He was born in 1830 to the Sonike family in Semankoro village found in Mandike Empire. His full name was Samouri Ibn Rasfa. He joined Tijjaniyah Suffs order after being influenced by Al Hajji Umar. Initially Toure was a trader by 1853, he changed from being a trader to a warrior when he joined the state army in order to rescue his mother who had been captured by the since raiding party in 1853.
Samoure Toure soon became a skilled solider and he quickly rose one merit to be a commander. At that point, he began to dream of building an empire out of the small Mandika chief in the region of upper Niger. In 1857, he break way a unity of soldiers and became an independent warrior from 1857 to 1867.
However, Toure began his conquests in 1866 when he conquered and defeated many chief doms of Mandika Empire and he made Bisandungu as the capital of his empire. He extended his authority over states like Konta, Toro, Kankan and by 1873, he had taken the Muslim like Al Imama meaning the leader of Muslims. He succeeded in building an empire extending to Tokolor, Futa Toro in the East and to Sierraleone . In Nigeria to the South. They wanted to revival of Mendrike greatness. He wanted the empire to be governed by the use of Sharia.
Having been prepared by the Jihads, the West African people in general and Muslims in particular could not look on when Europeans came therefore in 1882; Toure resisted a great French, pentretation in the interior of West Africa.
However in 1882, the French succeeded and occupying Mandika and in 1891, they had occupied Bissandungu, the capital. Therefore Toure was for forced to move East wards to the regions of upper voito, and Ivory Coast. The French persuaded him and forced him to sign a poetic agreement which them later, he was exiled in Gabon and died in 1900.
WHY SOMOURE TOURE RESISTED THE FRENCH FOR A LONG TIME.
- He operated for diplomacy. It should be noted that when the British based in Sierra Leone the capital of Orange Free State. French stayed there for sometime after signing an agreement which Toure and French known as the Bisandungu treaty of 1886.
- He had a well trained army which faught the French. His army had about 3000 professionals soldiers called “Sofas” about 300 of his professionals and about 3000 were soldiers and he had 300 were made to had the regiments.
- Created an efficient and effective administration. It is said that his empire had 162 provinces and these were divided into 10 large provinces such as Odiennes, Sikasso, Kankan, Dulla etc. The empire had 20 villages per each all under a governor in addition, the empire was governed on 3 lines of authority traditional, military and religious leaders but all answerable to Toure’s state couldn’t.
- He discouraged tribalism in the army. Toure faught tribalism by emphasing national accommodation, discipline and education. He also taught tribalism through the policy of intermarriages and national royalty thus the people taught.
- The French had a small army associated the problems in North Africa and France yet the Mandika empire was too large to be conquered wholly.
- Toure’s application of the scotched earth policy which slowed down the French engagement e.g. destroyed community’s farms thus causing thus causing retreats of French troops and food shortages.
- The use of military fighting tactics such as Guerilla war fare that involves surprise attacks of the French.
- Somoure had ability, courageous and charismatic. He was a man of extra ordinary characters who mobilized subjects against French imperialists.
- His control of agriculture and trade e.g. Dulla traders where also Toure was included dominated this trade and initially there was sufficient food which all worked to the advantage of prolonging the resistance against the French.
- He imposed fire arms from the creoles Sierra Leone which were so European traders who sold guns to Toure which he used to fight against his enemies.