An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

3. Algeria

France conquered Algeria in a hard-fought campaign that began in 1830. Turkish rule there had long degenerated and the ports were strongholds of Barbary pirates, whose crimes served to justify the conquest. But the French soon found the temperate and hilly coastal belt suitable for commercial agriculture, and nearly a million French and other Europeans settled in Algeria (the 140,000 Jews are also classed as Europeans; probably half are of Berber origin). Four- fifths of the Europeans live in towns, 300,000 in Algiers alone, and 200,000 in Oran. But the 45,000 Europeans on farms owned a third of all the arable land. The Moslem population of 10 million is fast growing, over half of them being under the age of 20.

The French long sought to integrate Algeria with metropolitan France. When Napoleon III tried to conciliate the Arabs, the French of Algiers revolted against him in 1870, establishing a tradition of settler revolt. Settler opposition defeated later moves to grant more rights to the Moslems, and this embittered many Moslem leaders who had supported assimilation. In 1954 the rebel FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) launched a guerrilla revolt; it was soon pinning down a French army of 450,000. As well as the war in Algeria, there was violent conflict among the 300,000 Algerians working in France, especially between adherents of the FLN and those of an older nationalist movement, the MNA, led by Messali Haj. The FLN was supported by the Arab states as a whole; the war embittered French relations with them, and French resentment at Egyptian actions contributed to the 1956 Suez conflict (7).

In 1958 frustration over failure to suppress the rebellion produced the overthrow of the French government by a revolt among the settlers, backed by the army in Algeria and by French supporters of the claim that Algeria was part of France. General de Gaulle, France's wartime hero and first post-war president, came back to power on a wave of enthusiasm, and a new constitution gave him increased powers. He found no quick solution for Algeria, and later declared a policy of achieving an 'Algerian Algeria' through self- determination. This alienated the extremist settlers (ultras) and their friends, including a group of officers who staged a short-lived mutiny in Algeria in 1961. Meanwhile de Gaulle made only slow progress towards coming to terms with the FLN, and partition was discussed.

French reluctance to part with Algeria, and Arab suspicions that France would not give it up, were both increased by developments in its desert 'Southern Territories'. France staged nuclear test explo

-52-

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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