Settler Colonialism Uncovered


“Under the command of the Dey’s son-in-lw, the Agha Ibrahim, the defenders had assembled a heterogeneous force of about 7,000 Turks, 19,000 troops from the Beys of Constantine and Oran, and about 17,000 Kabyles” (Ruedy, Modern Algeria, 48). According to Charles-Robert Ageron, “French generals estimated their number at 50,000; according to Si Hamdan ben Othman, a leading citizen of Algiers to whom the Dey turned for assistance in the crisis, but who subsequently collaborated with the French, there were only 30,000. The regular troops numbered 15,000; the Kabyles were Berbers from the mountains east of Algiers, with a long history as mercenaries” (Ageron, p 6, FN 12).

“The Algerian artillery was vastly inferior to that of the French but their rifles were of longer range and most Algerians were better marksmen than the French. While testimony on both sides certifies the Algerians’ individual valor as fighters, they appear to have been badly supplied and inadequately led. Probably bespeaking poor organization and inadequate logistics rather than the arrogant overconfidence some French writers ascribed to him, Ibrahim’s forces directed only moderate fire at the French for six days, allowing Bourmont to consolidate a bridgehead that they could not subsequently reasonably hope to dislodge." (Ruedy, Modern Algeria, 48-49)