The World at War

Algeria 1501 - 1913

Algeria Timeline

1501July A Portuguese expedition attempts to make a landing on the Beach of the Andalusians near Oran but a strong headwind the hinders the invasion for three days giving the Arabs time to organize a defense and drive off the invaders.
1509May 19 The Spanish capture Oran and occupy the town until 1708.
1516Aroudj Barbarossa, a Greco-Turkish pirate, establishes the State of Algiers after strangling Selim el Toumi, the Sheik of Algiers, who requested his aid against the Spanish.
1518Aroudj Barbarossa is killed by the Spaniards who capture the fort on an islet before Algiers. His brother, Khaïr ed Din, better known as Barbarossa, faced with the threat of the Spanish and neighboring Arabs places himself under the protection of the Ottoman Sultan of Istanbul who names him Pasha of the Regency of Algiers.
1529Khajir ed Din returns and seizes Fort Penon, the Spanish redoubt before Algiers. The fort is demolished, the islet is returned to bare ground and the debris is used to construct a breakwater forming the inner harbor of Algiers.
1541October 23 The troops of Charles Quint, Emperor of Spain, land at the mouth of the Harracheur near present day Maison Carré and camp on the heights overlooking Algiers. Their emplacement becomes Fort l'Empereur and lays siege to Algiers.
October 26 A storm destroys most of the Spanish fleet.
October 27 During the siege of Algiers, a Frenchman, Sir Pons de Balaguer, Knight of Malta, plants his dagger in the Bab Azoun Gate declaring, “We will return.”
November 1 The troops of Charles Quint reembark at Cape Matifou, east of Algiers.
1544A lighthouse is constructed at the entrance to the inner harbor of Algiers on the former site of Fort Penon.
1553Concessions d'Afrique, a Marseilles concern which has been operating in the fishery along the coast of Berbérie since 1450, constructs the Bastion de France, a fort 12 km west of La Calle. The Bastion will be demolished and rebuilt numerous times.
1569A young Spanish Moor who converted to Christianity and was baptized Geronimo is captured by corsairs and taken to Algiers. Geronimo refuses to renounce Christianity and is thrown alive into a mould in which a block of concrete is poured. The block containing his body is built into an angle of the Fort of the Twenty-four Hours.
1571Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is held prisoner by the pirates in Algiers following his capture at the Battle of Lepanto. Five years pass before he is ransomed for 6 ducats.
1612A Spanish Benedictine named Haedo publishes a map of Algeria.
1631Barbary pirates sack Baltimore, Ireland and carry off the inhabitants to be sold as slaves.
1681October 18 The Regency of Algiers declares war on France.
December 15 A ship of the French Royal Navy is captured by the Barbary pirates. The Captain and crew are sold into slavery at Algiers.
1682August 30 A French fleet under Abraham Duquesne bombards Algiers on orders from Louis XIV.
1688June 30 A French fleet under Marshal Jean d'Estrees bombards Algiers again.
July 29 The French Consul, Father Jean Le Vacher, is accused of spying and signaling the French squadron off Algiers. Le Vacher is tied to the mouth of a canon and executed along with 16 other Christians.
1690Don Alvarez de Bzan y Sylva, Marquis de Santa Cruz, builds the fort which bears his name on Aidour Peak overlooking Oran.
1692France obtains a concession granting it the exclusive right to exploit the coral fishery off Bône.
1708Turks under Bey Mustapha Ben Youssef, known as Bou Chlahem, i.e. the man with the large moustache, seize Oran from the Spaniards.
1714The French coral fishing concessions at La Calle, Bône and Collo are renewed.
1732The Spaniards reoccupy Oran following the victory of the Count Mortemar over Aïn El Turk.
1735The Mosque of the Pasha is constructed in Oran to commemorate the explusion of the Spanish. The memorial is paid for by the Dey of Algiers, the suzerain of Oran, with the ransom paid to redeem Christian slaves.
1780Spain attempts to exchange Oran for Gibraltar but the English refuse to accept the proposal.
1790October 9 Shortly after 1 a.m., a strong earthquake jolts Oran destroying most of the town. 3,000 people are buried in less than 7 minutes. Aftershocks are felt for another six weeks.
1792March 6 The Bey of Algiers, Mohammed El Kébir, takes possession of Oran under and agreement negotiated with Charles IV of Spain.
1794Oran is depopulated once again, this time by an epidemic of plague carried by pilgrims returning from Mecca.
1797The French Directory orders wheat from Algiers traders Bacri and Bushnac who hold a monopoly on sales of Algerian grain. The wheat is delivered but never paid for. The wheat debt eventually grows to 24 million francs, owing in part to what the French consider usurious interest rates.
1808May 24 – July 17 A French engineering officer, Colonel Vincent Boutin, arrives secretly in Berbérie (future Algeria) and scouts the area in preparation for a landing proposed by Napoléon I.
1815June 17 An American naval squadron led by Commodore Stephen Decatur captures the Mashouda, flagship of the Algerian fleet, after a brief battle off Cape Gata, Spain. Admiral Rais Hammida is killed in the encounter.
