Living the War Far Away from the Front: Creating Territories around Djibouti1

Simon Imbert-Vier


This article provides a general overview of the military events around Djibouti during the First World War. It then details Ethio-French relations at the beginning of the 20th century, before turning to the study of three concrete events within this territory when strategic and very local rationalities interfered. After the War, conflicting memories are an occasion to validate new conceptions of this territory. Beyond the available literature, this study is based mostly on French colonial archives in order to explain territorial conceptions.


1The establishment of a French administration in territories around the Gulf of Tadjoura started in 1884. It was due to strategic reasons linked with the expansion of the colonial empire, particularly towards Madagascar and Indochina. A colony was established in the area in 1896 with the name of “Côte française des Somalis” (CFS). During the First World War, this territory was not legally a “war zone,” but only declared “under siege” from 5 August to 30 November 1914.

2At that time territorial construction was one of the main political concerns of the Horn. The War period concluded a cycle of formation of territories which structured the French colony and its environment. It concerned mostly the implementation of the 13 December 1906 tripartite treaty between France, Italy and the United Kingdom regarding the creation of European zones d’influence in Ethiopia and the construction of a railway from Djibouti up to Addis Abäba in 1915, but it was also connected to the formation of Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

3This significant political strength within the area at the time was managed by French local authorities (the colonial administration in Djibouti and an Embassy in Ethiopia), while the territory was truly far away from the European conflict. The War had mostly maritime consequences for the colony, including a decrease in the amount of ships passing – especially British ones. There are rumors of local clashes throughout the entire period, mostly exaggerated by local French civil servants probably trying to insist on the importance of their actions even while being far away from the conflict. There were, however, some military activities around Djibouti during the First World War.

4These two characteristics of the time appear to be linked with the main event of the period: the overthrow of Ləğğ Iyasu and the subsequent civil war in Ethiopia. French authorities were involved in this conflict in two ways: their support of Ras Täfäri’s position, and their fear of fights spreading to French territory. Directly linked to territorial constructions within the Horn, these events were moments allowing colonial authorities to value their actions against so-called “enemy activities.” In this way, the formation of territories and the distant War were associated.

Military events involving Djibouti

5After having declared the colony “under siege” on 5 August 1914 due to the alleged presence of two German warships2 and having expelled the German consul, the Governor considered in November that there was finally no threat and no need for military troops to be sent from other territories to Djibouti. There were no German soldiers around, the nearest ones being in Tanganyika, and no real military event took place in the area during the War.

6On the maritime side, from February 1915 to April 1916, French warships were mostly concentrated in the north of the Red Sea, involved in the protection of the Suez Canal threatened by a Turkish assault and its blockade towards the “enemy.” Allied ships patrolling the Red Sea remained north of Jidda.3 It is only at the end of September 1916 that the French cruiser D’Éstrée stopped in Djibouti, after having left Colonel Brémond’s mission in Jidda. At the beginning of October, she was joined in Djibouti by two other French warships (Pothuau et D’Entrecasteaux), to protect the colony during the events in Ethiopia.4 A British ship coming from Aden, the Surysan, even joined them for a few days to reinforce the town security.5 The lieutenant de vaisseau Jourdan de la Passardière, the commander of the D’Éstrée, was in charge of organising the city’s defense. Since there were no military troops in Djibouti at that time but only territorial guards,6 he created a militia composed of civilians recruited among European inhabitants. The two groups joined the marine troops coming from the ships, numbering a total of a little more than 300 men with two machine guns and three artillery guns,7 but no assailant came along.

7These ships remained in the area, accompanying civilian and military sea convoys. They even chased a “German corsair” in 1917, before being removed from Djibouti at the beginning of 1918.8

8The main military activity in the territory was the recruitment of tirailleurs so-called “Somalis,”9 initiated by Laurent Depui in neighboring territories.10 More than 2,000 African soldiers were sent to Europe from Djibouti.11 They represented the most important and concrete participation of the colony to the conflict.

