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French Soudan (French: Soudan Français) was a colony in French West Africa that had two separate periods of existence, first from 1890 to 1899, then from 1920 to 1960, when the territory became the independent nation of Mali.
Colonial establishment 
French Soudan was created as a French territory on 9 September 1880, as "Upper Senegal", and was renamed the "French Soudan Territory" on 18 August 1890, with its capital at Kayes. Edgard de Trentinian was governor from 1895.
On 10 October 1899, French Soudan was broken up; 11 southern provinces went to French Guinea, the Côte d'Ivoire and Dahomey, although two were returned in the following year.
In 1902 the parts of the colony not organized into military districts became Senegambia and Niger, then Upper Senegal and Niger in 1904, then the old name came back in a reorganization of 1920.
When the French Upper Volta was first abolished in 1933 (it was reestablished in 1947), French Soudan gained some of its provinces.
After the French constitutional referendum of 4 October 1958, the "République Soudanaise" became a member of the French Community, once again with the name French Soudan, and gained complete internal autonomy 25 November 1958.
On 4 April 1959, French Soudan was joined with Senegal to form the Mali Federation, which became fully independent within the French Community on 20 June 1960. The federation collapsed on 20 August 1960, when Senegal seceded. On 22 September, French Soudan proclaimed itself the Republic of Mali and withdrew from the French Community.
See also 
Further reading 
- Joseph Roger de Benoist, Église et pouvoir colonial au Soudan français: les relations entre les administrateurs et les missionnaires catholiques dans la Boucle du Niger, de 1885 à 1945. 539 p. Karthala, 1987 ISBN 978-2-86537-169-3
- Georges Spitz, Le Soudan français, Éditions maritimes et coloniales, 1955, 111 p.