556 FRANCE : — MADAGASCAR
FRENCH CONGO AND GABTJN.
The French Congo and Gabiin region is one continuous and connected territory. The right liank of the Congo from Brazzaville to the month of the Mobangi is French, and north to 4° N. , and along the north bank of the Mobangi to the boundary of the British sphere. According to the agreement with Germany in 1894, French territory runs northward behind the Cameroons and along the east of the Shari to Lake Chad, and to the water parting between the Nile and the Congo. An almost straight line to the coast along the second degree N. embraces the Gabun, The total area is 497,000 square miles. The territories are under a Commissioner- General, Avho, assisted by two lieutenant-governors, has charge both of the civil and military administration. There are twenty-seven stations established in this region, on the coast, the Congo, and other places, elevcji of them being on the Ogove. The number of the native population is estimated at 5, 000, 000 ; there are 300 Europeans besides the garrison. The country is covered with extensive forests. The exports in 1897 were — caoutchouc, 518 tons ; elephants' teeth, 105 tons; palm oil, 140 tons; })alm kernels, 806 tons; ebony, 1,748 tons; mahogany, 3,421 tons; besides coffee, cocoa, kola nuts, piassava, and other produce. Vessels entered in 1897, 101 of 252,160 tons (49 of 129,279 tons French, 26 of 59,500 tons British). The only roads are native footpaths. There are 18 schools for boys and 7 for girls, with 800 pupils. Post offices, 31 ; letters, &c., transmitted (1894), 346^314. Local budget, 1898, 3,501,400 francs'; expenditure of France (budget of 1899), 2, 491, 165 'francs.
By the Franco-German Agreement of Felnuary, 1896, the region to the east of the Shari, which includes Bagirmi, was reserved to the French sphere of influence, in 1897 a treaty was made on behalf of the French Government with the Sultan of Bagirmi, and a French Resident was appointed to Massenia, the capital of the region. The Sultanate comprises the low-lying marshy region between Lake Chad, the Lower Sliari river, and the Sokoro hills west of Lake Fitri, and has an area of about 20,000 square miles, or 65,650 includitig the southern lands inhabited by tributary pagan peoples, or to which slave-hunting expeditions are regi;larly sent. The IJarmaghe, as the natives of Bagirmi call themselves, are all Mohammedan Negroes, who numbered 1,500,000 about the middle of the century. Since then they have been greatly reduced by the wars with "Wadai, famines and e]tidemics. In September, 1898, they were dying of starvation by thousands, in consequence of the ravages of the usurping Sultan of Bornu.
Gold Coast Territories. See Senkgal, S:c., p. 519.
The assertion of the claim of France over Madagascar dates from the year 1642, wdien a concession of the island was granted to a trading company by the French King. This grant and similar concessions subseqiu^ntly made, as well as decrees proclaiming French sovereignty and the appointment of viceroys over the island, were entirely ineffective and, except on some parts of the coast, nothing w'as done in the way of exploration. In the year 1810 Radama L succeeded in reducing a large part of the island to the sway of the sovereigns of the Hova, the most advanced, though ])robably not the most numerous, of the various Malagasy races, and in 1820 he was recogiiised by