9In British Somaliland, Muḥammad ‘Abdallāh Ḥasan was leading a political and religious movement since 1899, fighting mostly against the British, but also sometimes against the Italians and Ethiopians.12 Attacks on railway construction sites were sometimes linked to these events. After a first peace agreement in March 1905, the battle started again in 1908 and, at the end of 1909, the British evacuated the hinterland, keeping only two ports under their control, namely Berbera and Zayla, mostly in order to feed Aden in cattle. From 1912, the creation of the Somaliland Camel Corps allowed the British to launch an offensive, with only few results coming out of the occupation of Hargeisa in March 1913. Tensions remained high during the entire War, with battles in May-June 1916 in particular. As the Sayyid legitimated his action with reference to Islam, particularly the Ṣāliḥīya brotherhood, he was suspected of being supported by the Turkish, who were allies of the Central Powers, and by “Lij Yasu’s pro-Mahometan feelings.”13 In August 1916, a British report sent to Djiboutian authorities explained this state of affairs and asked for help. This request of French support for British actions against the upraising in Somaliland was therefore presented as a necessary engagement in the World War and not only an episode of usual European colonial solidarity in the face of native revolts.14

10On the other side of the Red Sea, in the “large Horn,” British Aden was by far the most important port of the area, and was also used by French commercial ships. The French representative there was a merchant, Maurice Riès.15 In July 1915 sending French troops was considered when a Turkish expedition to Aden was announced, but since none were available nearby, it is British soldiers who had to be sent from Suez to protect the harbor.

11In the north, Yemen, led by Imam Yaḥyā Muḥammad Ḥāmid al-Dīn (Imam Yahya) since 1904, was theoretically subjected to the Ottoman Empire but mostly autonomous and forbidden to foreigners. Along the coast during the Italo-Turkish war of 1911-1912, Italy bombed the Ottoman harbors of Mukhā and Hudayda, and the French consul in Hudayda was “detained” by the Turks up to February 1915. Yemen finally became an independent country in 1918.

12There were important military activities in Northern Arabia, with the so-called “Arab revolt” starting in 1916 with the siege of Madīna, followed by the taking of Aqaba (east of Sinaï) in July 1917. There was the French mission in the Ḥijāz headed by Colonel Brémond and brought by d’Éstrée, and Depui was present in the area in 1919.16 It ended with the victory of Ibn Sa’ūd over the Sharīf of Mecca Husayn, and the taking of Jidda in November 1924, where Depui was since October.17

13Djibouti was very little involved in these events, yet, they were mentioned in the reports sent to Paris by the Governor or the military commanders, in order to inform the Government as well as to show the involvement of these authorities in the War and their usefulness.

Agrandir Original (jpeg, 1,3M)

Areas of French territorial appropriation around the Gulf of Tadjoura.

Relations between Djibouti and Ethiopia

14Ethiopia is the main territorial and demographic entity of the Horn. During the second half of the 19th century, the nation-building process was characterised by two main trends: fights with outside powers, and conquests of autochthonous territories more or less in synchrony and competition with European colonialism.18

15The first trend is symbolised by two events. First, Tewodros, Ethiopia’s Negus Negest, committed suicide in 1868, while facing the progression of a British expedition sent from India and headed by Robert Napier. The second event is linked to Egypt: in Sudan since 1820, Egyptian troops tried in 1875 to get inside the Horn from three ports they had inherited from the Ottoman Empire (Massawa, Tadjoura, Zayla). In fact, they occupied Harär for ten years until 1885. The Egyptians were simultaneously in conflict on the Ethio-Sudanese side with Tewodros’s successor, Yoḥannəs IV. The upraise of the Mahdist State in the Sudan, followed by the British taking over Egypt in 1882, led to the signing of an Ethio-English treaty between William Hewett, then Governor of Sawākin, and Yoḥannəs in June 1884. In exchange for the hope of gaining access to the sea, Yoḥannəs supported the Egypto-English by engaging his army against the Mahdists.19 The Ethiopian Negus died during these battles after the sack of Gondär in 1889, and the British finally handed the control over Massawa to the Italians, present in ‘Asäb since 1869.

16The other trend is marked by the territorial extension linked with the creation of the modern Ethiopian state entity. After his first victory over the Egyptians, Yoḥannəs subjected the Shewan Negus Mənilək in 1878. The latter would later conquer many southern territories20 up to Harär between 1882 and 1887 using weapons given by Italian and French merchants, and become Negust Negest in 1889, after Yoḥannəs’s death.

