Newspaper, 1903

Official journal of Jacques Lebaudy's Empire of the Sahara


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Le Sahara was the official journal of the projected Empire of the Sahara, a personal project of Jacques Lebaudy with its proposed territory on the Atlantic coast of today’s Western Sahara and southern Morocco, opposite the Canary Islands. Intended to report on the Empire’s news and policies, only one four-page issue — 01 January 1904— was produced.

The journal presented the nation-building project as a reality. It was purportedly based in Troja, the empire’s capital, which only ever existed briefly as a circus tent housing the failed first landing party. The document's purpose was to publicize the news, events, and program of the fledgling nation as well as to encourage immigrants to the new land.

The articles covered official versions of various topics including a history of the creation of the empire, its flag, its law courts, a laudatory poem for Emperor Jacques I, horse racing, the Fresquita mariners’ capture and rescue by the French navy, advice on emigrating to the empire, passenger ship schedules, and even a protocolary template on how to address the Emperor in writing — all with a serious veneer of officialdom over what were essentially outright fabrications.  For example, the horse races were overseen by the "Imperial Racing Society,"  passenger transports to the empire were by the " Imperial Line....headquartered in Troja,” and letters were to be sent to the "Imperial Palace" in Troja. Everything cultivated the appearance of the Empire as a fait accompli

Essentially a propaganda piece in the guise of a newspaper, Le Sahara demonstrates the intentions, strategies, and projections of Jacques Lebaudy in great detail.  Very few exemplars are believed to have been printed, and the periodical ceased publication after its first issue.


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Medium & Techniques

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Ink on newsprint


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54 x 39.5 cm unfolded

People involved

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Acquired from Cédric Pernot of Livres Paris Centre (Paris, France)