Historical Personalities & Issues

Compiled & Edited by Phillip True, Jr.

Chapter Nineteen


Samory Toure, who was a conqueror from West Africa, fought the French from taking possession of his homeland for over 18 years. He fought with such mastery, that the French military leaders referred to him as "The Black Napoleon." He frustrated the Europeans to the degree that they suffered large losses of manpower and money. Samory's expert military strategy and tactics caused even greater insecurity for the French.

Samory was born of humble means, the son of a poor Black merchant and a Senegalese female slave.

Samory had become an idol of the other soldiers. Being provoked by jealousy, the king demanded Samory be removed from the army and sent back to his homeland, Bissandugu, where he became king of the tribe.

Samory's homeland was attacked by the neighboring King Sori Bourama. His mother was captured during this raid. Samory was unable to pay his mother's ransom, so he freed her by taking her place.

Samory, always desiring to be a free man, became a favorite of the king because of his splendid physique, his ability to throw a spear, and his knowledge of the Arabic language. Soon he became a bodyguard for the king, and later advanced to counselor of the tribe.

Samory defied all of his opponents and even conquered his former capturer, King Sori Bourama. Samory expanded his empire to an area of over 100,000 sq. miles or more, making him the most powerful nativeruler in West Africa.

On September 29, 1898, while Samory was on his knees, outside of his tent praying. A French sergeant, and a French scout, crept upon him from behind, captured and exiled him to an island for life.

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