17This period of external military aggression ended in March 1896 with the victory of Mənilək’s army in ‘Adwa over Italian troops coming from Massawa. This event only put a term to invasions, but did not entail the withdrawal of Europeans.21 It however did effectively stop most direct external threats. Even after the ‘Adwa victory, however, Mənilək was unable to obtain or occupy the access to the sea claimed by Ethiopia since the ‘Adwa treaty of 1884 and the “circular letters” sent to European powers in 1891.22

18For the expansion of the French territory, the main tool was the Djibouti-Addis Abäba railway, whose construction started in 1897, after the Italian defeat and the subsequent reopening of the “Abyssinian question.” Its potential prejudice to Ethiopian sovereignty became more obvious in 1902 when the privately held company went bankrupt, and the line became operated directly by the French government.23 The town of Dire Dawa, created and built by the company, was under French administration24 so that in 1909 the French Ministry of Colonies claimed a 120 000 km2 area to the CFS,25 and the territory remained considered at least as “half-French.”26

19In this context, Mənilək first refused to allow the building of the second part of the railway line, up to Addis Abäba. He tried to counteract French positions by conceding rights to England upon the Nile water with the 15 May 1902 treaty. But France and the United Kingdom concluded the Entente cordiale in August 1902, solving the rivalry question opened by the Fashoda encounter. This agreement enshrined the British hegemony in Egypt, and the French one in Morocco: the Horn was no longer at stake for both powers. Left alone and needing the opportunities offered by the railway, Mənilək was forced to concede the authorisation of pursuing the construction of the line to a French company in August 1904.

20But the European situation prevented the construction from resuming until 13 December 1906, when a tripartite agreement involving France, Italy, and Britain was signed. It excluded Russia and Germany from Ethiopia and divided the country into “zones of influence” assigned to the three signatories. This solution was concretely imposed on Mənilək with the Franco-Ethiopian agreement of January 1908.27 It established a new French company under the leadership of the Banque de l’Indochine and introduced a special legal treatment for Europeans in Ethiopia known as the system of “capitulations” inspired from the one established within the Ottoman Empire since as soon as the 16th century. It created special protection for European protégés (residents or traders) under the authority of European consuls.

21The newly created company was formally private and independent, but the French Government vouched for its debts. To prevent “abuses,” it instituted a tight control over the company’s finances. The railway construction finally resumed in 1910, and the line was fully opened in 1917, expanding the French influence at least up to Awaš from a territorial viewpoint.28 For Bahru Zewde and Shiferaw Bekele, this episode enshrines a situation of “semi-colonial relationship”29 or the “exclusive domination”30 of Europeans over Ethiopia.

22The following phase of territory building happened during the First World War, with the reign and overthrow of Ləğğ Iyasu, which faces a recent historiographical renewal.31 If Iyasu had a political program, it was not to change social structures. He directed slave raids and did not attack the näfṭäña32 system. He perhaps tried to install another national and territorial conception, more based on peripheries, in order to resist Shewan aristocracy. He made matrimonial alliances with southern and eastern leaders, in Harär and Ogaden, and also married the daughter of an important Tadjoura leader, from whom he got a son called Mənilək. His possible support to Muḥammad ‘Abdallāh Ḥasan has to be thought of in connection with his alleged project of a Greater Ethiopia, merging Christian and Muslim and expending up to the sea, according to Wolbert Smidt.33

23This partnership with Muslim leaders, or even anti-European fighters, made the chancelleries of the Allies afraid of the possibility that Ethiopia would join the German side along with the Ottomans. This fear was for instance displayed in a book by the French François Pierre-Alype, issued in 1917,34 denouncing German political and economic activities in Ethiopia. The break happened when Iyasu removed the management of the Harär province from Täfäri Mäkwännən’s hands in August 1916. This area, including Dire Dawa, was then the most important custom point of Ethiopia, generating many profits and power. Its leaders were linked with the French presence since at least 1895, as well as with relations between Léonce Lagarde and Ras Mäkwännən,35 Täfäri’s father.

24This combination of interests created an alliance between French and British embassies, who helped and armed the coup d’État of 27 September 1916. The troops of Iyasu and his father Michael were first defeated in Mä’esso, then definitively in Sägäle on 27 October 1916.

