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Gwiriko Kingdom or Gwiriko Empire

Common languagesDyula
Historical eraPostclassical Era
• Established
• Established independence from Kong Empire
• French colonial control
Today part of Burkina Faso

Gwiriko (also Gouiriko) was a Kingdom in the 18th and 19th centuries in what is now part of present-day Burkina Faso around the watershed of the River Banifin. It was founded by Famagah Ouattara (Wattara) and lasted until French occupation in 1897. Its chief city was Bobo-Dioulasso.


In the early 18th century, Sékou Ouattara took control of the city of Kong and expanded his influence, creating the Kong Empire. In about 1714, Seku's brother, Famagah Ouattara, established the Kingdom of Gwiriko, likely ruling as a representative of Seku, although possibly independently.[1] At Seku's death around 1740, Ouattara's brother, Famagah Ouattara, refused to pay allegiance to Sekou Ouattara's sons and seized the area which included Tiefo, Dafin, and Bwamu. He allied with the Bobo-Juula, and established a state. He was succeeded within a few years by Kere Massa Ouattara and Magan Oule Ouattara, who faced repeated revolts which were put down by violent repression.[2]

After the succeeding leader, Diori Ouattara, died in 1839, the state collapsed, and Tiefo, Bobo Joola, Bolon, and other regions became independent.[3] Guimbe Ouattara (c 1836–1919), daughter of Diori Ouattara, was a noted leader in campaigns against the Kenedougou and against Noumoudara in this era.[4] Bako Moru stemmed the collapse by allying with Tiéfo and Bobo Joola. In the ensuing battles, Tieba Traoré, future king of Kénédougou Kingdom, was captured and later sold as a slave.[3]

During the reign of Ali Dyan (1854–1878) and his successor Kokoro Dyan, the central state lost control of the state and groups such as the Tyefo took control of the land.[5] By the late 1800s, Gwiriko was pressed on many sides and in 1897, Pintieba Ouattara was installed to replace Tieba Ouattara by the French when Pintieba made a deal with French commandant Paul Caudrelier. Thereafter, the influence of the state quickly waned and while Pintieba and his successor Karamoko Ouattara held the title of King until 1915, by that time the state no longer existed.[4]


"Gwiriko" means "at the end of the long stage" in the Dyula language. The early history of this kingdom is recorded in the Ghunja Chronicle (Kitab al-Ghunja).[2]

List of rulers[edit]

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1714 Foundation of Gwiriko state
1740 to 1742 Famaghan Ouattara Founded Gwiriko as a replica of the Kingdom of Kong. Relative of Sekou Ouattara, ruler of Kong. Seized Tiefo, Dafin, and Bwamu and allied with Bobo-Juula.[2]
1742 to 1749 Kere Massa Ouattara  [2]
1749 to 1809 Magan Wule Ouattara  [2]
1809 to 1839 Dyori Ouattara Son of Magan Wule[3]
1839 to 1851 Bako Moru Ouattara  [3]
1851 to 1854 Laganfyela Moru  [6]
1854 to 1878 Ali Dyan  [5]
1878 to 1885 Kokoroko Dyan  [5][6]
1885 to 1892 Sabana  [6]
1892 to 1897 Tyeba Ouattara "Nyandane" Tyeba was replaced by distant relative Pintyeba by French in exchange for Pintyeba's cooperation in French interests.[4]
1897 to 1909 Pintyeba Ouattara Relatively powerless[4]
1909 to 1915 Karamoko Ouattara Held title, but state no longer existed[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Quimby, Lucy Gardner. "Transformations of belief: Islam among the Dyula of Kongbougou from 1880 to 1970." (1972). p31-33
  2. ^ a b c d e Ogot, Bethwell A., ed. Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century. Vol. 5. Univ of California Press, 1999. pp. 358–359
  3. ^ a b c d Ajayi, JF Ade, ed. Africa in the Nineteenth Century until the 1880s. Vol. 6. Unesco, 1989. p677
  4. ^ a b c d e Rupley, Lawrence, Lamissa Bangali, and Boureima Diamitani. Historical Dictionary of Burkina Faso. Scarecrow Press, 2013. p154-1555
  5. ^ a b c Oliver, Roland, ed. The Cambridge History of Africa. Vol. 6. Cambridge University Press, 1985. p242-243
  6. ^ a b c