Friday, 2 July 2010


ABD-EL-KADER (c. 1807-1883), amir of Mascara, the great opponent of the conquest of Algeria by France, was born near Mascara in 1807 or 1808. His family were sherifs or descendants of Mahomet, and his father, Mahi-ed-Din, was celebrated throughout North Africa for his piety and charity.
 Abd-elKader received the best education attainable by a Mussulman of princely rank, especially in theology and philosophy, in horsemanship and in other manly exercises. While still a youth he was taken by his father on the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and to the tomb of Sidi Abd-el-Kader El Jalili at Bagdad - events which stimulated his natural tendency to religious enthusiasm.
While in Egypt in 1827, Abd-el-Kader is stated to have been impressed, by the reforms then being carried out by Mehemet Ali, with the value of European civilization, and the knowledge he then gained affected his career.
 Mahi-ed-Din and his son returned to Mascara shortly before the French occupation of Algiers (July 1830) destroyed the government of the Dey. Coming forward as the champion of Islam against the infidels, Abd-el-Kader was proclaimed amir at Mascara in 1832.
 He prosecuted the war against France vigorously and in a "short time had rallied to his standard all the tribes of western Algeria. The story of his fifteen years' struggle against the French is given under Algeria.
 To the beginning of 1842 the contest went in favour of the amir; thereafter he found in Marshal Bugeaud an opponent who proved, in the end, his master.
 Throughout this period Abd-el-Kader showed himself a born leader of men, a great soldier, a capable administrator, a persuasive orator, a chivalrous opponent.We have now come to the time when the French soldier began to wear the red trousers which later became so distinctive a part of his attire: an outcome, we are told, of the necessity for finding a commercial use for the red madder dye then being produced extensively in the French territories in North Africa.

The French conquest of-Algeria grew out of a long-standing quarrel with the Dey of Algiers over corn supplied to France during the Directorate. French troops landed at Sidi-Ferruch on June 14, 1830, capturing Algiers on July 5. It was not until December 23. 1847 that the legendary Arab leader Abd-el-Kader finally surrendered to General Lamoriciére.He was one of the most distinguished and efficient of Bugeaud's generals, rendered special service at Isly (14 August 1844), acted temporarily as governor-general of Algeria, and finally effected the capture of Abd-el-Kader in 1847.From 1848 to 1851 Lamoricière was one of the most conspicuous opponents of the policies of Louis Napoleon, and at the coup d'état of 2 December 1851 he was arrested and exiled.See him on the right with the other leaders of the battle at Castelfidardo

He refused to give his allegiance to Emperor Napoleon III. In 1860 he accepted command of the papal army, which he led in the Italian campaign of 1860.On 18 September that year he was severely defeated by the Italian army at Castelfidardo.

The French infantry of the line – still sub-divided into grenadiers, battalion companies and voltigeurs-had retained a style of dress much resembling the Napoleonic, with its bell-topped shako and long-tailed coat.

By the 1840s, however, a new branch of light infantry had come into existence: the Chasseurs d’Orléans, clothed in dark blue with blue-gray trousers. They eventually replaced the existing Infanterie légére and, under the new denomination of Chasseurs à Pied, continued to wear basically the same uniform until 1914.

François Certain Canrobert, (Saint-Céré 1809 - Paris 1895) was a French officer who spent the first part of his career in the war for the conquest of Algeria. Close to Napoleon III, he supported him during the coup of 2 December 1851 and took part in suppressing the republican resistance against the new regime. He was made Marshal of France on his return from the Crimean War (1856) and became a leader of the Bonapartist party after the fall of the Second Empire.

The Foreign Legion needs no introduction. This remarkable corps owed its origin to the eight foreign regiments which, after Waterloo, were formed into the Légion de Hohenlohe. In 1830, however, the corps was disbanded, but many of its former members rejoined in 1831, when the Légion Etrangere was raised.

Several new bodies of French troops, apart from the native regiments, came into being as a result of the conquest of Algeria, in particular the mounted Chasseurs d’Afriqu e, and the Zouaves, originally Arab infantry, but eventually entirely European in composition.

Louis Léon César Faidherbe (3 June 1818 – 29 September 1889) was a French general and colonial administrator. He created the Senegalese Tirailleurs when he was governor of Senegal.In 1863 he became general of brigade. From 1867 to the early part of 1870, he commanded the subdivision of Bona in Algeria, and was commanding the Constantine division at the commencement of the Franco-Prussian War.faidherbe

 His fervent faith in the doctrines of Islam was unquestioned, and his ultimate failure was due in considerable measure to the refusal of the Kabyles, Berber mountain tribes whose Mahommedanism is somewhat loosely held, to make common cause with the Arabs against the French.
 On the 21st of December 1847, the amir gave himself up to General Lamoriciere at Sidi Brahim. On the 23rd, his submission was formally made to the duc d'Aumale, then governor of Algeria. In violation of the promise that he would be allowed to go to Alexandria or St Jean d'Acre, on the faith of which he surrendered, Abd-el-Kader and his family were detained in France, first at Toulon, then at Pau, being in November 1848 transferred to the château of Amboise.
 There Abd -el -Kader remained until October 1852, when he was released by Napoleon III. on taking an oath never again to disturb Algeria.
 The amir then took up his residence in Brusa, removing in 1855 to Damascus. In July 1860, when the Moslems of that city, taking advantage of disturbances among the Druses of Lebanon, attacked the Christian quarter and killed over 3000 persons, Abd-el-Kader helped to repress the outbreak and saved large numbers of Christians.
 For this action the French government, which granted the amir a pension of £4000, bestowed on him the grand cross of the Legion of Honour. In 1865, he visited Paris and London, and was again in Paris at the exposition of 1867. In 1871, when the Algerians again rose in revolt, Abd-el-Kader wrote to them counselling submission to France.
 After his surrender in 1847 he devoted himself anew to theology and philosophy, and composed a philosophical treatise, of which a French translation was published in 1858 under the title of Rappel d l'intelligent. Avis a l'indif Brent. He also wrote a book on the Arab horse. He died at Damascus on the 26th of May 1883.

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