Author Topic: French Colonialism in Algiers  (Read 380 times)

90sRetroFan

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Re: French Colonialism in Algiers
« on: March 15, 2021, 02:04:34 am »
OLD CONTENT contd.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalla_Fatma_N%27Soumer

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Lalla Fadhma n'Soumer (Berber: Lalla Faḍma en Sumer, ⵍⴰⵍⵍⴰ ⴼⴰⴹⵎⴰ ⴻⵏ ⵙⵓⵎⴻⵔ; c.1830 – c. 1863) was an important figure of the Algerian resistance movement during the first years of the French colonial invasion of Algeria. She was seen as the embodiment of the struggle.

From 1854 to July 1857, she assisted in leading a resistance against the French. Once captured by French forces, she was imprisoned until her death six years later. Her disciples would believe that she was gifted powers by God, including the abilities to see the future and cure illness.[1]

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mokrani_Revolt

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Cheikh Mokrani (Mohamed Amokrane) and his brother Boumezrag were sons of a family of high rank - the Ait Abbas dynasty (a branch of the Hafsids of Béjaïa), the Amokrane, masters, since the sixteenth century of the Kalâa of Ait Abbas in the Bibans and of the Medjana region.[5] In the 1830s, their father Ahmed El Mokrani (d. 1853), had chosen to ally himself with the French; it was he who had allowed the Iron Gates expedition in 1839 and he had become khalifa of the Medjana under the tutelage of the French authorities.[6] This alliance had soon revealed itself to be subordination - a decree of 1845 abolished the khalifalik of Medjana so that when Mohamed succeeded his father, as the choice of the Arab Bureaux, his title was no more than “bachagha” (Turkish: başağa=chief commander).[7]:35 During the hardships of 1867, he gave his personal guarantee, at the request of the authorities, for important loans. In 1870, the creditors demanded to be repaid and the French authorities reneged on the loan on the pretext of the Franco-Prussian War, leaving Mohamed obliged to pawn his own possessions. The late 1860s were hard for the people of Algeria: between 1866 and 1868 they lived through drought, exceptionally cold winters, an epidemic of cholera and an earthquake. More than 10% of the kabyle population died during this period.[1] On 12 June 1869, Marshall MacMahon, the Governor General, advised the French government that “the Kabyles will stay peaceful as long as they see no possibility of driving us out of their country.”[8]
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A number of origins have been suggested for the Mokrani revolt. There was a general dissatisfaction among Kabyle notables because of the steady erosion of their authority by the colonial authorities. At the same time, ordinary people were concerned about the imposition of civilian rule on 9 March, which they interpreted as imposing domination by the settlers, with encroachments on their land and loss of autonomy.[13] The Cremieux Decree of 24 October 1870, which gave French nationality to Algerian Jews was probably another cause of the unrest.[7]
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On 16 March, Mokrani led six thousand men in an assault on Bordj Bou Arreridj.[20] On 8 April, French troops regained control of the Medjana plain. The same day, Si Aziz, son of Cheikh Ahaddad, head of the Rahmaniyya order, proclaimed a holy war in the market of Seddouk.[14] Soon 150,000 Kabyles rose,[21] as the revolt spread along the coast first, then into the mountains to the east of the Mitidja and as far as Constantine. It then spread to the Belezma mountains and linked with local insurrections all the way down to the Sahara desert.[22] As they spread towards Algiers itself, the insurgents took Lakhdaria (Palestro), 60 km east of the capital, on 14 April. By April, 250 tribes had risen, or nearly a third of Algeria's population. One hundred thousand “mujahidin”, poorly armed and disorganised, were launching random raids and attacks.[13]
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The military authorities brought in reinforcements for the Army of Africa; Admiral de Gueydon, who took over as Governor General on 29 March, replacing Special Commissioner Alexis Lambert, mobilised 22,000 soldiers.[1] Advancing from Palestro towards Algiers, the rebels were stopped at Boudouaou (Alma) on 22 April 1871; on 5 May,[1] Mohamed El Mokrani died fighting at Oued Soufflat, halfway between Lakhdaria (Palestro) and Bouira in an encounter with the troops of General Saussier.[20]
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On 25 April, the Governor General declared a state of siege.[23] Twenty columns of French troops marched on Dellys and Draâ El Mizan. Cheikh Haddad and his sons were captured on 13 July after the battle of Icheriden.[24] The revolt only faded after the capture of Boumezrag, Cheikh Mokrani’s brother, on 20 January 1872.[25]
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During the fighting, around 100 European civilians died, along with an unknown number of Algerian civilians.[1] After fighting ceased, more than 200 Kabyles were interned[26] and others deported to Cayenne[26] and New Caledonia, where they were known as Algerians of the Pacific.[27] Boumezrag Mokrani was condemned to death by a court in Constantine on 27 March 1873.

