- By the mid-nineteenth century, Algeria was a uniquely significant Northern African territory of the French Empire. After centuries as both the westernmost province of the Ottoman Empire and a base for the Barbary pirates, Algeria was invaded and colonized by the French in 1830 as part of Charles X ’s efforts to preserve his throne after his attempts to restore autocratic royal power in France triggered widespread discontent. Although Charles lost his throne in the July Revolution of 1830, his successors opted to retain Algeria and spent the next several decades conquering the interior in the hopes of establishing a settlement colony that could also serve as a source of labor and food imports. The French presence was bitterly opposed by the Algerian forces under Abd-al-Q¯adir who quickly launched a fierce guerilla war to drive out the invaders. France in turn retaliated by confiscating land, engaging in collective reprisals, and embracing a scorched earth policy of destroying crops and livestock. General Thomas-Robert Bugeaud, with the aid of over 100,000 French troops, eventually succeeded in conquering and pacifying the bulk of Algeria in 1847, but smaller French military operations continued in the interior zones until the early twentieth century.As the army worked to pacify the interior, French settlers, also known as colons or pieds noirs, poured into Algeria’s urban and coastal areas in search of cheap land and business opportunities. Throughout the nineteenth century, the ranks of free settlers were also swelled by political prisoners deported after the Revolution of 1848 and the Paris Commune of 1870, as well as immigrants from Spain, Italy, and the nearby British colony of Malta. The size of the European settler community, which eventually reached 10 percent of the total Algerian population, meant that it exerted substantial political influence in Paris. the settlers enjoyed voting rights, owned most farms and businesses, and controlled the local administration, and the Algerian masses were rendered second-class citizens. In addition to facing chronic unemployment, poverty, and limited prospects for education, unless they abandoned their traditional culture and religion, Algerians were also denied voting rights and were subject to the indigénat , an arbitrary legal policy that allowed colonial administrators to impose summary fines and jail terms for a wide range of alleged offenses. The end result of these policies was lingering resentment that led to the rise of Algerian nationalism in the aftermath of the twentieth century’s two World Wars.See also <
>; < >; < >.FURTHER READING:Ageron, Charles Robert. Modern Algeria: A History from 1830 to the Present. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1991;Bennoune, Mahfoud. The Making of Contemporary Algeria, 1830-1987: Colonial Upheavals and Post-independence Development. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002;Stora, Benjamin. Algeria 1830-2000: A Short History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.KENNETH J. OROSZ
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.