French colonization

French people had no interest in colonizing the Saharan territories, but did it in competition with the English during the colonial period in the beginning of the 20th century.
French ruled north-west Africa as one distinct district (the AOF).
Their intention was to create a Saharan state, which could be assimilated to the Azawagh region in Mali, added to the south of Algeria and the whole central part of Sahara. But when Europeans defined the current borders, the plan was aborted. However, it exacerbated the longing for independence among the Tuareg people.

Relationships between the two people, French and Tuaregs, were difficult because of the hard way French people ruled the proud Imashaghen. Problems included: numerous taxes, exploitation of Tuareg labour and resources essentially for transportation, conscription as soldiers in the French Army, dispossession of resources (e.g. livestock), interference with trade (trans Saharan food/salt trade) and in Tuareg conflicts with neighbors (Zarma, Toubou tribes). However, the French also attempted to ban ancestral slavery and razzias which Tuaregs made on neighbouring camps (Rezzous).

Tuaregs progressively became the most fervent colonial enemies of France.
A terrible war occurred in 1917 (also during the third year of World War I) between France and the Tuaregs. French won with bloody consequences and the loss of the Sahel desert for the Tuaregs, which was one of the Tuaregs last possessions.