BECK index

Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco 1700-1950

by Sanderson Beck

Algeria in the Ottoman Empire 1700-1830
Algeria under the French 1830-1919
Algeria under the French 1919-50
Tunisia under the Ottoman Empire 1700-1881
Tunisia under the French 1881-1950
Morocco 1700-1873
Morocco 1873-1911
Morocco under France and Spain 1912-39
Morocco under France and Spain 1939-50

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
For ordering information, please click here.

Algeria in the Ottoman Empire 1700-1830

Tunisia and Algeria 1300-1700

Algeria was under the Ottoman empire and became a military republic in 1671, but fourteen of the thirty deys in the next century and a half were removed by assassination. Yet deys worked hard for the state on public business, spending only one afternoon and one night per week in private with their family.

The Dey appointed beys (military governors) to collect taxes and enforce laws, using the privileged makhzan tribes. The ongoing piracy made it difficult for the merchants to develop trade relations with Europeans, and until 1798 their ships were threatened by the Knights of St. John at Malta. In 1600 Algeria had about 75 ships, but by the middle of the 18th century this had been reduced to about twenty. Muhammad ibn ‘Uthman (r. 1766-91) suppressed the rebellious Kabyles and used some of his wealth to construct a prominent mosque. In 1770 Spain went to war with Algeria in order to rescue 10,000 Spanish captives. Neither side won, and in the 1785 treaty Algeria released the prisoners in exchange for Spanish withdrawal from Oran. In 1788 Algeria had only ten ships for privateering, and only 800 captives were left.

As privateering profits decreased, taxes had to be increased. Algerians complained about exporting wheat, especially during droughts. In the western province the beys ‘Uthman (r. 1747-60) and Muhammad al-Kabir (r. 1780-97) subjugated the tribes with military force to make them pay taxes. ‘Abdul Qadir ibn al-Sharif led the Darqawiyya Tariqa rebellion in the west from 1783 to 1805. They won over Tlemcen and besieged Oran, but the new bey Muhammad al-Muqallash forced Ibn al-Sharif to flee to Morocco. Outside the cities much of the country was governed by tribal leaders, often marabouts with spiritual authority. Sidi ‘Abdul-Rahman was so respected that when he died in 1793, Hasan Dey (1791-98) venerated his tomb in the capital while the people in his home village believed his body was buried there also. The Sufi brotherhoods went beyond tribal divisions, and in hard times they often rebelled against Turkish taxes.

In 1802 Algerian Ra’is Hamidu was acclaimed for capturing a Portuguese brig with 282 men and 44 cannons. The Jewish ship-owner Nephtali Bushnaq, who transported wheat and influenced the government, was killed by a Turkish soldier in 1805. Religious scholars thanked the assassin, and rioting Algerians killed about 200 Jews and looted their property. Troops also killed Mustafa Dey (r. 1798-1805) and the next six deys over eleven years. Algerian privateers had a very big year in 1812 when they took in 2,136,675 gold francs. The United States declared war on Algeria in 1815 because of the privateering, and Commodore Stephen Decatur defeated and killed Ra’is Hamidu. In 1816 British admiral Exmouth went to Algiers and forced the Dey to free slaves from the Ionian islands, Sardinia, and Naples. After doing the same to Tunis, he returned and demanded that slavery and privateering be abolished. When the Dey refused, he bombarded Algiers with 34,000 shells on August 27, 1816. A devastating plague hit Algeria the next year. In 1827 Muhammad al-Kabir led a tribal rebellion that attacked al-Mu‘askar, but he was captured and executed. Followers of Ahmed al-Tijani (d. 1815) resented the Turks so much that they considered the French conquest of Algeria in 1830 an answer to their prayers.

In the late 18th century the Jewish merchant families, Bakri and Bushnaq, sold Algerian wheat to the French army. The French owed them millions of francs, and they owed the Algerian government. Husain Dey came to power in 1818 and tried to get French consul Pierre Deval to pay this debt; but his nephew Alexandre Deval fortified the French factories with cannons. When Pierre Deval refused to reply to letters about the debts in 1827, Husain Dey slapped him with a fly swatter. Husain refused to make reparations or amends for the insult, and so the French government blockaded Algerian ports. In October 1827 a united squadron of British, French, and Russian warships destroyed the remaining Tunisian and Algerian fleets with their Turkish and Egyptian vessels in the battle of Navarino.

Algeria under the French 1830-1919

In March 1830 France’s King Charles X opened the Chamber of Deputies session by announcing the invasion of Algeria. Bourmont led 37,000 French soldiers, and Husain Dey signed a capitulation to France on July 5 and left for Naples. About a hundred million francs were taken from the Bey and private sources, though only half of it went into France’s treasury to pay for the expedition; the rest was looted by those invading. French elections and demonstrations forced Charles X to abdicate in August, and Bourmont withdrew the troops and took refuge in Spain.

The Polignac government of France retained Algiers and let military commander Bertrand Clauzel begin colonization. In 1831 Clauzel tried to put Tunisian princes over Oran and Constantine under French sovereignty. Berthezene and Pichon, who wanted to restrain speculation and settlers, were recalled, and in 1832 Rovigo used force to convert a mosque into a cathedral and destroyed two Muslim cemeteries to build a road. Colonization of Algeria was debated in France, and the policy was called limited occupation (occupation restreinte). Resistance led by emir ‘Abdul-Qadir and Moroccan encroachment stimulated the French to take control of Oran and Constantine in 1831, and the next year Morocco’s ruler ‘Abdul-Rahman agreed to withdraw his troops from Algeria. ‘Annaba and Bijaya, which Bourmont had evacuated, were reoccupied. As French colonists settled in the al-Mitija plain, 6,000 troops were stationed at the Blida military base. In 1833 the French began to experiment with bicultural schools called écoles arabes-françaises, but they were attended mostly by Jews, Muslim orphans, and children of the poor.

In February 1834 the French General Desmichels in Oran made an agreement with ‘Abdul-Qadir recognizing his authority in the region around the towns of Oran, Arzu, and Mustaghanim, which the French controlled. On July 22 France named their Algerian colony the French Possessions of North Africa. The first French governor-general, Marshal Clauzel, appointed as military commander and civil administrator, marched on al-Mu‘askar in December 1835. ‘Abdul-Qadir abandoned his capital, and Clauzel set it on fire. The next month Clauzel occupied and garrisoned Tlemcen, extorting the costs of his expedition from the kulughlis. Ahmad Bey had governed Constantine since 1826, and after 1830 he wanted to be an independent regency under the Ottomans. In November 1836 Clauzel tried to storm the city with 8,700 men but failed and lost a thousand men. General Bugeaud, who had defeated ‘Abdul-Qadir at Sikkak, signed the Treaty of Tafna with him, redefining their boundaries on May 30, 1837. Ahmad Bey declined to sign a treaty in July when he learned an Ottoman fleet was approaching; but a French naval squadron kept them away. In October the French forces captured Constantine as Ahmad Bey fled into the desert. Damremont was killed assaulting Constantine, and Valée became governor-general.

Emir ‘Abdul-Qadir won over tribes in eastern Algeria and renewed his holy war when Valée defied the agreement in 1839. ‘Abdul-Qadir’s warriors invaded al-Mitija plain and killed more than a hundred European settlers. Valée was replaced by General Bugeaud on December 29, 1840. He implemented the policy of total occupation and governed until 1847. The French began the Arab Bureau in 1841 and recruited officers who could speak Arabic. The French used the tribal method of razzia even more efficiently as they destroyed villages, stole cattle, burned crops, and chopped down trees. French troops led by Col. Pélissier caused hundreds of Muslims in caves to suffocate from smoke. The French army defeated ‘Abdul-Qadir on May 16, 1843, and he fled to Morocco.

France’s domination of the Algerian Sahara began on March 14, 1844 when 3,000 French troops marched to the oasis of Biskra. In April on his own authority Bugeaud ordered Médéa’s commandant, General Marey-Monge, to lead an expedition into the Sahara. On May 11 local recruits, left to defend Biskra, mutinied, but by May 24 the French had taken El-Haouita near Laghouat and recognized Ahmed ben Salem as khalifa.

Also in 1844 ‘Abdul-Qadir persuaded Morocco to take his side, provoking the Franco-Moroccan War. The French were victorious over the larger Moroccan army at Isly, and the French navy bombarded Tangier and Mogador. On September 10 the Moroccan government signed the Treaty of Tangier, promising to treat the Emir as an outlaw. On April 15, 1845 the French divided Algeria into the civil zone in the north, the military zone in the south, and the mixed zone in between. In the Dahra young chief Bu Ma‘za claimed to be the mahdi, allowing ‘Abdul-Qadir to invade the Tafna valley in 1846; but the next year Bu Ma‘za surrendered, and the Emir took refuge in Morocco. Bugeaud disobeyed orders when he made a destructive expedition into the Banu ‘Abbas mountains; criticized for this, he resigned. Trapped between Moroccan and French forces, ‘Abdul-Qadir surrendered to General La Moriciere on December 23, 1847.

By 1847 there were 109,380 Europeans in Algeria, but only about a seventh lived outside of large towns. Tribal lands were sold to settlers because grazing lands were defined as vacant. Many Europeans had their lands cultivated by Muslim farmers. On September 28 the French allowed Muslims into the municipal councils which were all appointed by the Governor-General. The Second Republic of 1848 brought reforms to French Algeria, letting them elect representatives; the military only governed the Muslims. A Royal Ordinance on September 26 put Muslim justice in the French legal system.

The religious leader Bu Zayyan led a revolt because of an arbitrary tax on palms. Brig. Gen. Emile Herbillon led 4,500 men from Batna, and on November 26, 1849 they massacred everyone in Zayyan’s Za‘atsha oasis, killing about 800. Bu Baghla led the Grand Kabyla rebellion in 1851. French artillery helped them take Laghouat on December 4, 1852, and Bu Baghla was killed in 1854. That year the Algerian judicial system that had been used by ‘Abdul-Qadir was modernized as Franco-Muslim courts were established. In the 1850s the French used a cantonnement policy that pushed out semi-nomadic tribes and segregated them in Arab-Berber reservations. This opened up more farmland to be cultivated by European methods.

Napoleon III visited Algeria in 1863 and said Muslim society should be preserved. On April 22 his senatus-consulte policy reversed cantonnement by letting Muslims retain their property. He ordered a survey of tribal lands and their division so that administrators could deal with tribal chiefs. The Awlad Sidi al-Shaykh tribe accepted French rule, but in 1864 Chief Sulayman ibn Hamza led a rebellion against arbitrary taxes after his assistant was beaten in public. In 1865 Emperor Napoleon tried to institute reform by giving Algerians French citizenship; but because they had to renounce their religious laws, only 194 Muslims and 398 Jews had done so by 1870 and only 1,557 Muslims by 1913. Lavigerie became archbishop of Algiers in 1867; but he offended Muslims when he put 1,753 Muslim orphans in charitable institutions so that he could convert them, ignoring their relatives’ demands. Famine and epidemics from 1866 to 1870 caused the Algerian population to fall about twenty percent, but it increased about fifty percent in the next fifteen years.

