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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Conquest of Algeria by France

In 1830, the French were equipped with a huge expedition of 100 military and 357 transport ships with a land force of 35,000 men and 4,000 horses. The ground army was under the command of General Burmon, the fleet – under the command of Vice-Admiral Duperre. The landing of the French began without a hindrance on July 14, 1830 in Sidi Ferrukh Bay; but while they began to consolidate their position, on July 19 they were attacked by son-in-law, Ibrahim-Agi, with 30,000 Ottomans. The French, however, repelled this attack and robbed the enemy of all guns and carts. Soon after that, bombing began both from land and from the sea, so that already on August 5, the dey surrendered to capitulation under the condition of a free retreat for themselves and the Janissaries. His entire fleet, weapons and the state treasury of 50 million francs fell into the hands of the victors.

After the fall of the city, 2 French squadrons were sent against Tunisia and Tripoli and forced them to abandon the maritime robberies. French troops occupied the coastal cities – Bona, Oran and Bougie, repelled the attack of the Constantine bey, but on the way to Blida were defeated by Kabils.

After the July Revolution, Burmon was recalled, and Clausel was appointed as his successor, who set himself the goal of conquering the whole country before the Atlas. In November of the same year he was defeated by the Titerian Bay, occupied by Medea and taken by Blid’s attack, but Clausel’s plans for colonization did not please the government of Louis-Philippe, and this circumstance due to the unsuccessful treaty with the Tunisian Bey was due to the fact that in February 1831 he was was recalled. The government, in general, would willingly refuse from all this difficult and dangerous conquest, especially since it threatened to ruin good relations with England, but public opinion, demanding an energetic foreign policy, did not allow to depart from what had been begun.

General Bertezen was appointed to replace Clausel, who was defeated on July 2, 1831 in the Tenia Pass. His place was taken by Savary (Duke of Rovigo), who with his cruel and violent treatment of the defeated restored the entire local population against the French. Then he was replaced by General Avizar (1832), who organized the “Bureaux arabes”, which later turned out to be very useful. His successor, General Voarol, captured the excellent harbor of Bougie in 1833 and restored calm in the vicinity of the city of Algeria.

But the French found the most dangerous enemy in Abdelkader, who, as head of the 30 Arab tribes united for holy war, was proclaimed emir of Mascara. After a stubborn struggle, the French government concluded a peace with him on February 26, 1834, in which he was recognized as domination over all Arab tribes from the West to the River Shelif. However, despite this treaty, as early as July of the same year, the war resumed again and was very unfortunate for the French. The secondary appointment of Klozel as the commander of the Algerian troops did not help either – the uprising spread throughout the country, and the importance of the Emir was increasing. Then Clausel was recalled again, and General Damremon was appointed Governor-General.

His successor, Valais, tried to establish French supremacy in the eastern part of the country, and Abdelkader subjugated all the western tribes to the south of his possessions all the way to the desert. Feeling strong enough, he declared the world invalid under the pretext of the alleged violation of the inviolability of his possessions and in November 1838 unexpectedly attacked the French. Despite the fact that Valais had 70,000 troops at his disposal, he was forced to hold out against Abdelkader of the defense system, so that the position of the French in Algeria, despite some brilliant victories (the capture of Medea and Miliana), again became shaky.

Things took a favorable turn when Bujot was appointed Governor-General on February 22, 1841. The new system, which he followed and for which he found capable performers in the face of Lamoricier, Cavaignac and Changarnier, was, on the one hand, to tire the enemy with continuous raids on certain tribes and other small enterprises, and on the other hand – to undertake against the troops of the emir large expeditions. Already in May 1841, the French seized Tekedempt, the fortified seat of the Emir, and Maskara. Even more successful was the autumn campaign, when Bugeau captured Saida, the last fortress of Abdelkader. In January 1842, a campaign was undertaken in the frontier Moroccan region, which alone offered more resistance, with the city of Tlemcen and Tafrua castle taken. General Barago d’Illie destroyed the cities of Bogar and Tazu, and General Bedo inclined to the French the tribes of Kabils who lived around Tlemcen.

The power of Abdelkader was almost destroyed, so he was forced to retreat to the Moroccan region. The new attack made by the emir in March 1842 was repelled and the country’s subordination was already considered complete when in the summer of 1842 Abdelkader suddenly appeared again in Algeria and defeated the French at Tequedempte and Mascara. Forced, however, soon to retreat again on Moroccan soil, the emir preached a holy war there, collected numerous military forces and even succeeded in achieving a Moroccan army against the French at the end of May 1844. Bujocho, however, moved to the border with all his forces, and on 14 August inflicted a decisive defeat on Moroccans under Islay, while the French fleet under the command of Prince Joanville bombarded Tangier and Mogador. With the assistance of England, who feared that the French would not extend their power to Morocco, on September 10 a world took place with Sultan Abdur-Ur-Rahman, under which the latter pledged to pursue Abdelkader.

Despite this, the latter in 1845 again invaded Algeria and constantly stirred up the Kabil tribes for uprisings. Only after a bitter struggle and thanks to the tireless activities of the so-called “African” generals (Lamoricier, Cavaignac, Changarnier, Pelissieu, Bedo, Saint-Arno, Bosque, Yussuf, etc.), the resistance of the latter was finally broken. At the same time, Byuzho sought to establish French supremacy inside the country, and his successors, Bedo and the Duke of Omal (from 1847), held the same policy. During this time, the eastern part of the colony was almost completely pacified, and the southern borders were extended beyond the mountains. Abdelkader, attacked by the troops of the Moroccan sultan, was to seek salvation on French soil and on December 22, 1847, surrendered to Lamoricieru.

Sources:

The history of Algeria in the new and modern times / R. G. Landa

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