French Intentions Led To Unnecessary Bloodshed In Algeria

999 words - 4 pages

In 1830 France invaded the largest country in Africa in attempt to completely take control of it. The next century and a half was met with struggle between Algerian natives and French settlers that included bloodshed and oppression. This struggle was known as the French Conquest of Algeria. By the early 19th century European imperialism was expanding quickly, deeply affecting African and Muslim populations, and posing immense challenges for indigenous peoples all over Africa. Algerians dealt with vast types of oppression, racism, and brutal warfare. France aimed to completely take over the country bringing in mass waves of immigrating settlers, referred to as pied-noirs (“black feet”), who ...view middle of the document...

By 1875 European settlers made up about one tenth of Algeria’s population, and by 1911 the numbers rose to a quarter of the population. The growing French population allowed French entitlement to take over as colonial policies politically oppressed Algerians declaring Muslims as “second-class citizens.” The overpowering imperialistic nature of French settlers caused them to forcibly integrate their culture and limit Islamic influences, which also lead to further Algerian oppression.
After success in invading, French goals began to blur and more unjust, even racist, practices began to occur as the French desperately tried to change Algerian culture. Inequalities emerged keeping Algerian farmers from owning larger plots of land than settlers, which caused widespread poverty and malnutrition among natives. In order to survive, increasing numbers of natives were forced to move to French-controlled cities or work on land owned by the French. Fearing an educated native population, the French also limited education for Muslim children. By 1954 under 13% of Muslim children were enrolled in school, and very few continued on to secondary schools or universities. Additionally, Arab education was replaced with secular French education in attempt to advance the abolishment of Muslim traditions. Traditional Algerian law was eliminated and replaced with a completely European judicial system, and because they were viewed as “second-class,” very few natives were even allowed to participate or cast votes. Oppression was taken so far that native Algerians dealt with “humiliation. They were treated as sub-humans.” French soldiers disrespected Islamic culture by desecrating mosques and destroying cemeteries, but excusing their actions because they claimed they were merely attempting to help civilize the natives. French superiority posed many challenges to Algerian natives as the French overpowered them. Some Algerians gave in and accepted the rule, but many resented it and chose to revolt.
By 1871 unfair French policies and practices enraged Algerian citizens to the point of violent opposition and vicious responses. More peaceful forms of opposition included the...

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