June 30 Commodore Decatur concludes a treaty with Dey of Algiers ending tribute payments and gaining the release of American prisoners without payment of ransom.
During the Year Six year old Giuseppe Vantini is captured by the Barbary pirates and sold to the Bey of Tunis. He escapes in 1830 on French ship and joins the French Army in Berbèrie (Algeria) were he will become a celebrated Colonel of Spahis under the name of Yusuf.
1816August 27 Algiers is bombarded by an Anglo-Dutch squadron under Lord Exmouth. McDonnell, the British Consul is arrested and put in chains. His wife, Ida, the 16 year old daughter of Danish Consul General Admiral Ulric, escapes to the British fleet, carrying a basket of vegetables in which her baby is hidden.
1819October 28 Hussein ibn El Hussein, the Dey of Algiers, a creditor of Bacri and Busnach, brokers a compromise with France. The wheat debt is reduced to 7 million francs. He is paid 4 million in 1820.
1827April 30 Dey Hussein of Algiers demands an explanation from the French Consul, Deval, as to why King Charles X has not responded to his letter concerning the remaining 3 million francs owed on the wheat debt. Deval’s curt answer, “My master was not made to respond to a man like you” draws a slap in the face from the Dey’s fly wisk.
June 16 France declares war on the Regency of Algiers and blockades the port of Algiers.
1828August French explorer René Caillié, the first European to visit Timbuktu and return alive, reaches the Mediterranean coast after a five month journey across the Sahara.
December 5 René Caillié is awarded 10,000 francs for being the first European to return with a description of Timbuktu at a meeting of the Société de Géographie in Paris.
1829August 3 Algiers’ coastal batteries open fire on La Provence, a French ship flying a flag of truce and carrying emissaries dispatched by the War Ministry to negotiate an end to the war and the expensive and ineffectual blockade.
1830June 14 French troops under the command of Marshal Louis de Bourmont land at Sidi Ferruch 30 kilometers west of Algiers. The 30,000 man expedition is following plans drawn up for Napoléon I in 1808.
June 19 French troops defeat the Turks commanded by Agha Ibrahim, the son in law of Dey Hussein of Algiers, at the Battle of Staoueli.
July 4 French troops reduce Fort l'Empereur which blocks their entry into Algiers.
July 5 After a heroic defense the Turks flee the fort and the French enter Algiers where Dey Hussein unconditionally surrenders.
July 10 Dey Hussein leaves Algiers for Naples with consent of the French. The French have seized his treasury but half of this will be returned later.
October 1 General Bertrand Clauzel recruits among the Zouaouas Kabyles. The indigenous battalions enrolled by the French will become the Zouaves.
December 24 General Clauzel forms a militia composed of French civilians, foreigners and natives in Algiers.
1831January General Clauzel undertakes an expedition against Bu Meyrag, the Bey of Titeri, captures Blida and Médéa. Bu Meyrag is dismissed and replaced by a successor devoted to France. Clauzel returns to Algiers leaving a garrison in Médéa.
General Clauzel begins negotiations with the Bey of Tunis for the installation of Tunisian Princes who recognize the authority of France as beys of Oran and Constantine.
February General Clauzel is censured for his negotiations with the Bey of Tunis and recalled to France while at the same he is made a Marshal of France.
A part of the French Army in Africa is returned to France and Médéa is evacuated.
March 10 King Louis Philippe approves an ordinance creating the Foreign Legion.
September 5 The first group of Spahis is formed but will not be integrated into the regular army for another ten years.
1832September 21 A royal ordinance creates the first Algerian village under French administration. Dely Ibrahim, near Algiers, is settled by 50 Bavarian families.
During the Year The tribal chiefs hostile to France put Abd el Kader, not yet 23 years old, in charge of their forces following his heroic conduct during an attack on French held Oran. El Kader takes the title of emir and blockades the city with 12,000 warriors.
Oran has a population of 3,800 including 2,800 Jews, 750 Europeans and 250 Moslems according to a census taken by the Royal Commissioner, Pujol.
1833Algeria’s first institution of higher learning, the School of Medical Sciences, opens in the Hospital of the Dey, Algiers. Instruction in anatomy and physiology is provided by Army doctors and the first class is restricted to European students.
May 27 The first French secondary school in Algiers opens.
June 10 The School of Medical Sciences is opened to Turkish, Moorish and Jewish students by decree of the War Minister.
October General Camille Alphonse Trézel occupies Bougie.
During the Year Bône is demolished by the Bey of Constantine’s departing troops. The French move into a collection of collapsed houses on streets that are little more than rubbish strewn cesspools. The town is encircled by the mosquito infested Marshes of Boudjima and 4,000 of 5,500 men in the garrison are soon hospitalized with malarial fevers from which a third of them die.
1834January Major François-Clément Maillot, takes command of the Army Medical Service in Bône after a year of studying fever victims in Corsica and Algiers. Maillot begins treating malaria sufferers with the quinine of the Cinchona bark. Maillot’s treatment cuts the mortality rate among malaria victims froms from 23% to 3.7% over the next two years.