On May 5, 1869 the French put Marshal Randon in charge of a commission to study Algerian politics, but his report was opposed by both the French settlers who wanted to end military rule and by a minority who advocated a federation with some autonomy. These things were debated in Paris by the legislature in March 1870. A decree on June 11 provided for the election of the conseils généraux in each Algerian department by French citizens, Muslims, Jews, and other Europeans born in Algeria. The Crémieux decree of October 24, 1870 naturalized all the Jews in Algeria. After the Empire fell, the Republican Government of National Defense cancelled that imperial action on December 28 because it gave suffrage to people not native-born or naturalized French citizens.

Muhammad al-Muqrani’s father worked for the French until he died in 1853; but the son was given a lesser title and incurred huge debts for his people during the famine of 1868. Faced with financial ruin, al-Muqrani began a rebellion on March 14, 1871 that was supported by the Rahmaniyya Tariqa. When about a third of Algerian Muslims rose up and destroyed farms and plundered villages, al-Muqrani offered to surrender; but the settlers demanded he be treated as a criminal. After al-Muqrani was killed fighting, Rahmaniyya Chief Shaykh Haddad and his son ‘Aziz surrendered, resulting in the subjugation of Kabyla. In the south rebel Bu Mazraq was captured in 1872. The French had lost 2,686 men; but the Muslim losses were much greater, and the economy was ruined. Kabyla was expected to pay a war indemnity of 36.5 million francs, ten times their annual tribute. Only a third of the money paid by the Muslims to repurchase their lands went to the French victims; the remainder was used for expanding colonization. The rebel tribes also had 446,000 hectares of their land confiscated. The French rural population went from 119,000 in 1871 to 200,000 in 1898. The 1874 Warnier Law enabled colonists to take over much native property, and the French government with the 1874 “native code” subjected the indigenous population to restrictive rules that deprived them of rights.

Albert Grévy became the first civilian governor of Algeria in 1879. Two years later the land under civilian rule was divided into 196 communes de plein exercice and 77 communes mixtes. In the spring of 1881 the marabout Bu ‘Amama led raids against settler facilities in the northern Sahara and southern Oranie until the end of 1882. From 1881 to 1891 Louis Tirman was a weak governor, and his deputies Gaston Thomson and Eugene Etienne had the most influence. In April 1884 one decree allowed Muslims to be elected to the municipal councils, but another reduced their portion of the councilors from a third to a quarter. Arabs had to pay taxes on six categories of crops as well as on camels, horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. Both Kabyles and Arabs had compulsory labor obligations. The colonists only began paying tax on developed real estate in 1891, and they were exempt from tax on undeveloped land until 1918. After French vineyards were devastated by phylloxera, Algerian viticulture expanded from 15,000 hectares in 1878 to 167,000 in 1903.

In 1892 the Senatorial Commission of Eighteen led by Jules Ferry was formed, and their report criticized the system of rattachements, which ruled from ministries in Paris. His colleague, Jules Cambon, was Governor-General 1891-97 and worked to reform the Algerian system, but the rattachements did not end until the last day of 1896. The law student Max Régis wrote the pamphlet l’Antijuif that incited student demonstrations against Jews in March 1897 and provoked riots in Algiers. For six days in late January 1898 a mob looted Jewish shops as the Governor-General was barricaded in the palace. In the May elections for the French National Assembly four of Algeria’s six seats were won by anti-Semites while Etienne and Thomson held their seats. However, in the 1902 elections the anti-Semitic candidates lost. Governor Edouard Laferriere was a lawyer, and his decree on August 23, 1898 established a new assembly called the délégations financieres to represent the economic interests to approve the local budget.

On April 26, 1901 about a hundred Algerians from Adelia Duwar killed a judge and a forest ranger and then seized the settlement of Margueritte and executed five people for failing to recite the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith. A company of riflemen arrived the same day and killed sixteen rebels. Reaction to this little rebellion strengthened those opposing reforms. Muhammad ‘Abduh visited Algeria in 1903 and inspired Algerians to launch a campaign for reforms. They were led by the legal scholar, Abdel Halim ben Smaia, and the Imam of the Safir Mosque in Algiers, Kamal Muhammad be Mostefa, who wrote La tolérance religieuse dans l’Islamisme and Les droits de la femme. Starting in 1907 some young men of Tlemcen began emigrating to avoid having to serve in the Christian army against the Commander of the Faithful in Morocco, and in 1912 about 4,000 chose exile rather than conscription. Other Algerians raised their social status by serving in the army.

Between 1901 and 1918 the Muslims share of the taxes increased by 26%. In 1912 Algerians owned only 38% of the land and capital goods but paid 71% of the direct taxes. In 1876 Algerians were cultivating 2,571,892 hectares, but forty years later this was reduced to 1,967,955. Their numbers of sheep and goats also declined, and cattle stayed the same. In 1882 only 3,172 Muslim children were in French primary schools. In 1900 there were about 24,000 Muslims in schools, 97,000 Europeans, and 14,800 Jews. By 1914 there were 47,163 Muslims, but only 3,992 of them were girls. Charles Jonnart was a successful governor-general 1900-01, 1903-11 and again 1918-19. His financial management helped Algeria to balance its budget. In 1908 Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau let Muslims have the right to elect Algerians to the general councils of the departments.

The Young Algerian movement followed the example of the Young Tunisians. The Circle of Salah Bey was organized at Constantine in 1907, and similar societies sprang up in Tlemcen, Mostaganem, Mascara, Bone, and other towns. French periodicals such as L’Islam were founded, and some were bilingual. El-Hack began publishing at Oran in 1911. Omar Bouderba and Dr. Benthami ould Hamida were both Freemasons and in the League of Human Rights. They served on municipal councils, and Bouderba led the Young Algeria delegation to Paris in 1912. The Young Algerians advocated equalizing tax codes, eliminating repression of natives, broadening voting rolls, reforming the Muslims in elective bodies, extending education, protecting native property from usurers, and exposing governmental abuse and corruption. As a result the Muslim representation on the municipal councils was increased from a quarter to a third.

The judge Chérif Benhabyles had a French doctorate of law and wrote L’Algérie française vue par un indigene. Albin Rozet sponsored a bill to reduce the number of offenses under the code de l’indigénat and to provide some legally trained staff for them. All the Arabs and Berbers in Algeria except for seven thousand of them were still being subjected to the oppressive code de l’indigénat. The Socialist party favored liberalizing suffrage for Muslims and advocated equal pay for equal work. On February 22, 1913 a new Franco-indigéne Alliance was created, and Charles Gide was elected president. Their members included politicians, scholars, writers, journalists, and military.

In 1913 Bouderba and Benthami persuaded ‘Abdul-Qadir’s grandson, Khalid ibn Hashimi, who studied at the French military academy of St.-Cyr and became a captain in the French army, to support the demands of the Young Algerians. On January 13, 1914 the Arab-Berber electorate was expanded to include merchants and those who had completed primary education, and the number of municipal councilors they were allowed was doubled. More than 206,000 Algerians fought for France in the Great War, and nearly 26,000 were killed or missing. Also 89,000 men were required to work in France, and another 30,000 volunteered to do so. More than a third of the Algerian men in their twenties and thirties were in France during the war. Fiscal reforms proposed in 1912 were not implemented until 1918.

On February 4, 1919 Governor-General Charles Jonnart promulgated a law that expanded the Muslim electorate to about 43% of the men or about 425,000, but it still excluded all the illiterate who had not done military service. Emir Khalid accepted the leadership of the reformers seeking more Muslim representation in parliament, abolition of the mixed communes, and compulsory and bilingual education for all Algerians.

Algeria under the French 1919-50

Governor-General Jean-Baptist Abel (1919-21) did not publicize the Jonnart law, and only 359 requests for citizenship were made by 1924. The average income of the colonists was seven times higher than that of the native Algerians. In 1920 the settlers delegation in parliament persuaded the legislature to reinstate the code de l’indigénat temporarily, and it lasted until 1944. Candidates supporting Khalid won more municipal elections in 1920 in Algiers than the moderate Young Algerians led by Benthami, but Khalid left Algeria in 1923. Algeria suffered from poor grain harvests in 1920, 1922, 1924, and 1926. Wine production surpassed 18 million hectoliters in 1935, making Algeria the third largest producer of wine in the world. In the 1930s unemployment and underemployment were very high in both rural and urban areas. Immigration to France declined and reversed by 1934. The Government spent about 11% of its budget on education, but only one-fifth of that was for the schooling of Muslims. The number of Muslims in primary schools went up to 110,000 in 1944, but that was still less than 9% of the children. Algerian women suffered from the Malike rite of Islamic law and from Berber customary law that segregated the sexes and kept the males dominant. By 1948 only 3% of Muslim men had more than one wife.

In 1926 the political Young Algerians organized the Fédération des Elus Indigenes (FEI), and Benthami, the editor of Attakadoun, was elected their president and served until 1930. At their Congress in Algiers in September 1927 they adopted a program for equal pay in the bureaucracy and military, abolishing the indigénat, better education, electoral reforms in the communes mixtes, and free travel between Algeria and France.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hamid Ben Badis led the reformers and aimed to purify Algerian Islam until he died in 1940. They began publishing the periodical al-Muntaquid in July 1925. The next year it was shut down, and they replaced it with the monthly al-Shihab (The Meteor), which was not suppressed until 1939. Mubarak al-Mili wrote the two-volume History of Algeria in Antiquity and in Modern Times in Arabic between 1928 and 1932. That year Ahmad Tawfiq al-Madani published his Book of Algeria (Kitab al Jaza’ir) which suggested the popular slogan, “Islam is my religion; Arabic is my language; Algeria is my homeland.”1

In 1931 reformers and moderates joined to form the Association of Muslim Algerian ‘Ulama with Ben Badi as president and Bashir Ibrahimi as vice president. A split the next year led the reformers to use mosques to criticize the other side. The colonial government reacted with the Desmichel Circular in 1933 that prohibited anyone but official imams from having access to mosques. This provoked protests.

The French Communist Party for labor had the Confédération Générale du Travail Unitaire (CGTU), and they convened workers from the Maghreb in December 1924. A series of meetings in 1926 formed the Etoile Nord Africaine (ENA) as a political organization led by CGTU members with Hadj Ali Abd al-Qadir as president and Messali Hadj as secretary general. In February 1927 Messali presented the goals at a conference of the League Against Colonial Oppression at Brussels. Their aims included Algerian independence, withdrawal of the French army, creating a national army, abolishing the code de l’indigénat, a free press, universal suffrage, confiscating large estates, improving credit for fellahs, and access to education in Arabic language schools. By 1928 ENA had 4,000 members in France, but they were banned the next year.

In 1931 Ben Badis founded the Association of Muslim ‘Ulama of Algeria to sponsor preaching, publishing, and education. The next year the Sufis founded their Association of ‘Ulamas, but in 1932 the French prohibited reforming preachers from using mosques and began controlling journals published in Arabic and French.

The ENA functioned secretly until 1933 when they formed the Glorieuse Etoile Nord Africaine, which was banned again until that was reversed by an appellate court. Their French newspaper El Ouma had a circulation of 43,500 by 1934. In August after a drunken Jewish soldier defiled a mosque in Constantine, Muslim mobs rioted in Jewish neighborhoods, causing the death of 23 Jews and 5 Muslims. Among the reactions was the Régnier decree of March 1935 that authorized prison terms of two years and fines of 5,000 francs for inciting civil disorder or for organizing demonstrations against French rule. The Algerian Communist Party was founded in 1936, and that year they joined Léon Blum’s Popular Front that came to power in France. His Minister of State Maurice Violette changed the political climate in Algeria.

