- Published: October 30, 2021
- Updated: October 30, 2021
- University / College: New York University (NYU)
- Language: English
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Samori Toure ( 1830 – 1900 ) African military leader. A Muslim, he began to amass a personal following in the mid-1850s, establishing a military base on the Upper Niger. By 1870 his authority was acknowledged throughout the Kanaka region of the River Milo, in what is now eastern Guinea. By 1880 he ruled a vast Dyula empire, from the Upper Volta in the east to the Fouta Djallon in the west, over which he attempted to create a single Islamic administrative system. His imperial ambitions clashed with those of the French and there were sporadic battles between 1882 and 1886 .
His attempts to impose Islam on all his people resulted in a revolt in 1888 . A French invasion in 1891 – 92 forced him to move… (The entire page is 145 words. ) Born c. 1830 in Manyambaladugu (in what is now southeastern Guinea), the son of Dyula traders, Samore grew up in West Africa being transformed by growing contacts with the Europeans. European trade made some African trading states rich, while growing access to firearms changed traditional West African patterns of warfare. Early in his life, Ture converted to Islam. 1] In 1848, Samore’s mother was captured in the course of war by Sere-Burlay, of the Cisse clan. After arranging his mother’s freedom, Samore engaged himself to the service of the Cisses where he learned the handling of arms. According to tradition, he remained “seven years, seven months, seven days” before fleeing with his mother. He then joined the Berete army, the enemies of the Cisse, for two years before rejoining his people, the Kamara. Named Keletigui (“war chief”) at Dyala in 1861, Samori took an oath to protect his people against both the Berete and the Cisse.
He created a professional army and placed close relations, notably his brothers and his childhood friends, in positions of command. Expansion through the Sudan In 1864, El Hadj Umar Tall, the founder of the aggressive Toucouleur Empire that dominated the Upper Niger River, died. As the Toucouleur state lost its grip on power, generals and local rulers vied to create states of their own. By 1867, Samore was a full-fledged war chief, with an army of his own centered on Sanankoro in the Guinea Highlands, on the Upper Milo, a Niger River tributary.
Samore understood that he needed to accomplish two things: to create an efficient, loyal fighting force equipped with modern firearms, and to build a stable state of his own. By 1876, Samore was able to import breech-loading rifles through the British colony of Sierra Leone. He conquered the Bure gold mining district (now on the border between Mali and Guinea) to bolster his financial situation. By 1878 he was strong enough to proclaim himself faama (military leader) of his own Wassoulou Empire. He made Bissandugu his capital and began political and commercial exchanges with the neighboring Toucouleur.
In 1881, after numerous struggles, Samore was able to secure control of the key Dyula trading center of Kankan, on the upper Milo River. Kankan was a center for the trade in kola nuts, and was well sited to dominate the trade routes in all directions. By 1881, Wassoulou extended through Guinea and Mali, from what is now Sierra Leone to northern Cote d’Ivoire. While Samore conquered the numerous small tribal states around him, he also moved to secure his diplomatic position. He opened regular contacts with the British in Sierra Leone, and built a working relationship with the Fulbe (Fula) state of Fouta Djallon.
First battles with the French The French began to expand in West Africa in the late 1870s, pushing eastward from Senegal in an attempt to reach the upper reaches of the Nile in what is now Sudan. They also sought to drive southeast to link up with their bases in Cote d’Ivoire. These moves put them directly into conflict with Samori. In February 1882, a French expedition attacked one of Samori’s armies besieging Keniera. Samore was able to drive the French off, but he was alarmed at the discipline and firepower of the European military. Samore tried to deal with the French in several ways.
