Histoire du Royaume de Biffeche
History of the Kingdom of Biffeche

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H.M. King Ronald I of Biffeche meeting with Conseil des
Anciens

 

 
[Adapted from a traveler's note on Biffeche]

The Kingdom of Biffeche is a tiny West African Kingdom that is unusual in that it has had non African born Kings for the last four decades.

Biffeche is on the north border of Sénégal, West Africa, and it includes a small part of Mauritanie. In antique maps dating back at least to 1726, it appears in the Sénégal River delta, between the Sénégal River and the Marigot de Lampsar (a "marigot" is an arm of the river) about 25 kilometers northeast of the coastal city of Saint-Louis, Sénégal. The origins of the Kingdom are obscure but very ancient; it is mentioned in XVIII-Century French documents along with the ancient Kingdom of Waalo. In about 1960, a group of Roman Catholic people of the Sérér-Mont-Roland tribe were transported to the semi-desert of Biffeche from Mont-Roland in central Sénégal. They come from the oldest ethnic group in Sénégal, the Sérér, one with a vivid history of Kingdoms and Empires. They speak the Ndut variant of the Sérér language.

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Locale de Biffeche / Location of Biffeche

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Carte de Biffeche / Map of Biffeche

 

Having been "resettled", they were in desperate straits at first, and nearly starved. They were promised various kinds of support that they didn't get. Their new fields were arid and became salty and barren. The story is that in 1963 they could not settle upon a new King at the time; instead of choosing one of their own people they asked their priest, Father VAST, for guidance. He advised them to choose the person who had helped them the most during their plight.

That person was one Edward Charles Schafer.  Although born in the United States, Edward Schafer was a cousin to both of the Hohenzollern ruling family of Germany and the Hapsburg ruling family of the Austro-Hungarian empire.  An active business man who owned various radio and television stations in America, he was asked by the Roman Catholic Cardinal of St. Louis to form a committee to aid the needy people of Biffeche.  Assisted by Henrietta Bulus, a Senegalese-Lebanese woman, who had immigrated to St. Louis, Missouri, Edward Schafer put together a group that raised money and sent aid to the people of Biffeche.  

The newly settled population in Biffeche, petitioned Guné Ko Ka Weex Tené, the 99th King of Biffeche, to grant the boon of requesting that Edward Schafer be made King of Biffeche.  Guné Ko Ka Weex Tené was childless and as always wishing to help his beloved peoples agreed to their request.  The Biffeche elders mailed him some symbolic skins, a packet of holy grains, sacred seeds and a notification in French that he was the King.

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La Folie De Baron Roger where 

H.M. King Guné Ko Ka Weex Tené

resided after his abdication in 1963

Edward Schafer journeyed to Washington DC for a meeting with G. Mennen Williams under secretary of State for African Affairs.  Through G. Mennen Williams, the United States State Department presented no objections to the new arrangement.  The 100th King of Biffeche was enthroned as Edward I by the Grace of God, by the Will of Allah, Protected by the Great White Leopard.  The year was 1963 ce, 1393 ah in the Islamic calendar.

After humbly accepting what he felt to be the Will of God, the Will of Allah and the Will of the Great White Leopard, Edward I found that he enjoyed being King.  For more than 30 years, he diligently helped the people in various ways, and issued Royal directives by mail, he never visited his Kingdom. He sent them money and other aid, got agricultural experts to advise on their crops, and did various other things for them. He ruled (very rarely) simply by making his wishes known through correspondence with Pierre Claver Faye, the local native Chef de Village (and later Baron Savoigne) of Biffeche. Edward was completely accepted as King by all the Biffeche people. They were very poor, even by West African standards, and they were proud of having a King"so important that he lives in America."

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H.M. Edward I

King of Biffeche

1963 - 1997

"We know that he prays for us."

 The late Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary addressed him royally as "Cousin," and Prince Charles (of the U.K.) once told him he was envious because it was so much simpler to become King of Biffeche than to wait decades for the throne as Prince of Wales. The Pope gave his Apostolic Blessing to "H. M., Edward I."

Once a year Edward would have a house party, dress regally, and receive his court. He was known to the press in the United States of America, as the King of Biffeche, and Esquire magazine had an article on his Kingdom. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Saint Louis, H. E., Cardinal Ritter, would always, during his regular Sunday procession to the altar of the Cathedral, pause and acknowledge the King. For Edward was "by the Grace of God, King of Biffeche."

History continued on Page 2.