Military Review

The conquest of France Algeria

Before entering, think how you will leave. This Eastern wisdom is more than ever fair to the situation in which the current France finds itself. The outskirts of Paris, inimitably sung in the novels of Dumas, Balzac and Hugo, are becoming more and more variations of Baghdad in the French manner. The unrest in the Arab quarters under Sarkozy, the increasingly aggravated criminal situation, the recent attacks do not leave even the slightest chance for the Parisian suburbs to remain a quiet corner of the province near the noisy Paris. The massive influx of immigrants from the former French North Africa, which began after the granting of independence to Algeria and Tunisia and which rose in the last decades in an avalanche-like fashion, inevitably created what is still timidly and quietly called the "Arab issue". The emigrants who brought their customs and culture, language and religion to the former metropolis, stubbornly refuse to become French. Their enclaves live in a kind of neighborhood with the local community, while not integrating into it.

When did the current crisis sprout up? Where is the beginning of a long journey, which may (but not necessarily) end at the entrance to the Notre Dame Mosque?

Old debts

To understand this, you have to rewind the arrows stories almost 180 years ago. 20-s of the XIX century were a difficult period in the history of France. Recovering after the long Napoleonic wars, humiliated by force imposed weapons peace treaties with the winners, the country with selected glory remained in the power of King Charles X. The European policy of France was far from the scale of the emperor of the French - the most significant action was the suppression of the rio rio in Spain. Having accumulated subcutaneous fat, the bourgeoisie and the financial circles that collaborated with it began to gradually incline towards the idea of ​​colonial expansion, primarily in North Africa. Indeed, in Europe, all more or less large processes were regulated by the Sacred Union of the monarchs of Russia, Austria and Prussia.

Algeria was located on the other side of the Mediterranean, formally a province of the Ottoman Empire, in fact an independent state. The Turks established control over Algeria as early as the 16th century, but gradually its autonomy expanded. Istanbul and the padish were far away, and the Algerian elite breathed fairly freely. The country was ruled by dei, who was elected for life by a contingent of janissaries deployed in Algeria. The main occupation of the population, especially coastal, was a sea robbery. Piracy was so profitable and widespread occupation that even led to a crisis in other sectors of the economy. In fact, Algeria has been Mediterranean Somalia for several hundred years. Repeatedly, European states launched military expeditions against the centers of pirates, but the problem remained unsolved. The armies and fleets were leaving, but the local population wanted to eat, and therefore they went out to sea, but not for fishing.

Napoleon, much more relaxed in his choice of methods, allies and goals, was trading with Algeria: food and leather, so necessary for the military industry, were exported to France. In addition, the Algerians indirectly helped the French, feasibly disturbing the British maritime communications. The emperor bore plans to seize control of Algeria, but these projects were not clearly formulated. France had enough worries in Europe.

During the Restoration period, the North African state continued to pester its neighbors, which had finally become habitual with piracy, annoying the medieval treatment of prisoners and cruelty. Algeria was very suitable for the venue for a small, victorious war to heal the economy and public sentiment. Well, if you want to make war, then the reason is very operational. As already mentioned, in the 20 of the 19th century, the French economy was not in a brilliant state. So not brilliant that she was forced to buy some of the goods on credit from feudal, in fact, Algeria. At the same time, French diplomats behaved as if Algerians were borrowing from France. The situation, denoted by the word “credits” unfading at all times, gradually became tense. At the public reception of 27 on April 1827, the Algerian ruler dei Hussein Pasha lightly hit the fan with the face of the overly impudent French ambassador Deval. There was a scandal, which was hardly managed to hush up, but formally the reason for the invasion was found. Insulting the ambassador (even if behaving rudely) was considered unforgivable in Europe. Especially an insult from some half-savvy. Hussein Pasha did not hesitate in expressions about what he thinks about malicious defaulters, and in general expressed deep doubts about the advisability of further trade cooperation. This would be a strong blow to the French commercial bourgeoisie, which had long been pupated in Algeria. The existence of large trading posts in La Calais, Annaba and Collot, bringing high profits, was called into question. The solution was simple: get rid of the act as the main hindrance to the French economic policy, well, and at the same time restore order in Algeria. The mercantile aim to eliminate such an inconvenient and persistently crediting ruler, to get their hands on the country was dressed in a beautiful and noble shell of the fight against piracy. This guaranteed the support of international public opinion.


