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Fatimid Caliphate

The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-F??imiyy?n (Arabic ?????????) was a Isma'ili Shi'a Muslim caliphate that spanned a vast area of the Arab World, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Originally based in Tunisia, the Fatimid dynasty extended their rule across the Mediterranean coast of Africa, and ultimately made Egypt the centre of their caliphate. At its height, in addition to Egypt, the caliphate included varying areas of the Maghreb, Sudan, Sicily, the Levant, and Hijaz.

The Fatimids established the Tunisian city of Mahdia and made it their capital city, before conquering Egypt, and building the city of Cairo in 969. Thereafter, Cairo became the capital of the caliphate, with Egypt becoming the political, cultural, and religious centre of the state. The 4th century AH /10th century CE has been called by Louis Massignon ‘the Ismaili century in the history of Islam’.[3]

The term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the citizens of this caliphate. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. The leaders of the dynasty were also Shia Ismaili Imams, hence, they had a religious significance to Ismaili Muslims. They are also part of the chain of holders of the office of Caliph, as recognized by some Muslims. Therefore, this constitutes a rare period in history in which the descendants of Ali (hence the name Fatimid, referring to Ali's wife Fatima) and the Caliphate were united to any degree, excepting the final period of the Rashidun Caliphate under Ali himself.

The caliphate was reputed to exercise a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews, Maltese Christians, and Coptic Christians.[4]

In addition to being considered one of the most important Arab empires in the Islamic era, the Fatimid caliphate was also distinguished by the prominent role of Berbers in its initial establishment. The caliphate lasted from 909 to 1171, when Saladin became Sultan of Egypt, and returned the country to the nominal fealty of the Sunni Muslim Abbasid caliphate.

Rise of the Fatimids

The Fatimid state originated among the Kutama people of Algeria. The dynasty was founded in 909 by ?Abdull?h al-Mahd? Billah, who in the late 9th century started a movement among the Kutama Berbers and managed to convert them to Shi'a Islam. He would seize Tunis the same year.[5]

Abdull?h al-Mahdi made his claim through his descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter F?tima az-Zahra and her husband ?Al? ibn-Ab?-T?lib, the first Sh??a Im?m, hence the name al-F?timiyy?n "Fatimid".[6] For the first half of its existence the empire's power rested primarily on the Kutama Berbers and their strength, with a Berber army conquering northern Africa, Palestine, Syria and, for a short time, Baghdad. Their role within the Fatimid state was so central that Ibn Khaldun counted the Fatimids among the Berber dynasties. The Fatimids existed during the Islamic Golden Age.[7]

Abdull?h al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia, his newly built capital in Tunisia.

Under Al-Muizz Lideenillah, the Fatimids entered Egypt (may refer Fatimid Egypt) in the late 10th century, conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty, and founding a new capital at al-Q?hira (Cairo) in 969.[8] The name was a reference to the planet Mars, "The Subduer",[6] which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria, and even ruling Sicily, and southern parts of the Italian Peninsula.

Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Hejaz, and Yemen[citation needed]. Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages.

The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system.[6]

Unlike other governments in the area, Fatimid advancement in state offices was based more on merit than on heredity. Members of other branches of Islam, like the Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance was extended to non-Muslims such as Christians, and Jews,[6] who occupied high levels in government based on ability. However, it is important to note here that Jews in particular were part of a larger scheme to gain monetary leverage for trade in Europe. And tolerance was set into place to ensure the flow of money from all those who were non-Muslims too in order to finance the Fatimids Caliphs' large army of Mamluks brought in from Circassia by Genoese merchants.[citation needed] There were, however, exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, most notably Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah although this has been highly debated, with Al-Hakim's reputation among medieval Muslim historians conflated with his role in the Druze faith.[6]

