History of Algeria

By Helya Kargosha and Madeline Cooke
Algeria in the 1940’s
Occupied by the French since 1830
In the book, the city Algiers, is a French
 Where is Algeria anyway???
Algeria is in North Africa between the countries of
Tunisia and Morocco. Its capital is Algiers, a coastal
It has a coast which faces the Mediterranean Sea.
Northern Algeria has a similar climate to that of
Southern California. Summers are very dry and arid
especially in the plateau areas. Temperatures are
usually in the upper 70’s. (75-79 Fahrenheit)
The southern part of Algeria is part of the Sahara
desert. Most of Algeria is desert- about ⅘.
Algeria also consists of plateaus and mountains.
According to the CIA website, Algeria is roughly 3.5
times the size of Texas.
Here is an image
of an Algerian
beach. Notice the
aspects that
correspond with
the actual beach.
Today: Multi-party system: the Prime Minister is the
head of the government and the President is the head
of state. Parliament consists of the Council of the
Nation and the People’s National Assembly. This is
after independence from the French.
 In the 1940’s: (when The Stranger was published):
France overtook Algeria in 1848, however fighting
started in 1830. Many French, Italian, and Spanish
people moved to Algeria and were called Pied-Noirs.
 Operation Torch occurred in Algeria during WWII by
the Americans and the British. At this time, many
colonized countries of the world were going against
their superpower and challenged them.
During World War I and World War II, Algerians were
drafted to fight with the French. After World War II,
Algerian leaders demanded Muslim equality in
exchange for this service. Charles de Gaulle, the
leader of France's provisional government after the
war, agreed to grant French citizenship to select
Muslims, which resulted in rising tensions between
Algerians and their colonizers. Anti-French sentiment
had been building for some time—the first anticolonial group was formed in the 20’s, and another,
the Algerian People's Party, in 1937.
Then in 1945, the independence movement
began to gain momentum. In 1947, de Gaulle
refused to relinquish French hold on the
colony. The Algerian war for independence
broke out in 1954, when the National
Liberation Army (ALN) staged guerrilla
attacks on French military and
communication posts and called on all
Muslims to join their struggle.
“But this doesn’t begin to address why Meursault's murder of
an Arab seems to not matter to these people. The answer here
is racism. And now for a brief and spicy history lesson: The
French started "colonizing" (invading) Algeria in 1830. By the
time we get to the 1940’s, Algiers, the city in which The
Stranger takes place, is French territory. That’s it. We told you it
would be brief. The point is, in Meursault’s world, the French
are considered superior to the Arabs. Killing an Arab was a
minor offense, but not obeying French and Christian customs
was apparently punishable by death. That’s why Meursault’s
trial is so important – and so interesting to watch. When
Meursault himself says he’s been convinced of his own guilt,
he’s probably not talking about murder at all.” -shmoop.com
Algeria in the mid-1940’s
Both the time and place in the novel are
significant to understand an imperative piece
of background information about The
Stranger: Meursault might "officially" be on
trial for killing a man, but he’s really on trial
for his character, and it is for this character
that he is convicted.
During the French rule, the only university in
the country, in Algiers, was open only to
French students
This was the university that Camus attended

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