February 24 General Desmichels signs a peace agreement with Emir Abd el Kader. Under the agreement French officers represent their country at the court of the emir and the emir is allowed to install his representatives, vakils, in the French held coastal towns of Oran, Arzew and Mostaganem.
July 13 Abd El Kader helps the French defeat Mostafa ben Smaïl who refused to submit to the authority of the Emir.
July 22 An ordinance survey establishes the political and administrative organization of the, "French possessions in the north of Africa."
Jean Baptiste Drouet d'Erlon is appointed Governor General of Algeria.
September Cholera carried by immigrants from Gibraltar to Mers El Kébir starts an epidemic that begins at the Oran military hospital of Oran and spreads through the city killing 467 civilians and 500 soldiers. The disease claims 1,457 victims in Mostaganem and Mascara and appears thereafter in Médéa and Miliana.
1835June 16 The Douair and Zmela tribe become French subjects under the Convention of Figuier.
June 26 General Trézel marches on Mascara, the stronghold of Emir Abd El Kader who has extended his authority over western Algeria and installed beys in Miliana and Medea. Trézel’s expedition is defeated in the swamps of Makta. Governor General Drouet d'Erlon is recalled to France and replaced by Marshal Clauzel.
During the Year The Triton and Chimère arrive in Algiers carrying cholera from Marseilles and Toulon. Contagion sweeps the city hitting the Jewish Quarter particularly hard. 12,000 Algerois will die over the course of epidemic. Troops and settlers will carry the disease to Blida, Constantine, where 14,000 victims die and finally to Bône where it kills another 381 people.
The School of Medical Sciences is closed by order of General Clauzel.
French goods, except sugar, are admitted into Algeria without payment of duty.
1836Marshal Clauzel defeats Abd El Kader and enters Mascara. He relieves Tlemcen, which has been attacked by Abd el Kader and leaves a garrison. Turning eastward, Clauzel stops at Bona to organize an expedition against Constantine.
April 24 General d'Arlanges is surrounded at Oran for 42 days by Abd el Kader.
June 16 General Bugeaud arrives in Algeria.
July 6 General Bugeaud defeats Abd el Kader at Tafna.
November 3 Marshal Clauzel’s siege of Constantine ends in failure.
During the Year Construction of the 235 acre northern harbor in port of Algiers begins.
1837February Marshal Clauzel is recalled to France and replaced as Governor General by General Damremont.
June 1 The Treaty of Tafna is signed by General Bugeaud and Abd el Kader. The Emir accords a vague recognition to French sovereignty in Africa. The Emir gains control of Koléa, Médéa and Tlemcen where he has 59,000 men at his disposal.
France retains control of Algiers and the Mitidja, Oran and Mazagran.
September The 12th Regiment of the Line embarks from Marseilles where 25 of its ranks have already died of cholera. The regiment carries the disease to Bône sparking an epidemic then spreads the contagion to the troops besieging Constantine.
October 13 General Damrémont’s expedition takes Constantine after a 7 day siege but the General is killed in battle and replaced by General Valée.
1838General Valée founds Philippeville to serve as a seaport for Constantine, occupies Jijelli, and returns from Constantine to Algiers by the interior, passing through Sétif and les Portes de Fer (Gates of Iron).
August 10 The Episcopal See of Algiers, founded in the second century at Icosium, is re-established. Monsignor Antoine Adolph Dupuch is appointed bishop of the diocese.
1839October 15 General Valée’s incursion through the Portes de Fer is interpreted as an act of war. The Hadjouth rise up and ransack the Mitidja.
October General Changarnier comes to Miliana to raise manpower. He discovers 800 of the 1,100 soldiers there dead of cholera. Only 50 of the 300 survivors remain fit to carry arms.
November 18 Abd el Kader delivers a declaration of war to General Valée.
December 9 A thousand Hadjouth horsemen attack the Ben Seman farm near Arbah. A colon named Pirette resists alone for the entire day and puts over a hundred assailants out of action while leading the enemy to believe there are many defenders. Pirette escapes during the night and makes his way to the military camp at Arbah.
During the Year The property of Arabs in flight or in exile is sequestered. The lands of tribes who take up arms against the French are confiscated.
1840Marshal Valée marches against Abd el Kader. The French occupy Cherchel, Médéa and Miliana but after these initial successes the campaign bogs down and Valée is recalled and replaced by General Bugeaud.
1841February 22 General Bugeaud, the new Governor General, arrives in Algiers.
March 21 The Bishop of Algiers conscrecrates the first Catholic church built in Algeria since the French conquest at Dely Ibrahim.
August 23 Sheik el Kadiri presides over a meeting in Cairo at which a Fatwa is issued declaring the right of the tribes to ignore Abd el Kader’s order and the insanity of waging war on Christians at a time when Moslems are free to practice their religion.
1842A French ordinance survey officially renames Berbérie, Algeria.
