At 10.45 on the morning of 15 March
1962 two ‘commando squads’ of the Organisation de
l’Armée secrète (OAS), broke into a meeting of
educational administrators in El Biar, a satellite suburb west of
Algiers. An extremist group determined to keep colonial Algeria French,
the OAS was in the midst of a terror campaign in defiance of
Algeria’s imminent independence. Led by
(French Union) ‘based on equality of rights and obligations
without distinction of race or religion’. But the colonial
relationship remained intact. The new constitution allowed some
representation of colonised peoples in the new National Assembly and
French Union Assembly. Other reforms included the abolition of forced
labour, the indigénat, and – except for Algeria - the
dual college electoral system
French rule in Algeria ended in 1962 following almost eight years of intensely violent conflict, producing one of the largest migratory waves of the post-1945 era. Almost a million French settlers - pieds-noirs - and tens of thousands of harkis - native auxiliaries who had fought with the French army - felt compelled to leave their homeland and cross the Mediterranean to France. Tracing the history of these two communities, From Empire to Exile explores the legacies of the Algerian War of Independence in France. It uses the long-standing grassroots collective mobilisation and memory activism undertaken by both groups to challenge the idea that this was a ‘forgotten’ war that only returned to public attention in the 1990s. Revealing the rich and dynamic interactions produced as pieds-noirs,harkis and other groups engaged with each other and with state-sanctioned narratives, this study demonstrates the fundamental ways in which postcolonial minorities have shaped the landscapes of French politics, society and culture since 1962. It also helps place the current ‘memory wars’ deemed to be sweeping France in their wider historical context, proving that the current competition for control over the representation of the past in the public sphere is not a recent development, but the culmination of long-running processes. By reconceptualising the ways in which the Algerian War has been debated, evaluated and commemorated in the five decades since it ended, this book makes an original contribution to important discussions surrounding the contentious issues of memory, migration and empire in contemporary France.
In the twenty years between the end of the First World War and the start of the Second, the French empire reached its greatest physical extent. At the end of the First World War, the priority of the French political community was to consolidate and expand the French empire for, inter alia, industrial mobilisation and global competition for strategic resources. The book revisits debates over 'associationism' and 'assimilationism' in French colonial administration in Morocco and Indochina, and discusses the Jonnart Law in Algeria and the role of tribal elites in the West African colonies. On the economy front, the empire was tied to France's monetary system, and most colonies were reliant on the French market. The book highlights three generic socio-economic issues that affected all strata of colonial society: taxation and labour supply, and urban development with regard to North Africa. Women in the inter-war empire were systematically marginalised, and gender was as important as colour and creed in determining the educational opportunities open to children in the empire. With imperialist geographical societies and missionary groups promoting France's colonial connection, cinema films and the popular press brought popular imperialism into the mass media age. The book discusses the four rebellions that shook the French empire during the inter-war years: the Rif War of Morocco, the Syrian revolt, the Yen Bay mutiny in Indochina, and the Kongo Wara. It also traces the origins of decolonisation in the rise of colonial nationalism and anti-colonial movements.
Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian women played a major role in the struggle to end French rule in one of the most violent wars of decolonisation of the twentieth century. Our Fighting Sisters is the first in-depth exploration of what happened to these women after independence in 1962. Based on new oral history interviews with women who participated in the war in a wide range of roles, from members of the Algiers urban bomb network to women who supported the rural guerrilla, the book explores how female veterans viewed the post-independence state and its multiple discourses on ‘the Algerian woman’ in the fifty years following 1962, from the euphoria of national liberation to the civil violence of the 1990s. It also examines the ways in which these former combatants’ memories of the anti-colonial conflict intertwine with, contradict or coexist alongside the state-sponsored narrative of the war constructed after independence. Part of an emerging field of works seeking to write the post-independence history of Algeria, this book aims to go beyond reading Algeria through the lens of post-colonial trauma or through a series of politicised dichotomies pitching oppressed citizen against oppressive state, official commemoration verses vernacular memory or contrasting narratives of post-independence decline with post-colonial success stories. Instead, this book is about the contradictions and compromises of state-building and nation-building after decolonisation. Its wider conclusions contribute to debates about gender, nationalism and memory.
Legacies of colonial empire are present in the demarcations of state borders, in architecture, on the pedestals of monuments, in books, and in other forms. Heroic men have not been forgotten but at the same time erstwhile insurgents rebelling against the colonial order are now celebrated as freedom fighters. Even commodities of daily life, such as coffee or rubber, bear the deep imprint of their colonial histories. This book presents imperial history as a history of interwoven, overlapping, partly contradictory memories in which non-European outlooks are considered on a more equal footing, alongside the recollections of former colonial masters. These include imperial architecture in nineteenth-century Algeria, the Koregaon obelisk in India, the Hungarian monument commemorating the thirteen martyrs of Arad, and Japan's twentieth-century post-war repositories of memories of war, empire, suffering and heroism. The heroes and villains of the imperial era include the Dutch colonial governor Jan Pietersz Coen; Robert Clive, the victor of Plassey; and the explorer and missionary David Livingstone. Other manifestations of memory include Imam Shamil who resisted the troops of Tsarist Russia. The book looks at the fragility and precariousness of repositories of imperial memory. It traces the cycles of obliviousness and remembrance, of suppression and political instrumentalisation that have accompanied the history of Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. The history of Berlin's Botanical Garden is intimately intertwined with Germany's colonial endeavours but this important aspect of the institution's history has remained all but suppressed.
The Frenchmen who conquered the
land now called Algeria were ruthless. Before they arrived, the
indigenous Berber people had survived many invasions, from the
Phoenicians to the Vandals, the Byzantine and the Arabs, who came in the
seventh century bringing Islam. The Berbers adopted Islam but maintained
their own language and customs. From the eleventh through to the
extremely risky, while the indigénat made it illegal for
Algerians to join political parties. Yet Algeria’s socialists were
optimistic. They could claim that Marx himself had spent a few months in
Algeria in 1882 - for health reasons - and that Marx and Engels had
written about the French conquest of Algeria. Marx and Engels readily
recognised colonialism’s violence and economic devastation, but
The overthrow and exile of Napoleon in 1815 is a familiar episode in modern history, but it is not well known that just a few months later, British colonisers toppled and banished the last king in Ceylon. This book explores confrontations and accommodations between European colonisers and indigenous monarchs. It discusses the displacement of a few among the three dozen 'potentates' by British and French authorities from 1815 until the 1950s. The complicated relationship between the crown of a colonising country and colonial monarchies has often lain in the background of historical research, but relatively seldom appeared in the forefront except in the case of the Indian princely states. The book further examines particular cases of the deposition and exile of rulers: King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha in Ceylon in 1815, Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar in 1897, and Emperors Ham Nghi, Thanh Thai and Duy Tan in Vietnam during 1885-1916. It also provides more composite accounts of Asia and Africa: the British ouster of Indian princes, the last Burmese king and a sultan in Malaya, and then British and French removal of a host of 'chieftains' in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, the book looks at the French colonial removal of rulers in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia - and the restoration of a Moroccan sultan on the eve of decolonisation. By the end of the colonial period, in many countries around the globe, monarchism - kingship, had lost its old potency, though it has not disappeared.
In the 1930s impoverished rural
Algerians swarmed into already densely populated urban areas. The
traditional medina became both ruralised and Europeanised. The new
urbanites maintained tight networks with their rural relatives, linking
town and countryside ever more closely. However, urban youth spent more
time in the streets by comparison with their parents, congregating at