Northern Africa 1900: Battle of Kousséri

Political map of Northern Africa on 22 Apr 1900 (Scramble for Africa: Battle of Kousséri), showing the following events: Battle of Togbao; Dervish State; Boer invasion of Cape Colony; Battle of Umm Diwaykarat; Tripartite Convention in Africa; Battle of Kousséri.

In 1899 the Nubian warlord Rabih az-Zubayr had antagonized the French by hanging one of their explorers. After Rabih destroyed their punitive expedition, the French sent three columns—one from each of their main African bases (Congo, Algeria, and Senegal)—against his empire around Lake Chad. This time the French were successful, defeating and killing Rabih at the Battle of Kousséri.

Main Events

17 Jul 1899 Battle of Togbao

In October 1898 a French military expedition under lieutenants Henri Bretonnet and Solomon Braun left France to invade the Chad Basin—at the time dominated by the warlord Rabih az-Zubayr—via the French Congo. By the time they arrived in the French-allied Sultanate of Baguirmi in June 1899, it was already being invaded by Rabih’s forces, and they were soon compelled to evacuate the capital Kouno. Retreating to the nearby hills of Togbao, the Franco-Baguirmian force of some 450 men was overwhelmed and destroyed almost to a man by Rabih’s over 12,000 followers in wikipedia

1 Sep 1899 Dervish State

In around 1896 the Somali religious leader Mohammed Abdullah Hassan traveled into the interior of British Somaliland, initially exercising a peaceful influence among the Dolbahante and other tribes. However, from March 1899 he began defying the British authorities and in August captured the town of Burao. Declaring himself the Mahdi, Hassan—soon nicknamed the ‘Mad Mullah’—openly denounced the British and their supporters at the beginning of wikipedia

11 Oct 1899–17 May 1900 Boer invasion of Cape Colony

In October 1899 the Boer governments of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State declared war on the British, invading the Cape Colony. While some Boer contingents advanced north into Bechuanaland, far into the west to Kuruman, and south to attack Middleburg and Stormberg, the major Boer efforts became concentrated on the sieges of the western border towns of Mafeking and Kimberley. Despite these initial setbacks, the British recovered and, buoyed by reinforcements, relieved Kimberley in February 1900 and Mafeking in wikipedia

24 Nov 1899 Battle of Umm Diwaykarat

After the British victory at Omdurman (1898), 25,000 Mahdist remnants under Abdallahi ibn Muhammad (the Khalifa) remained at large in Kordofan, in the south of Sudan. Learning of the Khalifa’s location in October 1899, Lord Kitchener dispatched 8,000 Sudanese and Egyptian soldiers under the command of General Francis Reginald Wingate to intercept him. Wingate met the Khalifa at Umm Diwaykarat on the White Nile, defeating and killing him in wikipedia

2 Dec 1899 Tripartite Convention in Africa

In December 1899 Britain agreed to surrender all rights in Samoa to Germany in return for rights in Tonga and the northern Solomons. Additional deals were made regarding Africa, where the British and Germans divided the West African neutral territory between the Gold Coast and Togoland. The Germans also agreed to renounce their rights of extraterritoriality in wikipedia

22 Apr 1900 Battle of Kousséri

In 1899 the Sudanese warlord Rabih az-Zubayr arrested (and later executed) the French representative Ferdinand de Béhagle and defeated a French expeditionary force under Lieutenant Bretonnet sent to free him. In response the French sent three armed columns—one proceeding north from Congo, one east from Niger and another south from Algeria—against Rabih in his empire around Lake Chad, linking French possessions in Western Africa in the process. Under the overall command of Major Amédée-François Lamy, the French force attacked and defeated Rabih near Kousséri, with both Lamy and Rabih dying in the wikipedia