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Bondu was a state in West Africa, later a French protectorate dependent on the colony of Senegal. It lay between the Faleme River and the upper course of the Gambia River, that is between 13 and 15 N., and 12 and 13 W.


The country is an elevated plateau, with hills in the southern and central parts. These are generally unproductive, and covered with stunted wood; but the lower country is fertile, and finely clothed with the baobab, the tamarind and various valuable fruit-trees. Bondu is traversed by torrents, which flow rapidly during the rains but are empty in the dry season, such streams being known in this part of West Africa as marigots.

The inhabitants are mostly Fula, though the trade is largely in the hands of Mandingos. The religion and laws of the country are Islam, though the precepts of that faith are not very rigorously observed.


Bondu was controlled by Mande rulers until the second half of the 17th century when Muslim Fulas took over in what is regarded as the first of the Fula jihads in West Africa.

Mungo Park, the first European traveller to visit the country, passed through Bondu in 1795, and had to submit to many exactions from the reigning prince. The royal residence was then at Fatteconda; but when Major W. Gray, a British officer who attempted to solve the Niger problem, visited Bondu in 1818 it had been removed to Bulibani, a small town, with about 3000 population, surrounded by a strong clay wall. In August 1845 the king of Bondu signed a treaty recognizing French sovereignty over his country. The treaty was disregarded by the natives, but in 1858 Bondu came definitely under French control.

See A. Rancon, Le Bondou: etude de geographie et dhistoire soudaniennes de io8i a nos jours (Bordeaux, 1894).




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