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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Sur son crane, des papillons, vivants Finaliste au prix des lectrices du magazine Elle.

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Published by Ullstein first published March 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Franck Thilliez is the author of several bestselling novels in his native France, where he lives. Thilliez was a computer engineer for a decade before he began writing. His government maintained an army and a bureaucracy, collected taxes, supported education, undertook public works, and established agricultural and manufacturing cooperatives to stimulate economic activity.

The French in Algiers viewed with concern the success of a Muslim government and the rapid growth of a viable territorial state that barred the extension of European settlement. Abd al Qadir fought running battles across Algeria with French forces, which included units of the Foreign Legion, organized in for Algerian service. Although his forces were defeated by the French under General Thomas Bugeaud in , Abd al Qadir negotiated a favorable peace treaty the next year.

The treaty of Tafna gained conditional recognition for Abd al Qadir's regime by defining the territory under its control and salvaged his prestige among the tribes just as the shaykhs were about to desert him. To provoke new hostilities, the French deliberately broke the treaty in by occupying Constantine.

Abd al Qadir took up the holy war again, destroyed the French settlements on the Mitidja Plain, and at one point advanced to the outskirts of Algiers itself. He struck where the French were weakest and retreated when they advanced against him in greater strength. The government moved from camp to camp with the amir and his army. Gradually, however, superior French resources and manpower and the defection of tribal chieftains took their toll.

Reinforcements poured into Algeria after until Bugeaud had at his disposal , men, one-third of the French army. One by one, the amir's strongholds fell to the French, and many of his ablest commanders were killed or captured so that by the Muslim state had collapsed. A French force was destroyed at the Battle of Sidi-Brahim in Abd al Qadir was promised safe conduct to Egypt or Palestine if his followers laid down their arms and kept the peace.

A commission of inquiry set up by the French Senate in and headed by former Premier Jules Ferry , an advocate of colonial expansion, recommended that the government abandon a policy that assumed French law, without major modifications, could fit the needs of an area inhabited by close to two million Europeans and four million Muslims.

Muslims had no representation in the French National Assembly before and were grossly under-represented on local councils. Because of the many restrictions imposed by the authorities, by only 50, Muslims were eligible to vote in elections in the civil communes. Attempts to implement even the most modest reforms were blocked or delayed by the local administration in Algeria, dominated by colons , and by the 27 colon representatives in the National Assembly six deputies and three senators from each department.

Once elected to the National Assembly, colons became permanent fixtures. Because of their seniority , they exercised disproportionate influence, and their support was important to any government's survival. The bulk of Algeria's wealth in manufacturing , mining , agriculture , and trade was controlled by the grands colons. The modern European-owned and -managed sector of the economy centered around small industry and a highly developed export trade, designed to provide food and raw materials to France in return for capital and consumer goods. The modern, or European, sector was run on a commercial basis and meshed with the French market system that it supplied with wine, citrus, olives, and vegetables.

Nearly half of the value of European-owned real property was in vineyards by By contrast, subsistence cereal production—supplemented by olive, fig, and date growing and stock raising—formed the basis of the traditional sector, but the land available for cropping was submarginal even for cereals under prevailing traditional cultivation practices. The colonial regime imposed more and higher taxes on Muslims than on Europeans.

And colons controlled how these revenues would be spent. As a result, colon towns had handsome municipal buildings, paved streets lined with trees, fountains and statues, while Algerian villages and rural areas benefited little if at all from tax revenues. The colonial regime proved severely detrimental to overall education for Algerian Muslims, who had previously relied on religious schools to learn reading, writing, and engage in religious studies. Not only did the state appropriate the habus lands the religious foundations that constituted the main source of income for religious institutions, including schools in , but colon officials refused to allocate enough money to maintain schools and mosques properly and to provide for enough teachers and religious leaders for the growing population.

In , more than five times as much was spent for the education of Europeans as for Muslims, who had five times as many children of school age. Because few Muslim teachers were trained, Muslim schools were largely staffed by French teachers. Even a state-operated madrasah school often had French faculty members. Attempts to institute bilingual, bicultural schools, intended to bring Muslim and European children together in the classroom, were a conspicuous failure, rejected by both communities and phased out after As late as only one Muslim boy in five and one girl in sixteen was receiving formal schooling.

Efforts were begun by to educate a small number of Muslims along with European students in the French school system as part of France's " civilizing mission " in Algeria. The curriculum was entirely French and allowed no place for Arabic studies, which were deliberately downgraded even in Muslim schools. He lamented that no genuine communication was possible between the two communities.