The Fatimids were also known to a great extent for their exquisite arts. A type of ceramic, lustreware, was prevalent during the Fatimid period. Glassware and metalworking was also popular. Many traces of Fatimid architecture exist in Cairo today, the most defining examples include the Al Azhar University and the Al Hakim mosque. The Al Azhar University was the first university in the East and perhaps the oldest in history. The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid dynasty era of Egypt, descended from Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad. Fatimah was called Az-Zahra (the brilliant), and it was named in her honor.[citation needed] It was founded as mosque by the Fatimid commander Jawhar at the orders of the Caliph Al-Muizz as he founded the city for Cairo. It was (probably on Saturday) in Jamadi al-Awwal in the year 359 A.H. Its building was completed on the 9th of Ramadan in the year 361 A.H. Both Al-'Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah added to its premises. It was further repaired, renovated and extended by Al-Mustansir Billah and Al-Hafiz Li-Din-illah. Fatimid Caliphs always encouraged scholars and jurists to have their study-circles and gatherings in this mosque and thus it was turned into a university which has the claim to be considered as the oldest University still functioning. [9]

The intellectual life in Egypt during the Fatimid period reached a great degree of progress and activity due to the number of scholars who either lived in Egypt or came from outside as well as the number of books available and written on various fields of study. The Fatimid Caliphs gave prominent positions to the scholars in their courts and encouraged the students. Fatimids paid attention to establishing libraries in their palaces so that the scholars might polish up their knowledge and get benefit of what their predecessors had done.[10]

Perhaps the most significant feature of Fatimid rule was that freedom which was given out to the people and liberty was given to the minds and reasons. Man may believe in whatever he likes provided that he may not infringe other rights. Fatimids reserved separate pulpits for different Islamic sects, where the scholars expressed their ideas in whatever the manner they liked. Fatimids gave patronage to scholars and invited them from every place, spending money on them and neglecting what they believed in, even though it was against the beliefs of the Fatimids. The history of the Fatimids, from this point of view, is in fact the history of knowledge, literature and philosophy. It is the history of sacred freedom - freedom of expression. [11]

The Fatimid palace in Cairo had two parts. It stood in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bin El-Qasryn street.[12]

Military system

The Fatimids military was originally based largely on the Kutama Berber tribesmen it brought with them on their march to Egypt, and they remained an important part of the Fatimid military even after Tunisia itself began to break away.[13]

After their successful establishment in Egypt, local forces were also incorporated into their army, though they remained a relatively minor part of the Fatimid (and in fact, succeeding dynasties as well) forces.

A fundamental change occurred when the Fatimid Caliph attempted to push into Syria in the later half of the 10th century, here they were faced with the now Turkish dominated forces of the Abbasid Caliph and began to realize the limits of their current military, thus during the reign of Abu Mansur Nizar al-Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah the Caliph began incorporating armies of Turks and later Black Africans (even later, other groups such as Armenians were also used). [14]

The army units were generally separated along ethnic lines, thus the Berbers were usually the light cavalry / foot skirmishers, while the Turks would be the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as Mamluks), and the black Africans, Syrians, and Arabs generally acted as the heavy infantry and foot archers. This ethnic based army system, along with the partial slave status of many of the imported ethnic fighters, would remain fundamentally unchanged in Egypt many centuries after the Fatimid caliph's fall.

Fatimids put all their military glory and power at the service of the Islamic world and its defense whenever it was menaced with dangers and threats. The Fatimids were able to meet these threats and repel these attacks with their military power __ both the land forces and naval, especially during the rule of Al-Muizz Lideenillah. During his reign, Byzantine Empire was ruled by Nicophorus who was very hard on Muslims. He conquered Tartus, Al-Masaisah, 'Ain Zarbah and other places, and, as Ibn-ul-Athir says, set upon re-conquering the whole Roman Empire. His desires were fulfilled by the fact that the Muslim rulers were fighting with one another and thus he ravaged the Islamic territories. His method was to attack small villages, plunder them and devastate them, and then capture them on account of their weakness. He got a complete control of the Iraq and Syrian borders. The Muslims were terrified and were quite convinced that the Byzantine would occupy whole of Syria, Egypt, Al-Jazira (Northern Iraq), Diyar Bakr etc. But the armies and the navy of the Fatimids firmly stood against Byzantines, shattered the hopes of their king and defeated them.[15]

Civil war and decline

While the ethnic based army was generally successful on the battlefields, they began to have negative effects on the Fatimid's internal politics, traditionally the Berber element of the army had the strongest sway over political affairs, but as the Turkish element grew more powerful they began to challenge this, and eventually by 1020 serious riots began to break out among the Black African troops who were fighting back against a Berber/ Turks Alliance.

