French Algeria (French: Alger to 1839, then Algérie afterwards;[1] unofficially Algérie française,[2][3] Arabic: الجزائر المستعمرة‎), also known as Colonial Algeria, was the colonial rule of France over Algeria. French rule in the region began in 1830 with the invasion of Algiers and lasted until the Algerian War of Independence concluded in 1962. While the administration of Algeria changed significantly over the 132 years of French rule, the Mediterranean coastal region of Algeria, housing the vast majority of its population, was administered as an integral part of France from 1848 until independence.

One of France's longest-held overseas territories, Algeria became a destination for hundreds of thousands of European immigrants known as colons and, later, as pieds-noirs. However, the indigenous Muslim population remained a majority of the territory's population throughout its history. In 1835, indigenous rebels organized the Algerian resistance movement against French settlement; the rebellion was suppressed in 1903 after the "pacification campaign" by the colonial forces, who used chemical weapons, mass executions of prisoners and civilians, concentration camps and other atrocities in order to put them down.[4] Gradually, dissatisfaction among the Muslim population with its lack of political and economic status fueled calls for greater political autonomy, and eventually independence from France. Tensions between the two population groups came to a head in 1954, when the first violent events began of what was later called the Algerian War, characterized by guerrilla warfare and illegal methods used by the French in order to put down the revolt. The war concluded in 1962, when Algeria gained independence following the March 1962 Evian agreements and the July 1962 self-determination referendum.

During its last years of existence, Algeria was, as an integral part of France, a founding member of the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community.[5]


Initial conflicts

Purchase of Christian slaves by French monks in Algiers in 1662

Since the 1516 capture of Algiers by the Ottoman admirals, the brothers Ours and Hayreddin Barbarossa, Algeria had been a base for conflict and piracy in the Mediterranean. In 1681, Louis XIV asked Admiral Abraham Duquesne to fight the Berber pirates and also ordered a large-scale attack on Algiers between 1682 and 1683 on the pretext of assisting Christian captives.[6] Again, Jean II d'Estrées bombarded Tripoli and Algiers from 1685 to 1688. An ambassador from Algiers visited the Court in Versailles, and a Treaty was signed in 1690 that provided peace throughout the 18th century.[7]

During the Directory regime of the First French Republic (1795–99), the Bacri and the Busnach, Jewish negotiators of Algiers, provided important quantities of grain for Napoleon's soldiers who participated in the Italian campaign of 1796. However, Bonaparte refused to pay the bill back, claiming it was excessive. In 1820, Louis XVIII paid back half of the Directory's debts. The dey, who had loaned to the Bacri 250,000 francs, requested from France the rest of the money.

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