First, he expanded southwestward to secure a line of communication with Liberia. In January 1885 he sent an embassy to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, offering to put his kingdom under British protection. The British were not interested in confronting the French at this time, but they did allow Samori to buy large numbers of modern repeating rifles. When an 1885 French expedition under Col. A. V. A. Combes attempted to seize the Bure gold fields, Samore counterattacked. Dividing his army into three mobile columns he worked his way around the French lines of communication and forced them to withdraw in aste. War and defeat By 1887, Samori had a disciplined army of 30,000 – 35,000 infantry, organized into platoons and companies on the European model, and 3,000 cavalry, in regular squadrons of 50 each. However, the French were determined not to give Samori time to consolidate his position. Exploiting the rebellions of several of Samori’s animist subject tribes, the French continued to expand into his westernmost holdings, forcing Samori to sign several treaties ceding territory to them between 1886 and 1889. In March 1891, a French force under Col. Archinard launched a direct attack on Kankan.
Knowing his fortifications could not stop French artillery, Samori began a war of maneuver. Despite victories against isolated French columns (for example at Dabadugu in September 1891), Samori failed to push the French from the core of his kingdom. In June 1892, Col. Archinard’s replacement, Humbert, leading a small, well-supplied force of picked men, captured Samori’s capital of Bissandugu. In another blow, the British stopped selling breech loaders to Samori in accordance with the Brussels Convention of 1890. Samori moved his entire base of operations eastward, toward the Bandama and Comoe.
He instituted a scorched earth policy, devastating each area before he evacuated it. Though this maneuver cut Samori off from his last source of modern weapons, Liberia, it also delayed French pursuit. Nonetheless, the fall of other resistance armies, particularly Babemba Traore at Sikasso, permitted the colonial army to launch a concentrated assault against Toure. He was captured 29 September 1898 by French Commandant Gouraud and exiled to Gabon. Samori died in captivity on June 2, 1900, following a bout of pneumonia. [ Samori Ture (c. 1830-1900) Whatever happens we have got
The maxim-gun and they have not —English poet Hilaire Belloc Born about 1830 in Sanankaro, a village southeast of Kankan in present-day Guinea, Samori Ture chose the path of confrontation, using warfare and diplomacy, to deal with the French colonial incursion into West Africa and established himself as the leading African opponent of European imperialism. Samori’s parents were traders and he followed this occupation until he was 20. Learning that his mother was captured in a slave raid, he offered to serve in her captor Sori Birama’s army in exchange for his mother’s release.
Attaining the position of commander and displaying extraordinary military skill and prowess, he and his mother were subsequently released. Coupled with his experience as a trader, these two qualities were to serve him in good stead as he built his army. Samori Ture observed that the Malinke peoples were disorganized and that there was no single chief with the ability to unite them. Declaring himself independent of Sori Birama, Samori Ture gained the support of an increasing number of Malinke chiefs for his vision of Malinke unity, and patiently began to construct an empire.
Samori employed the triple thrust of persuasion, threat, and war, in the same way as Sundiata did in Mali, to expand the Mandinka state. Utilizing a combination of traditional and innovative methods, Samori effectively organized the Malinke chiefdoms into a single state under his undisputed authority. At the core was the army, with Samori as both commander-in-chief as well as the head of state. This innovation intensified loyalty to the state, with primary allegiance to Samori.
Revolutionary and efficient at that time, Samori’s organization of the state was a pyramid structure with him at the apex, which allowed him to exercise rigid and effective control as never seen before in the Western Sudan. Between 1852 and 1882, Samori Ture created the Mandinka Empire. In 1881, Samori extended the empire to the east as far as Sikasso (in Mali); to the west, up to the Futa Djallon Empire (close to the middle of modern Guinea); to the north, from Kankan to Bamako (in Mali); to the south, up to the borders of present-day Sierra Leone and Liberia.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, European powers decided to establish colonies in West Africa and could not tolerate strong states like the Mandika Empire and for the same reason, strong leaders like Samori Ture. Samori developed a powerful, virtually professional army equipped with European arms and trained in modern methods of warfare. The army was divided into two flanks, the infantry or sofa, with 30,000 to 35,000 men, and the cavalry or sere of 3,000 men. Each wing was further subdivided into permanent units, fostering camaraderie among members and loyalty to both the local leaders and Samori himself.