Muhammad Salah Bendjelloul of Constantine became the leader of the Fédération des Elus Indigenes from 1933 to 1936, and the newspaper La Voix indigene promoted his programs of assimilation with France until 1942. A grand coalition formed the Algerian Muslim Congress and elected Dr. Bendjelloul as president, though Etoile militants were kept off the board of directors. They met at Algiers in June 1936, and the next month they adopted their Charter of Demands of the Muslim Algerian People which included universal suffrage and representation in parliament, amnesty for political prisoners, separation of church and state, restoring confiscated property, removing restrictions on the use of Arabic, free education for all, improving public assistance and health, equal pay for equal work, aid to those in need without racial discrimination, and abolishing the forest code. Bendjelloul led a delegation to Paris and presented the charter to Blum and Violette. Their French government proposed granting citizenship to about 25,000 Algerian évolués, but many believed this left six million Algerians in ignorance and misery.

In July the Malike Mufti of Algiers, Bendah Mahmoud, sent a telegram to Paris questioning the credentials of reformist ‘ulama, and two weeks later he was assassinated. The ENA organized 36 chapters with 11,000 members by October, and the Government banned them in January 1937. Two months later Messali founded the Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA), and on Bastille Day 3,000 members marched through Algiers with their new green-and-white flag. The following month Messali and five directors were arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. They were released in August 1939, but the next month the PPA was banned. Messali refused to cooperate with the government and was arrested again. In March 1941 he was sentenced to sixteen years hard labor. The Algerian Muslim Congress held another convention in July 1937, but by 1938 they were no longer functional. In 1938 Blum and Violette granted Algerians citizenship without having to renounce Islamic law.

In July 1938 Ferhat Abbas founded the Union Populaire Algérienne to work for liberation with Algeria as a French province. World War II made political activity in France and Algeria difficult, but the American landing in North Africa in November 1942 gave nationalists hope. Abbas and three other Algerian leaders drafted the “Message from the Algerian Muslim Representatives to the Responsible Authorities,” which called for Algeria to have its own liberal constitution. The Governor-General asked for more immediately practical proposals and appointed a commission on April 13, 1943. Abbas persuaded 21 of the 24 Arab and Kabyle Financial Delegates to sponsor the Additif au Manifeste, which called for recognizing the political autonomy of Algeria.

On June 1, 1943 General Charles de Gaulle took control of Algeria with his Comité Française de Libération Nationale, and four days later he appointed General Georges Catroux to be governor of Algeria. Ferhat Abbas and fourteen other delegates boycotted the Délégations Financieres in September, and he and the president of the Arab section, Sayah Abedlkader, were put under house arrest. Abbas was released in December and moderated his program to Algerian autonomy within a federated France. On March 7, 1944 de Gaulle and Catroux promulgated an ordinance that granted French citizenship to about 65,000 more Algerians and raised Muslim representation in elected bodies to 40%. One week later Abbas organized the Amis de Manifest et de la Liberté (AML) as a political movement, and soon its weekly newspaper Egalité had a half million subscribers. The banned PPA began organizing secret cells, especially among students and Muslim Scouts. Many from the PPA joined the AML, which convened a congress in March 1945. They called for the liberation of Messali as the leader of the Algerian people. The harvest of 1945 was only a third of the previous year, and shortage of manufacturing goods increased unemployment. Police, fearing trouble, moved Messali to the Sahara and then to the French Congo.

On May Day the AML organized marches in 21 cities and towns to demand Messali’s freedom and Algeria’s independence. A week later on V-E Day marchers at Sétif carried provocative placards and the forbidden flags. Police charged in, and Muslims defended themselves, resulting in forty deaths. Word spread, and insurrection broke out. The Government called in more than 10,000 soldiers and bombed villages from planes and a cruiser. Most of the rebellion was suppressed within a week, but violence erupted in Oranie on May 18 and in Kabylia on May 23. About a hundred Europeans were killed in the insurrection, and estimates of the dead Muslims ranged from 7,000 to 45,000, though the French government claimed only 1,500 died. By the end of the year 5,560 Muslims had been arrested; 99 were sentenced to death and hundreds to life imprisonment. The Government banned the AML. After the war about 350,000 Algerian workers stayed in France, and many sent money to help support their families in Algeria.

Messali and Ferhat Abbas urged their followers to boycott the October election, and so the thirteen Muslims elected either favored the government or were assimilationists like Bendjelloul. Abbas created a new party called the Union Démocratique du Manifeste Algérien (UDMA), and in the June election they won eleven of the thirteen seats. Abbas proposed making Algeria an autonomous republic with the new French Union, but he and his party were defeated. Messali was released in 1946, and he helped those in the outlawed PPA organize the Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertés Démocratiques (MTLD). Some of their candidates were disqualified, but they still won five of the fifteen second-college seats in the National Assembly. They opposed the right of the parliament to make Algeria a part of the French Union. On September 20, 1947 the Organic Statute of Algeria declared all residents citizens of France regardless of origin, race, language, or religion, but it kept the two electoral colleges, giving 510,000 European and assimilated Muslim voters the same representation as 1,500,000 Muslim voters. Also the Algerian Assembly was excluded from making laws related to defense, elections, local government, administration, the judiciary, land policy, and customs. The bills they passed had to be promulgated by the Governor-General, who was appointed by France. Budgets had to be approved by him and the French Ministers of the Interior and Finance.

In the elections of October 1947 the MTLD won in 110 municipal councils. In February 1948 the French government appointed the hard-liner Marcel-Edmund Naegelen as governor-general. Before the next elections more than a third of the MTLD candidates were arrested. Troops were deployed, and voters were intimidated. Ballot boxes were stuffed or disappeared. As a result of the rigged runoff 41 of the 60 Muslim assemblymen were administration candidates. The MTLD had 31% of the votes in the first round but elected only nine men in the runoff. The PPA decided to continue direct action and to use the MTLD in electoral politics. Ahmed Ben Bella and Hocine Ait Ahmed seeking revolutionary action founded the Organisation spéciale (OS), and by 1949 they had more than a thousand fighters. That year they robbed the Oran Post Office of 3,000,000 francs. In March 1950 the police arrested 363 OS members and sent Ben Bella and 196 others to prison.

Tunisia under the Ottoman Empire 1700-1881

Tunisia and Algeria 1300-1700

When Murad Bey II died in 1675, his two sons and brother fought for power in Tunisia. The civil war lasted more than twenty years and was complicated by Moroccan Mawlay Isma‘il’s Algerian invasions of 1691 and 1701. Finally in 1702 cavalry commander Ibrahim al-Sharif had all of Humada’s descendants killed and became Bey. The army proclaimed him Dey two years later, but in 1705 forces from Algiers and Tripoli led by Algerian Dey Hajj Mustafa captured him. Another cavalry commander named Husain ibn ‘Ali rallied the troops, retreated to Tunis, was proclaimed Bey, and fought off the Algerians. Hajj Mustafa returned to Algiers, where in 1705 a revolt beheaded him. Husain ibn ‘Ali established his camp at Qairawan, where he recruited warriors; the Dey in the capital could not raise taxes to pay his troops, who deserted him, and Husain was welcomed at Tunis in January 1706. The role of the dey was reduced to that of police chief. In 1711 ‘Ali Shaush refused to receive the Ottoman envoy until Sultan Ahmed III recognized him as pasha.

Husain ibn ‘Ali recruited kulughli warriors, who were sons of Turkish fathers and native women. He made treaties with the French, English, Spanish, Austrians, and Dutch. After his son was born, he appointed his nephew ‘Ali pasha in 1728; but after four years of ceremonial functions, ‘Ali Pasha fled to Algiers, organized a revolt, and returned in 1735 with his Pashiyya followers and an Algerian army to fight and defeat the Husainiyya. Husain ibn ‘Ali held out at Qairawan until 1740, when he was beheaded by ‘Ali Pasha’s son Yunis. ‘Ali Pasha took the name ‘Ali Bey I and ruled Tunisia until 1756. Yunis also revolted and fought a long civil war, driving his father out of the capital in 1752; ‘Ali won back his place by allowing the Algerians helping him to plunder the Bardo palace as Yunis fled to Constantine. The Algerians left Tunisia with their booty in 1756 and kept ‘Ali Bey in custody; but their three ships were lost at sea.

‘Ali’s son Muhammad Bey had promised the Algerians tribute and ruled Tunisia for only three years. His application for Ottoman recognition as pasha was granted to his brother ‘Ali Bey II (r. 1759-82). He used taxes on Jews to support Maliki religious teachers and their students. Trade increased, but privateering continued to be popular by the justification of holy war. ‘Ali Bey II reformed the mushtara system that had forced farmers to sell produce to the government at low prices and merchants to buy it at high prices. He also reduced the tax on crops. The state even loaned money to merchants without charging interest. The resulting prosperity, religious support, and army discipline continued under Hamuda Bey (r. 1782-1814). He limited his own expenditures, and he urged the poor to work instead of asking for charity. He consulted the tribal chiefs directly and asked local governors for their opinions. Hamuda was assisted by the outstanding vizier Yusuf Sahib al-Taba. Tunisians enslaved about a thousand people when they captured the entire population of Sardinia in 1798.

Tunisia’s ‘Ali Bey II had promised Algerians favors with olive oil and cattle; but Hamuda Bey defied Algerian rulers in 1806, and Tunisia fought back three Algerian invasions in the next seven years. When the Janissaries revolted in 1811, Hamuda gained popularity by dissolving them. Hamuda’s brother ‘Uthman demoted vizier Yusuf to treasurer; but after ruling less than a year, ‘Uthman was assassinated by his cousin Mahmud. His feared vizier Muhammad Zarruq had Yusuf assassinated in 1815 and was killed himself in 1822. Mahmud (r. 1814-24) fell back into raising taxes and monopolizing produce; farmers and merchants especially resented the tax and monopoly over olive oil. Under pressure by a naval squadron from France and Britain, Mahmud freed Christian captives and abolished slavery in 1816; but the Tunisians engaged in privateering during the Greek War. In 1817 a major plague ravaged Tunisia.

After a crisis in 1829, Husain II Bey (r. 1824-35) signed a treaty with the French in 1830 that abolished the monopoly on produce, prohibited acts of piracy, confirmed previous trade treaties, made France most favored, and allowed European consuls to try all cases involving Europeans. Three days later Tripoli signed a similar treaty. Husain refused to allow the Ottoman official Tahir Pasha to land in Tunis to challenge the French blockade of Algeria, and he helped the French by allowing the sale of cattle for their army. However, Husain’s brother Mustafa Bey (r. 1835-37) sent Tunisian troops to help Tahir Pasha’s Ottoman fleet subdue a rebellion at Tripoli in 1836.

The French warned Sultan Mahmud II in Istanbul not to use force against Tunisia in 1836, and Ahmad Bey (r. 1837-55) resisted pressure to accept Ottoman sovereignty. An Ottoman envoy asked for annual tribute to confirm their religious connection. In 1838 Ahmad sent the renowned scholar Ibrahim al-Riyahi to Istanbul with rich gifts to plead Tunisia’s poverty. Ahmad founded a military school in 1840 and hired Europeans to train his officers. Tunisia banned the sale of slaves in 1841, and the next year children of slaves were pronounced free. In 1846 a manumission decree made owning slaves illegal. That year Ahmad was the first non-European ruler to visit Paris and was honored as an independent sovereign. He reduced privileges of Turks to give Tunisians equal rights.