The necessary forces, means and resources were prepared for the start of 1830 of the year. France increasingly plunged into a political crisis. King Charles X and the government of Count Polignac could not understand that the world outside the windows of the Tuileries Palace had irreversibly changed and the glorious times of the Sun King had passed. The country went to another revolution. In such conditions, the preparation for the expedition to Algeria, lobbied by the increasingly powerful power of the commercial bourgeoisie, continued. In the possible success of colonial expansion, the king and his favorite, Polignac, saw a chance to increase the rapidly falling political rating of Charles X. In May 1830, the 35-thousandth army and 4 thousand horses on the 98 military and 352 transport vessels (there are different figures) left Toulon and set off in Algeria. The king entrusted the command of the expeditionary army to General Burmon, the Minister of War and the Earl, and the naval forces to Vice Admiral Duperre. Burmon was an old soldier who had served in Napoleon’s army as a divisional general, and he equally zealously served both the emperor and the Bourbons who replaced him. Charles X highly appreciated his dedication to the throne and hard working methods. In the appeal to the troops there were no direct allusions to the Napoleon expedition to Egypt under such circumstances - to mention the emperor with the power of the golden lilies was a bad form, but there was a lot of people and ships remembering the glorious Napoleonic epoch. The expeditionary corps itself consisted of three infantry divisions, three cavalry squadrons, and 15 artillery batteries, with siege weapons predominating.

Due to the fresh weather, the transition was delayed for two weeks - only on June 13 the French fleet approached the shores of Algeria. Already on June 14, landing began in the Sidi Ferruh area, 20 kilometers west of the city of Algeria. 11 battleships, which are part of the invasion forces, covered the landing. However, due to the enemy’s lack of combat effectiveness fleet and someone like Nelson, Abukir-2 did not happen. The motley collection of small pirate ships that the Algerians had was difficult to attribute to something resembling a regular navy.

By noon 14 June, almost the entire French army was landed along with a ten-day supply of food and ammunition. The cavalry drove away the small Algerian forces that were spinning nearby, and General Burmon ordered the strengthening of the landing site to begin. With all their actions, the aggressors showed that this was not a short-term punitive visit, but seriously and for a long time. The armed forces of Algeria totaled at that time about 16 thousand people and quite numerous native militia. Armament and the ability to fight on equal terms in the open field against a strong European army caused serious doubts. Nevertheless, on the night of June 19, son-in-law, Aga Ibrahim, gathered, according to French estimates, at least 30 thousand troops, attacked the landed troops, but was beaten off with heavy losses. The French went to the counter and drove the enemy to the distant approaches to the capital - the city of Algeria. Aga Ibrahim lost almost all field artillery and wagon train. Burmon acted quickly, without losing pace. Already 29 June, having mastered the heights of Buzaria, the French began to lay trenches and pull the siege artillery to the fort Sultan Kallesi, which was the main stronghold in the defense of Algeria. 4 July after a long bombardment, having destroyed the walls of the castle, the French went to the assault, and by 10 hours of the morning banners with royal lilies were raised over Sultan Kallesi.

The defense of Algeria was now becoming more than problematic - the next day, July 5, 1830, the aged dey capitulated, surrendering the capital at the mercy of Burmon. In the arsenals of Algeria, about 2 thousand guns were captured, among which were many old, other weapons and many different stocks. Day also handed over to the invaders all his treasury - more than 50 million francs. Hussein was graciously allowed to go to political emigration to Naples. The demoralized militia mostly fled. The capture of Algeria cost the French 400 killed and 2 thousand. Wounded. Losses of Algerians - at least 10 thousand. People. However, paper is patient everywhere. King Charles X praised the work of General Burmon at the initial stage of the expedition. He was granted a marshal's baton.

While the winners mastered the territory and considered trophies, significant events occurred in France, known in history as the July Revolution. Having played in the old order, Charles X did not notice the changed reality and paid for it with a throne. The king of the barricades Louis-Philippe, the representative of the younger Orleans branch of the Bourbons, came to power. More associated with the bourgeois circles than with the increasingly degrading nobility of the old order, the new king became the conduit for the ideas of the modernized liberal monarchy. State attributes changed, but the policy in Algeria remained aggressive.