By 1060s, the tentative balance between the different ethnic groups within the Fatimid army collapsed as Egypt was suffering through a serious span of drought and famine, the declining resources accelerated the problems between the different ethnic factions and outright civil war began, primarily the Turks and Black African troops were fighting each other while the Berbers shifted alliance in between.[16] The Turkish forces of the Fatimid army would end up seizing most of Cairo held the city and Caliph at ransom while the Berbers troops and remaining Sudanese forces roam the other parts of Egypt, making an already bad situation much worse.

By 1072 the Fatimid Caliph Ab? Tam?m Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah in a desperate attempt to save Egypt recalled the general Badr al-Jamali, who was at the time the governor of Acre, Palestine. Badr al-Jamali led his troops into Egypt and was able to successfully suppress the different groups of the rebelling armies, largely purging the Turks in the process.

Although the Caliphate was saved from immediate destruction, the decade long rebellion devastated Egypt and it was never able to regain much power. As a result of this event, Badr al-Jamali was also made into the vizier of the Fatimid caliph, becoming one of the first military viziers that would dominate the late Fatimid politics. As the military viziers effectively became heads of state, the Caliph himself was reduced to the role of a figurehead. Badr al-Jamali's son, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, succeeded him in power as vizier.

Decay and fall

In the 1040s, the Berber Zirids (governors of North Africa under the Fatimids) declared their independence from the Fatimids and their recognition of the Sunni Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad, which led the Fatimids to launch devastating Ban? Hilal invasions. After about 1070, the Fatimid hold on the Levant coast and parts of Syria was challenged first by Turkic invasions, then the Crusades, so that Fatimid territory shrank until it consisted only of Egypt.

The reliance on the Iqta system also ate into Fatimid central authority, as more and more the military officers at the further ends of the empire became semi-independent and were often a source of problems.

After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler N?r ad-D?n had his general, Shirkuh, seize Egypt from the vizier Shawar in 1169. Shirkuh died two months after taking power, and the rule went to his nephew, Saladin.[17] This began the Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria.

Burial place of Fatimid

There is the place known as “Al Mashhad al Husain”( Masjid Imam Husain,Cairo), wherein lie buried underground thirteen Fatemi Imams from 9th Ahmad al Mastur to 20th al A’amir). This place is also known as “B’ab Makhallif’at al Rasul”{( door of remaining part of Rasul), where Sacred Hair of Mohammad is preserved}. [18][19]

Fatimid heritage

After caliph `Adid, the Fatimids were deposed from rule over Egypt by the Ayyubids.

Currently two groups lay claim to the Fatimid legacy. The Taiyabi (including the Dawoodi Bohra) claim that their Da`is (see List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra) are successors in authority to 21st Imam Taiyab, the son of 20th Imam Amir (10th Fatimid calipha) (the office of Da`i being instituted by Sulayhid queen of Yemen Arwa al-Sulayhi).

The current claimant to be genealogical heir of the Nizari line is the Aga Khan.


Pied-Noir (French pronunciation: [pjenwa?], Black-Foot), plural Pieds-Noirs, is a term referring to French citizens who lived in French Algeria before independence. Specifically, Pieds-Noirs include those of European settlers descent from France or other European countries (such as Spain, Italy and Malta), who were born in Algeria.[1][2] From the French invasion on 18 June 1830 until its independence, Algeria was administratively part of France. This name started to be used commonly shortly before the end of the Algerian independence war in 1962, while formerly they were simply called Algerians, whereas Muslim people of Algeria were called Muslims or Indigenous. As of the last census in Algeria, taken on 1 June 1960, there were 1,050,000 European civilians in Algeria (10% of the total population including 130,000 Algerian Jews).[3][4]

The Pieds-Noirs are known in reference to the Algerian War that opposed Algerian nationalist groups such as the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) and Mouvement national algérien (MNA) against the colonial French rule massively supported by the Pieds-Noirs . The roots of the conflict reside in political and economic inequalities perceived as an "alienation" from the French rule as well as a demand for a leading position for the Berber, Arab, and Islamic cultures and rules existing before the French conquest. The conflict contributed to the fall of the French Fourth Republic and the mass migration of Algerian Europeans and Jews to France.[2][5]

