Tribute to Senegalese tirailleurs ( Skirmisher – sharpshooter)


Since the XVII century, French used African people to fight for them.
However it is in 1857 that the black troops have been officially created and named “ Senegalese tirailleurs”. “Tirailleur” means sharpshooter in French. It is a term used to designate the troops trained to  skirmish ahead of the columns. These troops are called “Senegalese tirailleurs” but you have to know that they were not only formed of Senegalese people. All together they gather 17 African nationalities such as soldiers from Sudan, Guinea, Tchad, Algeria,etc.

These troops not only help France in the various colonial campaigns but also during World War I and World War II. The Tirailleurs always fought with distinction and incurred heavy losses.

It happens that one of the mosque of Paris was constructed after World War I as a sign of gratefulness from France to the Muslims soldiers. In addition, some famous political leaders also recognized these brave troops in speeches. For instance, Marechal Foch said :

«J’ai admiré leur merveilleux courage, leur indomptable ténacité, leur élan fougueux. .. J’ai apprécié leur profonde loyauté et leur absolu dévouement».”

which means

«  I admired  their guts and bravery,indomitable  single-mindedness, spirited momentum, I appreciated their loyalty and their full devotion.”

Most of  the Tirailleur troops have been disbanded during the independence of African countries between 1956 and 1962. These former soldiers have always been discriminated despite their loyalty  compare to the French soldiers. It is only in 2006, after 60 years that Jacques Chirac finally decided to increase the pensions of former colonial soldiers.

I advise you to watch the movie “Indigènes” or “ Days of Glory” ( English title) directed by French-Algerian Rachid Bouchareb.

Finally, you can purchase an authentic statue of a Senegalese Tirailleur made during the colonial period if you click the link below:


~ by myafrikart on June 15, 2008.

One Response to “Tribute to Senegalese tirailleurs ( Skirmisher – sharpshooter)”

  1. I think that we need to know more about these troops

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