Apocalypse 10 lives - Learning resource files

Ismaël Tangaré

  • Nationality: French (French West Africa); Bambara ethnic group (practise animistic religion)
  • Birth date: December 25, 1891
  • Family/social situation:

    Father a blacksmith; has brothers.

  • Occupation:

    Blacksmith, then Tirailleur sénégalais (infantryman)

Biographical elements of the character
Elements of the historical context
  • November 1, 1915

    Ségou (French West Africa).
    Ismaël decides to enlist, against the advice of the marabout (local religious authority, soothsayer) but with the support of the village headman.

  • The Expeditionary Corps of the Tirailleurs sénégalais.

    October 9, 1915: the mobilization of all “natives” 18 and over is decreed in the French African colonies. Anti-conscription revolts ensue, notably among the Bambara.

  • February 6, 1916

    Dakar, Senegal (French West Africa).
    Ismaël trains with the Tirailleurs sénégalais of the 10th Colonial Infantry Division at the Madeleines barracks.

  • Military training of the Tirailleurs sénégalais. Général Mangin’s “Force noire.”

  • April 22, 1916

    Ismaël arrives in Marseilles; the Tirailleurs sénégalais parade with other expeditionary corps.


  • The Zouaves, a renowned French army unit. The arrival of the Russian Expeditionary Corps in Marseilles.

  • October 25, 1916

    Fort de Douaumont, near Verdun, France.
    The Tirailleurs are resting after taking the Fort. They read their mail.


  • Africa at war. The great battles, Douaumont. Mail delivery during the war.

  • April 16, 1917

    The Battle of Chemin des Dames.
    Ismaël and his fellow soldiers attack under a hail of enemy shells. He is seriously wounded.

  • April 16, 1917 : the Battle of Chemin des Dames, the Allies’ all-out attempt to break through the German lines.

  • May 21, 1917

    The No. 11 bis volunteer hospital at the converted Hippodrome (race track) at Saint-Cloud.
    Ismaël regains consciousness after a month-long coma. He meets Louise.


  • War nurses.

  • June 15, 1917

    The hospital of Saint-Cloud.
    Louise reads the newspaper to Ismaël, now blind. We learn of the decisive advance at Chemin des Dames. Mutiny is brewing in the French and Russian armies.


  • Desertions; enthusiasm for the Russian Revolution among French troops; the French army’s response to rebellion. The “gueules cassées” (soldiers whose faces have been disfigured).

  • November 11, 1919

    Ségou (French West Africa).
    Ismaël brings all the force of his personality to ensure that his wife is accepted in the village. Louise plays with some children who include Léopold Senghor.


  • The rise of anti-colonial independence movements.
    Léopold Senghor (1906-2001).