French West Africa


In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. French West Africa is Number 100 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The study covers the Government-General of West Africa, which was formed in 1895 and reconstituted by a French presidential decree on October 1, 1902. Included in the territory were the colonies of Senegal, French Guinea, (present-day Guinea), the Ivory Coast (present-day Côte d’Ivoire), and Dahomey (present-day Benin), and the territories of Senegambia-Niger (present-day Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso). In October 1904, the territory of Mauretania was also placed under the administration of the Government-General of West Africa. The book includes sections on political history and social and political conditions in French West Africa. It devotes particular attention to the strong position of Islam in most of the territories of the government-general. Economics and certain other topics relating to these territories are covered in separate studies in the series, including Number 103, French Guinea; Number 104, Ivory Coast; Number 105, Dahomey; Number 106, Mauretania; and Number 107, Upper Senegal and Niger. The appendix includes the texts of agreements between France and Portugal, Germany, Great Britain, and Spain delimiting the borders of the French colonies with those of these European powers; also included is the text of a 1907 agreement delimiting the border between French West Africa and the independent state of Liberia.

Last updated: February 18, 2015