25The French representatives in the area from colonial and diplomatic administrations however did not always agree. In July 1916, Iyasu was received in Djbouti by governor Simoni, while the ambassador in Addis Abäba, Charles-Édouard Brice, disagreed. During the coup, they both supported the putschists but disagreed on the means to be employed. In October 1916, the new governor, Fillon, allowed the sending of arms (ammunitions, guns, machine guns…)36 to Täfäri despite Brice’s opposition. In January 1917, Brice was replaced by Maurice de Coppet, who supported those deliveries, for their help in the battlefield,37 as well as freeing a place for the building of the Addis Abäba railway station.38 The two administrations then agreed about sustaining the colonial position in order to ensure the French position in Ethiopia, considered as a dependant territory.39

Ydlibi, Gürk, Holtz and Kamerlich in Djibouti

26These events had repercussions in Djibouti at the end of 1916. The Inspecteur-Général Fillon, nominated as temporary Governor from October 1916, assumed martial positions, perhaps again to compensate for the physical distance from the War. Three episodes would allow Fillon to show his involvement in the War, all linked to the entering of foreigners coming from Ethiopia into the colony’s territory.

27On 10 October 1916, just after the coup, Ḥaṣīb Ydlibi arrived in Djibouti using the railway from Dire Dawa. Close to Iyasu, this son of a Syrian was born in Manchester and married a British citizen. In Ethiopia since 1904, he had some land and mining concessions and managed the Dire Dawa customs since February 1915, where he used to have difficult relations with the railway company.

28Upon his arrival in Djibouti, he was arrested with his wife and daughter for being a Syrian subject of the Ottoman Empire and jailed on the D’Éstrée.40 He was then accused of robbery by the Ethiopian consul. New Ethiopian authorities asked for his eviction, which was refused for moral reasons: fear of the abuses he could endure. Charges against him were quickly dropped and he was finally sentenced at the end of October to eight months in jail for “insulting behavior towards a magistrate.” Sent to France, he was freed with his family in September 1919 only, after spending three years imprisoned though legal motivations were actually very limited.41 This non-military exaction, legitimated by alleged support to the Ottomans enemy, illustrates how far Djibouti’s colonial authorities would go to secure the French position in Dire Dawa and to fight any local opposition. Ḥaṣīb Ydlibi’s actions, which were considered to be against French interests, were motivated by the political project of Iyasu, and probably by his own interest as well.

29In January 1917 Hermann Gürk, a German merchant working for Max Klein House in Dire Dawa, traveled across the CFS towards Arabia with 20 persons and two camels. They were all arrested without resistance near Guissy, in the suburb of Djibouti city. Gürk was first charged with carrying seven rifles to Arabia. A few days later, a colonial administrator acting as investigating judge went back to the place of the arrest and found some documents hidden under the ground, one of which was encrypted. Gürk was then accused by an agent of Djibouti’s Governor, Wazir ‘Alī Bay, of planning a sack of Djibouti. Gürk was consequently charged with espionage and “offense against national security.” But the Ministry of War refused this encrypted message to be produced during the trial so that enemy powers would not be aware of its interception, and even declared being unable to translate the document.42 A contract made between the German Legation and Gürk, which was intercepted later in Dire Dawa under unknown circumstances, assured that Gürk was in charge of taking Arnold Holtz and “Camerlich” (see below) to Cheik Saïd, an area on the Yemeni coast in front of Djibouti. In May 1917, after a lot of buzz and activities, Hermann Gürk was finally condemned to three years in jail for smuggling only, i.e. the first charge.43 The other ones were definitively dropped on 27 January 1919. The Governor played an important role in this event, pushing legal procedures and inquiries, and sending many letters to the Ministry to underline the importance of the “affaire.”

30The last case of the War, perhaps linked to the previous one, is stranger. On 18 May 1917, a caravan containing 50 persons entered the CFS, whose boundaries were yet to be delimited, going towards Mount Gouda in the north of the territory. They were headed by Arnold Holtz, a German citizen living in Ethiopia since 1902 acting as a “concession hunter” like Ydlibi.44 He was presented as “secretary” of the German Legation in Addis Abäba, carrying diplomatic letters for Berlin to the German military mission in Hudayda.

31The mission would join Iyasu’s step father in Gouda on 25 May, where Holtz would stay despite the fact that troops were sent and the D’Entrecasteaux crossed the gulf. On 17 July, the governor announced to be in possession of documents sent by the mission, among which an encrypted letter, bought by the French authorities from an “envoy” of Holtz. In August, the Ministry of War explained that these letters were probably fakes created in order to swindle the administration.45

32On 6 September, French troops arrested Holtz and Kamerlich, an Austrian traveling with him, on their trip back to Ethiopia, between Gobad and Aeroli, after an “intense shooting” followed by a “French victory”46 that did not result in any casualties.

