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Algeria: The beginning of the French colonization (1830-1834)

Last modified: 2016-04-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: algiers |
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The seizure of Algiers (1830)

[Bourbon flag]

Flag of the Kingdom of France (Charles X) - Image by Pierre Gay, 11 December 2001

In the beginning of the 19th century, the Regency of Algiers was nominally under Ottoman sovereignty, and protected the so-called pirates of the Barbary Coast who sailed all over the Mediterranean Sea.
In April 1827, France took as pretext to start the conquest the famous "flyswatter incident". Dey Hussein (1765-1838), the local ruler of Algiers, hit the French Consul Duval three times in the face with his flyswatter for an obscure question of debts. The Dey was asked to apologize, to no avail. Next year, Envoy La Bretonnière could not receive any apologizes and his vessel was targeted by the Dey's cannons.
On 31 January 1830, an expedition commanded by Admiral Duperre and General de Bourmont was set up to punish the Dey and get rid of the pirates. The expedition, including 350 vessels and 35,000 men, left Toulon on 25 May. On 13 June, the French fleet reached Algiers. On 5 July, Hussein capitulated and the fleur-de-lisé French flag (the flag of the Bourbon Restauration) was hoisted over the Casbah. On 9 July, 101 cannon shots from the Invalides square told the Parisians the conquest was achieved.

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2001

The flag of the Dey of Algiers, captured in 1830 and today in the Victor Hugo Museum in Paris, is red and contains Koranic inscriptions in Arabic, embroidered in gold thread, and a "zulfikar" sword (sword of Ali).

Jaume Ollé, translated by Joe McMillan, 23 January 2002

Officialization of the colonization (1834)

[Bourbon flag]

Flag of the Kingdom of France (Louis-Philippe) - Image by Željko Heimer, 11 December 2001

On 26 February 1834, Desmichels, representing Louis-Philippe, King of the French, signed a treaty with Emir Abd-el-Kader (1808-1883). The Ordinance of 22 July 1834 officialized the French possessions in Northern Algeria, which were placed under the supervision of a military Governor General.

Ivan Sache, 11 December 2001