We must pay tribute to Burmon, now the marshal, who refused to swear allegiance to the July monarchy. He considered himself largely indebted to Charles X and even bore ideas to return to France with part of the troops entrusted to him in order to return the throne to the renounced king. However, not supported by his officers, he was forced to resign. His place was taken by Count Bertrand Clausel.

In the shade of tricolor

The French occupied all major cities on the coast of Algeria. The advancement of the new government was accompanied by plunder and ruin. Shooting and other punitive measures were the norm. The local population very quickly came to the conclusion that the newcomers are no better than the departed Turks, moreover, they completely neglect the local customs and traditions. By the end of 1830, in many regions of Algeria, armed resistance to the invaders began to spontaneously arise. The local nobility was not able to nominate a leader from among its own (specific Bei challenged seniority and leadership from each other) until a real leader was found. They were Emir Abd-al-Kader, a descendant of the Arab rulers of Algeria, who returned from political emigration from Egypt after the fall of the power of the Turks. While the French were finishing off the last remnants of the Turkish authorities, Al Kader was able to unite around himself more 30 tribes, to establish the production of weapons and ammunition. They actually created an independent state - the emirate, with its capital in Mascara. The advance of the French into the depths of Algeria was so difficult and bloody that in 1834 they were forced to conclude an armistice with him.

For their actions, from the very beginning having nothing in common with the “civilized mission”, the colonialists received the same merciless guerrilla war, which they had already encountered during the Napoleonic Wars in Spain and Russia. The actions of the French military leadership had little to do with the methods of warfare, adopted even in Europe, satiated with blood. One of the series of French commanders-in-chief, the duke René Savary, who was so energetic in his stormy and purposeful activity in the conquest of Algeria, was so energetic that he had to be recalled to France, especially distinguished himself in this sphere. Mass executions with the burning of a living civilian population in locked houses were an excessive strain on the nervous system of the then public, who did not yet know words like Khatyn or Songmi.

Together with the military, economic expansion also went hand in hand. The French began to use the land of Algeria for the cultivation of various crops: grains, grapes and then expensive cotton. With almost free and large labor, capital investments in agriculture yielded good profits. It was clear that the invaders would not stop only on coastal regions. Connoisseurs of fine wines and aphorisms of Voltaire did not attach much importance to the peace agreements with Al Kader. In 1835, fighting resumed. However, the emir was a very talented commander and statesman - his methods of exhausting enemy forces in the depths of Algerian territory gave good results, and in 1837, the exhausted French concluded a new truce with him. The nut was strong. France recognized the authority of Abd-al-Kader over most of western Algeria.

Both sides were aware that this was just another respite. The unsolved “Algerian question” negatively influenced public and foreign policy opinion, spoiled the image. October 18 1838, the French troops, violating the treaty, attacked the forces of the Emir. This time it was decided to act for sure - large reinforcements arrived from the metropolis. The big bourgeois, the ideologues of the conquest of Algeria, hurried and complained about the high costs. Skillfully using the bickering between the field commanders of the emirate and concentrating almost the 100-thousandth army under the command of General Bugeaud, the colonialists captured most of the emirate by the year 1843. The fact that for a long time it was not possible to take with the help of gunpowder and steel, we managed to get hold of our hands thanks to gold, lies and empty promises. Al Kader was forced to flee to neighboring Morocco, with the support of the local Sultan Abd al-Rahman. Rightly arguing that “today Algeria is tomorrow you”, the emir agreed with the Moroccans on a military alliance. The Sultan's troops moved to the Algerian border, but in the battle of the River Isley near the city they suffered a crushing defeat. Abd-al Rahman was forced to sign the Tangier Peace Treaty, under which he pledged not to provide assistance to Al Kader. 22 December 1847 of the year leading a desperate partisan struggle and surrounded on all sides by the emir was captured by General Lamoricier and was sent to France. The French needed more than one military campaign in order to take control of the regions of the extreme south inhabited by the Kabil tribes for two years. In 1848, Algeria was officially declared a French territory.

Emir Abd-al-Kader was such an outstanding and popular person that the French did not dare to touch him. Until 1852, he lived with his family under virtually nominal supervision until Emperor Napoleon III released him. The former leader went to Damascus, where he lived a long, eventful life and died in the 1883 year.