The Kabylie region was subjected to a collective fine of 36 million francs, and 450,000 hectares of land were confiscated and given to new settlers

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A commission of inquiry set up by the French Senate in 1892 and headed by former Premier Jules Ferry, an advocate of colonial expansion, recommended that the government abandon a policy that assumed French law, without major modifications, could fit the needs of an area inhabited by close to two million Europeans and four million Muslims. Muslims had no representation in the French National Assembly before 1945 and were grossly under-represented on local councils. Because of the many restrictions imposed by the authorities, by 1915 only 50,000 Muslims were eligible to vote in elections in the civil communes. Attempts to implement even the most modest reforms were blocked or delayed by the local administration in Algeria, dominated by colons, and by the 27 colon representatives in the National Assembly (six deputies and three senators from each department).[citation needed]

Once elected to the National Assembly, colons became permanent fixtures. Because of their seniority, they exercised disproportionate influence, and their support was important to any government's survival.[citation needed] The leader of the colon delegation, Auguste Warnier (1810–1875), succeeded during the 1870s in modifying or introducing legislation to facilitate the private transfer of land to settlers and continue the Algerian state's appropriation of land from the local population and distribution to settlers.
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Europeans held about 30% of the total arable land, including the bulk of the most fertile land and most of the areas under irrigation.[21] By 1900, Europeans produced more than two-thirds of the value of output in agriculture and practically all agricultural exports. The modern, or European, sector was run on a commercial basis and meshed with the French market system that it supplied with wine, citrus, olives, and vegetables. Nearly half of the value of European-owned real property was in vineyards by 1914. By contrast, subsistence cereal production—supplemented by olive, fig, and date growing and stock raising—formed the basis of the traditional sector, but the land available for cropping was submarginal even for cereals under prevailing traditional cultivation practices.

The colonial regime imposed more and higher taxes on Muslims than on Europeans.[22] The Muslims, in addition to paying traditional taxes dating from before the French conquest, also paid new taxes, from which the colons were normally exempted. In 1909, for instance, Muslims, who made up almost 90% of the population but produced 20% of Algeria's income, paid 70% of direct taxes and 45% of the total taxes collected. And colons controlled how these revenues would be spent. As a result, colon towns had handsome municipal buildings, paved streets lined with trees, fountains and statues, while Algerian villages and rural areas benefited little if at all from tax revenues.

The colonial regime proved severely detrimental to overall education for Algerian Muslims, who had previously relied on religious schools to learn reading, writing, and engage in religious studies. Not only did the state appropriate the habus lands (the religious foundations that constituted the main source of income for religious institutions, including schools) in 1843, but colon officials refused to allocate enough money to maintain schools and mosques properly and to provide for enough teachers and religious leaders for the growing population. In 1892, more than five times as much was spent for the education of Europeans as for Muslims, who had five times as many children of school age.
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Efforts were begun by 1890 to educate a small number of Muslims along with European students in the French school system as part of France's "civilizing mission" in Algeria. The curriculum was entirely French and allowed no place for Arabic studies, which were deliberately downgraded even in Muslim schools. Within a generation, a class of well-educated, gallicized Muslims — the évolués (literally, the evolved ones)—had been created.
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Reporting to the French Senate in 1894, Governor General Jules Cambon wrote that Algeria had "only a dust of people left her." He referred to the destruction of the traditional ruling class that had left Muslims without leaders
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Algeria became the prototype for a pattern of French colonial rule which has been described as "quasi-apartheid".[26]

When French rule began, France had no well established systems for intensive colonial governance, the main existing legal provision being the 1685 Code Noir, which focused on slave-trading and owning. From 1830, Algerians were not French citizens, nor did they have a mechanism to become citizens.As French rule in Algeria expanded, particularly under Thomas-Robert Bugeaud (1841–48), discriminatory governance became increasingly formalised. In 1844, Bugeaud formalised a system of European settlements along the coast, under civil government, with Arab/Berber areas in the interior under military governance.[27]  An important feature of French rule was cantonnement, whereby tribal land that was supposedly unused was seized by the state, which enabled French colonists to expand their landholdings, pushing indigenous people onto more marginal land and making them more vulnerable to drought;[28] this was extended under the governance of Bugeaud's successor, Jacques Louis Randon.[27]
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In 1870, the French government granted Algerian Jews French citizenship under the Crémieux Decree, but not Muslims.[31] This meant that most Algerians were now 'French subjects', treated as the objects of French law, but were not citizens, could not vote, and were effectively without the right to citizenship.[30] (Jewish people's citizenship was revoked by the Vichy government in the early 1940s, but was restored in 1943.)

In 1881, the Code de l'indigénat was formally introduced, enabling district officials to issue summary punishments to Muslims without due legal process, and to extract special taxes and forced labour.
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In a bargain-hunting frenzy to take over or buy at low prices all manner of property—homes, shops, farms and factories—Europeans poured into Algiers after it fell. French authorities took possession of the beylik lands, from which Ottoman officials had derived income. Over time, as pressures increased to obtain more land for settlement by Europeans, the state seized more categories of land, particularly that used by tribes, religious foundations, and villages