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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson C: European Division of the African Continent

Activity 7: Conflict and Resistance in Africa — Algeria


The French first seized parts of Algeria in 1830. The Algerians began a pattern of resistance that continued for over 100 years. The Algerians had been under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, but as time went on, the French were able to gain more of the area. The people of Algeria were a mixture of Arabs, Berbers, and Turks and the majority of the people were united by Islam. Religion was the unifying factor in their struggle against the French.

With this background information, examine the image of the French battle in Algeria along with the quotation from Lieutenant-Colonel de Montagnac.

french battle in algeria

French Battle in Algeria [1]

"All populations which do not accept our conditions must be despoiled. Everything must be seized, devastated, without age or sex distinction... I personally warn all good militaries which I have the honour to lead that if they happen to bring me a living Arabs, they will receive a beating with the flat of the saber... This is how, my dear friend, we must do war against them: kill all men over the age of fifteen, take all their women and children…In one word, annihilate all that will not crawl beneath our feet like dogs" [2]

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Written Activity - Notebook

In your notebook, respond to the following questions.

  • Who do you think created the image, the French or Algerians? Why do you think this?
  • Who do you think said the quotation above, a Frenchman or an Algerian? Why do you think this?
  • How might these two sources be used to understand each other?


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sikhak.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

[2] This is an excerpt from a letter that Lieutenant-Colonel de Montagnac wrote a friend in 1843, shortly after invading Algeria. Source: http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/2137