Tunisia sent 4,000 troops to help the Turks in the Crimean War of 1854. Some of Ahmad Bey’s reforms wasted money, such as the large frigate built at La Goulette that could not make it through the channel to the sea. Despite his financial difficulties, the army was expanded to 26,000 men, and Ahmad had three palaces constructed. New taxes were put on olives and palm trees, and excises were imposed on all agricultural produce and livestock. The state monopolized the sale of tobacco, salt, and leather. These taxes and the corruption hurt agriculture. When the tithe on cereals was no longer enough for the army and the poor, grain was imported from Egypt.

Muhammad II Bey (r. 1855-59) tried to defy the European consuls without relying on the local chiefs. He administered justice himself, and in 1857 he executed the Jew Samuel Sfez for having cursed a Muslim and the Islamic faith. However, the same year Muhammad issued the Pledge of Security that protected persons and property with equality for Muslims and non-Muslims; this law also allowed foreigners to own property in Tunisia. He rescinded oppressive taxes to stimulate agriculture. This reduced revenues; but the economy did not improve because Ahmad Bey’s extravagance had enriched the European merchants, who removed the gold and silver coins. When the foreign merchants refused to accept copper coins, Muhammad Bey borrowed from the Tunisians by issuing weaker currency in 1858.

Khayr ad-Din and other leaders with pressure from the consuls insisted that the Bey keep the Pledge and reform corrupt government. So Muhammad appointed a constitutional commission in 1857 with Khayr ad-Din as its president. However, he soon resigned in opposition to loans from Europe. While he was away for seven years, Khayr ad-Din wrote in Arabic The Surest Path to Know the Conditions of the State in which he compared 21 European states so that they could learn how to be prosperous. He suggested that Muslims learn from others because the whole world is becoming like one united country with nations that need each other. Islamic law should protect the rights of all, not just Muslims, and Muslims have a right to borrow any methods that will help them prosper. Europeans have made much progress in science, industry, and agriculture by allowing personal liberty while maintaining justice under the rule of law. Rulers should be restrained by Islamic law and policies based on reason.

Muhammad III as-Sadiq Bey (r. 1859-82) revived the commission, and the new constitution was promulgated in 1860, making the Bey a constitutional and hereditary monarch. Ministers were responsible to a council of sixty appointed by the Bey. The corrupt vizier Mustafa Khaznadar had been in office for a quarter century, and the ‘ulama (religious scholars) did not want to give up their influence either. Provincial governors made fortunes collecting taxes. Thus the constitution failed and was suspended after four years. Yet between 1863 and 1871 the British, Austrians, Italians, and French accepted the jurisdiction of the Tunisian courts.

In 1862 Khaznadar began borrowing money for Tunisia in fraudulent transactions. After the poll tax was doubled, ‘Ali ibn Ghdahem and the Tijaniyya brotherhood led the tribal rebellion that erupted in March 1864. A month later Oudi Sidi Shaykh and the Dergawa brotherhood revolted; but most resistance was crushed by April 1865. Britain, France, and Italy sent squadrons to protect their interests. Meanwhile in 1864 the Jewish financial director, Nessim Samana, went to France with nearly 20 million piastres. Financial ruin was compounded by drought, famine, a cholera epidemic in 1865, and a typhus epidemic in 1868. Smuggling food to Algeria in 1867 made these worse. Khaznadar continued to borrow from abroad.

In 1868 Italy made a treaty with Tunisia that gave Italians similar privileges to those gained by the British five years earlier. After long negotiations an International Financial Commission was composed equally of English, French, and Italians in 1869. The Tunisian debt was reduced from 275 million francs to 125 million, and treasury bills were sold with 5% interest. The Tunisian army was reduced to 8,000 men, and the military academy was closed. Khaznadar then profited by issuing debased coins in 1871. That year Italy used force to gain concessions. Finally Khayr ad-Din went to Istanbul for the third time, and Ottoman Sultan Abdul Aziz I confirmed as-Sadiq as his vizier in November 1871.

In 1872 a British company began constructing a railway line from Tunis to Goulette to Marsa that was called TGM. Richard Wood gained concessions for England, and the London Bank of Tunis opened in 1873. That year Villet proved that Khaznadar owned one-fifth of the treasury bills, 24 million francs. Khaznadar was dismissed and replaced by Khayr ad-Din in October. He reduced taxes and required tax-collectors to submit annual accounts. He gave tax credits to farmers planting olive trees, and good harvests enabled him to redeem treasury bills. He lowered export duties and increased tariffs on imports to help Tunisian artisans and craftsmen. English enterprises set up with the help of the previous prime minister failed, and Khayr ad-Din refused to allow the French to build a rail line that would help them invade Algeria. In 1875 he and Wood made an Anglo-Tunisian commercial treaty. That year he founded Sadiqiya College, and missionaries started the College Saint Louis, which was renamed Lycée Carnot in 1894. Khayr ad-Din continued to be vizier until he was forced out in July 1877.

Among the reforms Khayr ad-Din accomplished he listed in his memoirs granting tax relief, ending the system that paid sipahis according to fines collected, increasing import duties while decreasing export duties, regulating Muslim endowments, improving Zitouna University curriculum and founding Sadiqiya College, improving the library, paving the streets of Tunis, and canceling military expeditions for collecting taxes from nomads. To balance the British in 1877 he and the French consul Théodore Roustan arranged for a French company to get the railway concession for the Medjerda line from Tunis to the Algerian frontier. When Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II requested Tunisian troops to fight against the Russian invasion, Khayr ad-Din said no; but he urged Tunisians to donate money for the war effort.

The new Prime Minister Mustafa ibn Isma‘il went back to the corrupt policies of the Bardo court. The largest group of Europeans was the Italians, and in July 1880 they bought out the TGM company. The next month Roustan obtained for a French company the right to construct a harbor at Tunis. The French Société Marseillaise de Crédit bought the domain of Enfida from General Khayr ad-Din, a province of 96,000 hectares. Mustafa resented this and tried to prevent the French bank from taking possession of Enfida.

Tunisia under the French 1881-1950

The French found an excuse for intervening after some Tunisian tribesmen began scuffling with French troops on March 30, 1881. Five days later Prime Minister Jules Ferry persuaded the French Chamber of Deputies to vote unanimously for five million francs in military credits. By the end of April 30,000 French soldiers had invaded Tunisia from Algeria while a naval squadron landed 8,000 men at Bizerta. The Bey did not try to resist, and the French marched to Tunis in three weeks without a fight. Roustan consulted with General Bréard and offered the Bey a protectorate treaty that was signed at the Bardo on May 12 and was unanimously ratified by the Deputies on May 24. While the French forces were withdrawing, an insurrection broke out in central and southern Tunis in late June. The Hammama, Zlass, Methellith, Swassi, and Beni Zid tribes led by ‘Ali ibn Khalifa, the qa’id of the Neffat rebelled, hoping for Turkish support. The French bombarded and captured Sousse in July. In the west the Majeur, Frechich, and Oulad Ayar also took up arms. France sent 50,000 more soldiers, and they spent the summer suppressing the rebellion. The French occupied al-Qayrawan on October 26 and then took Gabes and Gafsa in November. More than 100,000 nomads fled into Tripolitania, but most returned soon and submitted.

Muhammad al-Sadiq Bey died in 1882, and he was succeeded by his brother ‘Ali Bey. Paul Cambon arrived in early 1882 and governed as the French resident from then until 1886 while the new Bey merely reigned. On October 28 Cambon formally invested ‘Ali as Bey in the name of France, taking over the role of the Ottoman sultan. The French protectorate was established by the Convention of La Marsa signed on June 8, 1883. Cambon appointed French officials to supervise the autonomous departments of state they created. The number of qa’ids was reduced to about forty. French courts of law were established for the Europeans. Phosphate mines were exploited near Gafsa.

The Tunisian debt passed 140 million francs; but in 1884 the debts were consolidated at 5% interest while dissolving the International Commission. France gave Tunisia a new loan at 4%. The former taxes were continued. Cambon appointed the diplomat Maurice Bompard as secretary general of the protectorate. The College Alaoui was founded to train young men to teach in Franco-Arab schools. In 1885 a commission established a Mixed Real Estate Court presided over by a French judge with a staff of three French and three Tunisian magistrates. To help settlers this was put in the Directorate of the Interior instead of in Judicial Services. Muhammad ‘Abduh visited Tunis in 1885 and again in 1903, and he urged people to work for reforms in the protectorate by applying Islamic principles as he was trying to do in Egypt.

Cambon was succeeded as resident general by Justin Massicault (1886-92), Urbain Rouvier (1892-94), and René Millet (1894-1900). In 1888 Bashir Sfar and other Salafiyya Sufis began the Arabic newspaper al-Hadira, and Sfar argued that French influence was making Tunisians poorer. Massicault created civil controllers to supervise commanders (qa’id) and khalifas in thirteen districts. In 1890 he created the Directorate of Agriculture to help French citizens purchase agricultural property, and the Government began promoting colonization the next year. In 1891 the French allowed a Consultative Assembly based on the Algerian délégations. In 1892 Victor de Canieres began publishing La Tunisie Française to express the views of the settlers, and the newspaper continued to do so until the 1950s. Millet appointed those who sympathized with reforms. In 1896 agreements enabled the Italians to create their own society within the country as they provided their own schools, hospital, clubs, and newspapers. The 55,000 Italians in Tunisia were five times the number of French. Also in 1896 the elite founded the Khalduniya school. In 1898 the Government required the Habus Council to sell at least 2,000 hectares of land to French buyers each year. By 1914 more than a quarter million hectares had been transferred from Tunisians to the French.

In 1904 the Mixed Court ruled that tribes were not organized groups and could not own property collectively. State lands that tribes had used for pasturage could be lost. In 1905 the evolués founded the Société des Anciens Eleves de Sadiki from graduates of the college. In 1907 Ali Bach Hamba organized the Young Tunisians, and they began publishing the weekly Le Tunisien. Millet favored the first school for Muslim girls that opened in 1900, but public primary schools for Muslim girls were not established until 1908. That year six prominent Tunisians addressed the Congrés de l’Afrique du Nord at Paris as representatives of the Young Tunisians. In 1909 Le Tunisien was complemented by the Arabic al-Tunisi edited by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Tha‘alibi. All Tunisian men had to pay the 20-franc personal tax (majba) each year, but all foreigners and some urban dwellers were exempt; in 1913 the personal tax was lowered to ten francs a year. In 1914 the foreign settlers controlled ten percent of Tunisia’s farm land, but they paid only about one percent of the farm tax. In the fall of 1911 a municipal council plan to survey a Muslim cemetery provoked protests and clashes with police, killing dozens of Europeans and Tunisians. When an Italian street-car driver ran over a Tunisian child, people organized a boycott of the city’s street-cars. Their demands included equal pay for equal work and the election of Tunisians to the Consultative Assembly.

