It used to be called Upper Volta. Many Brits didn’t know much about the country as Upper Volta, and changing the name to Burkina Faso hasn’t altered things in that respect. It’s a landlocked country in West Africa. If you’re ever in a quiz where you’re being asked about countries that border lots of other countries, Burkina Faso is worth a thought because it has six neighbouring countries: Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
When the French occupied the area that is today Burkina Faso, they took control of territory previously controlled by a number of kingdoms with interesting histories and cultures that deserve to be much better known.
In 1898, we had the opportunity to come to the aid of the ruler of the Mossi kingdom, Wobogo. The French were attacking Ougadougou, and Wobogo requested our help. Wobogo was forced to retreat and launch a guerrilla war against the French, and we then sent an expedition under Colonel Northcott to take Ougadougou back. Our forces were only a short way from Ougadougou, however, when they received news that the British government had agreed with the French at the Conference of Paris that the area would be in the French sphere of influence. Northcott thereupon withdrew. Invasion over and Wobogo was abandoned by us.