French Togoland

French Togoland (French: Togo français) was a French colonial League of Nations mandate from 1916 to 1960 in French West Africa. In 1960 it became the independent Togolese Republic, and the present day nation of Togo.

Territory of Togoland
Togo français
StatusMandate of France
Common languagesFrench (official), Ewe, Kabye, Kotokoli etc
27 August 1914
 Togoland partitioned
27 December 1916
20 July 1922
27 April 1960
CurrencyCFA franc
ISO 3166 codeTG
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part ofTogo

Transfer from Germany to France and a mandate territory

French Togoland in pale purple (British Togoland in pale green)

French troops landed at Little Popo on 6 August 1914, meeting little resistance. The French proceeded inland, taking the town of Togo on 8 August.[1] On 26 August 1914, the German protectorate of Togoland was invaded by French and British forces and fell after five days of brief resistance. The colony surrendered "without conditions" with British and French troops landing in Kamina on 27 August 1914. The Germans had offered to surrender to the British on terms, to which the British responded a surrender must be unconditional, promising to respect private property, with little interference in trade or private interests and firms.[2] Period news reports suggest the Germans had used expanding bullets during the campaign and had armed native people not under their control, both violations of the Hague Conventions.[1] Togoland was divided into French and British administrative zones in 1916, and following the war, Togoland formally became a League of Nations mandate divided for administrative purposes between France and the United Kingdom.

German nationalists in the Weimar Republic were reported to have objected to the seizure of the colony by the French via an interpellation in 1920, expressing their view that it violated Article 22 of the Treaty of Versailles. They also exclaimed via a news release that "the German Government naturally leaves nothing undone to prevent an interpretation of the treaty which would justify France's alleged intention."[3] The value of the colony to France was found in the existing railways, permitting a new link to the railway in Dahomey at Atakpamé and the ports of Lome, Segura and Little Popo.[4]

After World War II, the mandate became a UN trust territory, still administered by French commissioners.

By statute in 1955, French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French Union, although it retained its UN trusteeship status. A legislative assembly elected by universal adult suffrage had considerable power over internal affairs, with an elected executive body headed by a prime minister responsible to the legislature. These changes were embodied in a constitution approved in a 1956 referendum. In the 1956 referendum, French Togoland decided to end the trusteeship.[5] On 10 September 1956, Nicolas Grunitzky became prime minister of the Autonomous Republic of Togo. However, due to irregularities in the plebiscite, an unsupervised general election was held in 1958 and won by Sylvanus Olympio. On 27 April 1960, in a smooth transition, Togo severed its constitutional ties with France, shed its UN trusteeship status, and became fully independent under a provisional constitution with Olympio as president.[6]


See also


  1. "Colored People's Part in the World War: The Fight in Africa: Many Square Miles Wrenched From Germany: Black Troops Display Great Valor". The Richmond Planet. Richmond, VA. 2 March 1918. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  2. "German Togoland Surrenders Without Conditions to Allies". New York Tribune. New York, NY. 27 August 1914. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. "Germany Will Oppose French Annexation Plan". New York Tribune. New York, NY. 3 October 1920. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  4. "African Tribes Pleased at Overthrow German Masters". The Chattanooga News. Chattanooga, TN. 27 February 1920. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  5. Paxton, John (1985). "Togo". In Paxton, John (ed.). The Statesman's Year-Book: Statistical and Historical Annual of the States of the World for the Year 1985–1986. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 1177–1180. doi:10.1057/9780230271142. ISBN 978-0-230-27114-2.
  6. Jacques Meyer May (1968). The Ecology of Malnutrition in the French Speaking Countries of West Africa and Madagascar: Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Togo, Dahomey, Cameroon, Niger, Mali, Upper Volta, and Madagascar. Hafner Publishing Company. p. 133.

Further reading

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