During the Great War about 80,000 Tunisians served in the French army with conscription accounting for more than 85% of them. About 20,000 were killed or wounded, and 5,000 more died in Morocco and Syria. Resident General Gabriel Alapetite (1906-18) had allowed ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Tha‘alibi to return to Tunisia before the war. Khairallah ben Mustafa had worked for Le Tunisien, and in March 1919 he called a meeting to revive the pre-war activism. Then he, Tha‘alibi, and others organized the Parti Tunisien. At the end of the year La Tunisie Martyre was published anonymously. Written by Tha‘alibi and Ahmad Sakka, it accused the French protectorate of ruining the lives of Tunisians. The book was banned but was smuggled into Tunisia and became popular. In 1919 and 1920 strikes and demonstrations were held in Tunis and other cities. Tha‘alibi was in Paris, and the Parti Tunisien grew and in February 1920 became the Parti Libéral Tunisien. When Tha‘alibi learned of this, he suggested adding the word Constitutionnel, which in Arabic is al-Dusturi. This was accepted, and the party was usually called Dustur.

By 1921 the protectorate’s Secretary General Gabriel Puaux was concerned enough about the nationalists in the interior that he decided to stop the propaganda of Dustur. To show their popularity the Dustur party gathered signatures on petitions and sent their appeals to Nasir Bey (1906-22) and Resident General Lucien Saint (1920-29). Hassan Guellaty resented Tha‘alibi, and in early 1921 he founded the Parti Réformiste for moderates who believed in collaborating with the French. When Nasir Bey died, he was succeeded by his cousin Muhammad al-Habib (1922-29), who assured the French he was opposed to Dustur. In 1923 the Morinaud Law enabled non-French Europeans who had been in Tunisia for three years to be naturalized. Tha‘alibi and Guellaty were both on the board of al-Adab al-‘Arabiyya, which sponsored an Arab theater company that presented plays about Tunisian history and culture. M’hammed Ali organized consumer cooperatives to help poor people. In 1924 the labor union Confédération Générale des Travailleurs Tusiens (CGTT) was founded with help from the Parti Communiste Tunisien (PCT), and a left-wing coalition government came to power in France. At the end of the year the CGTT sponsored a series of strikes in Tunis, Bizerte, and Sfax until the authorities decided to crush them by arresting the leaders in February 1925.

France’s Prime Minister Edouard Herriot appointed the Consultative Commission for the Study of Tunisian Reforms, but he chose Resident General Saint as chairman of the main subcommittee. The commission’s proposals were released in March 1925, and Dustur, the Parti Réformiste, and the Socialists all considered them very inadequate. More demonstrations were held in the spring and summer. When Ahmad Tawfiq al-Madani of Dustur and the al-Sa‘ada theatrical company produced a play about the 7th-century Arab hero Tariq ibn Ziyad, people saw him as representing ‘Abd al-Krim of Morocco. The theater was closed; the play was banned; and al-Madani was arrested. In 1927 the Zaituna mosque-university professor Taha Haddad published his book, Tunisian Workers and the Emergence of the Trade Union Movement which criticized the consuming of European goods. The next year he wrote articles for a journal that were later published as Our Women in Islamic Law and Society. His liberal interpretation of the Qur’an criticized those in Dustur who clung to sexist traditions.

The lawyer Habib Bourguiba began writing for La Voix du Tunisien. This newspaper urged Ahmad II Bey (1929-42) to resign his honorary presidency of the Congress and others to distance themselves from the French government. Bourguiba and others began publishing the paper L’Action Tunisienne in 1932, and at the Dustur congress he demanded independence for Tunisia. That year in Bizerte an attempt was made to violate the practice of denying burial in Muslim cemeteries to those who had renounced Islamic law to become citizens of Tunisia, and this provoked protests and police protection. Resident General Joseph Manceron (1929-33) asked the Maliki and Hanafi muftis to issue a fatwa on the issue, but their decree did not resolve the conflict. L’Action and Dustur promoted protests that spread in 1933. That year Bourguiba and three of his L’Action colleagues were elected to the executive committee of Dustur, which continued to demand a constitution with an elected assembly. Now they began to emphasize Tunisian culture and explicitly demanded the end of the protectorate. Manceron reacted by ordering L’Action suspended and Dustur dissolved. Between 1931 and 1936 Muhammad Lahbid wrote and directed six plays on Arab themes in history.

By the mid-1930s the number of unemployed in Tunisia had reached 100,000. On March 2, 1934 militants summoned a Dustur conference in Sahil, and they voted to create a new executive with Bourguiba, his brother Muhammad, Bahri Guiga, and Tahar Sfar, and with the physician Mahmud Matari as president. This caused a split, and they were called the Neo-Dustur party. In the next twenty months 46 of their leaders were incarcerated. When the left-wing Popular Front won the French parliamentary elections in June 1936, Resident General Amand Guillon (1936-38) was told to release the Neo-Dusturians and invite Bourguiba to come to Paris for talks. L’Action resumed publishing, and Neo-Dustur membership increased to 70,000. B’chira ben M’rad founded the Association des Femmes Tunisiennes Musulmanes, and Neo-Dustur began publishing the women’s magazine, Leila. Tha‘alibi returned from exile in 1937, hoping to restore the unity of the nationalist movement. On April 9, 1938 Neo-Dustur sponsored a demonstration in Tunis in which more than 10,000 people demanded the release of the more than 700 political prisoners.

After Germany invaded France in 1940, Marshal Philippe Pétain sent Admiral Jean Esteva (1940-43) to be resident general. Political leaders of Neo-Dustur continued to be arrested. Munsif became Bey in June 1942, and he supported equal rights for all Tunisians. He traveled around the country to get to know the people, and in October he called for the dismissal of Esteva. British and US troops landed in Morocco and Algeria in November, and Germans took over the government of France and Tunisia. Munsif Bey communicated his neutrality, but Esteva intercepted his letters to the US and British governments. Tunisians resented the food requisitions going to the Germans and the labor mobilization that lasted until the spring of 1943. Munsif Bey appointed the first Tunisian government and included some Neo-Dustur leaders.

In early May 1943 the British, American, and Free French forces trapped nearly a quarter million German and Italian soldiers on the Cap Bon peninsula. A few thousand escaped by sea, but most surrendered, ending the North African campaign. The Free French took control of the protectorate and sent Munsif into exile in Algeria. He was succeeded by his cousin Amin Bey (1943-47). In the first seven months the French interned 4,000 Tunisians in prison camps. Yet Charles de Gaulle said in December that they should move toward a Tunisian administration because direct rule from France was outmoded. The Neo-Dustur party recovered, and in late 1944 the Resident General estimated their membership at 100,000.

In March 1945 Bourguiba escaped from prison and fled in a disguise to Cairo. There he appealed to the Arab League, and he and other political refugees formed the Bureau d’Information du Néo-Destour. In 1947 nationalists from Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco founded the Bureau du Maghreb Arabe, and in 1948 they joined the Comité de Libération d’Afrique du Nord led by ‘Abd al-Krim. Resident General Jean Mons (1947-50) met with prominent leaders from all the nationalist groups to discuss “co-sovereignty.” The French helped the right-wing Rassemblement Français de Tunisie win 60% of the votes in the 1946 constitutional referendum for the Fourth French Republic, giving them 35 of 54 seats on the Grand Council. Because the Communists controlled the two main unions, Farhat Hached and 12,000 workers in Sfax organized the Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens (UGTT). During a national general strike called by UGTT in August 1947 police fired on workers in Sfax, killing 29 and wounding 150. In 1950 the UGTT withdrew from the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and joined the more anti-Communist organization, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). Resident General Mons tried to dissolve the UGTT by removing their representatives from national boards; but Amin Bey opposed this, and he contributed to the UGTT.

Radio Tunis had started broadcasting in 1939, but it was shut down during the war. In 1948 Radio Tunis was given a broadcasting monopoly, and 45% of the programming was in Arabic. Munsif Bey died in 1948, and his coalition fell apart. Bourguiba came back from Egypt in September 1949. Salah ben Yusuf wanted Neo-Dustur to represent all Tunisians, and by 1950 they had 210,000 members. Robert Schuman urged a policy that would accommodate Tunisians and the French. Bourguiba announced Neo-Dustur goals in April as a government of Tunisians appointed by the Bey, abolishing civil controllers, holding municipal elections, and creating a national assembly to write a constitution that would respect Tunisian sovereignty and French interests. A month later Amin Bey announced his support for Neo-Dustur.

Morocco 1700-1873

Morocco 1300-1700

Morocco’s Sharif Isma‘il (r. 1672-1727) put black slaves in his army and encouraged them to have children, who were trained for their military careers, building his army to 150,000 men. Eventually he granted these slaves and serfs the right to own land. He established garrisons at kasbahs, building 76 new ones. His army invaded Algeria three times to discourage the Turks from threatening him. Yet because of his pact with the Ottomans, he replaced his son Mawlay Zaydan for having sacked the palace of ‘Uthman Bey in Mascara. In 1701 his son Zidan rebelled in Taza and conquered Tlemcen. Isma‘il was wounded in the battle that crushed them, losing 3,000 men. The ‘Alawids opened up trade across the Sahara and annexed Mauretania for a while. Isma‘il disliked Catholics, but he allowed Franciscan friars to have a convent in his capital at Miknasa to minister to the captives. Isma‘il had a large seraglio and was said to have had five hundred sons. He sponsored building at Miknasa and moved the Jews to a suburb. He enforced laws strictly and used convict labor for his construction projects. He used economic extortion to gain revenue and punished resistance. His government collected 10% duties and as much as 25% on wax, the biggest export. Isma‘il tried to negotiate a trade treaty with Louis XIV for thirty years, but they could not agree.

The eminent religious scholar Abu-Hasan al-Yusi (d. 1691) denounced Isma‘il’s repression in a letter. In 1697 Sultan Isma‘il angrily answered scholars in Fez who criticized his using slaves (‘Abid) in his army. In 1708 he ordered the scholars to sign the register of his ‘Abid army, or they would be arrested and have their property confiscated. The prominent ‘Abdul-Salam Jassus refused, was arrested, and lost his property. His Fez supporters raised money to free him; but he was arrested again and strangled the next year. In 1720 the Sultan had all money that could be found in Fez confiscated. Isma‘il claimed his authority as a descendant of the prophet rather than by upholding Islamic law. He recognized Sufis such as Sidi ‘Abdulla (d. 1678) and his son Muhammad (d. 1708) as sharifs and thus formed an alliance with the Tayibiyya Tariqa. In 1718 Sultan Isma‘il removed all of his sons from office and sent them to Sijilmasa except for Mawlay Ahmad al-Dhahabi, who had governed Tadla in peace so well for twenty years.

The powerful ‘Abid army provided the viziers. In the thirty years after Isma‘il died in 1727, they appointed as sultans and deposed seven of Isma‘il’s sons. The Wadaya army protected Fez from plundering by ‘Abid troops but occasionally looted it themselves. Mawlay ‘Abdulla became sultan in 1729 and was deposed four times. In 1734 he fled to the Berbers of Ait Idrasin and won over the Wadaya army. Ahmad ‘Ali al-Rifi gained power in the north but was defeated and killed in 1743. ‘Abdulla gained Marrakesh in 1750 and appointed his son Muhammad governor. ‘Abdulla gained money by ransoming Spanish, Dutch, English, and French captives.

