Today I will share with you another treaty signed in Piquini-Bassam (modern-day Côte d’Ivoire), this time between Charles Martin des Pallières, a French colonial officer, and the King of Piquini-Bassam. It is good to note that Piquini-Bassam or Petit-Bassam was also known as Picaniny-Bassam or Picanimy-Bassam, and became Port-Bouët after the French naval Captain Édouard Bouët-Willaumez in 1904. What hurts is to see what the French ‘paid’ for all that land: 10 pieces of cloth? 5 rifles? Seriously? Sadly this was a common play by European colonizers in those days: trade nothing for everything, all your land! Not much has changed today, at least not in Francophone Africa!
The English translation of the treaty is by Dr. Y., Afrolegends.com. For the French original click here: Cote dIvoire_Traite relatif a la souverainete de la France sur le territoire de Piquini Bassam 24 Fevrier 1852.
Fortified Trading post of Grand-Bassam
Treaty between M. MARTIN DES PALLIÈRES, lieutenant of the 3rd regiment of navy infantry, knight of the Legion of Honor, acting on behalf of Mr. the Governor of Senegal and its dependencies, and the king of Piquini-Bassam.
Considering that it is in their interest to align under the protection of France and to start with her useful commercial relations, the king, the chiefs, and inhabitants of Piquini-Bassam, in exchange for protection, recognize the full and entire sovereignty of the French Republic on their territory.
The King and his chiefs adopt the French colors to the exclusion of all others, and undertake to expel from their territory whoever will present himself with another flag or intentions hostile to the interests of France.
The king and his chiefs cede in all property to the French lands which will be necessary to them [the French] to build such fortification or commercial establishment that they [the French] will judge necessary, upon payment, according to an estimate of the value of said lands.
All foreign ships will be able to anchor in Piquini-Bassam.
In case of shipwreck, they [the king and chiefs and inhabitants] should lend a hand to the rescue; a third of the cargo will be granted to the rescuers.
If some difficulties shall arise between the French traders and the natives, it would be decided by the Trade post commander of Grand-Bassam, who would promptly render justice to the guilty persons, no matter what side they were from.
The king and chiefs of Piquini-Bassam undertake (agree) to always receive the french well who would come to his house, whether for trading or for any other reason; They will give them help and assistance and will, as much as they can, promote the trading of palm oil and other products of the country with the french traders.
In exchange for these concessions, the king and his people will be granted protection of the outpost and french warships. The king will be, after his signing the treaty, paid five barrels of juniper, five rifles, five barrels of powder and ten pieces of cloth.
The said treaty, read and re-read in the French language and the local language was made double and in good faith between us in the village of Piquini-Bassam, the twenty fourth of February one thousand eight hundred and fifty two.
The Commander of the fortified trading post of Grand-Bassam,
The Sergent of the trading post of Grand-Bassam,
Signature of PETER, King of Grand-Bassam.
Signature of GADJI, King of Piquini-Bassam.
Signature of MOBA (chief).
Signature of AKA (chief).
Signature of ASSAKOU (chief).
Signature of DIAVAU (chief).