Samori Toure & The Mandinka Resistance
Our next entry on African Anti-Colonial resistance movements is on Samori Toure and the Mandinka Resistance.
The Causes Of The Mandinka Resistance
The roots of the Mandinka resistance lie in the partitioning of Africa at the Berlin Conference of 1885.
After the Berlin Conference, France began to enter West Africa more aggressively until they reached the Sudan and the Border of Samori Toure’s Mandinka Empire.
Samori Toure responded intelligently to the French threat by equipping his Army with modern British weapons and expanding into modern day Liberia in order to evade the French.
A series of initial military encounters with the French were indecisive, and Samori was victorious at the Battle for the control of the Bure Goldfields, initially repelling the French despite their superior firepower and excellent Military organization.
The French persisted with their incursion into the Mandinka Empire planting themselves at the centre of the Mandinka Empire after siezing the City of Kankan, and despite a series of evasive manouvres by Samori Toure, the French finally succeeded in capturing his Capital at Bissandungu in 1892.
This would not spell the end of Samori Toure’s resistance however which continued until 1898 when he was eventually captured in the Ivory Coast after eluding the French by implementing a Scorched Earth Policy which successfully delayed the French pursuit to capture him as he moved his Empire from the captured Capital at Bissandungu deeper into the African interior.
His effort to form an alliance against the French with the Asante was unsuccessful, and weakening African resistance in other French territories enabled the French to focus their efforts on capturing Samori Toure and dealing a final blow to the Mandinka Empire.
After his capture in 1898, Samori was exiled to Gabon where he died in captivity after suffering from Pneumonia.
Why The Mandinka Resistance Failed
In addition to facing technologically advanced French artillery and tactics, Samori was also faced with African disunity when his efforts to form alliances with other African Kingdoms like the Asante failed.
Furthermore, the progressive weakening of surrounding African States enabled the French to mount a focused and consistent attack on the Mandinka Empire which eventually led to its annihilation and Samori Toure’s capture.
Nevertheless, Samori Toure remains an inspiring figure of the Colonial resistance, and in a fitting honour,his great-grandson, Ahmed Sékou Touré, was appointed the first President of Guinea when Guinea gained independence.
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