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1830-1962


French North Africa


Possessions of the French state in North Africa, principally northern Algeria, Tunisia, Algerian Sahara, (most of) Morocco, Mauritania and small parts of Libya.
Northern Algeria came under French control between 1830 and 1847, and became in 1879 a part of France. Sahara south of the mountainous was brought under French control between 1900 and 1909. The two possessions would remain under French control until 1962, when they together formed the new state of Algeria, with Algiers as capital.
Tunisia came under French control in 1881, becoming a protectorate, meaning that the bey remained the formal ruler of the country. It would stay under France until 1956, when all but Bizerte with its naval base, formed the new republic of Tunisia. Bizerte became Tunisian in 1963.
Morocco, except the northern region of the Rif Mountains, became a French protectorate in 1912. It would remain under France until 1956.
Mauritania, not considered part of North Africa, but being a part of French West Africa, was under France from 1902 until 1960.
With undecided borders in the Sahara, some regions today belonging to Libya were also under French control.
The loss of French North Africa happened only after several clashes with local nationalists in the 1950's and 1960's, but it was only Algeria that saw a truly brutal war; the Algerian War 1954-1962. This war is often presented as an independence war, a term that is racist, since both sides were people born in Algeria; mainly Muslims fighting Christians and a large part of the Jewish population.
The French invasion of Egypt in 1798, resulted in a presence only until 1802. The purpose of this invasion, may have been to form a colony.




By Tore Kjeilen