In 1882, at the height of the Mandinka Empire, the French found their excuse. Samori Ture refused to comply with their order to withdraw from an important market center, Kenyeran, which his army had blockaded. Between 1882 and 1885, Samori Ture fought the French, ending with a treaty in 1886 and then again in 1887. In 1888, he took up arms again when the French reneged on the treaty by attempting to foster rebellion within the empire. In 1890, he reorganized the army and concluded a treaty with the British in Sierra Leone, where he obtained modern weapons.
He now stressed defense and employed guerilla tactics. In 1891, with his improved weaponry and reorganized army, he defeated the French. In 1892, French forces overran the major centers of the Mandinka empire, leaving death and destruction in their wake. In 1893, deciding that the east was the only direction for expansion of the Mandinka empire, Samori moved the capital from Bisandougou to Dabakala. In 1894, the final push by the French brought together all their troops in the Western Sudan to concentrate on Samori’s remaining territories.
Samori’s army fought valiantly but was no match for the power of the French at full strength. In 1898, Samori, forced to fight a total war against innumerable odds, was captured and exiled to Gabon, where he died two years later. French colonialism triumphed, as one of the most resolute resistance movements against European colonization ended. Toure, Samori (1830-1900) Warrior king, empire builder and hero of the resistance against the French colonization of West Africa during the 19th century, Samori Toure was born around 1830 in the Milo River Valley in present-day Guinea.
His father was a trader, leading Toure to follow his family’s occupation early on. In the 1850s, he enrolled in the military forces at Madina (present-day Mali) to liberate his mother, who was a member of the Malinke ethnic group, captured during a raid. He subsequently acquired military skills during various campaigns he undertook for local chiefs before starting his own career. Toure became a well-known leader, training and commanding a growing and disciplined army. He expanded his conquests, building a united empire called Mandinka.
By 1874, he declared himself Faama (monarch), and established the capital of his kingdom at Bisandugu in present-day Gambia. In the 1880s, the empire expanded from Bamako, Mali, in the north, to the frontiers of British Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, and Liberia in the east and south. The Sudan was the eastward frontier. Toure’s empire reached its apogee between 1883 and 1887, a period in which he took the title of Almami, meaning the religious head of a Muslim empire. After the 1884 Berlin Conference which partitioned Africa, French forces began encroaching on Mandinka.
Although his army initially defeated the French, between 1885 and 1889 their military forces, which often included Senegalese troops, succeeded in pushing him further into the West African interior. After several confrontations, Toure in 1889 concluded various peace treaties with the French forces. In December 1891, increasing French incursions into Toure’s empire led to the exodus of the entire nation eastward. Between 1893 and 1898, Toure’s Army conquered vast territories in present day Northern Ivory Coast. Toure formed a second empire and established its new capital in the city of Kong, Upper Ivory Coast.
On May 1, 1898, when the French seized the town of Sikasso, just north of the new empire, Toure and his army took up positions in the Liberian forests to resist a second invasion. This time, however, famine and desertion weakened his forces and the French seized Toure on September 29, 1898, in his camp at Guelemou in present-day Ivory Coast. Toure was exiled to Ndjole, Gabon, where he died of pneumonia on June 2, 1900. Toure, Samori (1830-1900) Samory Toure was born in 1830 near Sanankoro in present day Guinea. He was a Muslim trader, travelling frequently along extensive trade routes.
When his mother was kidnapped during a Maninka raid, he joined her captors in an attempt to free her. He learned warfare from them and rose to become one of their war leaders in Bissandougou in present day Mali. On his return home, he found his own people divided and in conflict; Umar Ibn Said Tall, founder of the empire had recently died in 1864. Taking advantage of these internal divisions, he waged war against many towns, so that by 1874, he had founded his own kingdom. At its height in 1880, Toure’s empire spanned large areas of Guinea, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
He also led an Islamic revival, declaring his kingdom to be Muslim and enforcing Islamic education. He became known as Almamy Samori Toure. He began administrative reform that had been lacking in Said Tall’s Empire, dividing his empire into 10 regions each with 5,000 soldiers. He removed the practice of awarding high office due to family and ethnic origin and replaced it with a merit-based system. Trade flourished with firearms being bought in exchange for slaves, gold and ivory. When Toure refused to desist from his expansionist plans, the French entered into direct conflict with him.
