7 (8 Mar. 1855, Carrère to Maestro of the MMC); Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, p. 262. For the boycott of trade, see ANS 13G 120 (pieces 34 and 37 of 9 Mar. 1855), 167 (pieces 6 and 7 of 26 Mar. and 16 Apr. 1855); and Annales sénégalaises, pp. 104 ff. The boycott was effective for several years. It was apparently still an issue in Franco-umarian negotiations in 1880, when Galliéni sought to resolve with Amadu Sheku the issue of some debts which were contracted by Moorish traders at Bakel in 1852-3 and never repaid. The loan statements are contained in the Segovian archives (BNP, MO, FA 5582, fos. 28-52).
65. Mage, Voyage, p. 149; Bandiagara/Abdullay Ali, 254. Nafa, an employee of Maurel and Prom and based at Bakel, joined the jihaad. Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, p. 262. Macode Sal, another traitant at Bakel, had no goods taken and was suspected by the French of being an Umarian spy (ANS 13G 167, piece 7, letter of 16 Apr. 1855; his son Aliun later played a large role in Faidherbe's administration).
66. Mage, Voyage, p. 149. On Njay Sur, see Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, pp. 261-3, 469-70. Juka Sambala, according to Khassonke oral tradition, also demanded an explanation from Umar. See the Diallo interview cited in note 59.
67. My translation from the Arabic. The Arabic original is contained in a letter of Faidherbe to the MMC in Paris (ANF, OM SEN I 41b, of 11 Mar. 1855). A French translation, fairly faithful to the Arabic, can be found in Carrère and Holle, Sénégambie française, pp. 204-7. Excerpts from this letter can be found in many sources.
68. See the Introduction, note 8.
69. Umar never threatened, as Carrère maintained (see his letter in note 64), to convert the Catholic church of St Louis into a mosque or to drive the Christians into the sea.
70. Moniteur du Sénégal et Dépendances, 16 Apr. 1856; RAC 2 (1860), pp. 94-6; Duval, “Paix”, 865-6. The ability of the Umarians to obtain supplies was illustrated in August 1855 raids on Muderi, Jawara, Balu, Kungel, and other villages in Goy under the leadership of Salif Ac. ANS 13G 33, piece 1, page 32 (15 Aug. 1555, letter of Flize to Governor). See also note 6.
71. The most complete treatment of Faidherbe's career comes in the dissertation and article of Barrows cited in note 15. See also Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, pp. 32-4, for the impact of Faidherbe on Senegal and the Senegalese.
72. From December 1854 to the middle of 1861. Between 1817 and 1854, 30 men served 33 terms as Acting or Titular Governor. Annuaire du Sénégal et Dépendances, 1860, pp. 102-4.
73. Faidherbe expressed his anxiety in a letter of 31 May 1855 to the Governor of Gambia: « God help us if a holy war against the Christians is declared here as it was in Algeria ». ANF, AEMD Afrique 47, quoted in A. S. Kanya-Forstner, The Conquest of the Western Sudan (1969), pp. 39-40. For the perspective of the Bakel and Senudebu officers, see ANS 13G 167 and Annales sénégalaises, 106 ff. The Bakel commander actually destroyed the village of Bakel with his cannon and then tried to rebuild it with a more loyal constituency (13G 167, piece 7 of 16 Apr. 1855). The Senudebu commander was briefly captured in a skirmish along the Faleme. This incident has been magnified, through the Annales (p. 106), into an intentional kidnapping and demonstration of Umarian enmity. See Kanya-Forstner, Conquest, p. 38. It is described in the relevant pieces of, 13G 167 and 247 for Apr. 1855.
74. The sortie was made 12 Aug. 1855 against the fortress of Sancanne, near Manael and Tuabo on the south bank. The French concealed their losses from the MMC. See ANS 13G 177, piece 26 (27 June 1860, Commandant Bakel to Governor); Bathily, “Imperialism”, pp. 358 ff.
