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7 Building European Towns from the 1840s

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Chapter Summary

One feature of colonialism in Algeria was the desire to live in European-style houses on European-style streets, eventually to be provided with sewerage, tapped water and street lighting. The author calls these as European towns, and this was the fashion in which the Army laid out their towns. The colonisers, soldiers, administrators, town-dwelling colonists keeping shops, did not live with the natives; and towns developed with European and Arab quarters. The majority of Arab towns were built on top of Roman ruins, not only for shelter and re-use of materials, but also because of the water supply that was invariably nearby. Laying out European streets for European-style houses required deep foundations which disturbed antiquities much more than did most Arab constructions. It was normal for European houses to have cellars and hence deep foundations; very abnormal for Arab houses in Algeria.

Keywords: Algeria; Arab quarters; colonialism; European towns; Roman



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