in the 1800s was a very wealthy nation. Most of their income was from their large surplus in wheat. They sent large supplies
of wheat and other grains to Europe. During this time Algeria
was the largest wheat producing nation in the Mediterranean. Algerian wheat was sent to France during the French Revolution, however the French refused
to pay for it. In the year 1827, Algeria sent their dey, or governor, Hussein
to meet with a government official from France
to discuss the payment of the debt. When the French representative continued to refuse to pay for the wheat, Hussein struck
him in the face with a fly whisk. The French took the blow as a major insult and decided to take action against Algeria.
France blockaded Algeria
for three years. Exports were a large part of Algerian economy and so this blockade began to hurt the country financially.
Finally in 1830, the Algerians found a way around the blockade and the French used this failure as an excuse for a military
expedition. Prior to the French realizing they would get into such a conflict, Napoleon had devised a plan of invasion, claiming
it was never expected to be used. This plan called for 34,000 French soldiers to land 27 kilometers west of Sidi Ferruch.
The Algerians responded to this invasion with 7,000 non-Turkish slaves, known to them as janissaries, 19,000 troops which
were sent from the governors of the Ottoman Empire, and 17,000 Kabyles, which are Berber Algerians from the northeast region
of Algeria. Algeria was captured in three weeks, and Hussein, the man who struck the French
government official, fled the nation.
The Monarch of France who
was Charles X sent 36,000 troops to Algeria
to retaliate the insult. When the Algerians attempted to avenge the attack, France
sent 115,000 more soldiers in 1840. This is the point in which the full scale invasion of the French began in Algeria. The French also sent settlers to the coastal areas
of Algeria. Algeria was quickly under total French control.
Kader was a Berber who attempted to unite different groups into a military force to fight the French. Kader's forces used
guerilla warfare to gain position for his people in a French Algeria. The French however were angered by this act of retaliation
and they proceeded to burn and destroy many buildings and homes.
The number of French settlers
began to grow in Algeria and by 1912 there
were nearly 800,000 colonists farming on native Berber-Arab land. The natives were driven to those places that were less fertile.
These French colonists believed that they had the right to anything in their new home.
High resistance against the
French began in the 1920s. The Algerian natives were denied all rights of citizenship and were unable to vote. Their political
rights were obsolete. Then when the 1930s and 1940s came, the French slowly began to grant very limited reforms to the native
Algerians. The natives were now allowed some citizenship and voting rights, in their own country.
When the French were liberated from, Nazi rule in 1945, Algerians began immense demonstrations holding high their native flags
in the streets, chanting and shouting for independence. The French were not happy with these demonstrations, so they used
military strength to kill about 70,000 native Algerians. After seeing that the rights gave the native Algerians confidence,
all upcoming elections were rigged to ensure no power or confidence would be instilled in the native majority ever again.
At this point it was realized that the only way to free the country from French rule, was to organize a large armed revolution
and overthrow them with murder. This was the point in time when the real "Battle of Algiers" started.