March 30 Governor General Bugeaud passes through Boufarik where 142 families have survived the years of malaria and attacks by the Hadjoutes. The General gathers the dismayed colonist around him and tells them, “If I have any advise to give you, eh well! my brave men, it is to pack your belongings and flee to Algiers.” The well known and pitiful look of the survivors gives rise to a saying among the Algierois, “he has the face of Boufarik.”
April 11 A 21 man detachment under Sergeant Blandan is attacked by over 250 Hadjout warriors near Boufarik in the Mitidja. They are rescued after fighting an unequal battle for several hours but only 5 men survive unscathed. Nine will survive their wounds. The rest including the Sergeant are mortally wounded.
During the Year General Bugeaud goes on the offensive. He reduces the weight carried by his soldiers to increase their mobility and carries the war to Oran, the stronghold of Abd el Kader. The Emir’s supply depots at Takdempt, Boghar, Taza, Saida and Sebdu are taken, one after another and destroyed.
1843March 24 A royal ordinance allows the seizure of property belonging to the Bey and religious institutions for inclusion in the public domain.
May 16 The Duke of Aumale leads 350 Cavalrymen in an attack that overwhelms the camp of Abd el Kader. The Emir is flees into Morocco where he persuades the Sultan to declare war on France on the pretext that they will not give up the frontier post of Lalla-Maghnia.
July 31 General Bugeaud is named a Marshal of France.
1844The Duke of Aumale’s garrison occupies the Oasis of Biskra in the Sahara.
February 1 The Arab Bureau is established.
August 14 Marshal Bugeaud’s troops annihilate the Sultan of Morocco’s army at the Battle of Isly.
September 10 The Treaty of Tangier ends the Franco-Moroccan War and compels the Sultan to expel Abd el Kader.
October 5 The first issue of L’Echo d’Oran is published by Adolphe Perrier, a Lorrainnaise printer banished by Louis-Philippe for expressing opinions deemed too republican. L’Echo becomes the city’s most important newspaper and remains in continuous publication until shortly after independence.
1845September 1 Marshal Bugeaud departs Algeria. Louis Juchault de Lamoriciere is named acting Governor General. The European population of Algeria numbers 109,400 of whom 47,274 are French. Rural colonists number 15,000.
September 23 Colonel Montagnac’s attack on Abd el Kader’s forces in the Kerkour Mountains ends in disaster. The Colonel is killed. The column is overwhelmed and the survivors fallback on Sidi Brahim, where they regroup and resist for 3 days. Abd el Kader is wounded in the face.
September 26 The French mount a counter-attack at Sidi Brahim but are decimated. Only 15 Chasseurs and a Hussar survive to return to the post at Djemaa Ghazaouat.
During the Year An Institute of Biotechnics and Biometrics and an Institute of Islamic Higher Studies are established in Algiers.
1846September 4 The Pharamond of Marseilles docks in Algiers carrying cholera. An epidemic begins at the prison of Fort Bab Azoun and spreads from there to the Dey’s Hospital and the city killing 505 soldiers and 202 civilians.
September A cholera epidemic is spread from Algiers by the 12th Regiment of the Line. It will reach Miliana, then Orléansville and Cherchell following the path of the infected battalions. The 16th battalion will return to Algiers and reignite the epidemic in the capital from whence it spreads again, this time to the town of Bou-Saada.
October Oran is touched by the cholera epidemic. 209 people die on the worst day of the infection which claims a total 2,001 victims in the city.
During the Year Prussians (approximately 400 families) on the way to Brazil, stop in Dunkerque where they agree to be sent to the Oran region. Their settlements at Sainte Léonie and Oued-Taria fail but they prosper in Stidia.
1847January 1 The French administration has distributed numerous 4 to 12 hectare lots to small European colonists including: 47,300 French from Alsace, the Vosges, Dauphiné and Provence as well as 31,000 Spaniards, 8,800 Maltese, 8,200 Italians and 8,600 Swiss and Germans.
June Marshal Bugeaud retires after failing to gain adoption of his colonization plans for Algeria.
December 23 Abd el Kader surrenders to Colonel Yusuf's Spahis on the Guerbous Pass near the Moroccan border and is turned over to General Louis Juchault de Lamoricière.
1848January 29 Abd el Kader arrives in Toulon and interned at Fort Lamarque, contrary to the promise made to him before the surrender that he would be allowed to retire to a Moslem country.
November 21 Algeria is divided into zones of civil and military administration.
December 11 The Constitution of 1848 declares Algeria an integral territory of France. The civil territories of Bône, Oran and Algiers become French departments administered by prefects. The Moslem and Jewish inhabitants of Algeria become French subjects.
December 12 100,000 Parisians volunteer for resettlement in Algeria but only 20,502 are selected. 50 million francs are spent on the creation of 42 agricultural colonies over the next four years. The effort to settle the country with unemployed Parisian artisans fails miserably. 3,359 die within the first year, 7,038 return to France and of the half that remain most abandon farming and migrate to the towns. They are replaced by peasants from the Midi, Spaniards and by Germans in Stidia and Sainte Léonie.
1849June 10 Marshal Thomas Robert Bugeaud Duc d’Isly dies in Paris from cholera which he contracted in Algeria where an epidemic has broken out.
