First French Mission

The first French mission of 1843 was demolished by the locals after four years, including cannibalism of one of the priests. In retaliation the French military arrived and destroyed the tribal settlements, driving the locals into the mountains. When the missionaries attempted to re-establish themselves in 1851, they brought the French military with them for protection. As missions became more powerful, local tribal customary life began to break down. People were forced to choose between the missions leadership or the rule of the clan's chief and their traditional beliefs. Tribes themselves were divided along religious lines, and wars broke out. It was not until the later part of the 19th century that these "holy wars" were suppressed by the French military.