Gouverneur p.i. Rapenne,
"Rapport politique, Année 1941"
|Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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This long (150+ pages) document provides a wide variety of information about French Soudan under Vichy rule in 1941.
The following table lists the population of each of the cercles of French Soudan in 1937 and 1938:
|Cercle||1940 total||1941 total||Europeans|
The total land area of French Soudan is 1,530,077 square kilometers, so the population density is 2.47 people per square kilometer.
This table shows the growth of the population of French Soudan in the years leading up to World War II:
This table shows the destination of emigrants from French Soudan in 1941:
This table shows cercle of origin of emigrants from French Soudan in 1941:
|Cercle> of origin||Permanent||Temporary|
In addition, one was Liberian expelled from Ségou back to his own country.
The number of navétanes has diminished over the last three years, according to an investigation made in June 1941. The author speculated that the causes included the intensification of peanut culture in Soudan, and the introduction of new agricultural products in Soudan such as rice and kapock.
The largest number of immigrants come from Côte d'Ivoire and Guinée. Some are miners, and others return to the Soudan as a result of government efforts to "décongestionnement de l'agglomeration de Dakar" (reduce congestion in Dakar) which forced them out.
This table shows the number colons (male heads of resident farming families) and their organization into cantons and villages at the Office du Niger project duuring the period from 1937 to 1941.
This report also contains tables showing the number of Christians in each cercle in the French Soudan in 1941: Catholics dominated in all cercles except Sikasso (21 Protestants and 10 Catholics).
The author showed the numbers of Catholics by cercle in previous years and observed that Protestantism lost ground in 1941. The following table shows the total number of Christians in the colony in previous years:
|Year||Number of Christians|
This table shows the number of European and African weapons in the colony:
|Cercle||European-owned arms||African-owned trade arms||Arms seized from Africans|
The report contains a chart showing the amount of gunpowder and cartridges imported into the colony that only gives figures for Bamako, Kayes, Kita, Ségou and Mopti, plus a little for Gao, Goundam, San and Timbuktu.
By the late 1930s, the French permitted Africans to make cash payments instead of providing days of forced labor. The following table shows the value of the days of prestation (forced) labor that were "purchased" by Africans in the period from 1937 to 1941:
|Year||Total payments (francs)|| Taxe
additionelle (francs) |
(implemented January 1939)
This table shows the value of various components of forced labor in each cercle. In addition, the individual food ration of the population flottante (people without a fixed residence) was valued at the local rate, while their days of labor were valued at 4.50 francs per day, and they were expected to work for nine days.
|Cercle|| Cost of one day's |
| Cost of one |
day of labor
| Number of days of forced
of each person
| Bamako |
(Bamako and Koulikoro)
| Bamako |
(Diočla and Kokolani)
|Mopti (rest of cercle)||1.75||4||9|
This table shows the number of men requisitioned by the French to provide transportation services (usually carrying loads):
|Cercle||Number of men||Total days||Total wages paid|
This table contains statistics on prison terms and fines handed out by the justice indigène ("native" justice system):
|Cercle||Number of sentences||Number of days of imprisonment||Average number of days per sentence||Number of fines||Total amount of fines (francs)||Average amount of fines (francs)|
|Bougouni||none for the last four years|
|Total||5,740||number of criminal sanctions|
In 1941, the salt mines at Taoudenni sent 50,000 barres of salt to Diré, Mopti, Gao and Ouagadougou. The majority went to Ouagadougou. However, it has become practically impossible to know how much salt is transported because the transporters no longer travel in caravans to Taoudenni. The desert is now so secure that the nomads no longer feel the need to group themselves together.
The salt caravan from Tinioulig carried 5,100 barres of salt which the author estimated weighed 25-30 kilograms per barre. In other words, the caravan carried a total of 127.5 tons of salt. Tinioulig is about 26 days away from Oulata, somewhere in Mauritania. (NOTE: Another source placed Taoudenni at a distance of 16 days away from Timbuktu in 1957, so Tinioulig must be even further away.) This salt sold for at least 100 francs per barre in Nara and Sokolo.
The merchants of the colony have ordered 4,000 tons of salt from Kaolack, but transportation problems make it unlikely that it will arrive.
The author reported on the Affaire Nioro-Assaba. On August 24 to 28, 1940, Moors under the leadership of Cherif Hamallah Baba attacked caravans in the northern part of the Cercle de Nioro. Their action was directed against everyone who was not Tidjani. The Cherif claimed that French power was now finished in the region. The total cost was 247 dead and 4,950,000 francs. The French made more than 800 arrests and the detainees were placed in concentration camps at Tamchakett, Ayoun el Atrouss, Nioro, and Yélimané, and in prisons at Kayes and Bamako. Trials were held on June 24-30, 1941, and resulted in thirty-three death sentences, three sentences of hard labor for twenty years, one sentence at hard labor for ten years, and 558 other prison sentences.