1850Louis Napoléon Bonaparte deports 450 political opponents to the Casbah of Bône and from there to Lambèse. They are banished from France for a ten year period, with a reduction after three years for good conduct and a homestead grant that few accept.
Germans immigrants from Baden and the Palatinate settle in the villages of Détrie and Dublineau in Orania, and in Penthièvre near Bône. Koléa receives Valaisans who settle in the small hamlet of Saint-Maurice (named after the abbey near Sion).
1851French troops lay siege and destroy the oasis of Zaatcha where the inhabitants led by Bu Zian rebel against a change in the tax on palms.
January Certain Algerian goods are admitted to France duty free.
June 16 The lands comprising the forests of Algeria are declared part of the public domain. The law further clarifies the distinction between individual property (melk) and collective property (arch). The state is given sole power to acquire collective tribal property for colonization.
August The Bank of Algeria is established.
December 2 Louis Napoléon Bonaparte overthrows the Second Republic in a coup d’etat. 6,500 republicans will be deported to Algeria.
December 8 Louis Napoléon Bonaparte orders the transformation of six Algerian villages into penal colonies for exiled republicans.
December 11 Jacques Louis César Alexandre, Comte de Randon, is appointed Governor General. Marshal Randon occupies much of his time with colonization. 56 settlements are established during his 7 year administration. Alsatians settle Bled-Touaria and Aïn-Sultana. The department of Var is another main source of immigrants from metropolitan France. Many return to escape the severe living conditions and the concessionaires turn to French and to Spaniards, already settled in the country and hardened to the conditions.
During the Year The European population rises to 131,000 including 66,000 French citizens. The number of rural colonists grows to 33,000 thanks in part to the Second Republic’s policy of encouraging state directed civil colonization.
1852April The Algiers stockmarket is founded.
October 16 Louis Napoléon Bonaparte orders the release of Abd el Kader.
October 30 Louis Napoléon Bonaparte receives Abd el Kader at Saint Cloud.
December 2 Louis Napoléon Bonaparte proclaims himself Napoléon III, Emperor of the French and of the Arabs.
December 6 Abd el Kader is invited to Paris and stays at Amboise for five days.
December 21 Abd el Kader leaves France and retires in Turkey where Napoléon III pays him an annual pension of 100,000 francs.
December A French column dispatched by the Governor General, Marshal Randon, captures Laghouat, the stronghold of Mahomet ben Abdallah, the rebellious Sherif of Wargla.
1853Si Hamza, leader of the Walid sidi Sheikh, an ally of France, pursues Mahomet ben Abdallah and seizes Wargla.
Napoléon III proposes the creation of an Arab kingdom in Algeria. The proposal is greeted with hostility from the Army, French colonists and Moslems.
The Fort of the Twenty-four Hours is demolished to make way for the construction Saint Philippe’s Cathedral in Algiers. A skeleton, believed to be that of Saint Geronimo, is found in a block at the angle described in a 17th century work by the Spanish monk Haedo.
March 9 The first Régiment de Tirailleur Algériens is formed.
December 31 Napoléon III authorizes an association of Swiss bankers chaired by Count Sauter de Beauregard, La Compagnie Genevoise des Colonies Suisses de Sétif, to colonize 20,000 hectares of cultivable land around Sétif.
1854August 4 The Preparatory School of Medicine and Pharmacy is established under a decree promulgated in accordance with the recommendations of the Algiers Municipal Council.
1855December 6 Abd el Kader leaves Turkey for Damascus, Syria where he aids Christians during rioting. He is awarded a pontifical medal then visits France where he is awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
1856December 31 The first census in Algeria counts a population of 2,470,000 of whom 2,310,000 are Moslems.
During the Year The birthrate among European immigrants to Algeria exceeds their deathrate for the first time.
1857May – June Marshal Randon subdues Kabylia, a mountainous tract bounded by Bougie, Sétif, Aumale and Dellys. He builds Fort Napoleon, "the thorn in the side of Kabylia," whose batteries command all the villages of the region.
During the Year The first Algerian railway opens between Algiers and Blida in the Mitidja.
A decree grants the Paris-Lyon Railway Company the right to construct a line linking Algiers with Oran and Constantine and shorter lines joining the seaports to the trunk line, notably Philippeville to Constantine.
1858The Basilica of Notre Dame d’Afrique is constructed on a hill overlooking Bab el Oued and the Mediterranean.
June 24 The Ministry for Algeria and of Colonies is established. Marshal Randon resigns as Governor General and the administration of Algeria is moved from Algiers to Paris.
1859June 25 Henri Durant, a Swiss colonist living in the Sétif region visits Castiglione, Italy seeking an audience with Napoléon III. He arrives just after the Battle of Solferino and enters the service of the wounded by transforming a church into a hospital. He later founds the Red Cross.
During the Year Algiers’ Preparatory School of Medicine and Pharmacy opens under the auspices of the University of Montpelier’s Faculty of Medicine.
