|Conventional short name:|
|Local:||Nijervolta Esczelza, Statele Yunitate|
|English:||Upper Nigervolta, United States|
|Official:||Dalmatian, Dioula, Fulani, Hausa, Arabic, Mõõré|
|Others:||Kanuri, Fulfulde, Maba, others|
|Other:||Niamey, Dosso, N'Xhamena, Sarh, Abesze, Fada-N'Gurma, Bobo-Xhulasso|
|Date:||5 August 1960|
|Organizations:||Community of Dalmatophone States|
Colonial History, 17th Century to 1940s
The first Austro-Dalmatian outposts in western Africa were established on the Gold Coast in 1621, with further ones in 1641 in modern Togo and on the Ivory Coast (later part of Mali) in 1647. From these, the expansion continued inland, until in 1765 the village of Uagadugu became the first place on the territory of modern Upper Nigervolta to be captured by the Austro-Dalmatians. Through the rest of the 18th century, advances were made eastwards, and by the middle of the 19th century, the territory held by the Austro-Dalmatians covered all of the territory of today's Black Volta, White Volta, Red Volta and Hausaland states, and most of Chad state. A period of about 20 years saw little extension eastwards, until 1891 when the first incursions were made into Logone lands. In 1896, the Imperial and Royal Crown Colony on the Upper Volta was established, becoming the last of the Austro-Dalmatian colonies to be created in Africa. The current boundaries were established in 1911, when the entire territory was declared officially pacified.
Following the defeat of Austro-Dalmatia in the First Great War, its colonies were dealt with at a conference. Along with Gold Coast, Togo, Kongo and Mali, Upper Volta was assigned to the Danubian Confederation in 1919. These were slowly decolonised, and by 1923 the former Upper Volta Colony was redesignated Danubian Protectorate of Upper Volta, receiving their own local government which handled most domestic affairs, and contained a large number of native members.
1940s - the Second Great War/Ethiopian War
The Protectorate Governorship of Upper Volta, along with those of Mali, Gold Coast and Kongo, declared they would continue to follow the pro-HRE policies of the government of the Danubian Confederation prior to the Danubia's collapse into civil war. As such, the Voltaic governorship was initially supportive of Ethiopian efforts, regarding them as quite useful in the greater war against the Allies. This supportive attitude was short-lived, however, as repeated Ethiopian incursions into Voltaic territory (eastern Chad province, initially) drew the ire of the Governorship, and in the end Uagadugu declared war on Ethiopia.
In response, the Ethiopians launched an all-out offensive into Upper Volta's Chad province. Uagadugu's hold on the provinces of Chad and Logone had never been much better than tenuous, and the local inhabitants, incited by the Ethiopians, rose up against the government; in particular, the Logone insurgency proved to be a great help to the Ethiopians, who rewarded them by setting up a Logone state (naturally subservient to Ethiopia). This secured the southern flank of the Ethiopian advance westward, allowing them to push forwards towards the Niger river. N'Xhamena, capital of Chad province, fell relatively quickly, and the Ethiopians advanced into the eastern half of Hausaland province (and, from there, southwards into Hausa-inhabited parts of Eastern Gold Coast). The Ethiopians advanced rapidly until reaching the outskirts of Niamey, capital of UV's Nigeria province. At Niamey, which had been the easternmost position where the Danubian Overseas Army on the Upper Volta (DOA-UV) had significant assets, the resistance offered by government forces stiffened considerably, aided by popular support of the local Djerma people (the majority in western Nigeria, who were the "favoured nation" in the province and had little reason to want to change from being governed by Danubians; their view was that the Danubians were a devil they knew, whereas the Ethiopians were an unknown quantity, and in general, it seemed they were more trusting of European intentions than of the intentions of other Africans), along with DOA-UV forces deployed from the Red, White and Black Volta provinces. By the end of 1941, the Ethiopians had conquered Niamey, but they were unable to secure a bridgehead across the Niger river.
The DOA-UV fought hard to prevent the Ethiopians from crossing the Niger, demolishing all the bridges on the river and dedicating almost all of the little available aerial power to destroying any Ethiopian attempt to bridge the river. The front line became static for a time, but by the end of 1944, the DOA-UV had managed to re-enter Niamey, and the next year became one of incessant street fighting in Niamey between DOA-UV and Ethiopian forces. By December 27, 1945, the Danubians had liberated Niamey, but the city was in complete ruins. Advances further east from Niamey were very slow, and it was not until April 1946 that DOA-UV forces entered Dosso, and Hausaland province and the southern portion of Nigeria province were not liberated until November, 1946. The advance eastward sped up thereafter, with DOA-UV forces were advanced as far east as N'Xhamena, liberating that city in January, 1947, but were unable to reoccupy the rest of Chad or Logone by the time of the Ethiopian surrender in mid-1947.
