French Colonial Treaties in Africa: France in Niger – Liptako 23 Mai 1891

Niger_Zinder_Gaya_Liptako_with all modern day regions
Map of modern-day Niger highlighting the Liptako region (in blue) which extended into Mali and Burkina Faso, and Gaya and Zinder.

Here is another treaty signed in Niger, this time in the Liptako region which was part of the Liptako Emirate, a hilly region beginning on the right back of the Niger river, and today part of Burkina FasoMali, and Niger. Modern-day Liptako, most of which falls in 10 to 19 provinces of Burkina Faso, along with Niger‘s Tera and Say Departments, and small parts of Mali, is a hilly and in parts sparsely populated area. It is also known as Liptako Gourma, from the name of its original historic inhabitants the Gourmantche.  Parfait-Louis Monteil was the French officer who signed this treaty on 23 May 1891 with Boubakar, son of Boari, the King of the Liptako.

Parfait-Louis Monteil: De Saint-Louis a Tripoli par le Lac Tchad, voyage au travers du Soudan et du Sahara accompli pendant les années 1890-91-92. Paris 1895

The French original is found here: Niger_Traite francais de protectorat et de commerce avec le roi du Liptako 23 Mai 1891. It was also translated to Arabic at the time, which was the language of business at the King’s palace and in the region. The English version is brought to you by Dr. Y.,


Treaty between France and the Liptako

Between us, Monteil (Parfait Louis), Captain in the general staff of the infantry of Marin, Knight of the legion of Honor, Officer of the Academy, representing the government of the French Republic and imbued with necessary powers, and, Boubakar son of Boari, King of the Liptako, and mandated by him, the following treaty was concluded:

Article I

The King of the Liptako in his name and in the name of his successors places his country under the protectorate of France.

Article II

France acknowledges the independence of the Liptako under the current king and his successors.

France agrees to ensure this independence against attacks from neighboring countries.

Article III

The King of the Liptako commits to protecting by all means in his power the trade of the caravans.

Article IV

The trade will be entirely free in the Liptako, the caravans shall not be subject to any duty either upon arrival or departure.

Article V

In all countries under French domination or protectorate, the caravans coming from the Liptako will be efficiently protected and no duty shall be levied on them.   

Article VI

The French or French subjects who will come to settle in the Liptako for trade will be, they, and their goods, under the sincere protection of the King who will be responsible for any looting or vexation committed against them.  

Article VII

The King of the Liptako agrees not to sign any treaty with another European foreign power without submitting it to the prior sanction of the French government.

Article VIII

As a sign of our effective protection that he can use as a matter of right, the King of the Liptako has received the French flag which he agrees to keep.

Made in Dori, the twenty third of May eighteen ninety one, in two expeditions, including one which was left in the hands of the king to serve him as matter of right, the other one was kept by us.

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