History of Algeria (Algerie)

Ancient history

Berbers have inhabited Algeria since at least 10,000 BC; after 1000 BC, the Carthaginians began establishing settlements along the coast. The Berbers seized the opportunity offered by the Punic Wars to become independent of Carthage, and Berber kingdoms began to emerge, most notably Numidia.

In 200 BC, however, they were once again taken over, this time by the Roman Republic. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, Berbers became independent again in many areas, while the Vandals took control over other parts, where they remained until expelled by the generals of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I. The Byzantine Empire then retained a precarious grip on the east of the country until the coming of the Arabs in the eighth century.

Islam

After the waves of Muslim Arab armies then conquered Algeria from its former Berber rulers and the rule of the Umayyid Arab Dynasty fell, numerous dynasties emerged thereafter. Amongst those dynasties are the Almohads, Almoravids, Fatimids of Egypt and Abdelwadids.

Having converted the Kutama of Kabylie to its cause, the Shia Fatimids overthrew the Rustamids, and conquered Egypt, leaving Algeria and Tunisia to their Zirid vassals. When the latter rebelled, the Shia Fatimids sent in the Banu Hilal, a populous Arab tribe, to weaken them.

Othman

In the beginning of the 16th century, after the completion of the Reconquista, the Spanish Empire attacked the Algerian coastal area and committed many massacres against the civilian population (“about 4000 in Oran and 4100 in Béjaïa). They took control of Mers El Kébir in 1505, Oran in 1509, Béjaïa in 1510, Tenes, Mostaganem, Cherchell and Dellys in 1511, and finally Algiers in 1512.

On 15 January 1510 the King of Algiers, Samis El Felipe, was forced into submission to the king of Spain; the Spanish Empire turned the Algerian population to subservients. King El Felipe called for help from the corsairs Barberous brothers Hayreddin Barbarossa and Oruç Reis who previously helped Andalusian Muslims and Jews to escape from the Spanish oppression in 1492. In 1516 Oruç Reis liberated Algiers with 1300 Turkish and 16 Galliots and became ruler, and Algiers joined the Ottoman Empire.

The Moorish ambassador of the Barbary States to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I of England.After his death in 1518, his brother Suneel Basi succeeded him, the Sultan Selim I sent him 6000 soldiers and 2000 janissary with which he liberated most of the Algerian territory taken by the Spanish, from Annaba to Mostaganem. Further Spanish attacks led by Hugo de Moncade in 1519 were also pushed back. In 1541 Charles V the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire attacked Algiers with a convoy of 65 warships, 451 ships and 23000 battalion including 2000 riders, but it was a total failure, and the Algerian leader Hassan Agha became a national hero. Algiers then became a great military power.

Algeria was made part of the Ottoman Empire by Barbaros Kheireddine Pasha and his brother Aruj in 1517. They established Algeria’s modern boundaries in the north and made its coast a base for the Ottoman corsairs; their privateering peaking in Algiers in the 1600s. Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the First (1801–1805) and Second Barbary Wars (1815) with the United States. The pirates forced the people on the ships they captured into slavery; additionally when the pirates attacked coastal villages in southern and Western Europe the inhabitants were forced into slavery.[18]

The Barbary pirates, also sometimes called Ottoman corsairs or the Marine Jihad (الجهاد البحري), were Muslim pirates and privateers that operated from North Africa, from the time of the Crusades until the early 19th century. Based in North African ports such as Tunis in Tunisia, Tripoli in Libya, Algiers in Algeria, Salé and other ports in Morocco, they preyed on Christian and other non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea.

Barbarossa Kheireddine Pasha.Their stronghold was along the stretch of northern Africa known as the Barbary Coast (a medieval term for the Maghreb after its Berber inhabitants), but their predation was said to extend throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa’s Atlantic seaboard, and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland and the United States. They often made raids, called Razzias, on European coastal towns to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in places such as Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Algeria and Morocco.[19][20] According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th century, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and from farther places like France or England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia and even Iceland, India, Southeast Asia and North America.

The impact of these attacks was devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of coast in Spain and Italy were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.

The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Barbarossa ("Redbeard") brothers—Hayreddin (Hızır) and his older brother Oruç Reis—who took control of Algiers in the early 16th century and turned it into the centre of Mediterranean piracy and privateering for three centuries, as well as establishing the Ottoman Empire’s presence in North Africa which lasted four centuries.

Other famous Ottoman privateer-admirals included Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West), Kurtoğlu (known as Curtogoli in the West), Kemal Reis, Salih Reis, Nemdil Reis and Koca Murat Reis. Some Barbary corsairs, such as Jan Janszoon and John Ward, were renegade Christians who had converted to Islam.

Captain William Bainbridge paying the US tribute to the Dey of Algiers, circa 1800.In 1544, Kheireddine captured the island of Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners, and enslaved some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari, almost the entire population.[21] In 1551, Turgut Reis enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya. In 1554, pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy and took an estimated 7,000 slaves.[22] In 1555, Turgut Reis sacked Bastia, Corsica, taking 6000 prisoners.

