Faidherbe, Louis Léon César (lwē lāôNˈ sāzärˈ fādĕrbˈ) [key], 1818–89, French colonial administrator. He was a leading participant in the establishment of the French colonial empire in Africa. As governor of Senegal (1854–61, 1863–65) he transformed the colony into the dominant political and military power in West Africa, founding (1857) the city of Dakar. He drove al-Hajj Umar out of Senegal, extending French control to The Gambia, but maintained the traditional authority of the chiefs. After living in Algeria for several years he was recalled to France during the Franco-Prussian War. He assumed command of the Army of the North after the fall of Sedan but saw the situation as hopeless. Elected to the National Assembly in 1871, he resigned in protest against anti-Republican politics. He was a senator from 1879 to 1888. Faidherbe wrote numerous works on geography, ethnography, and ethnology.
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