1860November 24 The Ministry of Algeria and the Colonies is abolished. A decree transfers the Algerian administration from Paris back to Algiers and reestablishes the office of Governor General.
December Marshal Pelissier assumes office as Governor General of Algeria.
During the Year 4,000 Jews from Tetouan flee to Oran in the midst of the Spanish – Moroccan War.
1861Ismael Urbain publishes L’Algérie pour les Algériens (Algeria for the Algerians), a pamphlet in which he pleads for increased protection of the natives and their property. He goes on to declare that, “the true peasant of Algeria is the indigene” and the only useful purpose to be served by the resident French lies in the areas of trade and industry.
Novelist and short story author Alphonse Daudet spends the winter in Algiers hoping to find relief from a spinal cord illness.
1862July 27 Colonel Lapasset, eminent Arabophile, meets with Napoléon III at Vichy to urge a reversal of the settlement policy and for increased protection of the native population.
1863February 6 Napoléon III calls for an end to the settlement policy and for protection of the indigenes. The Emperor writes Marshall Pelissier, “ Algeria is not a colony in the proper sense but an Arab kingdom.”
April 22 A senatus-consulte lays the basis for the change in the land system by providing for: the delimitation of the territory of each tribe, the repartition of the territory thus delimited among newly formed tribal divisions (douars or communes), and the recognition of private ownership by the issue of title deeds for such individual or family property as already exists.
1864July 24 The port of Oran is opened.
September 1 Marshal Patrice Maurice de MacMahon is appointed Governor General of Algeria.
During the Year The Beaupretre column is massacred by the Walid sidi Sheikh tribe in the southern Oran region. The insurrection lasts for several years.
Baptized La Société Company de Habra et Macta is granted a 24,100 hectare concession in return for its agreement to build a dam to impound a 30,000,000 cubic meter reservoir and a network of irrigation to drain the plain of Macta.
1865July 14 A sénatus-consulte on Algeria decrees that, “the indigenous Moslem is a French subject, nevertheless he continues to be regulated by Koranic Law. If he wishes to enjoy the rights of French citizenship, in that case he is regulated by the civil and political laws of France.
1866March 16 General Yusuf, who accepted the surrender of Abd el Kader as a Colonel of the Spahis dies in Cannes.
1867Cholera kills 7,000 people in Algeria.
All Algerian goods are admitted into France duty free.
1868Famine kills 35,000 people in Algeria.
La Société générale algérienne is formed to finance colonization schemes and leases 100,000 hectares in the departments of Algeria at a franc per hectare payable over 50 years. The results is a failure. The company is compelled to its lands to the natives and not to establish colonies.
1869November 16 Abd el Kader attends the opening of the Suez Canal at the invitation of France.
1870October 24 The Cremieux decrees grant French citizenship to the Jews of Algeria.
During the Year The Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity is built on the site of Fort Bab Azoun at the south end of the Rue d’Isly, Algiers.
1871March 20 Algeria is placed under the administration of a civil Governor General responsible to the Minister of the Interior in Paris.
April Mokrani, Bachagha of the Mejana, declares a holy war with the support of El Haddad, Sheik of the Khuans, the religious confraternity of Sidi Abd er Rahman. The whole of Kabylia rises and a number of French colonists are massacred. The Beni Manassir in the Dahra region also rebel.
May 10 Alsace and part of Lorraine are annexed to Germany. A tenth of the population migrates to Algeria where the Government has allocated 100,000 hectares for their settlement. Two thirds of them are not farmers and eventually resell the land.
July Oran’s first anti-Jewish league is formed. It aims to exclude Jews, who are 15% of the electorate and of sufficient numbers to decide the outcome of municipal elections, from the ballot box. The anti-semites are alarmed by the political influence of the consistories over their newly enfranchised congregations. That chaired by Simon Kanoui, " the Rotschild of Oran", comes in for particularly harsh criticism from the anti-semites proclaim him too high, much too powerful and believe that nobody could become mayor without his support.
August The Arab insurrection peters out following the death of Mokrani at the Battle of Suflat, the submission of the Sheik El Haddad and the arrest of Mokrani’s brother Bu Meyrag. The insurgents’ property, 2 million hectares, is sequestered. A quarter of this will be reclaimed and the rest sold as public domain.
1872Alphonse Daudet sets his short story Les Aventures Prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon (The New Don Quixote or the Wonderful Adventures of Tartarin of Tarascon) in Algeria.
1873The Warnier Act supercedes the existing land tenure laws at the insistence of deputies representing the colonists. The immediate conversion of tribal and family property into private freeholds is legalized. The rural European population grows from 119,000 to 200,000 by the end of the 19th century.
1876The Governor General is accorded the right to correspond directly with all ministers in Paris. This concession leads to the diminution of the Governor General’s authority as those powers are, step by step, absorbed by the various ministries in France.
1878April An article in the journal Akhbar denounces the importation and contracting of Chinese labor in Algeria as little more than slavery.
During the Year Alphonse Laveran completes his studies at the School of Military Medicine in Val de Grâce and is sent to Algeria and put in charge of a ward at the Bône Hospital where many of the patients are suffering from malarial fevers. Laveran begins to study what he suspects is the parasitic nature of the disease.
