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Guinea - French Colony

The territory of Guinea became a French colony in 1893 and was incorporated into French West Africa (AOF) in 1893. But the almamy Samory Tour waged an organized war against the French occupation on the coast and in the mountainous massifs of Southeast until he was defeated in 1898. He was taken prisoner in 1898 and deported to Gabon where he died in 1900. He was one of the last heroes in the pre-colonial history of the country.

Resistance to the French occupation continued and ceased only in 1912, during the "pacification" of this area erected in a military region since 1899. Finally, the fragmentation in multiple rival chiefdoms facilitated the French control over the country. But the French military excesses provoked in 1911 a revolt of the Guerze and the Manons, which was repressed with great brutality.

Aim Olivier, Earl of Sanderval, traveled five times over the Fouta Djallon and managed to acquire a number of estates (40,000 hours) that the colonial administration would take away from him, but his heirs would dispute with the administration until the eve of the World War II. In 1899 he signed a treaty which made him king of the Kahel, with commercial privileges and even that of beating money. It leaves its name to a district of Conakry (Sandervalia), where it had a square still visible within the walls of the National Museum.

He has written a number of books (see bibliography), including "La conqute du Fouta Djallon" and "Sudan franais et Sahel, travel diaries". In 1881 Dr. Bayol was sent to Fouta and signed with the Almamy Ibrahima Sory III and Amhadou a treaty of friendship which was transformed into a protectorate treaty in 1888. From 1882 was appointed Governor of the colony of the rivers of the South, Ballay succeeded him in 1890. The decree of 17 December 1891 enshrined the existence of this colony. As a result of various troubles, France occupied Timbo, the capital of Fouta, in 1896, and a definitive treaty was signed in 1897. The boundaries of the South Rivers were fixed in 1899.

Of the three European imperialists competing in this part of West Africa (Portugal, England, France), it was France that, in fifty years, superseded its rivals - the Portuguese were circumscribed in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, the English in The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Libera. However, the landscape retains the mark of this competition (Portuguese fortresses) and it was not until 1904 that the English left the islands of Los.

The conquest of Guinea took place with some resistance, but it was facilitated by internal dissensions in Fouta Djallon. It is especially in Upper Guinea that Samory Tour engaged in a fierce struggle that will last seven years. He was taken prisoner in 1898 and deported to Gabon, where he died in 1900. In Guinea Forestiere, it was not until 1912 and several severe setbacks to achieve "pacification". It was not until 1904 that the Coniagui made their submission. In Guinea Maritime the Nalou and Landouma were definitely submissive only in 1892.

For about sixty years, Guinea knew the colonial system. The decree of 12 December 1905 prohibited the slave trade and ends an important economic system in the region. However, slavery continues to exist, mainly in Fouta and Upper Guinea. It was not until the Second World War and especially from the years 1955-56 that the institution of slavery disappeared.

The large French import-export companies monopolize the trade of trafficking, relayed by the Lebanese-Syrians. A market economy is being set up, shattering the old ways of production. The economy is being monitored by the establishment of export crops (bananas, coffee, etc.) and the introduction of taxes and forced labor. These various factors profoundly alter the traditional economic system.

The cultivation of latex began in the Rio Nuez region in the 1870s. This gathering required enormous labor, collecting over vast expanses, forcing people to fetch rubber farther and farther away. With the introduction of the tax this activity would take on a disproportionate dimension, causing the abandonment of other cultures. Guinea Maritime vine stocks were quickly depleted and the collection moved to Fouta and Upper Guinea. In 1909, 1,810 tons of rubber were exported, accounting for 65% of Guinea's total exports. Beginning in 1910, the price of rubber coming from the extreme eastern rubber, collapsed leaving peasants without monetary income.

France imposed a system of colonial administration identical with that applied in the other African territories of its colonial empire. French became the language of the Administration. Most of the official documents were hardly ever known by those concerned except when they were occasionally translated into a "local dialect". Almost 95% of the Guineas did not attend school and were therefore unaware of French. However, French was very widespread among the Guinean elite, who did not hesitate to cut short the Koranic studies of their children and to make them follow their courses at the French school.

