Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Abd el-Kader, Second War of (1835–1837)

Abd el-Kader, Second War of (1835–1837)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Amir Abd el-Kader of Oran vs. competing tribes and French colonial forces

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Chelir, Miliana, Media, and Macta, Algeria

DECLARATION: No formal declaration

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Independence from French colonial rule

OUTCOME: The Amir was made master of the entire interior of Oran and the Titteri, reducing the French colonial realm to a few seaports only.


CASUALTIES: French casualties in Algeria from 1830 to 1847 were nearly 10,000 killed and 35,000 wounded. Untold numbers of French legionnaires also died (some 110,000 in all French adventures during the 19th century). Algerian casualties, while in the tens of thousands, are not known.

TREATIES: Treaty of Tafna, 1837

The Treaty of Desmichels in 1834 between the French colonial government and Muslim nationalist leader Abd el-Kader (1808–83) gave the Algerian ruler control of the whole interior of Oran, where he organized an efficient government headquartered in the capital city of Mascara, trained and supplied an army of volunteers, and subsequently renewed his war of harassment against the French colonials in 1835. (See ABD EL-KADER, FIRST WAR OF.) His first objective, however, was to spread Algerian nationalism to the desert tribes around Mascara in order to unify his new territories. The Second War of Abd el-Kader, which lasted from 1835 to 1837, served the dual purposes of unification and resistance.During the war Abd el-Kader imposed his rule on all the tribes of the Chelif into the Titteri. He then enlisted the desert tribes into his militia and proceeded to occupy the territory of Meliana and, eventually, Medea. At Macta Abd el-Kader defeated the French in a decisive battle,which forced the French commander, General Thomas- Robert Bugeaud (1784–1849), into negotiations. This was a humiliation for the French Foreign Legion, newly created by King Louis-Philippe (1773–1850) to combat Abdel Kader and other rebels. The resulting Treaty of Tafna in 1837, signed by Bugeaud and Abd el-Kader, made the amir master of the entire interior of Oran and the Titteri, reducing the French colonial realm to a few seaports only and creating the basis for another war, the Third War of ABD EL-KADER, which was destined to last seven years.

Further reading: Charles Henry Churchill, The Life of Abdel Kader, Ex-Sultan of the Arabs of Algeria (London: Chapman and Hall, 1867); Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore, Africa since 1800 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

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