Algeria History – The War Against Morocco

By | December 13, 2021

Abd el-Kader immediately set about raising the Moroccan tribes, causing incursions of these into Algerian territory, and however the Bugeaud ordered the gen. Lamoricière to establish a field in Lalla-Maghnia, on a left tributary of the Tafna.

The Moroccans, who considered the Tafna course as a border, attacked the Lalla-Maghnia camp on May 30, 1844, but were repulsed. The gen. Bugeaud then gathered all the available forces in that locality and on June 15, while negotiations were taking place with the Moroccans, having attacked them, he left the camp, repelled the attackers and advanced as far as Oudjda, which he occupied on June 17.

On 3 July, after a new clash, the French retreated to Maghnia; the Moroccan forces, amounting to about 25,000 horses, 10,000 infantry and 11 pieces, gathered then, under the command of the sultan’s son, in Koudat, about thirty km away. from the French camp. Only in mid-August (on the 5th the bombing of Tangier had taken place) resumed the offensive with 19 battalions (9500 men), 19 squadrons (1600 horses), 400 natives and 16 pieces. On the morning of August 14, the French corps advanced on three columns towards the Moroccan camp, located on the heights of the right bank of the Oued Isli, and, having crossed the river fording, took up a lozenge formation, the Bugeaud’s favorite formation in African battles, and the attack began, soon conquering the first hills. The large Moroccan cavalry then tried to encircle the French, but these, repelled the disordered attacks, in turn made their cavalry emerge from the lozenge, which, charged and dispersed the opposing hordes, already shaken by the infantry fire, occupied the field of the Moroccans; these retreated chased by artillery fire, leaving 800 dead on the field; the French had about 130 men out of action. For Algeria history, please check

On 16 August the French squad bombed and occupied Mogador, and on 10 September the sultan signed the peace treaty of Tangier, pledging to expel Abd el-Kader from his territory and to prevent his own incursions into Algerian territory, the one existing at the border considered to be the border. era of Turkish rule.

Despite this, Abd el-Kader continued to stay in Moroccan territory making frequent forays into Algeria. In the spring of 1845, then, one of his emulators and rival, certain Bū Masa, raised some tribes of the province of Oran; the rebels were surrounded by two French columns in the Ouarsenis mountains and 500 of them, caught in the caves of Dahra, were burned alive. The act of ferocity aggravated the insurrection and Abd el-Kader took the opportunity to gather around him the insurgents, including Bū Masa himself, passing the Tafna to their head and returning to Algeria (autumn 1845). A column of 500 men, who left on their own initiative, contrary to the orders of the Bugeaud, from the post of Jamaa Ghazouat (today Nemours), on the morning of 23 September it clashed with the people of Abd el-Kader at the Marabutto of Sidi Brahim and was annihilated. On the 27th, a detachment of 200 reinforcements in place of Ain Temouscent, met on Abd el-Kader street, surrendered without a fight. These two successes had the effect of raising Abd el-Kader’s prestige to the point that the whole of Algeria rose again. Throughout 1846 and up to mid-1847, the gen. Bugeaud with his 115,000 men gave a relentless chase, by means of numerous mobile columns, to the emir, who however always skilfully escaped, after having sustained endless battles. Only in June 1847, due to the growing weariness of the population, Abd el-Kader took refuge again in Moroccan territory, at the same time that Marshal Bugeaud definitively left Algeria.

Sent to France, he was first interned in Pau, then at the Château d’Amboise and finally, in October 1852, he was released and sent to Syria. He settled in Damascus, where he died in 1883.

With the surrender of Abd el-Kader the great operations for the conquest of Algeria definitively ceased; however, some regions remained uncontrolled, mainly Kabylia and the southern Saharan territories.

Completion of the conquest. – The internal political events of France, having pernicious repercussions on the colony, however delayed the completion of the work by a few years. The Duke of Aumale – one of the sons of King Louis Philippe – who had succeeded the Bugeaud on 11 September 1847, was exonerated following the revolution of February 1848; five governors succeeded each other in a few months and political turmoil occurred in the major centers, with the consequence that, in short, symptoms of restlessness manifested themselves here and there with the appearance of the usual self-styled prophets and with the return, for a few months, of the same Abd el-Kader. A harsh campaign had to be undertaken after 1849 with numerous expeditions and endless battles which in a few years restored the situation; notable the two expeditions (1849 and 1850) against Nara, qa ṣ r) of the oasis of Zaatch (SE. of Biscra) which, after two bloody attempts (July-August 1849), had to be regularly besieged by a strong expedition (8000 men) and fell, after almost two months of resistance, only through the use of large artillery, causing the French the loss of 1500 men; in retaliation the insurgents were exterminated, including women and children.

Algeria History - The War Against Morocco