The colons who ran Algeria maintained a dialog only with the beni-oui-ouis. Following its conquest of Ottoman controlled Algeria in , for well over a century France maintained what was effectively colonial rule in the territory, though the French Constitution of made Algeria part of France, and Algeria was usually understood as such by French people, even on the Left. When French rule began, France had no well established systems for intensive colonial governance, the main existing legal provision being the Code Noir , which focused on slave-trading and owning.

From , Algerians were not French citizens, nor did they have a mechanism to become citizens. As French rule in Algeria expanded, particularly under Thomas-Robert Bugeaud —48 , discriminatory governance became increasingly formalised. In the s, Napoleon III , influenced by Ismael Urbain , introduced what were intended as liberalising reforms in Algeria, promoting the French colonial model of assimilation , whereby colonised peoples would eventually become French.

His reforms were resisted by colonists in Algeria, and his attempts to allow Muslims to be elected to a putative new assembly in Paris failed. However, he oversaw an decree that "stipulated that all the colonised indigenous were under French jurisdiction, i. Opportunities for Muslims improved slightly from the s, particularly for urban elites, which helped ensure acquiescence to the introduction of military conscription for Muslims in Frederick Cooper writes that Muslim Algerians "were still marginalized in their own territory, notably the separate voter roles of "French" civil status and of "Muslim" civil status, to keep their hands on power.

This "internal system of apartheid" met with considerable resistance from the Muslims affected by it, and is cited as one of the causes of the insurrection. In November , French colonial officials attempted to limit the arrivals at Algerian ports by requiring the presentation of passports and residence permits. This May circular allowed merchants with trading interests easy access to passports because they were not permanent settlers and wealthy persons who planned on founding agricultural enterprises in Algeria were also freely given access to move.

The circular forbid the passage of indigents and needy unskilled workers. Single men received 68 percent of the free passages and only 14 percent of the emigrants were women because of varying policies about the emigration of families that all favored unaccompanied males who were seen as more flexible and useful for laborious tasks. Initially in November , families were eligible only if they had no small children and two-thirds of the family was able to work.

Later, in September , only unaccompanied males could travel to Algeria for free and a complicated system for families was developed that made subsidized travel almost unavailable. These emigrants were offered many different forms of government assistance including free passages both to the ports of France and by ship to Algeria , wine rations and food, land concessions, and promised high wages. Between and , about 20, individuals were offered this assisted emigration by the French government, though it is unknown exactly how many actually went to Algeria.


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By , Algeria was populated by , Europeans, only 42, of which were French. A royal ordinance in called for three types of administration in Algeria. In areas where Europeans were a substantial part of the population, colons elected mayors and councils for self-governing "full exercise" communes communes de plein exercice.

In the "mixed" communes, where Muslims were a large majority, government was in the hands of appointed and some elected officials, including representatives of the grands chefs great chieftains and a French administrator. By nearly all of northern Algeria was under French control. Important tools of the colonial administration, from this time until their elimination in the s, were the bureaux arabes Arab offices , staffed by Arabists whose function was to collect information on the indigenous people and to carry out administrative functions, nominally in cooperation with the army.

The bureaux arabes on occasion acted with sympathy to the local population and formed a buffer between Muslims and colons. The colons charged that the bureaux arabes hindered the progress of colonization. They agitated against military rule , complaining that their legal rights were denied under the arbitrary controls imposed on the colony and insisting on a civil administration for Algeria fully integrated with metropolitan France. The army warned that the introduction of civilian government would invite Muslim retaliation and threaten the security of Algeria.

Shortly after Louis Philippe's constitutional monarchy was overthrown in the revolution of , the new government of the Second Republic ended Algeria's status as a colony and declared in the Constitution the occupied lands an integral part of France. Three civil territories — Alger , Oran , and Constantine — were organized as Departments of France local administrative units under a civilian government. This made them a part of France proper as opposed to a colony. For the first time, French citizens in the civil territories elected their own councils and mayors; Muslims had to be appointed, could not hold more than one-third of council seats, and could not serve as mayors or assistant mayors.

The administration of territories outside the zones settled by colons remained under the French Army. Local Muslim administration was allowed to continue under the supervision of French Army commanders, charged with maintaining order in newly pacified regions, and the bureaux arabes. Theoretically, these areas were closed to European colonization. Even before the decision was made to annex Algeria, major changes had taken place. In a bargain-hunting frenzy to take over or buy at low prices all manner of property—homes, shops, farms and factories—Europeans poured into Algiers after it fell.

