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The Kingdom of Kaarta on a map, published 1825

Kaarta, or Ka'arta,[1] was a short-lived Bambara kingdom in what is today the western half of Mali.

As Bitòn Coulibaly tightened his control over Ségou, capital of his newly founded Bambara Empire, a faction of Ségou Bambara dissatisfied with his rule fled west. In 1753, they founded the kingdom of Kaarta on the homeland of the long-defunct Ghana Empire, taking Nioro du Sahel as their capital. The kingdom was destroyed as an independent force in 1854 by El Hadj Umar Tall's jihad across West Africa; Umar Tall seized Nioro, and put the Kaarta king (Fama) Mamady Kandian and his entire family to death.

In 1878 the French governor of Senegal Briere de l'Isle sent a French force against the Kaarta Toucouleur vassal state along the north bank of the Senegal River. Blocked by the colonial minister in Paris, he argued that they were a threat to the Senegalese Imamate of Futa Toro (then a French client state) with which the British were poised to interfere. The Ministry gave in and on 7 July 1878, a French force destroyed the Kaarta Toucouleur fort at , killing their leader, . This portion of the Kaarta vassals was then incorporated into the Khasso protectorate kingdom.[2]

French Colonel Louis Archinard later conquered the entire territory of the former Kaarta kingdom in 1890, which was formally annexed into French West Africa in 1904.


  1. ^ "Malian traditional polities".
  2. ^ A. S. Kanya-Forstner, The Conquest of the Western Sudan. Cambridge University Press, (1969), pp. 57-59
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