Postcards of French West Africa (1900-1960)

French West Africa between 1900 and 1960

This page gives access to a collection of postcards of French West Africa published between 1900 and 1960. It is hoped that modern-day Africans and researchers interested in the history of colonial French West Africa will be able to use these postcards. These sources of the African past can be analysed in many different ways. For example, they tell us much about the way the French colonisers wanted to depict West Africa; these postcards also show us how African men and women were represented by photographers and postcard publishers; we can discover what colonial urban landscapes looked like...


These postcards are already available on a CD "Images et Colonies" which explains why only a selection of these documents is available on my website. This CD can be found in Senegal while some other postcards are available online. "Images et Colonies" was the result of a work undertaken by the Archives nationales du Senegal as these postcards were slowly collected and put in a database in the 2000s by Oumy Coume and Ngouda Diene under the direction of Adama Aly Pam who graciously allowed me to publish them online. It is hoped that by making these postcards available online, their work will be disseminated more widely. You are free to download and reuse these pictures but you need to mention your source as specified at item level for each postcard.

A few technical points: working with Omeka

I used the CD "Images et Colonies" and exported the content of its Access database 2000 to a CSV file. I subsequently imported the CSV file into Omeka with the 'CSV import' plugin (it was quite a slow process as the PHP CLI binary used by the plugin is not installed on my server). I didn't create the metadata for these postcards but managed to map the columns used by the Access database to different Dublin Core fields. As a result, the postcards and their different fields are fully searchable by users and search engines.

postcards French West Africa (1900-1960)
Click on this picture to access the collection of postcards.
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