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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: April 2013

41 - Introduction:

from Part Eight - Documents from Muslim Africa


The effort to curtail slavery, the slave trade, and kidnapping in French West Africa has a long and tortuous history. In 1905, slaves in the French Soudan took the initiative and began to leave their masters. The slaves' exodus actually pushed the colonial administration to act upon its rhetoric and to decree the end of enslavement and the alienation of any person's liberty. This was the decree of 12 December 1905, which was to play a role in the court case described in this chapter. The case was heard at the district tribunal of Louga in Senegal. The 1903 decree established two sets of courts, one for French citizens and other European nationals and the other for African subjects. Demand for children as slaves was high. Kidnapping was one of the earliest forms of enslavement and it continues to this day.