Mawlay Muhammad ibn ‘Abdulla (r. 1757-90) consolidated his power by overcoming Wadaya resentment of the Berbers at Fez in 1760, and during his reign he had to suppress Sanhaja revolts from the mountains. He made a trade treaty with Marseilles in 1767 and founded the port of Mogador. Muhammad ordered a thousand ‘Abid transferred from Miknasa to Tangier in 1775. When they refused, he dispersed them to several cities, causing turmoil that lasted seven years. This lack of security and a plague reduced the population of Morocco from five million to three million. The Sultan reduced taxes, imported grain without a profit, gave bread to the poor, provided money to tribal chiefs, and punished the rebellious ‘Abid. Later he justified extra taxes to pay the army in order to keep the peace. He followed Maliki rituals but adopted Wahhabi beliefs, even destroying books. Tangier became a home for foreign diplomats, and they obtained privileges in Morocco. In 1786 Morocco signed a treaty with the United States of America.

After Mawlay Muhammad died, his son Mawlay Yazid (r. 1790-92) rapidly became unpopular by his exactions and for arresting the Spanish consuls at Mogador and Larache and two religious men in Tangier. He was challenged by two brothers—Maslama in the north and Hisham in the south; but when Yazid died, the Ait Idrasin and the ‘Abid proclaimed his scholarly brother Sulayman as sultan. Maslama submitted, and a naval blockade forced Hisham to give up in 1795. The next year Sulayman occupied Marrakesh.

Morocco developed commercially under Sultan Mawlay Sulayman (r. 1792-1822), who promoted trade and sold monopolies to Jewish merchants. He abolished the gate tolls and market taxes, winning urban support; but he increased taxes on agriculture and livestock. Sulayman led a campaign against Ait Umalu Berbers in 1811 and was defeated at Azru. He was rescued by the Ait Idrasin. Three years later the Ait Umalu defeated the Ait Idrasin, and Ait Zammur chief Muhammad ibn al-Ghazi became the leader of the lowland Berbers, allied with the Darqawiyya Tariqa in opposition to the Sultan. Al-‘Arabi al-Darqawi (d. 1823) founded this brotherhood, emphasizing asceticism, mystical union with God, and poverty. They used music and singing in their ecstatic experiences and thus were opposed by ‘ulama (clerics). Sulayman had welcomed the Sufi teacher Ahmad al-Tijani in Fez, but the Sultan denounced some of their practices and had closed a zawiya and imprisoned a leader in 1795. When tribes influenced by the Darqawiyya brotherhood in western Algeria rose up against the Turks at Oran in 1805, Sulayman refused to aid them. After Tayibiyya leader Sidi ‘Ali ibn Ahmad died in 1811, Sulayman tried but failed to influence the selection of his successor. Sulayman was also criticized for adopting Wahhabi doctrines.

In 1816 Sultan Sulayman freed the Christians in Morocco captured by pirates, and the next year he prohibited piracy. He banned most exports and collected 50% duty on imports. Thus trade with foreigners was minimal, and only a few Europeans lived in Morocco. In 1819 Ait Zammur’s chief al-Ghazi deserted Sulayman’s ‘Abid and Wadaya army, helping the Ait Umalu to win. The Sultan was captured, and his son Ibrahim was killed. Sulayman was soon taken back to Miknasa, but he had lost his authority. When the Ait Umalu attacked Miknasa, the ‘Abid killed their commander, the Sultan’s chief minister. Sulayman fled to Fez and Marrakesh. The ‘ulama of Fez declared him incompetent and proclaimed his nephew Ibrahim sultan; but the ‘Abid and Wadaya refused to support Ibrahim and helped Sulayman regain northern Morocco. Europeans sent money and materials, and Fez submitted to Sulayman in 1822. Before he died in November, Sulayman chose his nephew ‘Abdul-Rahman as his successor.

Mawlay ‘Abdul-Rahman (r. 1822-59) revived piracy in 1825 until Austrians destroyed his ships at Larache in 1829. When the French invaded Algeria in 1830, popular pressure compelled him to send Moroccan troops against the French; but they were withdrawn from Tlemcen and Oran two years later, using the excuse that the Wadaya had looted Tlemcen. The British made the French promise not to invade Moroccan territory and urged the Moroccans to avoid the Algerian conflict. Three-quarters of Morocco’s foreign trade was through the British at Gibraltar. After Emir ‘Abdul-Qadir took refuge in Morocco, the Moroccan army of about 44,000 went to Wujda but was defeated by 11,000 French at Isly on August 13, 1844. The French navy commanded by Prince de Joinville also bombarded Tangier and Mogador. Dukkala tribes massacred officials and looted al-Jadida, and rebels threatened Marrakesh. French diplomat Léon Roches went to Tangier, and in 1846 French ships connected that port with Oran. The Sultan established monopolies, and Moroccans blamed their 1847 famine on European trade. In 1850 he revived taxes on leather and cattle. British consul John Drummond Hay persuaded Morocco to make a treaty in 1856, banning all monopolies except on arms, ammunition, and tobacco. Import duties were set at 10%, and foreign merchants were exempt from regular taxes unrelated to trade.

‘Abdul-Rahman was succeeded by his son Muhammad IV (r. 1859-73). Spain envied the British success and fortified Sabta, which was attacked by Anjara tribes in 1859. The next year Spanish forces defeated the Anjara warriors at Castillejos and occupied Tatuan. In the peace treaty Morocco agreed to pay a war indemnity of 20,000,000 duoros, and the next year a commercial treaty was signed. This Moroccan defeat provoked rebellions in Marrakesh and the north which lasted until 1862, when the northern leader al-Jilani was killed. Spaniards evacuated Tatuan after Morocco borrowed money from London to pay them 3,000,000 duoros. Like Egypt, ‘Abdul-Rahman and Muhammad re-organized their military by European methods. A consular sanitary council had been established at Tangier in 1846 to supervise health conditions in Moroccan ports, and the British, French, and Spanish established their own post offices in 1857, 1860, and 1861 respectively. The French persuaded Sultan Muhammad to grant judiciary privileges to merchants in 1863, and the next year he ordered Moroccan officials to handle the affairs of Jews quickly and justly. European commerce increased, and 1,500 Europeans lived in Morocco by 1867. Mawlay Muhammad started a cartridge factory at Marrakesh. In 1871 the Sultan asked General Felix A. Matthews, the American consul, if Morocco could be under an American protectorate, but the United States declined.

Morocco 1873-1911

When Mawlay Hasan (r. 1873-94) became sultan, craftsmen demanded that commercial taxes be abolished before they would pledge their allegiance. Hasan used force to make them submit and later added special taxes on land. He modernized his army and set recruiting quotas by region to increase it to 25,000 soldiers. He reformed Moroccan government by making taxes more uniform so that Europeans and Muslim leaders had to pay their fair share. In 1875 Hasan campaigned against the rebellious Rahamna in the south. Morocco’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Bargash and John D. Hay formulated twenty propositions for defining and limiting the protection of Morocco as a basis for discussion with representatives from other nations at Tangiers in 1877 and 1879 and with thirteen nations at Madrid in 1880. The Europeans were concerned about the rights of foreigners and naturalization. In 1882 and 1886 Hasan conducted expeditions in Sousse on the Atlantic. On March 12, 1887 delegates of Spain, Britain, and Italy sent a note to Mawlay Hasan asking him not to consent to cede any territory without consulting their three governments. In 1889 Hasan started attacking the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains, and he went to Tafilet in 1893.

The qa’ids collected various taxes including the jiziya from the Jews in the interior. Prominent people were exempt from taxes which fell on those least able to pay them in a feudal system. The ruling makhzin tribes along the coast appropriated the taxes and fought against rebellions. Morocco’s standing army of less than 20,000 in the capitals at Fez and Marrakesh was supported by cavalry from the makhzin tribes. About half the people of Morocco were in the makhzin area, and the Berbers had refuge in the mountain region called bilad al-siba. About three hundred towns were governed by the qa’ids. The arms factory of the Makina was established in 1890 near the imperial palace at Fez.

When Mawlay al-Hasan died in 1894, his chamberlain Ba Ahmad kept it secret for five days while bringing the body back to Fez. The Sultan’s favorite son ‘Abd al-‘Aziz had already been designated as his successor, but he was only sixteen years old. His mother was the slave Lalla Rekia, and she cooperated with Ba Ahmad in making him vizier and regent while imprisoning the Jama‘i brothers, the former ministers. Ba Ahmad appointed his brothers minister of war and chamberlain, and he ruled Morocco in isolation from European influence and increased its treasury before dying in 1900.

Then ‘Abd al-‘Aziz began to rule as sultan, and he made Ba Ahmad’s secretary, Al-Hajj Mukhtar, his vizier and his mukhazni Mahdi al-Manabhi his minister of war. Mahdi became the Sultan’s favorite, and in 1901 he got the prominent Fadil Gharnit made vizier. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz tried to replace the traditional taxes with the tartib on arable land, orchards, and herds. Instead of using qa’ids to collect the tax he appointed fiscal agents (umana’). The qa’ids resented this and made things difficult. The marabout Jilali ibn Idris, known as Bu Himara, meaning “man with a donkey,” preached against the new tax and led a rebellion, claiming he was an older brother of the Sultan. He was supported by Riata of the Innaouen who claimed he was a sharif. The Berbers came down from the mountains and pillaged. Bu Himara made Taza his capital and was supported by eastern Morocco. In 1903 Oujda joined him with the tribes from the lower Muluya. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz left Marrakesh and sent Mahdi al-Manabhi to fight Bu Himara, but the imperial army fled. Bu Himara could not raise an effective army either, and the civil war continued.

Meanwhile on November 1, 1901 France promised Italy a free hand in Tripolitania in exchange for French freedom of action in Morocco. The French foreign minister Théophile Delcassé got the Sultan to sign agreements defining the border between Algeria and Morocco, and in 1902 France ordered Col. Hubert Lyautey to pacify the area. On October 3, 1904 a Franco-Spanish agreement confirmed the secret deal giving Spain ports in northern Morocco. They also secretly agreed that either could intervene in Morocco to exercise their rights for any cause. The public and the parliaments of France, Spain, and Britain had no knowledge of these secret agreements until they were exposed years later. Sultan ‘Abd al-‘Aziz borrowed £800,000 in 1904 from British, French, and Spanish syndicates, and the next year France persuaded him to borrow 62,500,000 francs at 5% interest, but in 1911 the socialist deputy, Jean Jaures, revealed that the French received 12,500,000 francs as commission.

On April 8, 1904 Delcassé and the French made a deal with the English. The French would let them have Egypt and were given most of Morocco except for a narrow coastal strip that was Spanish and included Tangier, England’s trading port with Gibraltar, as an international city. Delcassé sent diplomats to Fez in January 1905, offering French help to the Sultan in restoring order to Morocco. King Wilhelm II of Germany visited Tangier on March 31 and increased the crisis by meeting with the Sultan’s uncle. He urged ‘Abd al-‘Aziz to arrange an international conference with all the powers concerned. On May 27 ‘Abd al-‘Aziz told Delcassé that no reforms by a foreign power could be implemented in Morocco unless they were discussed by an international conference first. Delcassé refused and was forced to resign. The Kaiser persuaded US President Theodore Roosevelt to intervene, and in June he urged the French to accept the conference, which they did in July. An international conference was held at Spanish Algeciras on January 16, 1906. After three months of discussion Germany yielded, and the French proposal was accepted. A Swiss inspector-general was to reside at Tangiers. The French were to have police at Rabat, Mazagan, Safi, and Mogador, the Spanish at Tetuan and Larache, and both in Casablanca and Tangier. The powers were to have equal trading rights and shares in a new state bank. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ratified the agreement on June 18.

