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Postcolonial Realms of MemorySites and Symbols in Modern France$
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Etienne Achille, Charles Forsdick, and Lydie Moudileno

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620665

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620665.001.0001

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Les Tirailleurs sénégalais

Les Tirailleurs sénégalais

Chapter:
(p.290) Les Tirailleurs sénégalais
Source:
Postcolonial Realms of Memory
Author(s):

David Murphy

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789620665.003.0026

This essay explores the history of the tirailleurs sénégalais, a corps of colonial infantrymen founded in 1857. The tirailleurs were initially deployed to aid the French in the ‘pacification’ of their West African Empire but they made their mark on metropolitan France when they served in their tens of thousands in the First World War, distinguishing themselves in major battles, including the famous victory at Verdun. In the aftermath of the war, the image of a cartoonish, wide-eyed, smiling tirailleur sénégalais on packets of the popular Banania powdered chocolate drink, still used today, arguably became the most important site of French colonial memory.

Keywords:   Banania, First World War, Colonial stereotypes, La force noire, The ‘black shame’, Fréjus, Thiaroye

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