Samori Touré was a brilliant warrior with an intense love for his people and his country. True to his belief, he fought with all his might to defend and protect his homeland from the foreign invaders, who had no respect or compassion for the land which they came to destroy, exploit, and blunder.
Samori was born in 1830 in a city in Southwestern Guinea in West Africa, the city was later named by the French as Bissandugu. Samori, like many great rulers before him, started out in humble beginnings, born to a father who was a merchant and a mother who took care of the family.
When Samori was 13 years old, their neighboring villagers went to war with Samori’s village. Samori’s mother was captured and taken as a prisoner of war and made an indentured servant. Samori was in no position to pay for her ransom, so he did the only thing he could, he gave up his freedom his mother to go free and took her place, the chief willing excepted the exchanged.
Somari, became a prisoner of war for 5 years until he was able to escape. He took revenge on his captives by killing them. He was an ambitious young man and was determined to gain far more. He went to Bitike Souane and offered his services to the King of Toran. The king was more than happy to accept Samori as one of his bodyguards. Samori rose in rank extremely fast and many of the other soldiers began to idolize him. Samori was a handsome young man with an incredible physique, he was skilled at throwing a spear and had a genius, military mind that could outwit almost anyone. The king became very jealous. So, the king ordered Samori to return back to his homeland in Bissandugu, his place of birth.
When Samori returned home, he was welcomed with opened arms, he had established a name and a reputation for himself and was made chief. He chose to forgo the title ruler or Sultan and named himself, “Samori, son of Nafla, African of the Negro race. Prince of Believers. With a hunger for power, Samori soon captured all the surrounding villages. He eventually returned to Bitike Souane, only to kill the King of Toran and seized the village and land. Samori now had captured all the regions east to Sierra Leon. He became one of the most famous rulers of West Africa and a force to be reckoned with.
As Samori, pushed forward to conquer even more land. His intentions were to unite West Africa as one nation, but he was unaware that the British, Germans, Portuguese and Belgium had joined forces in a secret conference and had already appointed the land to the French to steal and do with as they pleased, with no remorse for the original people who occupied it. The French even had the nerve to send an African soldier dressed in a French uniform to try to reason with Samori to lay down his weapons and give up peacefully. This soldier was truly uninformed as to the man he was dealing with but would soon later come to realize. Samori took the African soldier and tortured him. Luckily for the African, he barely escaped with his life and went to warn the French.
When the French reached Keniera, Samori had already captured it and taken possession. The French then went to war with Samori and his army. Being outgunned by the French, who had far more ammunition and artilleries than Samori and his soldiers. Samori decided to wait it out just a little longer until the French had used up all their fighting weaponry. Samori and his men then swooped down on the French with the few rifles that they had and only spears in hand and won the battle, which only lasted for a week. The fighting remained ongoing.
The French, intentions wanted to maintain a straight overland route from the French Congo through her North African possessions to France, but Samori and his men became a thorn in the French men sides and he made it next to impossible for the French to accomplish this task. The warring clashes continued for approximately 18 years.
It wasn’t until September 29th, 1898, almost 50 years later, Samori sat at a little distance, alone from his camp, reading his holy Koran. Unbeknownst to Samori, a black scout in the French army and a French sergeant crept up behind him and held him. Hearing the struggle, Samori’s soldiers came to his rescue, but Samori was tired and did not want any more unnecessary bloodshed, so he told his men to step back and Samori left with the French sergeant. Samori was taken to a small island of Njolo in the Congo where he died of tuberculosis at the age of 70 on June 2nd, 1900.
He was a great ruler and warrior and his spirit still lives on in the souls and minds of his people.