Eboue, Adolphe-Felix-Sylvestre

1884–1944
Colonial administrator

Adolphe-Felix-Sylvestre Eboue was a Creole official who served France in a variety of colonial posts during the early 1900s. He is most famous for bringing several French colonies in Africa into World War II to fight on the side of the Allies.

Born in French Guyana in South America, Eboue attended a school of colonial administration, where he formed friendships that were important to his future career. He served in the French colony of Oubangui-Chari in central Africa from 1909 to 1931 and then held posts in several of France’s Caribbean territories. In 1939 Eboue was demoted and sent back to Oubangui-Chari—probably at the request of personal enemies. Yet this turned out to be a fortunate move for both Eboue and France.

Eboue, Adolphe-Felix-Sylvestre

When France was occupied by Germany in World War II, most of France’s African colonies supported its pro-Nazi Vichy government. However, Eboue convinced CAMEROON and FRENCH EQUATORIAL AFRICA to join the Allies and Charles de Gaulle’s Free French forces in fighting against Germany. After Eboue‘s death, de Gaulle ordered that he be buried in the Pantheon of Heroes in Paris. He is the only black person ever to receive that honor. (See also World Wars I and II)