Following the Ethiopian surrender, eastern Upper Volta remained in disarray. It took Uagadugu until June 1949 to reassert control over all Chad and Logone, and the long-lived anti-Uagadugu insurgent groups of the two provinces can be traced back to the "national armies" established during the Ethiopian occupation.
End of the War to Independence
After the protectorate reestablished control over the entire territory of Upper Volta, the next task was reconstruction. Much of the country lay in shambles, and N'Xhamena was almost completely destroyed. Beyond that, there was the matter of the restructuring of the government, in accordance with the directives from the CSDS Ministry of African Affairs. Though the MAA did issue a number of instructions for the protectorate governments to follow and sent numerous advisors, the protectorate governors were not appointed by Užice.
Initially, there was uncertainty over what to do with the African territories - which were a matter of some embarrassment to the CSDS, since anticolonialism was such an important part of communist theory. An attempt was made with Togo to try and make the protectorates into constituent members of the CSDS, but following the failure of this, in large part due to the logistical difficulties brought about by the distances involved, it was decided to expedite the independence of the protectorates. Thus, in 1960, Upper Volta became an independent state.
On June 11, 1960, the Protectorate Supreme Soviet of Upper Volta submitted a request for independence to the CSDS Supreme Soviet in Užice. A pro-forma debate was held, and it was announced that a transitional phase would be commenced on July 5, 1960, to be followed by full independence a month later, on August 5. The transitional period saw the restructuring of the Protectorate Supreme Soviet into a full, free-standing government. Though many pre-existing Protectorate government institutions could be transformed into state ministries, a few were created from scratch, such as the Ministries of Defence and of Foreign Affairs. The Protectorate Supreme Soviet was renamed the National Council, retaining the existing structure of voting districts and number of members (though this was not a "free and democratic" government in the Western sense), and the Governor-General's position was renamed President.
A ceremony was held in Uagadugu on August 5, attended by Josip Broz and other important dignitaries from the CSDS, along with all the key figures from the protectorate government. At 11:30 AM, the colour guard of the Danubian People's Overseas Army in Upper Volta stepped to the flagpole, pulling down the CSDS flag and the protectorate flag. These were folded and presented to Marshal Broz. Then, Broz' personal colour guard marched forwards to salute the Voltan guard. The bannerman of the Voltan guard stepped out, presenting the DPOA-UV banner to his CSDS counterpart, who then gave the Voltan soldier a folded banner. This was ceremonially unfolded and affixed to the staff, unfurling to reveal the banner of the Army of Upper Volta. The Voltan guard then took its place once more alongside Governor-General Mauriczu Yameogo, who stepped forward to Marshal Broz. Broz presented him with two folded flags. One was affixed to the second pole carried by the Voltan guard - this was the new presidential standard, while the other, Yameogo gave to the colour guard. Then, at 11:56 AM, the guardsman hoisted the new flag of Upper Volta onto the flagpole, accompanied by the new national anthem. At 12 noon, Upper Volta was formally an independent state, with Mauriczu Yameogo as its first president.
The first few years were marked by a general sense of national euphoria, and idealistic visions of a glowing future were everywhere. But by the beginning of 1963, this had faded, to be replaced by a sense of uncertainty. Though CSDS investment did continue in Upper Volta, expanding the railway network, modernising mines and constructing a massive chemical complex in Niamey and an ultramodern fertilizer plant in Abesze, the uncertainty came about as to what direction the nation would take, in a political sense. Since the CSDS was involved in the restructuring of the protectorate government, the new Voltan governmental structure was very similar to that of the CSDS, and many pre-independence policies had carried over into the new state's government. But during the latter half of 1962, Yameogo undertook a de-socialisation effort to try and encourage more investment from other nations besides the CSDS. Initially, it was relatively minor things, such as the sale of some mines and factories of lesser importance to foreign investors from the NAL, France and elsewhere, though the new chemical and fertiliser plants remained under state ownership. In 1964, Yameogo announced plans for a more extensive sell-off of state-held assets. This led to popular discontent when programs such as one-year income replacement for new mothers were cancelled. Further discontent resulted from an evident lack of return from the sale of state-owned property; instead of investing in infrastructure and industry, Yameogo spent the money on projects most of the population deemed frivolous, such as villas for himself and beachfront resorts (these were open to the public, but at absurdly high entrance fees). Discontent mounted, and 1965 saw the first of several public protests.
