Settler Colonialism Uncovered

The Battle for Algiers

"By the time the Agha launched a major attack on June 19, the invaders were too well entrenched. They turned back the Muslim charge went on the attack themselves, and eventually overwhelmed Ibrahim’s camp on the plateau of Staouëli, sending the defenders back toward Algiers in disorder.” (Ruedy, Modern Algeria, 48-49)

Battle of Staoueli 19 June 1830

Battle of Staoueli 19 June 1830

Between the Battle of Staouéli and the battle at Fort Emperor, the Bey of Titteri, Mustapha Boumezrad, took command of the Algerian troops, commanding unanimous support from the janiseries and the auxiliary forces. His efficacious leadership led to daily death tolls of at least 250 French between June 24 and 28.

Despite their valiant efforts, only one thing stood between the French and the western gates of Algiers...

During the final week of June, French General De Bourmont was busily engaged in acquiring and establishing his artillery to begin the attack. The main body of French troops arrived in front of the fort on June 30 after two days of fierce fighting in which the 4th Light Horse division was nearly wiped out. Weary from fighting under the hot summer sun, the soldiers still had to dig entrenchments, fight off continual Algerian assaults on their position, and set up their huge batteries. At last, at 3am the morning of July 4, the final attack on the fort began.

Une Fantasia: Algérie

Une Fantasia: Algérie by Fromentin

Algerian historian and novelist, Assia Djebar describes the battle at Fort Emperor:

"At Borj Hassan [Fort Emperor], an elite garrison of two thousand men -- eight hundred Turks and one thousand two hundred Kuluglis -- holds out for five hours against the fire from the French batteries. De Bourmont and his general staff survey the pounding from their position to the right of the trenches. The Dey Hussein and his dignitaries watch the deadly contest from the roof of the Spanish Consulate on the heights of the Kasbah. 'The militia, the Arabs inside the city, those who find themselves outside, all pay careful heed to the progress of the battle,' notes Baron Barchou, who has taken up his position on the slopes of Bouzaréah. 
     In full view of 'this enormous amphitheater, filled with thousands of spectators,' two hours elapse, during which the Algerian guns are silenced one by one. The survivors among the militia, no longer able to resist, retreat towards the city.
     A terrible explosion shakes Fort Emperor, soon afterwards it collapses in a gigantic eruption of flames and smoke. The final hope of defending the city disappears in this heap of rubble, shattered half-buried cannons and dismembered corpses -- those of the last defenders. Algiers, known as the 'well-protected city,' is reduced to despair" (Djebar, Fantasia, 30-31).

The last obstacle on the road to Algiers was gone...

Explosion du fort de l'empereur

Explosion of the Fort Emperor