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Abd al-Qadir
Arabic: ¢abdu l-qādirPlay sound



Artistic representation of Abd al-Qadir's surrender in 1847

Abd al-Qadir's territory (1839)
(Mascara, Algeria 1808- Damascus, Syria 1883) Emir, religious and military resistance fighter against the French occupation of Algeria.
Abd al-Qadir was a Qadiriya shaykh, and being named identical to the founder of the order, he is often referred to as Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza'iri, meaning "the Algerian".
Abd al-Qadir stands out as one of the most significant national heros of Algeria, and is often considered the founder of the Algerian state, not only because of his political actions, but also because his schemes for education brought consciousness of independence to the people of Algeria.
Abd al-Qadir was known as a strong and autocratic leader, but he was also pragamatic and used European officials in fields where his own subjects lacked the needed experience.
He established juridical equality between tribes, a bureaucratic system, and equal taxes for all subjects. He also assmbled a regular army that counted 2,000 troops, but which was strengthened by locals in times of war.
His territory extended over large parts of northern Algeria, from the Moroccan border, and three quarters of present Algeria to the east, meeting the French controlled zone in the north, and the Sahara desert in the south.
Much of his success rested upon his personality — contemporary accounts describe him as physically impressive and very charismatic. The same accounts present him as a devout and honest Muslim. Abd al-Qadir was also revered with much respect from the French, especially after his surrender of 1847.

Biography
1808 September 6: Born in the village of Guetna, near Mascara in Algeria, as son of the local chief and religious leader.
1832 November: Abd al-Qadir succeeds his father as religious, political and military leader for a smaller region near Mascara. From this position he continued his fathers politics of conducting several smaller attacks on the French forces that were present in the region.
1834: By the Desmichels Treaty which secured an official French annexation of most of northern Algeria, Abd al-Qadir got control over the area around Oran. From this position he started to expand his control into larger parts of the region.
1837: Abd al-Qadir signs a treaty, known as Treaty of Tafna, with the French, which both increased his territories (the interior of Oran) and his political strength.
1839: As French troops expand into new territory, Abd al-Qadir considers the Treaty of Tafna broken. From this point of, he starts to perform attacks on French strongholds and settlements.
1840: With the start of the French actions intended to take over all of Algeria, Abd al-Qadir moves his resistance into performing small attacks on the French, and he aims at staying away from all big actions that could possibly bring devastation to his troops.
1841: Abd al-Qadir loses his control over Oran to the French.
1842: He loses his control overTlemcen, and he flees to Morocco, where he seeks protection under the sultan.
1846: He moves back to Algeria, and establishes himself in southern Algeria for a short period.
— Facing new challenges from the French, Abd al-Qadir returns to Morocco, but doesn't anymore get the protection and financial support he needs from the sultan.
1847: Abd al-Qadir returns to Algeria, and turns himself over to the French military leaders. He was promised free transport to the Levant, but this promise was broken, and instead he was brought to France as a prisoner, but mildly and respectfully treated.
1852: Finally, Abd al-Qadir has his promise carried out, and can move to Bursa, and later to Damascus, where his remaining years were supported by the French.
1883 May 26: Abd al-Qadir dies in Damascus.




By Tore Kjeilen