On March 22, 1907 a French physician named Mauchamp was murdered in Marrakesh, and the French used this as an excuse to invade from Algeria and take over the city of Oujda on March 29. A few months later a mob in Casablanca murdered three French, three Spaniards, and three Italians who were working for a syndicate on the harbor and railway. The French navy shelled the city and then landed troops on August 5, occupying Casablanca and the Shawiya hinterland. The local governor cooperated with this maneuver, and the British warship Demetrian offered additional protection. France also occupied Rabat and demanded an indemnity of 60 million francs for their expenses and 13,069,600 for damage suffered by French merchants. The Sultan imposed heavy taxes that oppressed the people. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz had lost support because of the increasing influence of the Europeans, and in August his brother ‘Abd al-Hafid was proclaimed sultan. In January 1908 the ‘ulama of Fez declared ‘Abd al-‘Aziz deposed. He left Rabat on July 12 and marched with 5,000 men to Marrakesh, where his army was defeated on August 19. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz fled to the French near Casablanca, abdicated in favor of Hafid, and retired in Tangier on a pension. Germany and Spain recognized Sultan Mawlay Hafid in September.

In 1910 France told Sultan Hafid that he owed them 163 million francs, and to secure another loan the French were given 40% of Morocco’s customs revenue. Bonds for 500 francs were issued, but the French public could buy them for 485 and bankers for only 435. Jean Jaures exposed this in the Chamber of Deputies, and on subscription day the bonds sold for 507 francs. The only revenue left to the Sultan was direct taxation.

In April 1911 former Prime Minister Rouvier as spokesman for the Comité du Maroc sounded the alarm that insurgents were blocking Fez and that Europeans were in danger. France’s government sent General Monier with 30,000 soldiers to relieve the capital while promising that Morocco’s independence would be respected. The report of the crisis was later questioned, and many believed that the safety of Fez and its inhabitants were not in danger. Rebels did not appear as French forces occupied Fez. Germany sent the gunboat Panther to Agadir in southwest Morocco, and on November 4 France agreed to give Germany 107,270 square miles in the Congo to safeguard their role in Morocco. Five days later Chancellor von Bülow explained that a ruler who relies on foreign bayonets is no longer independent.

Morocco under France and Spain 1912-39

On March 30, 1912 Sultan Hafid signed the treaty making Morocco a protectorate of France. Hafid abdicated and left Morocco on August 12. Two days later the ‘ulama at Fez chose Mawlay Yusef to be the new sultan. The United States refused to recognize the Protectorate and retained their special rights. In a convention signed at Madrid on November 27 the French recognized Spanish control over the far northern shore of Morocco.

Spanish troops had landed in Larache in 1911, and they occupied Alcazar. In 1913 they occupied Tetuan, which became the capital of Spanish Morocco. The militaristic Spaniards provoked a rebellion led by the Jibala chief Raisuli, who attacked the Spaniards around Tetuan and wanted to be the first Khalifa of Northern Morocco. During the Great War the Spaniards did not try to control the countryside. In July 1921 about two thousand rebels managed to defeat an army of about 63,000 Spaniards who fled in panic. The rebels captured many weapons and much equipment. In 1923 the Spanish finance minister announced that two years of war had cost Spain £43 million. After Spanish Morocco became a dictatorship in 1923, British Foreign Secretary Curzon held a conference in London, and the convention signed on December 18 established Tangier as a neutral city with no military forces at all. Foreign affairs were to be the responsibility of the French Resident General in Rabat, but autonomy was guaranteed for internal affairs. The war with the rebels outside Tangier went on until 1926, and then relations began to improve.

The Kutlat al-Wataniya organization was founded in the Spanish Zone in 1930 by Abdesselam Bennouna, his brother, and others. On May 1, 1931 they sent a delegation to Madrid to appeal to the provisional president Alcala Zamora with a petition containing eight hundred signatures. When Zamora visited Tetuan in late 1933, they presented the petition again. The weekly el-Hayat began in February 1934, but it was banned in French Morocco in May and was driven out of business by taxes in August 1935. Tham al-Ouezzani of Torres’ Islah Party directed er-Rif, and it was succeeded by the daily el-Hurriya in March 1937.

On May 4, 1913 Sultan Yusef announced his approval of the French-Spanish treaty of the year before, but some Moroccans argued that the French were tenants and the Spaniards were sub-tenants. Resident General Lyautey governed Morocco from 1912 until 1924 and tried to use the Makhzin rather than oppose them. European towns were built next to the major cities of Fez, Rabat, Meknes, and Marrakesh. Lyautey pacified Morocco in three phases. By the time the Great War began in 1914, the Berbers in the Atlas mountains had been won over mostly by diplomacy. During the war France had few troops there; Lyautey used diplomacy, but the middle Atlas region still had some resistance in 1921. The areas of economic interest to the French were under control by 1923. Railways took phosphates from Khouribga and Louis-Gentil, iron from Air Amar, coal from Djerada, and manganese from Bou Arfa. Water was saved by building dams. Farmers were made more prosperous by replacing usury with agricultural credits. The tribes of the Tadla region of the High Atlas held out until 1931 and the Tafilet of the Anti-Atlas until 1932. The final surrender was made by Bou Izakarene on March 18, 1934 as the wider areas were absorbed into Morocco.

The French were allowed to stake out land without inquiring into their legal rights. Foreign countries enjoyed privileges in Morocco, and Britain did not renounce its Capitulations until 1938. The French controlled the ministries of Foreign Affairs, War, and Finance while letting the Grand Vizier control the ministers of Justice and Habus (religion and charity). The French also had municipal commissions, regional Chambers of Agriculture and Commerce, and eventually a consultative assembly on the budget which did not include natives until 1948. All the directors were French, and Moroccans did not become under-secretaries until 1947. The regions of Casablanca, Rabat, Oujda, Port Lyautey, Mazagan, and Safi were under civil controllers while Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh, Taza, Agadir, Tafilet, and Dra had military governors. In the countryside districts were administered by a French officer of native affairs. The French officials worked with the local pashas appointed by the Sultan. Any case involving French citizens was under French jurisdiction, but the rest had Islamic jurisdiction. Lyautey oversaw improvements in health services, sanitation, transportation and roads. Although medical care was much better for the French than for the Moroccans, the Muslim and Jewish population increased from 3,453,100 in 1921 to 8,292,400 in 1947.

Abd al-Karim was born in Ajdir in 1880 in the Aith Uriaghel tribe of the Rif. His father was an Islamic judge, and Abd al-Karim was educated at Spanish schools and studied law at the University of Qarawiyin in Fez. He worked as a teacher and a translator and wrote for the Spanish newspaper Telegrama del Rif. In 1914 he was appointed the chief qadi (judge) in Melilla. In 1916 he was imprisoned for anti-colonial activity until 1917. He returned home to Ajdir in January 1919 and decided to fight for independence. The next year he began leading a rebellion. In 1921 he sent a warning to the Spanish General Manuel Fernandez Silvestre not to cross the Amekran River. When Silvestre set up a military post across the river, the Riffian forces attacked them in June, killing 179 Spanish soldiers. Abd al-Karim led his force of 3,000 against the Spanish army at Annual and in three weeks killed 8,000 of them.

On September 13, 1923 General Miguel Primo de Rivera led a coup d’état in Spanish Morocco and installed a military dictatorship that lasted until 1930. On November 23, 1924 Lyautey telegraphed France that the Spanish border had dissidents serving one chief, and Prime Minister Herriot approved Lyautey’s campaign against the Riffians in December. Abd al-Karim won a battle against the Spaniards in January and captured Jibala’s chief Raisuli in January. His Uriaghel tribe had submitted to Lyautey’s diplomacy, but he persuaded them to rebel again. In April 1925 Abd al-Karim invaded French Morocco. Lyautey sent an emissary to the Rif in May, and he was impressed by their military order. Marshall Henri Philippe Pétain arrived on July 17 and combined the French army with the Spanish army led by Marshal Primo de Rivera, giving them 250,000 men. Pétain came into conflict with Lyautey and returned to Paris, where he was appointed commander-in-chief of Morocco’s army on August 18. The combined French-Spanish campaign began on September 9 with overwhelming military advantages including mustard gas. Lyautey resigned on September 24. On July 22, 1925 Abd al-Karim asked the London Times reporter Walter Harris to convey his request for British assistance to bring peace. Abd al-Karim surrendered to the French on May 26, 1926. They banished him to the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean where he lived on a subsidy until 1947 when he was to be moved to France; but he gained asylum in Cairo.

Theodore Steeg had been Governor-general of Algeria 1921-25, and he became Resident General of Morocco on October 4, 1925. Unlike Lyautey, he did not consult much with Moroccans but used more direct government as in Algeria. The number of French land-owners tripled while Moroccans lost their land and moved to cities. On August 1, 1926 young Ahmed Balafrej made a speech at a private garden in Rabat that inspired those attending to found the Supporters of Truth. Also that summer young Moors met in Fez and listened to the eloquent Muhammad Allal al-Fassi who criticized the doctrines of the Qarawiyin professor Abd al-Hay Kittani. They believed Islam was being degraded, and they wanted to reform themselves. By April 1927 these two groups had joined to form the secret organization, the Moroccan League. On November 17, 1927 Sultan Mawlay Yusef died, and the next day his 16-year-old son Sidi Muhammad was chosen to succeed him.

Lucien Saint succeeded Steeg on January 2, 1929 and kept busy trying to pacify the dissidents as nationalism began to develop. The French had introduced arbitration courts called djemmas (councils of elders) in 1915, and tribal law was to work alongside of Islamic law. On May 16, 1930 they announced the Berber Dahir which adapted Berber justice to all of Morocco by withdrawing judicial power from the djemmas and allowing appeals to customary tribunals and French courts. Many Moroccans considered this an attempt by the French to divide them. Also that spring Catholic missionary activities were increasing, and Muslims believed both of these were aimed against their religion. The number of French officials increased from 6,500 in 1925 to 19,371 in 1932, and they consumed 57% of the budget. The budget surpluses ended in 1930, and the annual deficits increased to 65 million francs in 1933. The nationalist movement grew, and in July 1932 they began publishing the French review Maghreb with Ahmed Balafrej as editor; but Saint banned it on September 9.

Saint was replaced by Henri Ponsot on September 14, 1933. He tried to restore the confidence of the Moroccans in the French by reducing the 65% of the budget that went to French officials, but he was up against the French officials, settlers, and their supporters in France. L’Action du Peuple had begun publishing in August 1933, but it was suspended on May 16, 1934. That year the nationalists presented the Plan de Réformes Marocaines to the Sultan and the French government. The introduction discussed international law and treaties in relation to official French declarations and then the moral and material revival of Morocco which had been sacrificed to French colonization, assimilation, and discrimination. They called for natives to be employed in all administrative departments with equal status as the French, a national council of Muslims and Jews, municipal councils, and limiting the French authorities to being advisors according to the Protectorate agreement. They wanted education and freedom to publish, assemble, travel, and to have native labor unions. They believed administrative powers should be separated from judicial functions. They opposed the official colonization that expropriated public and communal land since 1918. In December 1934 the Plan was presented in Paris to Foreign Minister Pierre Laval. Ponsot was recalled on March 22, 1936, but his successor Marcel Peyrouton lasted only six months.