After Algeria became independent in 1962, about 800,000 Pieds-Noirs of French nationality were evacuated to mainland France while about 200,000 chose to remain in Algeria. They were still 100,000 in 1965 and 50,000 by the end of the sixties.[6] Upon arriving, they suffered ostracism from the Left for their perceived exploitation of native Muslims and for having caused the war, thus the political turmoil surrounding the collapse of the French Fourth Republic.[2] In popular culture, the community is often represented as feeling removed from French culture while longing for Algeria.[2][5] Thus, the recent history of the pieds-noirs has been imprinted with a theme of double alienation from both their native homeland and their adopted land.

Origin of the term

The actual origin of the term Pied-noir is unknown and therefore debated. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it refers to "a person of European origin living in Algeria during the period of French rule, especially a French person expatriated after Algeria was granted independence in 1962."[1] The Le Robert dictionary states that in 1901 the word indicated a sailor working barefoot in the coal room of a ship, who would find his feet dirtied by the soot. In the Mediterranean, this was often an Algerian native, thus the term was used pejoratively for Algerians until 1955 when it first began referring to "French born in Algeria."[7][8] This usage originated from mainland French as a negative nickname.[1] There is also a theory that the term comes from the black boots of French soldiers compared to the barefoot Algerians.[9] Other theories focus on new settlers dirtying their clothing by working in swampy areas, or trampling grapes to make wine.[10]


French conquest and settlement
European settlement began in the 1830s when France conquered Algeria. The invasion was instigated when the Dey of Algiers struck the French consul with a fly-swatter in 1827, although economic reasons are also cited. In 1830, the government of Charles X blockaded Algeria and an armada sailed to Algiers, followed by a land expedition. A troop of 34,000 soldiers landed on 18 June 1830, at Sidi Ferruch, 27 kilometres (17 mi) west of Algiers. Following a three-week campaign, the Dey Hussein capitulated on 5 July 1830, and was exiled.[11][12][13]

In the 1830s, the French controlled only the northern part of the country.[12] Entering the Oran region, they faced resistance from Emir Abd al-Kader, a leader of a Sufi Brotherhood.[14][15] In 1839, al-Kader began a seven-year war by declaring jihad against the French. The French signed two peace treaties with al-Kader, but they were broken because of miscommunication between the military and the Parisian government. In response to the breaking of the second treaty, al-Kader drove the French to the coast. In reply, a force of nearly 100,000 troops marched to the Algerian countryside and forced al-Kader's surrender in 1847.[14] In 1848, Algeria was divided into three départements of France, Alger, Oran, and Constantine, thus becoming part of the French state.[13][14]

The French modeled their colonial system on their predecessors, the Ottomans, by co-opting local tribes. In 1843, the colonists began supervising through Bureaux Arabes[11][16] operated by military officials with authority over particular domains.[16] This system lasted until the 1880s and the rise of the French Third Republic, when colonization intensified.[4] Large-scale regrouping of lands began when land-speculation companies took advantage of government policy that allowed massive sale of native property. By the 20th century Europeans held 1,700,000 hectares; by 1940, 2,700,000 hectares, about 35 to 40 percent;[11] and by 1962 it was 2,726,700 hectares representing 27 percent of the arable land of Algeria."[17] Settlers came from all over the western Mediterranean region, particularly Italy, France, Spain, and Malta.[2]

Relationship to mainland France and Muslim Algeria
The Pied-Noir relationship with France and Algeria was marked by alienation. The settlers considered themselves French,[18] but many of the Pieds-Noirs had a tenuous connection to mainland France, which 28 percent of them had never visited. The settlers encompassed a range of socioeconomic strata, ranging from peasants to large landowners, the latter of whom were referred to as grands colons.[18][19]

In Algeria, the Muslims were not considered French and did not share the same political or economic benefits.[18] For example, the indigenous population did not own most of the settlements, farms, or businesses, although they numbered nearly 9 million (versus roughly one million Pieds-Noirs) at independence. Politically, the Muslim Algerians had no representation in the Algerian National Assembly and wielded limited influence in local governance.[20] To obtain citizenship, they were required to renounce their Muslim identity. Since this would constitute apostasy, only about 2,500 Muslims acquired citizenship before 1930.[19][20] The settlers' politically and economically dominant position worsened relations between the two groups.