French authorities took possession of the beylik lands, from which Ottoman officials had derived income. Over time, as pressures increased to obtain more land for settlement by Europeans, the state seized more categories of land, particularly that used by tribes, religious foundations, and villages [ citation needed ]. Called either colons settlers , Algerians, or later, especially following the independence of Algeria, pieds noirs literally, black feet , the European settlers were largely of peasant farmer or working-class origin from the poor southern areas of Italy, Spain, [37] and France.

Others were criminal and political deportees from France, transported under sentence in large numbers to Algeria. In the s and s, to encourage settlement in rural areas, official policy was to offer grants of land for a fee and a promise that improvements would be made. A distinction soon developed between the grands colons great settlers at one end of the scale, often self-made men who had accumulated large estates or built successful businesses, and smallholders and workers at the other end, whose lot was often not much better than that of their Muslim counterparts.

According to historian John Ruedy , although by only 15, of the , European settlers were in rural areas, "by systematically expropriating both pastoralists and farmers, rural colonization was the most important single factor in the destructuring of traditional society. European migration, encouraged during the Second Republic, stimulated the civilian administration to open new land for settlement against the advice of the army. In a separate Ministry of Algerian Affairs was created to supervise administration of the country through a military governor general assisted by a civil minister.

Napoleon III visited Algeria twice in the early s. He was profoundly impressed with the nobility and virtue of the tribal chieftains, who appealed to the emperor's romantic nature, and was shocked by the self-serving attitude of the colon leaders. He decided to halt the expansion of European settlement beyond the coastal zone and to restrict contact between Muslims and the colons , whom he considered to have a corrupting influence on the indigenous population.

He envisioned a grand design for preserving most of Algeria for the Muslims by founding a royaume arabe Arab kingdom with himself as the roi des Arabes king of the Arabs. He instituted the so-called politics of the grands chefs to deal with the Muslims directly through their traditional leaders. To further his plans for the royaume arabe , Napoleon III issued two decrees affecting tribal structure, land tenure, and the legal status of Muslims in French Algeria.

The first, promulgated in , was intended to renounce the state's claims to tribal lands and eventually provide private plots to individuals in the tribes, thus dismantling "feudal" structures and protecting the lands from the colons. Tribal areas were to be identified, delimited into douars administrative units , and given over to councils.

Arable land was to be divided among members of the douar over a period of one to three generations, after which it could be bought and sold by the individual owners. Unfortunately for the tribes, however, the plans of Napoleon III quickly unraveled. French officials sympathetic to the colons took much of the tribal land they surveyed into the public domain. In addition, some tribal leaders immediately sold communal lands for quick gains.

The process of converting arable land to individual ownership was accelerated to only a few years when laws were enacted in the s stipulating that no sale of land by an individual Muslim could be invalidated by the claim that it was collectively owned. Napoleon III visualized three distinct Algerias: The second decree, issued in , was designed to recognize the differences in cultural background of the French and the Muslims.

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As French nationals, Muslims could serve on equal terms in the French armed forces and civil service and could migrate to France proper. They were also granted the protection of French law while retaining the right to adhere to Islamic law in litigation concerning their personal status. But if Muslims wished to become full citizens, they had to accept the full jurisdiction of the French legal code, including laws affecting marriage and inheritance, and reject the authority of the religious courts.


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  • In effect, this meant that a Muslim had to renounce some of the mores of his religion in order to become a French citizen. This condition was bitterly resented by Muslims, for whom the only road to political equality was perceived to be apostasy. Over the next century, fewer than 3, Muslims chose to cross the barrier and become French citizens. A similar status applied to the Jewish natives. When the Prussians captured Napoleon III at the Battle of Sedan , ending the Second Empire, demonstrations in Algiers by the colons led to the departure of the just-arrived new governor general and the replacement of the military administration by settler committees.

    A civilian governor general was made responsible to the Ministry of Interior. This act set them apart from Muslims, in whose eyes they were identified thereafter with the colons. The measure had to be enforced, however, over the objections of the colons , who made little distinction between Muslims and Jews. Automatic citizenship was subsequently extended in to children of non-French Europeans born in Algeria unless they specifically rejected it.

    The loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Prussia in after the Franco-Prussian War , led to pressure on the French government to make new land available in Algeria for about 5, Alsatian and Lorrainer refugees who were resettled there. During the s, both the amount of European-owned land and the number of settlers were doubled, and tens of thousands of unskilled Muslims, who had been uprooted from their land, wandered into the cities or to colon farming areas in search of work. The most serious native insurrection since the time of Abd al Qadir broke out in in the Kabylie and spread through much of Algeria.

    Since the Crimean War —56 , the demand for grain had pushed up the price of Algerian wheat to European levels. Storage silos were emptied when the world market's impact was felt in Algeria, and Muslim farmers sold their grain reserves — including seed grain — to speculators.