General Charles Hippolyte Nogues became resident general and lasted until June 21, 1943. He had served under Lyautey and was Saint’s Director of Political Affairs. He was a military man and did not have Lyautey’s diplomatic skill. In October 1936 at public mass meetings the nationalists demanded freedom of the press, assembly, and speech. Nogues reacted by arresting most of the leaders. In December he released some and decreed that trade unions could be established but only for Europeans. On January 19, 1937 he authorized the publication of three Moroccan dailies and one weekly, but he empowered French officials to censor them.

On March 18, 1937 Nogues banned the nationalist party. During hot August four French farmers were given extra water from the Bou Fekrane River, angering Moorish farmers who complained they were being dried out. Petitions were sent to the capital of Rabat, and eventually officials devised a new water plan. On September 1 about five hundred farmers demonstrated outside the French offices, shouting “Water or death!” The next day the authorities detained “five ringleaders,” who were sentenced to three months in prison. When a crowd stormed the courthouse, the police fired at them, killing and wounding many. Finally Nogues appeared and promised water supplies, but no French officials were disciplined. Protests spread around the country, and many demonstrators were imprisoned. On October 29 hundreds of students at Qarawiyin were inspired by Muhammad Hassan al-Ouezzani. Moroccan soldiers surrounded the mosque and arrested 650 people, and that night the entire executive committee of the National Party was also detained. According to official figures 444 were sentenced to prison terms. Allal al-Fassi was exiled in Gabon until 1946, and al-Ouezzani, Lyazidi, and Mekouar were sent to the Sahara until 1946, 1941, and 1940 respectively.

Sultan Muhammad V (r. 1927-53) founded schools with his own money and encouraged other Moroccans to do the same. He was religious and piously fulfilled his functions as the Imam. Muhammad had two wives, but he did not let them participate in public life. Yet he gave his daughters a modern education, and they discarded the veil and took part in sports and Western activities. Whenever the Sultan talked with a foreigner or others, a French official called the conseiller chérifien was present.

Morocco under France and Spain 1939-50

On September 3, 1939, Sultan Muhammad V expressed Morocco’s support for France, making 20,000 Moroccan troops available for combat. Eventually 300,000 Moroccan volunteers would serve the United Nations allies in World War II. However, in 1940 and 1941 German propaganda was active in Morocco when about 3,000 Germans visited there. Resident General Nogues supported Marshal Pétain and the Vichy regime, but he could not persuade Sultan Muhammad to promulgate the Nuremberg anti-Jewish laws. Instead the Sultan proclaimed that the Jews were his subjects and that his duty was to protect them. Muhammad refused to meet with the German commission in Morocco, and he reminded the Resident General that Morocco had declared war against Germany and had not signed an armistice. The British and Americans urged General Charles de Gaulle to declare Morocco independent and release al-Fassi from exile, but he refused. Nogues opposed the Americans until three days after they invaded Morocco in November 1942 when he was ordered by Darlan in Algiers to change sides and supported the Allies. In Casablanca on January 22, 1943 US President Franklin Roosevelt invited Sultan Muhammad and Prince Mawlay Hasan to dinner with Churchill, Nogues, and others. Roosevelt impressed the Sultan very favorably, and he had new hope for his country.

In 1939 Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco instituted at Tetuan the Ministry of Habus to provide funds for building a new mosque at Ceuta. On June 14, 1940 Franco’s forces took over Tangier, expelled the foreign administrators, abolished the Port Commission, and took over the treasury. Nazi agents were welcome there until Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945. Spanish troops withdrew from Tangier on October 11, and the Sultan’s representative Mendoub returned along with international authorities. In 1946 about 15,000 people demonstrated in Tetuan for a free Arab press. In the next two years a bad harvest and poverty caused widespread hunger, and many people were arrested. Abd al-Khalek Torres, who had founded the Moroccan Front of Freedom, took refuge in Tangier. In December the Spanish government asked the Arab League to recognize Spanish Morocco, but the League favored independence for the Spanish zone.

In December 1943 the nationalist party became known as Istiqlal, which means “independence.” On January 11, 1944 their leaders presented a declaration of Moroccan independence to Resident General Gabriel Puaux. Eight days later Ahmed Balafrej and Muhammad Lyazidi were arrested, and Balafrej was exiled on Corsica for one year. Thousands of Moroccans protested this, and in Fez Senegalese troops killed at least thirty protesters. Even the students at Berber College at Azrou demonstrated. In February 1945 Sultan Muhammad visited Marrakesh and gave a speech expressing his hope for independence. On March 8 Muhammad Lyazidi sent a request for the Istiqlal Party to the United Nations asking that Morocco be admitted. They also sent their request to the governments of the United States, Britain, France, Soviet Union, and China. In October the secretary of the Arab League demanded that both Morocco and Tunisia have “the right to attach themselves to the Arab League.” Sultan Muhammad blamed Puaux for keeping so many nationalists in prison.

On March 4, 1946 Puaux was recalled and replaced by Eirik Labonne as resident general. He began by freeing most of the political prisoners, and Allal al-Fassi came back from Gabon. Labonne wanted to give Moroccans more opportunities to use their intellectual and other faculties. He increased the budget for new schools, had houses built for native workers and allowed them to join unions. He tried to open up administrative positions to Moroccans. His proposals were opposed by other French officials and colonialists, and several governmental bodies stopped cooperating with him. The nationalists were concerned that his reforms would still perpetuate the Protectorate. On April 7, 1947 a bloody riot broke out in Casablanca after a Senegalese soldier molested an Arab woman. The police arrived so late that 83 people were killed, and several hundred were wounded. Sultan Muhammad spoke at Tangier on the legitimate rights of the Moroccans, and he affirmed that the Arab League had “become an important factor in world affairs.”

On May 14, 1947 Labonne was replaced by General Alphonse Pierre Juin, who during the war had expressed his eagerness to serve under General Rommel. He had succeeded Pétain, and in Algeria he ordered the French forces to fight against the Allied invasion; but after one day Juin went over to their side. Then he led the French and Moroccan troops in several campaigns in Tunisia, Italy, France, and Germany. He disagreed with the Sultan, saying, “Morocco, which France has united, must be a Western country, and turn away from oriental alliances.”2 Juin tried to implement Labonne’s reforms, but private interests blocked them from taking effect. He increased the Makhzin by adding Moorish delegates to the departments of Finance, Agriculture, Commerce, Public Works, and Health. However, by attending joint meetings the Makhzin lost its independence and privacy. He allowed Moroccan delegates to the Government Council to be elected instead appointing them. Yet the 270,000 French had the same municipal representation as eight million Moroccans.

Sultan Muhammad V complained that this new deal would establish French co-sovereignty in violation of the Treaty of Fez. He urged that political action be nonviolent and that Istiqlal protest in the press. Yet nationalist newspapers were censored, leaving many blank spaces. Allal al-Fassi was in Cairo, and he persuaded Abd al-Karim to take refuge there when he was being transported to Marseilles. King Faruq met with them and gave them asylum. Muhammad told the French,

If you depart as good friends,
realizing that this is the only thing left to you,
you will retain all your interests.
But if you depart in enmity, you will lose everything.
We have fought two wars at your side
to preserve your independence at risk of our lives.
So why do you refuse us our independence?
You have removed M. Labonne
because he was too considerate of our claims.
You have replaced him by General Juin
because you think that a soldier will terrify us.
We are not afraid of him.
But it is a serious matter that
he should be working against the Sultan.3

Dozens of dahirs (decrees) stacked up on the Sultan’s desk because he refused to sign them and enhance French control. In a speech in Paris on November 18, 1949 General Juin admitted that co-sovereignty would make him a co-owner in his landlord’s house. At the Government Council in Rabat in December the Moroccan delegates accused the French authorities of hypocrisy. They complained that modernization was a euphemism for outlawing native culture. They decided to boycott the summer meeting of the Council. When Sultan Muhammad arrived in Paris on October 11, hundreds of thousands of Parisians cheered him in the street. His proposals were discussed by the French cabinet on October 31, and they promised improvements; but they did not mention Sharifian sovereignty. Muhammad sent a second note that they should move toward abolishing the Protectorate. On November 18 Muhammad spoke from the throne that the best government is democratic, and that does not contradict the principles of Islam.

The effect of the French Protectorate on Morocco can be seen in statistics compiled about 1950. The average Moroccan land holding was about 3 hectares, but for the French it was 200. Textiles were not manufactured in Morocco, and so instead of producing cheap cotton goods the Moroccans had to import expensive clothes from France. The Moroccans had to buy imports exclusively from France at higher prices. In 1950 more than 95% of the unfavorable trade balance was from France. The infant mortality rate was three times higher for Moroccans than for Europeans in Morocco. One third of all hospital beds in Morocco were reserved for Europeans. In 1912 only 794 Muslims were in primary schools compared to 3,742 Jews. In 1950 there were only 117,656 of the 1,826,253 school-age Muslims in school but 31,421 of the 39,392 school-age Jews. In 1950 only 6% of Moroccan children were in school compared to 94% of European children. Not one school existed to train Moroccan school teachers, and the first school to train native administrators was founded in 1950.

That year the French judge, Maitre Bonnet, who was President of the Casablanca Bar, said, “No Palace of Justice, no magistrates, no law. Right of defense non-existent. Individual liberty—none. Abuse of authority impossible to check…. Imprisonment is immediate, examination secret, defense a mockery, and codes non-existent.”4 The jurist Maitre Neigel noted that there was no separation of powers between the administrative, legislative, and judicial branches because they were all exercised by the same French authorities. Any Moroccan but no Frenchman could be arrested without a warrant. All organizations for students, political parties, athletic clubs, labor unions, and even the Moroccan Boy Scouts were suppressed, and only religious gatherings were allowed. Only the French could speak at a meeting, and only the French language could be used.


1. Quoted in Modern Algeria by John Ruedy, p. 135.
2. Le Figaro, June 22-23, 1947 quoted in Moroccan Drama 1900-1955 by Rom Landau, p. 264.
3. Quoted in Moroccan Drama 1900-1955 by Rom Landau, p. 236.
4. Ibid., p. 260.

Copyright © 2010 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book Mideast & Africa 1700-1950.
For ordering information, please click here.


Ottoman Empire 1600-1907
Ottoman Fall and Turkey 1908-1950
Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan 1600-1950
Arabia, Yemen, and Iraq 1600-1950
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan 1600-1950
Palestine and Zionism 1600-1950
Egypt, Sudan, and Libya 1600-1950
Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco 1600-1950
West Africa and the French 1600-1950
West Africa and the British 1600-1950
Ethiopia and Somaliland 1600-1950
East Africa 1600-1950
Congo, Angola, and Mozambique 1600-1950
Southern Africa 1700-1950
Summary and Evaluation



World Chronological Index
Chronology of Asia & Africa to 1800
Chronology of Asia & Africa 1800-1950
Mideast & Africa to 1950

BECK index