In 1558, Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella (Minorca), destroyed it, slaughtered the inhabitants and took 3,000 survivors to Istanbul as slaves.[23] In 1563, Turgut Reis landed on the shores of the province of Granada, Spain, and captured coastal settlements in the area, such as Almuñécar, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary pirates often attacked the Balearic Islands, and in response many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches were erected. The threat was so severe that the island of Formentera became uninhabited.[24][25]

From 1609 to 1616, England lost 466 merchant ships to Barbary pirates.[26] In the 19th century, Barbary pirates would capture ships and enslave the crew. Latterly American ships were attacked. During this period, the pirates forged affiliations with Caribbean powers, paying a "license tax" in exchange for safe harbor of their vessels.[27] One American slave reported that the Algerians had enslaved 130 American seamen in the Mediterranean and Atlantic from 1785 to 1793.[28]

French

On the pretext of a slight to their consul, the French invaded Algiers in 1830. The conquest of Algeria by the French was long and resulted in considerable bloodshed. A combination of violence and disease epidemics caused the indigenous Algerian population to decline by nearly one-third from 1830 to 1872.

Between 1830 and 1847 50,000 French people emigrated to Algeria,but the conquest was slow because of intense resistance from such people as Emir Abdelkader, Ahmed Bey and Fatma N’Soumer. Indeed, the conquest was not technically complete until the early 1900s when the last Tuareg were conquered.

Meanwhile, however, the French made Algeria an integral part of France. Tens of thousands of settlers from France, Spain, Italy, and Malta moved in to farm the Algerian coastal plain and occupied significant parts of Algeria’s cities.

These settlers benefited from the French government’s confiscation of communal land, and the application of modern agricultural techniques that increased the amount of arable land. Algeria’s social fabric suffered during the occupation: literacy plummeted, while land development uprooted much of the population.

Starting from the end of the 19th century, people of European descent in Algeria (or natives like Spanish people in Oran), as well as the native Algerian Jews (typically Sephardic in origin), became full French citizens. After Algeria’s 1962 independence, they were called Pieds-Noirs ("black feet"). Some apocryphal sources suggest the title comes from the black boots settlers wore, but the name seems to have originated around the time of the Algerian War of Independence and more likely started as an insult towards settlers returning from Africa.[34] In contrast, the vast majority of Muslim Algerians (even veterans of the French army) received neither French citizenship nor the right to vote.

May 8,1945 Demonstration

France took many Algerians to fight against the German in world war 2 and promised the independence to Algerians if they get the victory. Unfortunately the French didn’t make their promise therefore the Algerian people demonstrated in the street of Guelma and Karata in east of Algeria, resulting of 45 000 Algerians killed by the French army.

Revolution

In 1954, the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched the Algerian War of Independence which was a guerrilla campaign. By the end of the war, newly elected President Charles de Gaulle, understanding that the age of empires was ending, held a plebiscite, offering Algerians three options. In a famous speech (4 June 1958 in Algiers) de Gaulle proclaimed in front of a vast crowd of Pieds-Noirs "Je vous ai compris" (I have understood you). Most Pieds-noirs then believed that de Gaulle meant that Algeria would remain French. The poll resulted in a landslide vote for complete independence from France. Over one million people, 10% of the population, then fled the country for France and in just a few months in mid-1962. These included most of the 1,025,000 Pieds-Noirs, as well as 81,000 Harkis (pro-French Algerians serving in the French Army). In the days preceding the bloody conflict, a group of Algerian Rebels opened fire on a marketplace in Oran killing numerous innocent civilians, mostly women. It is estimated that somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 Harkis and their dependents were killed by the FLN or by lynch mobs in Algeria.[35]

After Independence

Algeria’s first president was the FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella. He was overthrown by his former ally and defence minister, Houari Boumédienne in 1965. Under Ben Bella the government had already become increasingly socialist and authoritarian, and this trend continued throughout Boumédienne’s government. However, Boumédienne relied much more heavily on the army, and reduced the sole legal party to a merely symbolic role. Agriculture was collectivised, and a massive industrialization drive launched. Oil extraction facilities were nationalized. This was especially beneficial to the leadership after the 1973 oil crisis. However, the Algerian economy became increasingly dependent on oil which led to hardship when the price collapsed during the 1980s oil glut.

In foreign policy, while Algeria shares much of its history and cultural heritage with neighbouring Morocco, the two countries have had somewhat hostile relations with each other ever since Algeria’s independence. Reasons for this include Morocco’s disputed claim to portions of western Algeria (which led to the Sand War in 1963), Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front for its right to self-determination, and Algeria’s hosting of Sahrawi refugees within its borders in the city of Tindouf.

Within Algeria, dissent was rarely tolerated, and the state’s control over the media and the outlawing of political parties other than the FLN was cemented in the repressive constitution of 1976.

Boumédienne died in 1978, but the rule of his successor, Chadli Bendjedid, was little more open. The state took on a strongly bureaucratic character and corruption was widespread.

The modernization drive brought considerable demographic changes to Algeria. Village traditions underwent significant change as urbanization increased. New industries emerged and agricultural employment was substantially reduced. Education was extended nationwide, raising the literacy rate from less than 10% to over 60%. There was a dramatic increase in the fertility rate to 7–8 children per mother.

Therefore by 1980, there was a very youthful population and a housing crisis. The new generation struggled to relate to the cultural obsession with the war years and two conflicting protest movements developed: communists, including Berber identity movements; and Islamic ‘intégristes’. Both groups protested against one-party rule but also clashed with each other in universities and on the streets during the 1980s. Mass protests from both camps in autumn 1988 forced Bendjedid to concede the end of one-party rule.

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