Advantageous acquisition

French Zouav

Algeria was a profitable acquisition. During the war, the French army received a great deal of military experience, and new varieties of infantry — Algerian Zouaves and the Foreign Legion — appeared in its structure. Its headquarters, from 1843, was located in Siddi Bel Abessa until the 1962 year. A whole galaxy of talented generals, past the harsh school of African campaigns, participated in the Crimean War. The names of Bosquet, Canrober and MacMahon were heard in combat reports from near Sevastopol. The Zouaves competed in valor with the legendary Cossacks, and the banners of the 1 and 2 regiments of the Foreign Legion were decorated with the inscription “Sevastopol 1855”. A number of historians claim that the victory won by the allies in the Crimea was achieved thanks to the qualities of the French army, hardened in the Algerian campaign. But it is more fair to assume that the success of the enemy was most greatly contributed to figures like the favorite of Nicholas I, Prince Menshikov, whose leadership could be easily equated to several infantry divisions from the enemy. And simple Russian soldiers and officers were traditionally at their best.

1858 – 1860 Algeria was under the direct control of the Minister of Colony Affairs in Paris, then transferred to the military administration. In 1870, Algerian Muslims were hypocritically declared French nationals, but did not receive political rights. In the same year, civilian administration was restored, and during the 1881 – 1896 period, separate administrative services were supervised by the relevant ministries from Paris. Algeria was not a quiet paradise, however, like the whole of North Africa. Her fever impotent rage against the colonialists, strangers in faith and in spirit. Under the thin skin of the rapidly growing European quarters of Algeria, Oran and Constantine, there was hidden the permanent poverty and mud of the Arab regions, the gloss and shiny tinsel of the West looked at the bearded east with mock and contempt.

Both world wars did not leave aside “French India,” as the French themselves called Algeria. More than 200 thousand Algerians were mobilized, 30 thousand of them died. In the Second World Territory of the country survived the landing of the Allied armies as part of Operation Torch. Immediately in 1943, the 1-I French army was formed, which participated in the battles in Europe. Thus, the conquered country ironically had to become one of the springboards for the liberation of its metropolis.

But the Algerians for the most part remained Algerians, and did not become French. And they have not forgotten anything. The jets of steam escaping from the Algerian boiler, after 1945, became thick and concentrated, until, finally, the boiler boiled.

The war for the independence of Algeria 1954 – 1962 in France, until very recently, was chosen to be called anything but war. For many years, it was a kind of white spot, an uncomfortable topic, which was talked about with crooked teeth. Only in 1999, the events of that time were officially called war. But if you do not talk about the problem, it does not mean that it will disappear. When Algeria became inevitable in 1962, the year of independence, France experienced another drama, which, unlike the Algerian war, is not customary to recall until now. Almost 800 thousand French and more 40 thousand Algerians were forced to quit almost everything and go to France. Older residents of the metropolis, remembering the Great Russian Exodus, after the Civil War, looked at the tragedy of their contemporaries in dismay. Drama and tragedy were played in the ports and on the airfields, which are now consigned to oblivion. The oldest debts of history are invariably paid. The blood on the bayonets of the rangers of Burmon was multiplied by the paratroopers of Salan and Moss. And paid for those for whom Algeria was home. And now, having moved to France, the Algerians in one way or another submit bills over and over again. The frivolous decision to arrange a campaign to raise the rating of a degraded monarchy eventually turned into fires in the Paris suburbs. And it is obvious that business will not be limited to fires only.

The conquest of France Algeria

On the left is a monument to the fallen, on the right - so the monument looks now

There is one interesting monument, as if symbolizing the relations of France and Algeria. The whole world knows the statue of Christ, towering over Rio de Janeiro. Its author, Paul-Maximilian Landowski, has created another now-forgotten monument. It was erected in the 20 of the last century in Algeria in memory of the Algerians who were killed on the fronts of the First World War. Three horse figures - France, a French soldier and an Arab soldier - hold a shield with the body of the murdered hero. Unity and mournful greatness of the empire. In 1978, the monument was turned into a concrete cube. On its frontal part are clenched hands, tearing the shackles. Hands clenched with anger, debts not paid, bills will still be presented. Blood is not forgiven. Probably, the aesthetics of a concrete cube loses to the imperial pathetic monument. But life and history are not only painted in black or white. On the one hand, the Algerians poured into the concrete part of their past associated with France, on the other - go to France to become its citizens. Maybe the story decided to arrange a test of Arabic-French lessons. And to remember that before entering, you need to think about how you will go out - it would be good to remember this for all participants in the historical process.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Koshak
    Koshak 23 November 2015 06: 43
    "And remember that before entering, you need to think about how you will leave - it would be good to remember this for all participants in the historical process."

