1850s Correspondence of Ndate Yalla Mbodj to the French Governor of Senegal

Queen Ndate Yalla Mbodj
Queen Ndate Yalla Mbodj

I would like to share with you letters from Ndate Yalla Mbodj, the last Lingeer (Queen) of the Waalo, addressed to the French Governor of Senegal in the 1850s. These are treasures from history, and I thought it very interesting to translate them from French to English. Reading these letters, one can see the duplicity of the French who would take lands from the Waalo people without asking, and will treat the people of the Waalo with great disdain. These are from the National archives of Senegal. For the French version, visit: Seneweb.


National Archives of Senegal 13 G 91

Correspondence of the Kings of the Waalo

Letter number 85 received by the governor

of Saint Louis on May 23rd, 1851


Ndatte Yalla to Mr. the Governor,

The goal of this letter is to let you know that the island of Boyo* belongs to me, from my grandfather down to me today. There is nobody who can claim that that country belongs to them; it belongs to me only. I did not sell this country to anybody. I did not entrust it to anybody, nor to any white person. The people to whom I entrusted my land have to right to do anything to it, I will have nothing to say. Nobody can take this land without their authorization; to prove to you that this letter comes from me, when the dispute had been settled in Lampsar, you went back to the fort. There I came to see you with my husband, you were accompanied by Mr. Alsace and de Bamar, you told me that you wanted to see me alone to talk, I told you that there was only my husband and brother present.

You also asked me who was the King of the Waalo today. I replied that the King of the Waalo was me. If this is true, and this letter comes from me, I desire that no one should take possession of my territory.

The island of Boyo is located in Mauritania, 15 km north of Saint-Louis in Senegal. It houses the village of N’Diago. It is the cradle of the Boye family of Saint-Louis.


National Archives of Senegal 13 G 91

Correspondence of the Kings of the Waalo

Letter number 93 received by the Governor of

Saint Louis on January 16th, 1854


The Brak , Ndatté Yalla , Marosso , Becquenegue , Boye , and Guirafe  Minguéye

To Mr. the Governor,


This letter is to inform you that Boyo belongs to us. If you do not believe our words, you can inquire among the people of Saint-Louis, since we have only been dealing with you.

Since the creation of Boyo, we have never seen anybody being put in irons by an individual. When a white man has problems with a king of Boyo, he should transmit his claim to you so that you would transmit it to us. We believe that no one should point a gun barrel to the chest of a Boye Boyo or snatch him in his country to put him in irons. Whoever does that should pay with blood. But what is done is done.

We mean no harm to anyone and we ask that you kindly grant us a meeting in a venue of your liking.

A captive of Marosso was taken by a man from Senegal into a boat. We ask that he either frees him or pays for him since this captive belongs to us.

We also ask you, that the white man who is at the root of all these problems be expelled from Boye. 


National Archives of Senegal 13 G 91

Correspondence of the Kings of the Waalo

Letter number 95 received by the Governor of

Saint Louis on February 27th, 1851


Brak , Ndatté , Maarosso*,  Beukneg Ndiourbel* 

To the Governor 


This letter is to ask you to tell the Alkaty* the amount that the Waalo still owes you; As for us, we believe that we have paid all our debts according to the customs* and taxes of the port* and of Saint-Louis. Every time we ask about it, we are told that it is still not finished; today we would not listen to anyone but you. In addition, the particular debts of the people of Saint-Louis in the Waalo cannot be paid since we cannot pay for others, debts that we have not contracted.

He who knows his debtor should contact him directly. We also inform you that we have sold the island of Sorr to no one, and have no intention of selling it; It seems that the people of Senegal* have established fields there without asking us and without our consent. We ask you for explanations in this regard.  


Customs : dues and taxes that European merchants should pay in order to be authorized to trade freely in the Waalo

Beukkneg Ndiourbel : He was the chief of the captives of the crown, and was in charge of the royal cabinet, and was charged with transmitting the Brack and Lingeer’s instructions.

Port : river port where the European merchants land their products

Maarosso : paternal brother of the Brack who governed the region of Rosso.

Alkaty : agent of the Brack or the Linguere in charge of collecting dues and taxes paid by the European merchants who wished to be authorized to trade freely in the Waalo.

People of Sénégal : people who are all subject to the authority of the governor.

Translation by Dr. Y. on http://www.afrolegends.com of the original from Seneweb (of the National Archives of Senegal).


One thought on “1850s Correspondence of Ndate Yalla Mbodj to the French Governor of Senegal

  1. Pingback: QUEENS OF AFRICA: NDATE YALLA MBODJ- Africa’s Last Queen Resistant | Africa Heritages

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