    French Algeria

    But the community-owned silos were the fundamental adaptation of a subsistence economy to an unpredictable climate, and a good year's surplus was stored away against a bad year's dearth. When serious drought struck Algeria and grain crops failed in and for several years following, Muslim areas faced starvation, and with famine came pestilence. In the civil authorities repudiated guarantees made to tribal chieftains by the previous military government for loans to replenish their seed supply.

    This act alienated even pro-French Muslim leaders, while it undercut their ability to control their people. It was against this background that the stricken Kabyles rose in revolt, following immediately on the mutiny in January of a squadron of Muslim spahis in the French Army who had been ordered to embark for France. In the aftermath of the uprising, French authorities imposed stern measures to punish and control the whole Muslim population.

    The governor general was empowered to jail suspects for up to five years without trial.

    French Algeria - Wikipedia

    The argument was made in defense of these exceptional measures that the French penal code as applied to Frenchmen was too permissive to control Muslims. Some were deported to New Caledonia , see Algerians of the Pacific. In the s, the French administration and military called for the annexation of the Touat , the Gourara and the Tidikelt , [45] a complex that during the period prior to , was part of what was known as blad-es-siba land of dissidence [46] , those regions that were nominally Moroccan but which were not submitted to the authority of the central government.

    The conflict ended by the annexation of the Touat-Gourara-Tidikelt complex by France in In the s, the Saoura valley and the region of Tindouf were in turn annexed to French Algeria at the expense of Morocco, then under French protectorate since The French took advantage of long-standing animosity between Tuareg and Chaamba Arabs. Colonial troops of French Algeria were sent to fight in metropolitan France during the Battle of France in Thus Algerian Muslims felt that it was even more unjust that their votes were not equal to those of the other Algerians, especially after when the Algerian Assembly was created.

    This assembly was composed of members. Algerian Muslims, representing about 6. It opposed Algerians who were demonstrating for their national claim to the French Army. After skirmishes with Police, Algerians killed about French. The French army retaliated harshly, resulting in the deaths of approximately 6, Algerians.

    In , about , French soldiers were in Algeria. No resolution was imaginable in the short term. An overwhelming majority of French politicians were opposed to the idea of independence while independence was gaining ground in Muslim Algerians' minds. In , Charles de Gaulle 's return to power in response to a military coup in Algiers in May was supposed to keep Algeria's status quo as departments of France as hinted by his famous, yet ambiguous, speeches delivered in Oran and Mostaganem on 6 June De Gaulle's republican constitution project was approved through the September referendum and the Fifth Republic was established the following month with de Gaulle as its president.

    The latter consented to independence in after a referendum on Algerian self-determination in January and despite a subsequent aborted military coup in Algiers led by four French generals in April Relations between post-colonial Algeria and France have remained close throughout the years, although sometimes difficult. In , the Evian Accords peace treaty provided land in the Sahara for the French Army, which it had used under de Gaulle to carry out its first nuclear tests Gerboise bleue.

    On the other hand, the issue of the harkis , the Muslims who had fought on the French side during the war, still remained unresolved. Large numbers of harkis were killed in , during the immediate aftermath of the Algerian War, while those who escaped with their families to France have tended to remain an unassimilated refugee community. The present Algerian government continues to refuse to allow harkis and their descendants to return to Algeria.

    The law created a public uproar and opposition from the whole of the left-wing , and was finally repealed by president Jacques Chirac UMP at the beginning of , after accusations of historical revisionism from various teachers and historians. Algerians feared that the French law on colonialism would hinder the task the French confronting the dark side of their colonial rule in Algeria because article four of the law decreed among other things that "School programmes are to recognise in particular the positive role of the French presence overseas, especially in North Africa" [51] Benjamin Stora , a leading specialist on French Algerian history of colonialism and a pied-noir himself, said "France has never taken on its colonial history.

    It is a big difference with the Anglo-Saxon countries, where post-colonial studies are now in all the universities. We are phenomenally behind the times. By integral parts, it is meant that they have their deputies representatives in the French National Assembly , and so on. Further, the people of Algeria who were to be permitted to vote for the deputies would be those who universally accepted French law, rather than sharia which was used in personal cases among Algerian Muslims under laws dating back to Napoleon III , and such people were predominantly of French origin or Jewish origin.

    Many who used this slogan were returnees. Whole choruses of such horn soundings were heard. This was intended to be reminiscent of the Second World War slogan, "V for Victory," which had been three dots followed by a dash. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For usage of the French language, see French language in Algeria. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.

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