Topics: Algeria, Colonialism, Pied-Noir Pages: 7 (2461 words) Published: December 17, 2012
The Maghreb (Arabic: المغرب, Berber: Tamazɣa[citation needed ]) is usually defined as much or most of the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. The traditional definition as being the region including the Atlas Mountains and the coastal plains of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, was later superseded, especially since the 1989 formation of the Arab Maghreb Union, Algeria became a republic of France in 1830. The French viewed Algeria, which was under Ottoman Regency at that time, as a "decadent state" -- given over to slavery, piracy and tribal anarchy. French viewed such government as very disastrous, which could no longer control its own internal affairs and was a hazard to other countries in the region. The colonial viewpoint was to liberate the oppressed people from the "feudal" regime imposed on Algerians by the Turks. The French ejected the Turks, but established their own "feudal class", which later will lead to the drive for Algerian independence. France has also realized the vast potential of land use and large-scale cotton production in Algeria. These and other commercial interests led to an increased French interest in Algeria. Process of Colonization

As French moved into Algeria, they began to impose a new set of rules to "modernize" the country. First of all, the division and reorganization of lands has taken place. Tribal lands were compressed in the 1840’s to cantonal lands or territory that was considered as "sufficient" to support life of the tribe. The rest was opened for colonization. By 1847 as many as 110,000 Europeans had settled in Algeria. The European settlers were largely peasants and farmers. Pieds noirs, as they were called had an opportunity for the first time to own land. Other émigrés were criminals and political deportees, transported under sentence in large numbers to Algeria. The Ordinance of July 2, 1834 established a regular form of government in Algeria. Power was placed in the hands of a Governor General. Furthermore, the country was divided into three subdivisions: Algiers, Oran and Constantine. However, the French Revolution of 1848 and the creation of a Second Republic changed the way French did things in Algeria. A new military structure replaced the civilian establishment. Algeria was formally declared to be a part of France and was again divided into three departments, the government of which was placed into the hands of European settlers. The tension between the French and the Arabs started to grow. The French neglected the Arabs and in July of 1864, Senatus Consulte declared all Moslems to be French subjects, meaning the Muslims were not to be citizens. This way, the Arabs could keep their Muslim religion and the Koran law, and were subject to special police regulations, including the infamous code de l’indigenat. In order for Arabs to become full-blooded French citizens, they had to give up their personal status, which not many were willing to do. In 1850’s Napoleon III, the ruler of France at the time, decided to end the government-assisted colonization and give it to the hands of "lenders and speculators." Muslims were thus pushed off the lands they owned or were forced to become farmers, of what used to be, their own lands. This has led to the complete abandonment of Muslims by the French government. Along with this, the settlers planted those crops that had the highest market value, inspite of the needs of the native Algerian population. The highest market value was wine products, and wine industry brought the largest income to Algeria. However, 9/10 of the native population was forbidden to drink by their religious law. The resentment among Algerians grew stronger and led to their increased support of the Algerian Lobby, organization devoted to changing the status quo of Muslims, upon whom the French relied as an ever flowing source of cheap labor. Unfortunately farming was not even close to one of the biggest economic sectors of Algerian economy. Commercial and...
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