When he tried to move his armies into Cote d’Ivoire in 1889, the French blocked his advance and drove him back. The French blocked his supply of arms that came through Sierra Leone, and so he received his supplies from Baule in Cote d’Ivoire for sale of arms. In 1894, he requested help from Kong, a prosperous trading town. Kong turned down his pleas for assistance and sided with the French. He vengefully attacked Kong in 1897, and razed the town to the ground. He was captured on September 29, 1898 near Guelemou in Cote d’Ivoire by the French. He was exiled to Gabon where he died of pneumonia in 1900.
Samori Toure: African Leader and Resistant to French Imperialism! Samori Toure holding the Coran One of the great kings, and fighters of African freedom was the great Samori Toure. Over 100 years ago, Samori Toure was captured by the French and deported to Gabon where he died of pneumonia. But who was Samori Toure? Well, Samori Toure was born in 1830 in Manyambaladugu (some texts mention Sanankoro instead), a village southeast of Kankan in present-day Guinea. Samori was a great warrior who fought imperialism in the 19th century such as many leaders today.
He refused to submit to French colonization and thus chose the path of confrontation using warfare and diplomacy. Until the age of 20, Samori was a trader. After his mother was captured in a slave raid by the king Sori Birama, he offered to serve in his army and excelled by his military prowess and skills. Samori Toure had a vision of unity for the Malinke people, and thus started organizing his empire using traditional and innovative methods. He effectively organized Malinke chiefdoms into a single state under his authority, at the core of which was the army.
He managed to increase loyalty to the state in the Malinke people who now thought as one united people… this intensified their allegiance to him. His state was well-organized and efficient. Samori’s army was powerful, disciplined, professional, and trained in modern day warfare. They were equipped with European guns. The army was divided into two flanks, the infantry or sofa, with 30,000 to 35,000 men, and the cavalry or sere of 3,000 men. Each wind was further subdivided into permanent units, fostering camaraderie among members and loyalty to both the local leaders and Samori himself.
Talk about African organization and discipline… this was really a strong army! His empire reached his apogee between 1883 and 1887, and he took the title of Almami or religious leader of a Muslim empire. “L’Almami Samori Toure” de Khalil Fofana Samori Toure created the Mandinka empire (the Wassoulou empire) between 1852 and 1882. His empire extended to the east as far as Sikasso (present-day Mali), to the west up to the Fouta Djallon empire (middle of modern day Guinea), to the north from Kankan to Bamako (in Mali); to the south, down to the borders of present-day Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire.
His capital was Bisandugu, in present day Gambia. In the 1850s, slavery being abolished, European powers decided to establish colonies in Africa, and could not tolerate strong states like the Mandinka empire, and strong leaders like Samori Toure. These African leaders had to be crushed! In 1882, at the height of the Mandinka empire, the French accused Samori Toure of refusing to comply to their order to withdraw from an important market center, Kenyeran (his army had blockaded the market). They thus started war on him.
This was an excuse to start war! From 1882 to 1885, Samori fought the French and had to sign infamous treaties in 1886 and then 1887. In 1888, he took up arms again when the French reneged on the treaty by attempting to foster rebellion within his empire. He defeated the French several time between 1885 and 1889. After several confrontations, he concluded several treaties with the French in 1889. Stamp from the Republic of Guinea In 1890, he reorganized his army, and signed a treaty with the British in Sierra Leone, where he obtained modern weapons.