Algeria’s 42,000 acres of vineyards yield 7,436,000 gallons of wine.
1879December 20 The National Assembly approves an act establishing higher schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, Law, Letters and Sciences in Algiers which operate under the auspices of the University of Montpellier.
1880Major Alphonse Laveran, a physician at the military hospital in Constantine, discovers thread-like elements resembling whips which are scurrying about with great vivacity, displacing neighboring erythrocytes on the edges of the pigmented spherical bodies in the blood of a patient suffering from malarial fever. From then on, he has no further doubts as to the parasitic nature of the elements he has found. He describes the main forms taken by the hemacytozoon of malaria in notes which he submits to the Academy of Medicine and the Academy of Sciences and in a short treatise entitled; The Parasitic Nature of Accidents of Impaludation, Description of A New Parasite Found in The Blood of Patients Suffering from Malarial Fever.
Camille Saint-Saëns’ Suite Algérienne, the first of several works inspired by the composer’s fascination with Algeria, premiers in Paris.
1881France institutes a policy of “rattachement” in Algeria. Each department of the administration is made responsible to a corresponding ministry in Paris. The office of Governor General becomes largely ceremonial.
1882Auguste Renoir, an “occassional orientalist”, makes his second visit to Algiers. “It is necessary to see this land from the plain of the Mitidja to the gates of Algiers. I have seen nothing more sumptuous nothing and more fertile ", he writes. And adds, "I acknowledge that I am quite happy and when one has seen Algeria, one likes it. The farmers make enormous fortunes. The lands increase in value.” He testifies to an, “adhesion without reserve with the colonial project.”
Commandant François-élie Roudaire abandons his plan to create an inland sea by building a canal from the Mediterranean and flooding 6,700 square kilometers in the Saharan basin.
1883May 25 Emir Abd el Kader dies in Damascus.
During the Year Algeria’s wine exports increase sharply due to an outbreak of phylloxera in the French vineyards.
1884Jean Jaurès, draws attention to Italian and Spanish immigration to Algeria and notes that unless the pace of French immigration increases rapidly they will become a minority of the European population.
Camille Saint Saëns composes La Caprice Arabe, opus 96 for two pianos.
1886The European population numbers 219,000 French citizens and 211,000 foreigners.
1888December 16 General Alphonse Juin is born at Bône, Algeria.
During the Year Camille Saint Saëns travels to Algeria following his divorce and the death of his mother. The composer will return each winter until his death.
1889March 7 A village is named in honor of Pirette, the colonist who valiantly resisted the Hadjouth in 1839.
June 26 French citizenship is granted to all Europeans born in Algeria.
During the Year A law is enacted requiring that shipments between Algeria and France be transported on French ships.
1890Algerian cork is commercially harvested for the first time.
1891Camille Saint Saëns composes a piano forte entitled, Africa, Opus 89, Symphony No. 2, Symphony in F.
Louis Bertrand, novelist, essayist, historian and future immortal of the Académie Française begins a nine year sojourn in Algiers. Bertrand finds employment as a professor of rhetoric in a local lycée but devotes most of his time to collecting information for his future literary efforts. His best known works dealing with Algerian and Oriental subjects include the novels; Le Sang des races, La Cina, Pépète et Balthazar, Pépète le bien-aimé, L’Invasion and Le Roman de la Conquête (The Novel of the Conquest); several essays, Devant l’Islam (Before Islam), Le Livre de la Méditerranée (The Book of the Mediterranean) and Le Mirage as well as numerous biographical monographs of personalities including Saint Augustine.
Phosphate beds are discovered near Tebessa.
1892June 15 Eugène Étienne, Deputy from Oran, founds Le Parti Colonial, a 42 member caucus supporting continued expansion of the French Empire. Membership in the group grows to 129 within a year. It attracts deputies from across the political spectrum but the majority of them are republican moderates.
During the Year France abandons the policy of “rattachement” in Algeria. The powers of the Governor General are increased and Algeria is made a legal entity with a special budget.
1894July 24 François-clément Maillot, an Army doctor who developed a quinine based treatment for malaria in 1832, dies in Paris.
1895The village of Surcouf, 30 km east of Algiers is established by fishermen from the French departments of Alpes Maritimes and Var.
Algeria’s vineyards cover 300,000 acres and produce 88,000,000 gallons of wine.
1896The European population numbers 578,000 made up of 318,000 French citizens, 38,000 naturalized foreigners and 212,000 foreign nationals. The number of Europeans born in Algeria outnumbers immigrants for the first time.
1897May The “French” party an anti-Jewish league of the Left, led by a pharmacist named Gobert, wins the elections for Mayor and city council in Oran. A few days later a Jewish councilman from Oran is attacked while attending a bicycle race in Mostaganem. Moslems and Europeans plunder that city’s Jewish quarter. This is followed by three days of attacks on Jewish shops in Oran. The government refuses to yield to demands for the abrogation of the Crémieux decree.
