Algeria, French in
- The French presence in Algeria dates to the early 19th century, when, in 1830, King charles x sent an expedition against Algiers. This action had been inspired by earlier naval blockades of the Algerian ports by the French and other European powers in response to Turkish corsairs that had been attacking merchant vessels. French occupation and annexation of the region (1834) soon followed. The objective of the annexation was to colonize the territory. But this immediately provoked fierce resistance from the local tribes, who had been accustomed to the earlier indirect rule of the ottomans. The tribal leader, Abd al-Qatar, fought an effective campaign against the French until he was defeated in 1847. At that point, France began the colonization of Algeria in earnest, and consequently there was a huge influx of European settlers. The French encouraged this by confiscating or purchasing at low prices Algerian-owned properties. Algeria became an overseas department of France, controlled effectively by the European minority (colons), who formed a privileged elite. The colons soon developed a modern economy similar to that in France. Agriculture too was geared to the French economy, with large estates producing wine and citrus fruit intended for export to Europe. Additionally, all colons, whatever their economic status, shared a strong belief in an "Algérie française." The Muslim population, however, although benefiting from economic development and social services, remained a disadvantaged majority without political rights and with many restrictions. Their population continued to grow and reached 5 million by 1930. That of the Europeans had grown from 36,000 in 1840 to nearly a million.Algerian nationalism developed after World War I (1914-18) among groups who sought parity with the Europeans. In the 1920s and 1930s, Ferhat Abbas and Ahmed Messali Hadj were among the more prominent nationalist leaders. in 1936, the French government presented a plan (Blum-violette proposal) that would have granted full equality to Muslim Algerian war veterans and professionals, but it was vetoed by colon deputies in the French National Assembly. In response, the Algerian nationalists organized militant anti-French movements during World War II (1939-45). By 1946 the two most important of these were the union démocratique du manifeste algérien (UDMA) of Ferhat Abbas and the Mouvement pour le triomphe des libertés démocratiques (MTLD) of Messali Hadj. In 1947, the French government approved the Algerian Organic Statute, which established Algeria's first parliamentary assembly, with an equal number of European and Algerian Muslim delegates. But this satisfied neither group and proved ineffective. By the early 1950s, militant nationalists were preparing for an armed revolt. In March 1954, ahmed ben bella, an ex-sergeant in the French army, formed with others in exile the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN). By November, the group had begun attacks on military and government installations. Guerrilla actions intensified and, by 1956, 400,000 French troops were stationed in Algeria. Terrorism and guerrilla tactics on the part of the nationalists brought counterterrorist actions from the French military and the colons. By 1956, the conflict had spread to the cities, producing harsh reprisals from the military and government authorities. international criticism of France increased because of this policy, and there was a wide division of public opinion in France. in May 1958, the colons and French army officers joined to overthrow the French government in Algiers, charging it with vacillation. A Committee of Public Safety demanded the return to office of General charles de gaulle. Once in power, however, de Gaulle realized that the war could not be won and, in 1959, announced his intention of allowing Algerians to choose between independence or continued association with France. The colons and their supporters revolted in early 1960 and, in 1961, a group of army officers tried to overthrow de Gaulle. Both times, however, the majority of the military remained loyal to the government. Associated with the general's plot was the Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS), a group of colon and military extremists who simultaneously launched a counterattack on both the FLN and the French authorities. In March 1962, a cease-fire was finally arranged at Évian, France, between government and FLN representatives. In a referendum of July 1963, Algerians voted overwhelmingly for independence, and the colons began a mass evacuation with nearly all leaving by the end of the year. Those who remained could choose, after three years, either Algerian or French citizenship. France also ceded the Sahara oil and gas deposits to the Algerians and provided special aid for postwar recovery. French casualties from the conflict were about 100,000, the Algerian more than 1 million, and 1.1 million inhabitants became refugees.
France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.
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