The World at War

UPPER VOLTA 1806 - 1960


1806Scottish explorer Mungo Park skirts the Say and Dori regions during his ultimately fatal exploration of the Niger Basin.
1853German explorer Heinrich Barth, a member of a British expedition, becomes the first European to reach Dori.
1886The German explorer Krauss reaches Ouagadougou.
1888April 17 French Captain Louis Gustav Binger is welcomed to Bobo Dioulasso by Guimbi Ouattara after crossing Upper Volta. Binger is subsequently unsuccessful in his attempt to conclude a treaty of protection with Ouagadougou.
1890Lieutenant Colonel Louis Parfait Monteil crosses Upper Volta while leading a French expedition from Senegal to Tripoli by way of Lake Chad.
1891Louis Parfait Monteil arrives in Dori at which time the Liptako throne has been vacant for over a year. Naba Wobgo refuses to sign a treaty of protection with Monteil.
1894July 1 A British agent named Fergusson scouts the Mossi country and begins signing treaties of protection.
During the Year Commandant Geroges Destenave, the French resident at Bandiagara, signs treaties of protection with the Mossi Sultan of Yatenga and the Dori chieftan of Ouahigouya. Destenave establishes French supremacy in Liptako and Yaga before advancing to Say where he leaves a garrison.
1895February 20 Naba Wobgo of Ouagadougou refuses to sign a treaty of protection offered by Commandant Destenave.
May 18 Captain Decoaur visits the Fada region and signs a treaty of protection with the Yatenga chief Naba Bulli.
June 16 The General Government of French West Africa is established. It undertakes the conquest and administrative organization of Upper Volta at a time when most of the tribes still retain their sovereignty. The Samo, Bwaba and Lobi, tribes with little or no hierarchy offer the strongest resistance. The tribes with strong hierarchies are embroiled in succession quarrel and offer only weak resistance.
October 4 Boubakar Sori, the Governor of Dori, welcomes Commandant Destenave with open arms and signs a treaty of protection with him.
1896September 1 Captain Paul Volulet defeats the Mossi Sultan of Yako and captures Ouagadougou. Naba Wobgo flees into exile in the Gold Coast.
1898The Treaty of Paris ends the Franco-British rivalry for control of Upper Volta and establishes its borders with the British Gold Coast colony.
Bobo Dioulasso is conquered and integrated with the colony of French Sudan.
The French take Sikasso putting an end to the Kingdom of Kenedugu.
1900The first Catholic missions in Upper Volta are established at Koupela and Fada N’Gourma.
1901The Catholic mission of Ouagadougou is established.
1904October 18 The General Government of French West Africa is reorganized and given an autonomous budget. A territorial reorganization merges Upper Volta with most of the French Sudan and Niger to create the vast new colony of Upper Senegal & Niger.
1915 – 1916 Mossi tribesmen, an essential element of the Senegalese Rifle battalions (so called because they embark for Europe in Dakar) which fight at the sides of the allied troops during the First World War), begin resisting conscription.
1919March 1 Governor General Gabriel Angoulvant issues a decree creating the colony of Upper Volta from portions of Upper Senegal & Niger. François Hesling is appointed governor of the new colony and Ouagadougou becomes its capital.
1926December 15 Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso are declared 1st class mixed communes.
1927The Say region is taken from Upper Volta and annexed to Niger.
August 7 Governor François Hesling steps down after nearly 8 years in office. His term was marked by intensified use of forced labor for construction of administrative buildings, schools and clinics. The road system grew from 3,000 to 6,000 kilometers to facilitate movement of agricultural produce. Cotton growing was emphasized and forced labor in collective fields was instituted. The harsh consequences of these policies set off a strong migration towards the British Gold Coast.
1930 – 1931 A great famine and drought sweep over Upper Volta.
1932April 11 Moro Naba Kom II sends a letter to Deputy Blaise Diagne demanding protection from the dissolution of the colony.
September 5 The Colony of Upper Volta is dissolved at the insistence of the major French trading companies; La Société Commerciale de l'Ouest Africain, La Compagnie Française d'Afrique-Occidentale and Établissements Peyrissac. Six of Upper Volta’s southern provinces are annexed to the Ivory Coast. The north is divided between French Sudan and Niger. The loss of status leads to dismantling of the administrative and social structure in Ouagadougou along with the closure of the printing office, regional school and treasury.
1933The Abidjan Railway reaches kilometer 793 at Bobo Dioulasso.
1936January 1 Ouagadougou is deprived of its status as a mixed commune.
1937July 13 A decree creates the administrative region of the Upper Ivory Coast from the former Upper Volta circles of: Bobo-Dioulasso, Gaoua, Koudougou, Tenkodogo, Kaya and Ouagadougou. A Chief Resident sitting in Ouagadougou represents the Governor of the Ivory Coast.
1938January 1 The Upper Voltan circles annexed to Ivory Coast in 1933 are granted limited autonomy under French Resident Superior Edmond Jean Louveau as the Upper Ivory Coast.
1940July 29 The Resident Superior of the Upper Ivory Coast, Edmond Jean Louveau, is imprisoned on orders of French West Africa's Governor General Pierre Boisson after issuing a proclamation of adhesion to Free France. The Pro-Vichy administration in Abidjan resumes direct control of the region. A handful of Gaullists leave the colony by way of the Gold Coast to join the Free French in Brazzaville.
