Algeria 1830: Legacy of an Occupation

Tower of Babel

Originally published at – April 22, 2004
by Richard Wall

French “Redlegs’ — Line Infantry, c. 1840

Nearly 175 years ago, between June 12 and 15, 1830, a French army of around 37,000 men invaded what was at the time known as the Regency of Algiers, the ancient North African “land of the Berbers” which lies across the Mediterranean sea from southern France. Today it is Algeria, an Arab nation-state of some 32 million inhabitants.

In the late 18th century this land was part of what was called “the Barbary Coast.” For nearly 300 years it had been home to the cruiser ships of the daring and insolent corsairs (labeled “pirates” by their victims) who raided the mainland of southern Europe, exacting tribute and taking numbers of the population off into slavery, as well as attacking vessels of the maritime powers sailing in…

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