“We have given the Gallic cockerel a vast heap of sand” said British Foreign secretary Lord Salisbury after Britain and France divided much of Africa between them. ‘Let him scratch it how he will’. France’s chief ‘sandpit’ was Algeria, conquered in 1830 in the otherwise undistinguished reign of King Louis-Philippe. with the aid of the newly-formed French Foreign Legion who were to be based in Algeria for the next century and beyond. The story of that conquest is recounted here for the first time in English by a British officer in a book first published in 1909. Algeria was wrested from the feeble hands of the Dey of Algiers, the Arab ruler who paid homage to the Ottoman Empire – already far gone in decay. But if getting hold of the vast country, mostly composed of barren desert and mountains, was comparatively easy, keeping it was to prove a nightmare from which France only awoke in 1962 when Algeria gained independence. Laurie’s book is a clear and concise account of a colonial conquest in a part of the world where conflict continues to this day.
FRENCH CONQUEST OF ALGERIA
First account in English of France’s conquest of Algeria in 1830 – a vast country which became the home of the famous Foreign Legion and the scene of conflict up to today.