1942March 12 Moro Naba Kom II dies and is succeeded by his son Naba Saga II.
1945The campaign for reconstitution of Upper Volta gathers force with the creation of the Union for the Defense of the Interests of Upper Volta (UDIHV) by Naba Saaga II and several intellectuals.
November 18 Doctor Felix Houphouet Boigny is elected to represent the Ivory Coast including the Upper Ivory Coast in the 1st French Constituent Assembly.
1946The Investment Fund for Economic and Social Development (FIDES) is established to finance the modernization of the French West African colonies. The focus of FIDES effort in Upper Volta is on completion of the Abidjan railway from Bobo Dioulasso to Ouagadougou.
April 11 Felix Houphouet Boigny obtains passage of a law suppressing the use of forced labor.
June 2 Felix Houphouet Boigny is elected to the 2nd Constituent Assembly.
October 18 The African Democratic Rally (RDA) is founded at Bamako, Mali under the leadership of Felix Houphouet Boigny.
November 10 Houphouet Boigny, Ouézzin Coulibaly, Philippe Zinda Kaboré are elected to represent the Ivory Coast in the French National Assembly.
1947May 24 Deputy Philippe Zinda Kaboré dies in Abidjan.
September 4 A law is enacted to reconstitute Upper Volta within its 1932 boundaries. The borders of the French West African colonies are stabilized.
1948June 27 Guissou Henri, Ouédraogo Mamadou and Nazi Boni of the Volta Union list defeat the candidates of the African Democratic Rally in elections for representatives from Upper Volta to the French National Assembly.
1949The Rural Equipment Fund for Economic and Social Development (FERDES) is established to finance projects of a more modest scale than those of FIDES in the villages with the support of the inhabitants.
1950The African Democratic Rally breaks with the French Communist Party.
January SIAMO (Interprofessional Trade Union for the Advancement of Labor) establishes a regional office in Bobo Dioulasso.
1954February 27 A decree grants Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso 3rd degree mixed commune status. The citizens will elect a municipal council under the direction of an administratively appointed mayor.
December The first train of the Abidjan railway arrives in Ouagadougou from Bobo Dioulasso.
Doctor Conombo is named Secretary of State in the government of Pierre Mendes-France.
1955November 18 A law grants the cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo the status of communes of open exercise.
1956June 23 The Deferre Law grants the French overseas territories semi-autonomous status. The council of government will be elected by the territorial assembly, the council members are given the rank of minister, the council president is appointed by France and the vice president is chosen by the council.
November 18 The Deferre Law is applied in Upper Volta. The first elected mayors, Joseph Ouedraogo in Ouagadougou and Djibril Vinama in Bobo Dioulasso, are chosen.
1957March 31 A territorial assembly is elected in accordance with the Deferre Law. A coalition of the African Democratic Rally (RDA) and Doctor Conombo’s Social Party for the Education of the African Masses (PSEMA) wins 37 of the 70 seats.
May 17 The first council of government is formed in accordance with the Deferre Law. Ouezzin Coulibaly becomes Vice President of the Council.
November 12 Mogho Naba Saaga II and is succeeded by Naba kougri.
December Opposition to Ouezzin Coulibaly crystallizes with formation of parliamentary group under territorial assembly leader Nazi Boni. A no confidence motion against the government of Ouezzin Coulibaly starts a governmental crisis.
1958January 22 The deputy from Koudougou, Maurice Yaméogo, of the Volta Democratic Movement (MDV) supports the African Democratic Rally (RDA) giving Coulibaly a comfortable majority and puts an end the governmental crisis. Yaméogo is given the Interior portfolio.
September 7 Ouezzin Coulibaly dies in Paris. Interior Minister Maurice Yaméogo is designated as his successor.
September 28 Upper Volta approves the constitution of the Fifth Republic. General de Gaulle’s proposal wins a 99% yes vote in the referendum.
October 17 Moro Naba Kougri’s attempt to install a constitutional monarch fails.
October 20 Maurice Yaméogo becomes Council President succeeding Ouezzin Coulibaly.
December 11 Upper Volta becomes an autonomous republic within the French Community. Maurice Yaméogo becomes Premier of the Republic of Upper Volta.
1959January 28 Upper Volta officially joins the Federation of Mali and the Volta Assembly approves the Federation’s constitution.
March 15 Upper Volta withdraws from the Federation of Mali which includes Senegal and the French Sudan.
May 29 Upper Volta joins the Council of the Entente with the Ivory Coast, Niger and Dahomey.
August 29 The Ougadougou municipal council is dissolved and replaced by a special delegation.
December The Council of Government accepts the decision of the legislative assembly to enact an austerity budget for 1960 and until the territories situation improves.
1960July 17 Upper Volta and the other member states in the Council of the Entente request and obtain a transfer of powers.
August 5 Upper Volta is proclaimed independent.
September 20 Upper Volta is admitted to membership in the United Nations.

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