The protests of 1965 started out small and localised to factories or other workplaces, but slowly they grew, culminating in the general strike of May 17, 1966, in Uagadugu. The police and army were deployed to put the strike down, but after arriving on scene, they refused to obey orders, resulting in a week of lawlessness in Uagadugu. At the same time, an already-present rift in the leadership of the military broke open, which led to the execution of General Aurial Damba. Lt Col Abukar Sangule Lamizana installed himself as General of the Armed Forces and undertook a coup, resulting in the execution of Yameogo and the installation of a military government, and the suspension of the National Council.
Lamizana's military government undid most of the changes made by Yameogo's administration, including the return of several cancelled social programs. Most small-scale factories that had been sold off were allowed to remain under foreign ownership, but in more important industries, such as in the mining sector, if an important industry had received a majority-foreign ownership group, enough shares were bought back to retake a controlling majority in the company; in only two cases did the government have to resort to expropriation.
Lamezana ruled as military governor until 1970, when a new constitution was promulgated and civilian government was introduced, together with the reconstitution of the National Council. In the same year, rebels in the Extreme Southeast province declared the independence of the Logone Empire, with the capital at Mundu, which marked the beginning of the long-running Logone insurgency. Voltan government forces immediately intervened, which became a protracted war between the Voltan army and the so-called Usztra Logoneska - Logonese Army, as the military forces of the Logone Empire were known.
Very few countries of the world recognised Logonese independence, with Russia being the only major power to do so; much of the Logonese army's equipment came from Russia. The war lasted until 1973, when Voltan forces, assisted by elements of the army of Gold Coast, recaptured Mundu, leading to the fall of the Logone Empire and the execution of its key leaders. The remnants of the Logonese Army continued an insurgent campaign for many years thereafter.
By 1974 the public had become discontented with Lamezana's government, accusing his regime of corruption and of failing to provide sufficient response to a severe drought. Public disorder mounted, and once more, the police refused to intervene; a few skirmishes took place between police and military units, but in the end a coup took place, led by air force Colonel Seyni Kuncze, who became the new head of government.
Conditions improved under Kuncze, seeing a general - if slow - rise in standard of living in the larger towns and cities; there was improvement in rural areas as well, with the introduction of a "roving polyclinic" system which travelled around the country providing medical services to rural areas, and giving education to the populace on hygiene and on which natural remedies have been scientifically tested and proven effective, and which have proven uneffective.
In February 1979, General Hiseyn Habre, governor of Extreme Northeast province, sent his troops against federal forces on a march towards Nxhamena, with the goal of creating an independent country called Chad from the easternmost regions of Upper Volta. Voltan government forces reacted immediately, with the air force delivering a severe blow to Habre's forces by bombing the march column, but the fighting continued with an intense guerilla campaign to which government forces responded brutally. At the end of July, Habre conceded to appeals from Uagadugu to a series of meetings with Kuncze, to be held on neutral ground in Lagos, Eastern Gold Coast. On August 8, the Lagos Accord was signed, establishing a degree of autonomy for the eastern provinces. The peace was short-lived, however, as by January 1980 the fighting had resumed, and the eastern provinces' autonomy was suspended.
On Novermber 25, 1980, a coup was attempted by Colonel Saye Zerbo was foiled, after which Zerbo managed to flee to Libya. This was followed by a period of relative peace and stability in the western half of the country, but the situation in the eastern provinces was defined by terrorist-style attacks and raids on settlements by Logone Army forces, and by followers of Hiseyn Habre, who had by then undergone an apparent split into two allied factions, the Silele Armate Nordeske (Northern Armed Forces - SAN) which operated in the region around Aozu, Barday and Zuar, and the FROLINACZ (Fronta da Liaracun Nacionalu da Czad, Chad National Liberation Front), whose main strongholds were the towns of Abesze and Biltine near the Egyptian border (the Voltan government believed they may have had some Egyptian support), but they also operated in the regions of the towns of Am Timan, Mongo and Um Haxher. It is not known why they were separate entities, but Voltan Defence Ministry concluded that they were based on the same ideals since their flags and modi operandi were identical (the only difference with the flags having been that the SAN flag had a green star and crescent, while in the FROLINACZ flag these were black. In the plans of FROLINACZ, the Logone territory would also be part of the state of Chad, resulting in animosity between FROLINACZ and the Logonese Army. Along with the SAN/FROLINACZ actions, the Logonese insurgency continued throughout the 1980s.