Swiss adventurer Isabelle Eberhardt travels to North Africa with her mother where they both convert to Islam. Soon after, her mother dies but Eberhardt remains in northern Algeria to explore the desert. Eberhart traveled in Arabic society including the secret Sufi brotherhood, Qadriya, dressed as a man calling herself Si Mahmoud Essadi.
During the Year Francois Henry Laperrine recruits and organizes the Compagnie Méharistes Sahariennes a force of native irregulars to police the Sahara.
1898August 23 A decree further defines the powers of the Governor General and establishes the Financial Delegations, an elective body responsible for all matters affecting taxation and the budget. The delegations consist of elected representatives of rural colonists and urban taxpayers and Moslem representatives who are partly elected and partly appointed.
September 30 Marie Louvet, a laundress at the Constantine army barracks, gives birth to a daughter, Charlotte, the illegitimate child of Louis Grimaldi, the future Prince of Monaco.
1899April 10 The Foureau Lamy expedition departs Ouargla and eventually reaches Agadès on the River Niger after crossing the Sahara.
1901Father Charles de Foucauld settles near Beni-Abbes in the southern Oranais with the intention of converting the Moslems to Christianity.
The Algerian customs department, previously directed from Paris, is placed under the control of the Governor General.
1902December 2 The Governor Generalship is divided into Algeria proper (77,208 square miles with a population of 4,441,515) and the Southern Territory formed from portions of Algeria and the Sahara (316,629 square miles with a population of 359,660).
During the Year Vincent Rodier, the Reverend Father Clément, develops the clémentine, a seedless variety of tangerine, in citrus grove at Misserghim near Oran.
A British consular report declares that, "at a moderate estimate the number of trees damaged or destroyed (by forest fires in Algeria) might be put down at 6,000,000."
Republicans reclaim power from the anti-Semitic “French” party in the Oran municipal elections.
1903May 5 Charles Jonnart is appointed for his second and longest, 8 years, of three terms as acting Governor General.
1904October 21 Isabelle Eberhardt, Swiss explorer and author, dies in a flash flood at Aïn Sefra.
During the Year Construction of the Agha (southern) harbor in the port of Algiers begins.
1905August 14 The border between Saharan territory dependent on Algeria and that of French West Africa is defined. The Algerian Sahara is divided into four territories; Touggourt, Ghardaia, Ain Sefra and the Saharan Oases (Tuat, Gurara and Tidikelt). The Governor General represents the territories in civil affairs. The budget is distinct from that of Algeria proper and receives an annual subsidy from France.
During the Year Father Charles de Foucauld settles at Tamanrasset in the Hoggar region of southern Algeria where he serves as chaplain to the French military and missionary to the Touaregs.
Nouvelles Algériennes [Algerian News], the journal of deceased explorer Isabelle Eberhardt, is published in the journal l'Akhbar.
France imports 110,000,000 gallons of Algerian wine.
1906L'Akhbar publishes Dans l'Ombre Chaude de l'Islam [In the Hot Shade of Islam] a novel by deceased adventurer Isabelle Eberhardt.
According to a census Algeria’s population is 5,231,850.
The European population is 680,263 including:
278,976 French settlers and their descendants
170,444 naturalized French citizens
117,475 Spaniards
64,645 Jews
33,153 Italians
6,217 Maltese
1907December 10 The Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded to Alphonse Laveran, "in recognition of his work on the role played by protozoa in causing diseases."
1908February 28 The National Assembly authorizes the Algerian administration to borrow 175 million francs to finance public works.
During the Year The National Assembly’s expressed desire that the Algerian budget provide schools for the education of 120,000 students stirs criticism among the colonists who fear the development of a half educated caste of malcontented natives. The Financial Delegations, under pressure from the Governor General eventually approve an education appropriation of 520,000 francs per annum.
Algeria ranks fourth on the list of wine producing nations behind France, Italy and Spain. 171,682,000 gallons are produced from the harvest of 186,281 hectares of vineyards.
1909December 30 The National Assembly enacts legislation establishing the University of Algiers through the combination of the schools of medicine and pharmacy, law, letters and sciences and granting them autonomy from the University of Montpellier.
During the Year The National Assembly defeats a proposal to develop the Ouenza iron ore beds. The agreement brokered by Governor General Jonnart calls construction of a 135 mile railway connecting the mines with the port of Bône to be built at the expense of the concessionaires and turned over to the government. Proponents of the scheme claim its success will break a Swedish monopoly on high grade iron ore. The opposition, led by Socialist Jean Jaurès, argues against the dangers of allowing foreign capital to develop the mines.
Commandant Marchand of Fashoda fame believing that there are significant petroleum reserves beneath the Sahara declares, “when it reveals its riches it will be made our Sahara.”
1912February 3 A decree imposes conscription on all French subjects (Moslems) in Algeria above the age of 19.
During the Year The last cholera epidemic to strike Algeria during the French administration breaks out in the Tlemcen region.
1913November 7 Albert Camus is born at Mondovi, Algeria.

UP - Homepage - Timeline Index