33They were first sentenced to death in Djibouti by a Conseil de Guerre on November 1917, but the decision was canceled because Djibouti was not a war territory; then sentenced to death again on February 1918, but the decision was also changed. They were then sent in front of a Conseil de Guerre in Paris in October 1918 and sentenced to “deportation in a fortified place”47 in January 1919.48 In 1922, the Ministry however refused to take the costs of the arrest (57,708 francs) from the military budget,49 implying that it was not a military operation related to the War, but a political one.

34Still, these operations allowed local authorities to highlight their actions in defending the national territory, legitimating their presence overseas. The arrest of the Holtz group in a western area whose sovereignty was not precisely defined also marked French territorial claims for spaces far from the one they controlled.

After the War

35Some years later, there was a symbolic reconstruction of the War reality in Djibouti. As soon as 1920, the administration considered building a commemorative monument of the “Great War”:

The governor thinks that the subject could be a tirailleur Somali in field dress. But some members [of the Administrative Council] stress that, since many Europeans from Djibouti died for the homeland, there should also be a French military. The idea of representing an officer or non-commissioned officer standing up, in full war action, with 2 or 3 Somalis on their knees or lying on the ground seems to be agreed upon by everybody.50

Agrandir Original (jpeg, 84k)

36When the monument was unveiled on 11 November 1935, the natives had disappeared. According to the colonial records, officials (the Governor Sylvestre, Colonel Messegué, Capitaine Mazan, members of the CA, consuls, ladies…), “the orphans of the city with their instructor, the pupils of the Franciscan Sister with the Mother Superior and Sister Maria of Calvary. But also Europeans veterans [… and] a little further, the indigenous veterans” were present for the ceremony.51 In the end, the monument included a single soldier, a European “poilu.”

37This event confirms that in the 1930s, for French authorities the War and the victory had become a European question alone, not an African one, and the link with the definition of the Djiboutian territory was forgotten.


38Even though they were not real military events, these First World War episodes in Djibouti also carried dynamics of territorial constructions that kept on evolving after 1917 within the same framework. While territorial appropriation along the railway never ended in formal colonisation for the French, the Dire Dawa town was administrated by French authorities and police up to 1928, and occupied by French troops in 1935 to protect the line against possible destruction by Ethiopians planning to slow down the Italian progression.

39The extension of the railway up to Addis Abäba helped asserting the French domination of territories, even in Ethiopia, and boosted the extension projects of the Djiboutian colony. In 1927 the occupation of the hinterland started with the creation of military and administrative posts.52 What can be called a “conquest war” against autochthonous entities began in 1935, with the death of Administrateur Bernard, and culminated with the occupation of the Afambo area by French soldiers in 1943. A ten years negotiation, from 1945 to 1954, was then necessary to delimitate the boundary between France and Ethiopia, validating most of the French progression towards western and northern parts of the area.53

40Beyond anecdotes, these episodes concerning Djibouti around the First World War shed some light on the regional political and territorial system of the time, where local European colonial interests were confronted and recomposed, together with European and Ethiopian imperial constructions and local tensions, including those within different social groups. Furthermore, the War period was an important step in the construction of the territory of the colony.


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1 I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and Uoldelul Chelati Dirar for their accurate remarks on previous versions of this paper.

2 Archives nationales d’outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence (hereafter ANOM), Affaires politiques, 123/1, telegram from Governor to Ministry, 6 Aug. 1914.

3 Labrousse.

4 ANOM, Affaires politiques, 126/2.

5 See ‘Croiseur D’èstrée’ on the website Mémoire des Hommes of the French Ministry of Defense, (<>).

6 “Il n’y a […] qu’une compagnie de gardes indigènes somalis, encadrée par des officiers et sous-officiers d’infanterie coloniale, mais il doit y avoir un nombre appréciable de réservistes Français dont certains doivent connaître l’anglais et qui pourraient en tout cas, s’il n’y a pas assez d’armes à Djibouti, utiliser les fusils anglais,” Service historique de la défense Terre (hereafter SHD-T), 7H3, note from the Direction des troupes coloniales, 06 Jul. 1915.