Another coup was attempted on November 7, 1982, this time by Major Dr. Yon-Bapcest Uedrago; this was also foiled, and Uedraogo was executed.
In the summer of 1983, the situation in the eastern provinces became more dire, as Libya had decided to intervene, providing both financial and front-line military support to the SAN/FROLINACZ insurgents. By the end of July, the Extreme Northeast Province was an all-out battleground between Libyan and SAN/FROLINACZ forces on one side and Voltan government forces on the other; for the first time, the government did not have the advantage of total air superiority, as combat elements of the Libyan Air Force had also been deployed to the front. Certain elements of the Voltan military grew dissatisfied with Kuncze's handling of the situation, which led to his deposition in a coup. This coup brought Captain Tomu Sankara to power as president. One of Sankara's first actions were to request CSDS military assistance, which brought several large shipments of modern equipment to Upper Volta, along with two divisions of Danubian People's Army (DPA) combat troops and several air force bomber and fighter wings. The DPA inflicted severe casualties on the Libyans, and by the end of September, the governments of Libya and the CSDS had signed an accord to withdraw all troops from Upper Volta by the end of the year. The CSDS upheld its end of the accord, but Libya did not, and Libyan troops remained in Extreme Northeast province well into 1987, by which time the Libyan government had decided to end its direct involvement with SAN and FROLINACZ, and had withdrawn all its troops. They did, however, continue to provide support in the form of arms shipments and financial aid.
FROLINACZ operations in the Am Timan-Mongo-Um Haxher region fell sharply in early 1996 following attacks by the Centrafrican Army attacked the FROLINACZ inside Upper Volta - a move which was both welcomed and condemned by the Voltan government. However, this development had interesting repercussions, since up until that time Voltan Defence Ministry had believed that Centrafrica was one of the main sponsors of FROLINACZ.
The situation then "stabilised" once more, returning to the previous state of affairs which had seen only raids and the occasional terrorist bombing. In the middle of 1997, Sankara decided to launch an offensive against the SAN, FROLINACZ and the Logonese Army, with a view to putting an end to their activities. The scope and intensity of these operations increased in early 1998, when Dalmatian forces arrived in Upper Volta - the 91st Special Ops regiment, under command of Col Jelku Rajnyatesku - with the aim of exterminating the eastern rebels. By March 1999, with a brutality that surprised even the (themselves rather brutal) Voltan government troops who they were working with, the 91st's activities had compelled the leaders of the SAN, FROLINACZ and Logonese Army to call for negotiations. However, in May FROLINACZ and SAN representatives withdrew from the conference and fighting resumed in the northern half of eastern Upper Volta.
On June 11, 1999, a settlement was reached with the Logonese, which established a framework for the creation of a Logone Region with broad autonomy, to be realised by 2004. It was rumoured at the time that the Voltan government offered the Logonese outright independence, if the Logone were to assist Voltan forces in defeating FROLINACZ and the Northern Armed Forces.
In July 1999, the SAN and FROLINACZ returned to the table, and after the signing of a ceasefire on August 3, the 91st Regiment returned to Dalmatia. The next several years saw a period of intense negotiations between all sides, and a more or less peaceful state reigned throughout Upper Volta, allowing the beginning of reconstruction efforts in the eastern part of the country.
On April 21, 2004, a peace agreement was signed ending the various insurgencies. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, Upper Volta becomes a confederation of seven states: Black Volta, Chad, Hausaland, Logone, Nigeria, Red Volta and White Volta. The confederation was named United States of Upper Nigervolta, with Tomu Sankara remaining president of the union. The president is elected by the state governors, who are in turn elected in state elections by citizens of each state. The federal government is responsible only for defence, international and interstate affairs. Since then, the country has returned to a peaceful state, and by 2009 there had been some small but important advances made in the Nigervoltan economy.
Upper Nigervolta is a member in good standing of the KSD (Dalmatophone organisation).
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