    Including "migrants".
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 23 November 2015 07: 50
    can end at the entrance to the Notre Dame Mosque?
    Somehow relevant today it sounds: ... what, what kind of mother ... of Paris ... goddess ... Thank you, Denis ... excellent article ..!
  3. Mantykora
    Mantykora 23 November 2015 12: 35
    And yet to do so with the monument is barbarism. If we placed this concrete cube next to the original, the effect would have been stronger ... And even better - not a cube, but something more beautiful and bearing the symbols of the liberation of Algeria from the French colonialists - for example, zuav tearing shackles. And under the corresponding inscription under both monuments.

    And so it’s just a desecration of monuments. Monuments do not need to be changed or destroyed - even bad ones in the opinion of the society that lives now. Any of them is a message of contemporaries to descendants, which can also be answered with a monument or keep silent.
  4. saygon66
    saygon66 23 November 2015 18: 08
    - 1960 became the "Year of Africa" ​​... This year 17 (!) New African states appeared on the world map ...
    - Leftists all over the world fought in orgasm - why, the "struggle" for the liberation of Africa from colonial oppression was in full swing, and the former slaves were about to join the "friendly family" of the global civilization ...
    - "From Europe, about our freedoms - keep us, Lord ..." (C) Verses by Bernard Dadier, written, by the way, in the language of the French oppressors. And he:
    - "I don't like a tie ...
    I carry death on my hand -
    Death of delusional Europe! "
    “He will free himself from everything superfluous, reviving the African within himself, urged Seko Toure, the first president of the Republic of Guinea, and free Africans heard him, taking out the intestines from thousands of their compatriots ...
    - Go Amin Dodo, Jean Baptiste Bokassa - the face of liberated Africa ... M. b. right now is the time to reassess the decolonization process ...
    - Time has confirmed: "Slaves do not want to be free ... They want to have their slaves!" (c) Cicero.
  5. Alex
    Alex 23 November 2015 18: 19
    Denis, thanks for the article. Easy, informative and educational. "+" and wishes of success.
    ALEA IACTA EST 23 November 2015 20: 25
    Now the descendants of Hussein Pasha colonize France ...
  7. Plombirator
    23 November 2015 22: 37
    Now the descendants of Hussein Pasha colonize France ...

    The echoes of the Algerian wars will roar in France for a long time. In fact, the French army pressed against the wall of the TNF at the beginning of the 1960 and won on points, but de Gaulle decided that it would be more correct to leave the country only by force of arms. politically too late
  8. Turkir
    Turkir 23 November 2015 23: 44
    But it is more fair to believe that the success of the enemy was most promoted by figures like the favorite of Nicholas I, Prince Menshikov, whose leadership could be safely equated to several enemy infantry divisions.

    Toxic, but fair. what
  9. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 24 November 2015 03: 16
    Quote: Mantykora
    And yet to do so with the monument is barbarism. .

    But they don’t want such a story, colonization. Did the French respect them as their equal allies? Probably not. And the Algerians felt this falsehood. If in 1978 their fists were clenched from Anger.
    I liked the article very much. We are continuing the continuation now.
  10. Irbenwolf
    Irbenwolf 24 November 2015 16: 16
    Having erected a pretentious cube with their hands breaking the shackles, the aborigines, just as they did 200 years ago, did not bother to take a plow in these hands. Everything has returned to the same banal "piracy", only now not sea piracy, but land-based social piracy, using narratively tolerant phantoms imposed on themselves by the French themselves.
  11. maxim1987
    maxim1987 30 October 2016 20: 01
    On the one hand, Algerians poured in concrete part of their past connected with France, on the other hand, they go to France to become its citizens

    our former Central Asians also slaughtered Russians in the 90s, and now "nasyalnika, give me work"
  12. alexej123
    alexej123 3 November 2016 08: 14
    Thanks Denis. True, easy to understand, informative. For the Algerian period of France, I would like to learn more about General Raul Salan. Times are changing, ratings about such personalities are changing.