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3 1830–40: The Destruction of Algiers, Constantine and other Early Settlements

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Chapter Summary

New building was conceived as an important part of the mission civilisatrice, which would introduce admiring locals to the new world the French created. Part of modernisation is clearance of the old and outdated, characterised by the evisceration of Paris by Haussmann. The first town to receive the militarising and then Europeanising attentions of the French was of course Algiers, the key city because of its port. The Arab town was part-built with Roman ruins from the vicinity. The French destruction went against their own interests, here as at Bone, of which St-Marie wrote in 1846, "The French have destroyed, but they have created nothing for the future". In 1884 Leclerc de Pulligy, an engineer, looked back with bitterness on the insensate destruction of Constantine, the most precious type of berber town in the country.

Keywords: Algiers; Arab town; Constantine; Leclerc de Pulligy; Roman



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