He re-organized his army so as to stress defense, and employed guerilla tactics. In December 1891, French forces overran the major cities of the Mandinka empire, leaving death and desolation in their wake (sounds familiar? Cote d’Ivoire April 2011). These incursions into Toure’s empire led to exodus of the entire nation eastward. In 1893, Samori moved his capital east from Bisandugu to Dabakala. In 1894, the French assembled all their troops in western sudan (Senegal, Mali, Niger, etc…) to fight Samori. Capture of Samori
Between 1893 and 1898, Samori’s army retreated eastward, toward the Bandama and Como (in modern day Cote d’Ivoire), conquering huge territories in the northern part of modern-day Cote d’ivoire. He led the scorched earth tactic, destroying every piece of land he evacuated. Although that tactic cut him from his new source of weapons in Liberia, he still managed to delay the French. He formed a second empire, and moved his capital to Kong, in upper Cote d’Ivoire. On May 1, 1898, the French seized the town of Sikasso and his army took up positions in the Liberian forests to resist a second invasion.
This time Samori’s army fought valiantly but was no match to the power of the French arsenal. Samori forced to fight a total war against a foreign invader, and fighting against all odds, was captured on September 29, 1898, in his camp in Gue(le)mou in present-day Cote d’Ivoire. He was exiled to Gabon where he died two years later on June 2, 1900. Samori Toure was a warrior, a fighter, an empire builder, and one of the greatest African military leaders ever seen… he fought and won against the French army several times before his capture.
Interestingly enough, over 50 years later, the grandson of Samori, Sekou Toure, was the only one to say ‘NO’ to France, and to General De Gaulle: they preferred freedom over slavery under the European master… that was in Guinea! Samori’s empire Please check out the work of Pr. Yves Person on WebMande. net who wrote a book on Samori Toure, BlackHistoryPages, and this article published by the New York Times in 1898 about the Capture of Samori Toure by the French.
According to the New York Times, Samori, “for nearly 13 years, was the most dangerous antagonists Europeans had had to deal with“. I could not find a good map of Samori’s empire anywhere… so I made my own based on all the boundaries and main cities conquered and his capitals: Bisandougou, Kankan, Bamako, Sikasso, Kong, Dabakala, Guelemou, etc… some of the cities may not be the same today (or even exist after 100 years), particularly the city of Dabadugu: Samori Toure defeated the French at Dabadugu, was it the city of Dabadugu near Kankan, or was it the city of Dabadugu near Nzerekore?
I used Google map and made my own, respecting all the information found in all the different books and atlases I read. This is the entire kingdom, without taking into account the first and second empires. If you have further information, I will be happy to hear more. Chapter Nineteen Samory Toure “Black Napoleon of the Sudan” (1830-1900) Samory Toure, who was a conqueror from West Africa, fought the French from taking possession of his homeland for over 18 years.
He fought with such mastery, that the French military leaders referred to him as “The Black Napoleon. ” He frustrated the Europeans to the degree that they suffered large losses of manpower and money. Samory’s expert military strategy and tactics caused even greater insecurity for the French. Samory was born of humble means, the son of a poor Black merchant and a Senegalese female slave. Samory had become an idol of the other soldiers.
Being provoked by jealousy, the king demanded Samory be removed from the army and sent back to his homeland, Bissandugu, where he became king of the tribe. Samory’s homeland was attacked by the neighboring King Sori Bourama. His mother was captured during this raid. Samory was unable to pay his mother’s ransom, so he freed her by taking her place. Samory, always desiring to be a free man, became a favorite of the king because of his splendid physique, his ability to throw a spear, and his knowledge of the Arabic language.
Soon he became a bodyguard for the king, and later advanced to counselor of the tribe. Samory defied all of his opponents and even conquered his former capturer, King Sori Bourama. Samory expanded his empire to an area of over 100,000 sq. miles or more, making him the most powerful native ruler in West Africa. On September 29, 1898, while Samory was on his knees, outside of his tent praying. A French sergeant, and a French scout, crept upon him from behind, captured and exiled him to an island for life.
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