7 Mémoire des Hommes, op. cit., 229.

8 Labrousse.

9 Jolly 2013.

10 Mailhac-Raggini 2009.

11 Jolly 2013, 68.

12 Lécuyer-Samantar 1979; Tibebe Eshete 1989; Nicolosi 2002.

13 SHD-T, 7H3, British note, Aug. 1916.

14 SHD-T, 7H3 and 7H4.

15 Prijac 2004.

16 ANOM, Affaires politiques 136.

17 SHD-Marine, 1BB3, 14 & 17.

18 Bahru Zewde 1991.

19 Seri-Hersch 2010.

20 Käfa, Gurage, Ellibabur and Arsi between 1882 and 1886.

21 The boundary treaties of 1908 allowed Italy to keep control over the territories occupied up to 1895, cf. Guazzini 1999.

22 Which can be read on: <> (accessed on 12 March 2018).

23 Shiferaw Bekele 1982 and 1991.

24 Shiferaw Bekele 1989.

25 Augustin 1974.

26 ANOM, Affaires politiques, 81/9, letter from Raymond Poincaré, président du conseil and ministre des affaires étrangères, to the ministre des colonies, 7 Oct. 1912: “Bien que [Dire Dawa], créé par les Français de toute pièces, ne soit qu’une sorte de prolongement de notre colonie de Djibouti, elle n’en est pas moins en territoire éthiopien, et il pourrait être impolitique, en ce moment surtout, de trop nous donner l’apparence d’être chez nous.”

27 Prijac 2003.

28 Imbert-Vier 2011.

29 Bahru Zewde 1990.

30 Shiferaw Bekele 1985.

31 Sohier 2011; Ficquet and Smidt 2014.

32 Keefer 1973.

33 “Lïj Iyasu was preparing an ambitious inter-alliance with Muslim groups and regions far beyond Ethiopia, aiming at a great Christian-Muslim entity unifying the Horn of Africa (under Ethiopian leadership), and thus radically defying colonial interests in the regions,” Smidt 2014, 200.

34 Pierre-Alype 1917.

35 Prijac 2012.

36 ANOM, Affaires politiques 3696, note without a date.

37 They have “un rôle prépondérant dans les dernières victoires remportées par les troupes impériales dans le pays Wollo,” ANOM, Affaires politiques 3696, letter from Fillon to Ministère des Colonies, 30 Jan. 1917.

38 ANOM, Affaires politiques 3696, note without date (probably beginning of Mar. 1917).

39 ANOM, Affaires politiques 3696, letter from de Coppet to Ministère des Affaires Étrangères (hereafter MAE), 23 Jan. 1917.

40 Mémoire des Hommes, SS Y 158, 224. ANOM, Affaires politiques 124/6.

41 Ydlibi 2006; Imbert-Vier 2011, 376-379.

42 ANOM, Affaires politiques 122/3, rapport sur l’instruction, 21 Jan. 1918.

43 SHD-Terre, 7H3; ANOM, Affaires politiques 122/3 et 122/5.

44 Bahru Zewde 1990.

45 The plot is described as “une machination […] dont le but était peut-être simplement de nous escroquer de l’argent,” ANOM, Affaires politiques 122/3 et 122/5; Archives diplomatiques (Nantes), Consulat de France à Dirre-Daoua, A14.

46 An “intense fusillade” and a “victoire française,” ibid.

47 “Déportation dans une enceinte fortifiée”, ibid.

48 Ibid.

49 ANOM, Affaires politiques 122/1.

50 “Le gouverneur pense que comme sujet, il pourrait être adopté un tirailleur Somali en tenue de campagne. Mais quelques membres font remarquer que nombre d’Européens d’ici étant morts pour la Patrie, il y aurait lieu de faire figurer également un militaire français. L’idée de représenter un officier ou un sous-officier debout, en pleine action de guerre, avec 2 ou 3 Somalis à genoux ou couchés, semble réunir tous les suffrages,” ANOM, Affaires politiques 3141, report of the “Conseil d’administration,” 5 Mar. 1920.

51 “Les orphelins de la cité enfantine avec leurs moniteurs, les élèves des Sœurs franciscaines accompagnées de la mère supérieure et de la sœur Marie du Calvaire. Mais aussi les anciens combattants européens [… et] un peu plus loin, les anciens combattants indigènes,” ANOM, Affaires politiques 186/7, letter from Governor Annet to Ministry, 24 Jan. 1936.

52 As soon as 1918, the occupation of Tadjoura was considered in order to fight the slave trade (SHD Marine, 1BB3-14).

53 Imbert-Vier 2011.


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