Algeria Early History

A unified history of today’s Algeria, which was originally inhabited by numerous, politically fragmented Berber tribes, has only existed, like the name Algeria, since the 16th century.

From the early days to the Ottoman rule

Since the 12th century BC Small parts of the country, especially on the coast, belonged to the Phoenician, later to the Carthaginian sphere of influence (Carthage). Under the names Numidia and Mauritania, larger contiguous parts of today’s Algeria formed two of the most fertile provinces of the Roman Empire. Then the onset of the Vandal in the 5th century AD and, after a brief Eastern Roman boom in the 6th century, that of the Arabs in the 7th century destroyed the prosperity created by the Romans.

Since 800 the area has been partly ruled by indigenous dynasties (Idrisiden, Aghlabiden, Siriden) under the caliphate. According to smber, the history of Algeria was closely related to that of Morocco and Tunisia under the Berber dynasties of the Almoravids (1061–1147) and Almohads (1147–1269). On the ruins of the Almohad Empire in Tlemcen, a kingdom of its own was formed under the Saijanids, while the cities of Algiers, Oran, Bejaïa (Bougie) and Ténès rose to become independent states. Parts of the Moors expelled from Spain in 1492 settled in Algeria. Because of their piracy, Ferdinand the Catholic attacked them, conquering Oran in 1509 and Algiers in 1510. Cheireddin called against the Spaniardsthe Turks to help and in 1519 subordinated his empire to their suzerainty. The Spaniards were expelled, Tunis and the country up to the Moroccan border conquered, with the exception of Oran. Charles V’s undertakings against piracy in the North African states (“barbaric states”) were unsuccessful (1535–41). In the 17th century, the Turkish Janissary militia obtained the right to elect a Dei from Algeria. In 1708, the Dei Ibrahim also seized the previously Spanish Oran. His successor, Baba Ali made himself independent from the Turkish sultan. From the 17th to the 19th centuries Algeria was attacked several times without success by the Spanish, English, Dutch and French who tried to curb the piracy from there.

French colonial rule

In 1830 the French finally took the capital and continued the conquest until the July Revolution. At the same time, the French in Abd el-Kader, the Emir of Maskara, became a strong opponent. From 1834 the fighting lasted with varying success until Abd el-Kader had to surrender to the French in 1847 after his crushing defeat on Isly (1844). As early as 1837 the French were able to take Constantine and thus lay the groundwork for the complete subjugation of the later province of the same name as well as the inland.

In the years 1864/66 there were uprisings among the population, which spread to almost all of Algeria after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Only after the end of the war did the French manage to end it; They were not able to finally consolidate their rule until the 1880s. 1899-1902 they conquered the southern territories in the course of the French penetration of the western Sahara and placed them under the administration of the French Governor General of Algeria. During the First and Second World Wars, the Algerian population was loyal to the French.

In 1926 Messali Hadj founded the first Algerian independence movement in Paris, the North African Star, which was renamed the Algerian People’s Party in 1937 (banned in 1939). During the Second World War, Algeria was the center of the French resistance movement (Résistance). In 1945 the French government put down an uprising in the Sétif area. In the following years the efforts of F. Abbas failed, who in 1943 had called for the autonomy of Algeria within the French state in a »Manifesto of the Algerian People«.

On November 1, 1954, a radical group around A. Ben Bella, the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN, German National Liberation Front), triggered an uprising.

With an army of at times 500,000 men, France tried to suppress the uprising; There were serious riots against the civilian population on both sides. The states of the Arab League recognized the, supported by the FLN government in exile formed in 1958 (officially: Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic) that 1958-61 by F. Abbas, 1961-62 by Y. Ben Khedda (* 1920, † 2003) conducted became.

Political concessions by the French government to the insurrection movement triggered an army coup against the Fourth French Republic on May 13, 1958, which led to the establishment of the Fifth French Republic. The nationalist French Algerians and parts of the French Algerian army fought bitterly against the policy of the French President C. de Gaulle, which aimed at the sovereignty of Algeria (terrorist attacks by the Organization de l’Armée Secrète, OAS, a secret organization led by General R. Salan). The negotiations between the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic and France resulted in the Évian-les-Bains Agreement (March 18, 1962), which brought Algeria independence on July 1, 1962 (French history).

Algeria Early History