Les tirailleurs sénégalais

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This article 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostcolonial Realms of Memory
Subtitle of host publicationSites and Symbols in Modern France
EditorsEtienne Achille, Charles Forsdick, Lydie Moudileno
Place of PublicationLiverpool
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020


  • tirailleur sénégalais
  • colonial infantryman
  • decolonization
  • France


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