75. For the Medine expedition see ANF, OM SEN I 41d (I Oct. 1855, Faidherbe to MMC); Annales sénégalaises, 113 ff; Monteil, Khassonkes, p. 124. Faidherbe thought that the Massassi might defeat Umar (SEN 4 44e, minutes of the Conseil d'Administration of 20 Aug. 1855), but he was probably not able to make any contribution to their revolt. The French also destroyed Gagny, a recruitment and observation centre on the north bank in Gidimaka in early October. Annales, pp. 116-17.
76. Faidherbe wrote to Almamy Umar of Fuuta-Jalon at this time to encourage him to raid Dingiray and confiscate any French goods, taken in the February raids, which he might find there. There is no evidence that the Almamy followed his suggestion. ANF, OM SEN I 41b (2 Feb. 1856, Faidherbe to MMC).
77. Holle worked for the colonial administration from 1823 until his death in 1862. He was the commander of Bakel through most of the 1840s, of Senudebu from 1852, and Medine from 1855-7. Saulnier, Compagnie, p. 136; Soleillet, Voyage, pp. 120-1.
78. A copy of the treaty text can be found in Annales sénégalaises, pp. 437-8. It served as the basis for treaties in Kamera and Gidimaka, signed in October, but the chiefs there had to pay reparations for the February raids in their territories. Annales, pp. 439-40.
79. Kartum was based at Medina-Kuta in Jombokho province. One of his daughters married Samba Njay Bacily, another married Momar Jak, a traitant of Medine closely affiliated with the Umarian cause. Carrère, “Siège”, pp. 46-9; Cissoko, “Contribution”, parts IV and V; Mage, Voyage, p. 481; and Monteil, Khassonke's, pp. 39-40.
80. His brother Koli Modi Sy was already an important Umarian military leader and would later serve with distinction in Masina. Bandiagara/ Abdullay Ali, p. 5; Segu 3/Cam, p. 181; Méniaud, Pionniers, II, pp. 201 ff. His cousin Malik Samba Tumane, of the Kussan branch, commanded Somsom, one of the strongest umarian posts in Ɓundu, until the late 1850s, when he settled in Kingi in Karta. ANF, OM SEN I 43b (29 Aug. 1857, Faidherbe to MMC); Blanc, “Contribution”, pp. 262, 304-5; Méniaud, Pionniers, II, pp. 46-8.
81. Annales sénégalaises, p. 117. See also ANS 13G 167, piece 16 (10 Oct. 1855, Commandant Bakel to Governor).
82. The Galibi was put at Makhana for the dry season of 1855-6. For the instructions see ANF, OM SEN 4 44a (3 Oct. 1855, Faidherbe to Commandants Haut-Fleuve) Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, p. 509.
83. Salif, the leader of raids in the upper valley cited in note 70, was a nephew of Eliman Rinjaw Falil, the influential elector who had conserved good relations with the French. See section B; ANS 13G 120, piece 61 (Commandant Podor to Governor); Kamara, Zuhur, II, fos. 287-8; interview with Mamadu Eliman Ac in Rinjaw, Mauritania, 5 Apr. 1968.
84. Holle was probably not able to get aid to the Jawara in the north-eastern portion of Karta.
85. In the Bakel perimeter the French were concerned about the following Umarian outposts: about 20 kilometres west, the centres of Alana, Gaode Bofi, Sibi, and Undubaba; to the southwest, Borde; to the south, Marsa, Kogel, and the seemingly impregnable fortress of Somsom. To the west at some distance lay Njum, the village of Alfa Umar Kaba Jakhite. In the southern zone lay Amaji, near the Faleme-Senegal confluence, and Debu, which controlled a narrow passage in the Faleme. For these campaigns see Annales sénégalaises, pp. 118 ff., and ANS 13G 167, passim.
86. The first incident occurred in February 1856 and is reported in full in ANS 13G 167, piece 32 (10 Mar. 1856, Commandant Bakel to Governor). The second, also involving persons captured at Borde, occurred in Sept. 1856 and is reported in ANS 2B 32 (16 Dec. 1857, Faidherbe to MMC). Faidherbe omitted these incidents from the Annales sénégalaises (see pp. 118-19) and sought to conceal the damage to his “liberal” reputation. Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, pp. 294-5.
87. Faidherbe was on furlough from June to November 1856. For his concerns while in Paris, see Barrows, “General Faidherbe”, pp. 485-93.