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Empire of the Sahara (1903)

Last modified: 2006-03-18 by antonio martins
Keywords: labaudy (jacques) | empire of the sahara | doubt |
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Empire of the Sahara
image by Olivier Touzeau, 13 Apr 2001

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Empire of the Sahara

Reported by Fuligni’s book [ful97], p. 124-131:

Jacques Lebaudy was the son of Jules Lebaudy, a French magnate of the sugar industry who was involved in the Union generale crash in 1882 and was therefore rather rich. For long he dreamt of conquest, and put up in 1902 a Company for Nitrates of Cape Juby, and had the idea of creating a trans-Saharan railway, although the French government didn’t listen to him.

In 1903, he decided to go there, and, after a stop at Madeira and in the Canaries, reached the Saharan coast on 25th May with 8 sailors, at 28°40′N, in a spot named Bay of Justice. They met there two Saharan men with whom they had a rather good contact. Two days later, Jacques Lebaudy told his sailors (who just thought «He’s gone mad») that he should now be called "Sire" and that he was Jacques the 1st of the Empire of Sahara.

Back in the Canaries, Jacques Lebaudy had to face the defection of 10 of the 20 men he had enrolled for his second expedition. He was again in Bay of Justice on the 10th of June, and decided that his capital would be there and named it Troja; he left there 5 men as a provisional garrison. Reaching Bay of Liberty (27°20′N), he decided to place there Polis, the main commercial city of his new empire… There, on the 14th of June, he met with a Saharan tribe, who wanted to sell slaves to him; he refused.

In the Canaries, the Spanish authorities and the French consul, Mr Tallien de Cabarrus, did not appreciate the way Lebaudy tried to employ sailors for his expeditions and became suspicious. Anyway, Lebaudy went back to Troja, where his 5 men had been taken away by the Saharan Moors, who now wanted a ransom, having learned thanks to the two first Saharan men (see above) that Lebaudy was rather rich…

In France, Lebaudy’s personal secretary did some advertisement for the Sahara Empire, and the government was soon aware of this ambition. A ship whose captain was Jaurès (brother of the famous Jean Jaurès, socialist French politician) was sent to the Saharan coast, and took back the 5 men who had been sold as slaves near Cape Juby, and of whom Jacques the 1st did not take care at all. In the meantime, Jacques Lebaudy went back to Europe, bought a throne, created orders, and a newspaper (The Sahara). He married a French actress, Augustine Dellière, with whom he had a daughter. He converted himself to Islam, and refused to pay the government for the rescue of the 5 sailors that he had left at Troja. After protesting about not being invited to the Conference of Algeciras, he emigrated to the United States with his wife and their daughter, and lived in Long Island. He became more and more mad, and one day decided that his daughter could be able to give him a son (a prince, heir to his empire) and told her wife he had decided to rape their daughter — and that’s the reason why she killed him.

Well, not very flag-related, will you say; Fuligni in fact doesn’t quote at any time the existence of any flag. But, there is a b&w picture on the last page of the chapter, with the legend: «the imperial ensign». Don’t know when he used it, but I’d rather say that this was after the expeditions in his virtual empire.

Olivier Touzeau, 13 Apr 2001