Intervention and Colonization in Africa

By Norman Dwight Harris | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE REOCCUPATION OF NORTHERN AFRICA

TUNISIA

As early as 1824, France had secured by treaty a recognized position for her nationals in Tunis and a favorable commercial agreement. In 1830, she persuaded the Bey to renounce privateering and to admit foreign consuls into his capital. After the occupation of Algiers and Constantine by the French, the boundaries of their colonial possessions in northern Africa were contiguous with those of Tunis; and it became necessary for the French authorities to protect the frontier of their new colony and its trade, as well as their own interests in the regency of Tunis itself. By right of concessions secured from the Bey Mohammed-es- Sadok, through the instrumentality of their able and astute agent in Tunis, Léon Roches, in 1859 and 1861, the French built two telegraph lines, one from the city of Tunis to the frontier of Algeria and the other from the same center to Sousse and Sfax, and connected them with her own Algerian system. She was further given permission to join any part of the Tunisian system with European cables, although the Bey reserved the right to make a similar grant to any other government.

During the next ten years the pacification of Algeria, accompanied as it was by frequent insurrections, occupied completely the attention of the French. Then came the Franco-Prussian War and the troubles and disorders accompanying the establishment of the Third Republic, which precluded any further colonial expansion for the moment.

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