VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > J. Africa, 1914–1945 > 2. Regions
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1915)
2. Regions
a. Sudanic West and Central Africa
The drought in the sahel devastated local communities. Thousands died in the middle Niger region; those who survived saw their livestock herds largely destroyed. French colonial policies stirred up resentment during the drought, and contributed to armed unrest beginning in 1915.  1
World War I military movements in Togo and Cameroon. In Aug. 1914 the Germans administering Togo retreated northward from the coast in the face of advancing French and British troops. Shortly thereafter the Germans surrendered, leaving France and Britain in control of Togo. The military conflict in Cameroon was more prolonged, lasting from 1914 to 1916. The Germans finally fled Cameroon for Spanish Guinea in Feb. 1916. In March 1916 the French and British agreed to the partition of Cameroon for administrative purposes.  2
French efforts to recruit Africans for service during World War I led to rebellions in French West Africa. In order to avoid conscription, many Africans fled toward the Gambia, Portuguese Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gold Coast. Elsewhere, armed rebellions broke out. In 1915 the Bambara staged an anticonscription revolt; another rebellion occurred in the western Volta region. In 1916 Africans staged a popular revolt in northern Dahomey. The French suppressed the revolts by force. However, with the assistance of Blaise Diagne, the Senegalese African member of the French National Assembly, larger numbers of Africans joined the French armed forces.  3
The Tuareg living in Air (in present-day Niger) retained their independence up until the First World War. In 1916 the Tuareg chief Kawsen ag Muhammad and his followers rebelled against the French presence in their territory, laying siege to the French fort at Agades. Bitter reprisals followed. Although the French captured and executed Kawsen in 1919, instability in the region continued into the early 1930s.  4
Returning African soldiers formed local sections of the League for the Rights of Man to protest colonialism. The League for the Rights of Man was particularly active in Guinea and Gabon, where French West African ex-soldiers pressed for the establishment of a new dispensation. Demobilized African soldiers would play a leading role in anticolonial movements in the years to come.  5
The French reorganized the West African colonies, creating the colony of Upper Volta.  6
Lycée Faidherbe, a secondary school, founded in St.-Louis, Senegal.  7
Katsina Training College founded.  8
Polo introduced into Katsina, becoming the sport of the Northern elite.  9
Africans elected members of the conseils administratives in the French colonies of Soudan, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Dahomey.  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.