The development of the country remained the work of the French, as the natives provided only cheap labor, particularly in the exploitation of bauxite. French companies monopolized export crops and multiplied them. Obviously, the exploitation of natural resources was oriented towards the needs of the metropolis, which prompted a highly politicized trade unionism, especially in industrial and port centers, which turned into protest movements. During the two world wars, Metropolitan France made extensive use of Guinean soldiers: 36,000 were mobilized in 1914-18 and nearly 18,000 in 1939-45.

Then, inevitably, an anti-colonial political consciousness developed to assert itself with force after the Second World War. The shock of the Second World War required the metropolis to become aware of its responsibilities for the development of its colonies and the Guineans for their emancipation. In October 1945, Yacine Diallo was the first Guinean elected to the National Constituent Assembly. It is the trade union world that will be structured and play a major role in the political evolution of the country, serving as the basis for the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG).

French Guinea became, by the French Constitution of 7 October 1946, an "overseas territory". At the end of the French colonial empire, the enrollment rate of "natives" remained below 12%. There were also large gender disparities (for example, fewer than 10,000 girls out of 45,000 schoolchildren), urban and rural (so-called "bush"), different social groups (civil servants, craftsmen, workers And maneuvers, peasants) and religious (eg Koranic schools and private Catholic schools), not to mention geographical areas. Higher education remained non-existent.

In 1952, Ahmed Skou Tour, great-grandson of Samory Tour, carried out political activities in order to obtain more African representatives in the local government. He founded the Democratic Party of Guinea, of which he formed a highly structured popular organization. From 1947 to 1953 a series of very hard strikes led to an improvement of living conditions. A young trade unionist emerged, Skou Tour, and quickly becomes one of the most important personalities of the CEO. The PDG was part of the African Democratic Gathering (GDR, a composite grouping, created in 1947 after the Bamako congress), of which it became the Guinean section. The PDG-RDA was fought very hard by the colonial power.

In 1956, the framework law (Deferre law) was introduced, which implied the creation of a council of government in each territory. The struggles between rival political parties in Guinea (PDG-RDA and BAG) intensified: brawls and fires left dozens dead and hundreds wounded in October 1956 and May 1957. The elections to the Territorial Assembly in March 1957 celebrate the triumph of the PDG-RDA, which won almost all the seats, and the presidency of the first Guinean government is de jure to the Governor, J. Ramadier, Skou Tour, the winner of the elections, is the Vice-President. The riots fomented by the PDG-RAD in 1958, neutralized once and for all the other political parties.

In the referendum held on 28 September 1958, Guinea was the only country in Francophone Africa to reject General de Gaulle's proposal concerning the integration of the colonies of French West Africa into a possible French Community. Skou Tour, who was convinced that France could not permanently ostracize a Guinea so rich in mining products, asked its population to vote NO on the project of integration into the French Community.

In his speech to General de Gaulle in Conakry, on 25 August 1958, Skou Tour, said: "The draft Constitution must not be confined to the logic of the colonial regime which legally made Guineans French citizens and Guinea's territories an integral part of the French Republic One and Indivisible. We are African and our Territories can not be a part of France. We will be citizens of our African States, members of the Franco-African Community."

Dissatisfied with the Guinean decision after its negative vote in the referendum on the Community of 28 September 1958, France immediately suspended its aid (contrary to what Skou Tour believed). In one month, the Guinean administration was deprived of all French technicians and civil servants, including doctors, nurses, teachers, aviation security officials, etc. While Presidents Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Hamani Diori of Niger and Leopold Sdar Senghor of Senegal were among the most vocal defenders of La Francophonie, Sekou Tour continued to demand for his country immediate and total independence, and proclaimed loud and clear that La Francophonie constituted a "new form of colonial domination".





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Page last modified: 03-05-2017 19:10:55 ZULU