Political map of Sub-Saharan Africa on 03 Jan 1917 (World War I in Africa: Kaocen Revolt), showing the following events: Landings at Kilwa and Lindi; Zewditu’s overthrow of Iyasu; Siege of Agadez.

Kaocen Revolt

World War I in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa 1917.0103

Kaocen Revolt

Great War in Africa, East African Campaign, colonial campaigns (3 January 1917)

Historical Map of Sub-Saharan Africa

The British defeated the Senussi attacks on Egypt in 1916 but, across the Sahara, French West Africa remained vulnerable to unrest by the Senussi’s Tuareg allies. In December Kaocen Ag Geda led his Tuareg tribes to seize a large part of the French Sahara and besiege Agadez. With the support of friendly tribes and the British in Nigeria, the French eventually relieved the siege and suppressed the uprising.

Main Events

Landings at Kilwa and Lindi

On 7 September 1916 British troops were landed at Kilwa, on the southern German East African coast; landings at Mikindani, Lindi, and Kiswere followed. From Kilwa, the British would advance inland to seize the abandoned German fort at Kibata in mid-October. Meanwhile, in late September, the Portuguese would take control of the disputed Kionga triangle on the Mozambique border.

Zewditu’s overthrow of Iyasu

The Council of State and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church deposed de facto Emperor 'Lij' Iyasu V in favor of Zewditu, eldest daughter of late Emperor Menelik II. Zewditu was crowned Queen of Kings, a modification of the traditional 'King of Kings', while her cousin Ras Tafari Makonnen (later Haile Selassie) was appointed regent. Lij Iyasu fled north and led a rebellion which lasted until August 1917.

Siege of Agadez

In December 1916 rebel Tuareg forces under the leadership of Kaocen Ag Geda besieged the large town of Agadez in the north of the Niger Military Territory, French West Africa. In response the French declared a state of emergency on 3 January 1917 and requested British support. While the British helped secure the towns of southern Niger from neighboring Nigeria, a French expedition from Zinder traveled north and finally relieved the Agadez garrison in March.

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