Though Burkina Faso was inhabited from 14000 BC, the earliest known kingdoms can be found from the eleventh century onwards, with the Mossi establishing Ouagadougou, Tenkodogo, Yatenga, and Zandoma. Little is known of its history pre-colonialism in written texts, and it is apparent that the Mossi were able to successfully defend their kingdoms from their neighbours and conquest until the end of the nineteenth century. The French claimed the area in 1896 but were unsuccessful in their claims until 1901. The territory was renamed Upper Volta and incorporated with provinces from the Ivory Coast, however it was divided and reconstituted during the 1930s. After World War Two the Mossi petitioned for separate territorial status, and in 1960 France agreed to the Upper Volta becoming fully independent. The Republic of Upper Volta declared independence on 5 August 1960, thus ending Mossi monarchy in the area as the dominant government.
You can find out more about one of Burkina Faso’s indigenous leaders, Yennega, below!
Engelbert, Pierre. Burkina Faso: Unsteady Statehood in West Africa. Abingdon: Routledge, 2019.
Kaboré, Roger Bila. Histoire politique du Burkina Faso, 1919-2000. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2002
Royer, Patrick. “The Colonial History of Burkina Faso.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. 2021.