Sephardic Jewish community
Jews were present in North Africa and Iberia for centuries, some since the time when "Phoenicians and Hebrews, engaged in maritime commerce, founded Hippo Regius (current Annaba), Tipasa, Caesarea (current Cherchel), and Icosium (current Algiers)."[21] A tradition told they arrived from Judea after the First Jewish-Roman War (66–73 AD) while it is known historically many Sephardi Jews came following the Spanish Reconquista.[22] In 1870, Justice Minister Adolphe Crémieux wrote a proposal, décret Crémieux, giving French citizenship to Algerian Jews. Thus, the Jews of Algeria came to be considered part of the Pied-Noir community.[22] This advancement was resisted by part of the larger Pied-Noir community. In 1897 a wave of anti-Semitic riots occurred in Algeria. During World War II the décret Crémieux was abolished under the Vichy regime, and Jews were barred from professional jobs.[21] Citizenship was restored in 1943. Many Jews fled the country in 1962, alongside most other Pieds-Noirs, after the Algerian War.[23]

Algerian War and exodus
Algerian War: For more than a century France maintained colonial rule in Algerian territory. This allowed exceptions to republican law, including Sharia laws applied by Islamic customary courts to Muslim women regarding inheritance, polygamy and repudiation.[21] Discontent among the Muslim Algerians grew after the World Wars, in which the Algerians sustained many casualties.[21] Algerian nationalists began efforts aimed at furthering equality by listing complaints in the Manifesto of the Algerian People, which requested equal representation under the state and access to citizenship, but no equality for all citizens to preserve Islamic precepts. The French response was to grant citizenship to 60,000 "meritorious" Muslims.[12] During a reform effort in 1947, the French created a bicameral legislature with one house for the French citizens and another for the Muslims but made a European's vote equal seven times a Muslim's vote.[19] Paramilitary groups such as the Front de Libération nationale (FLN) appeared, claiming an Arabo-Islamic brotherhood and state.[21] This led to the outbreak of a war for independence, the Algerian War, in 1954.

From first armed operations of November 1954, 'Pieds-Noirs' civilians have always been targets for FLN, either by assassination, bombing bars and cinemas and mass massacres, torture and rapes in farms.[24] At the onset of the war, the Pieds-noirs believed the French military would be able to overcome opposition. In May 1958 Pieds-Noirs demonstration for French Algeria, including many Muslims, occupied an Algerian government building. General Massu controlled the riot by forming a Committee of Public Safety demanding that his acquaintance Charles de Gaulle to be named president of the French Fourth Republic, to prevent the "abandonment of Algeria". This eventually led to the fall of the Republic.[18] In response, the French Parliament voted 329 to 224 to place de Gaulle in power.[18] Once de Gaulle assumed leadership, he attempted peace by visiting Algeria within three days of his appointment claiming "French Algeria!" but in September 1959 he planned a referendum for Algerian self-determination that passed overwhelmingly.[18] Many French political and military leaders in Algeria viewed this as betrayal and formed the Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS) that had much support among 'Pieds-Noirs'. This paramilitary group began attacking officials representing de Gaulle's authority, Muslims, and de Gaulle himself.[18] The OAS was also accused of murders and bombings nullifying reconciliation opportunities between the communities,[25] while 'Pieds-Noirs' themselves never believed such reconciliation possible as their community was targeted from the start.[24]

The opposition culminated in 1961 during the Algiers putsch of 1961, led by retired generals. After this failure, on 18 March 1962, de Gaulle and the FLN signed a cease-fire agreement, the Évian accords, and held a referendum. In July, Algerians voted 5,975,581 to 16,534 to become independent from France.[19] This was an occasion for a massacre of 'Pieds-Noirs' in Oran by a suburban Muslim population. European people were shot, molested and brought to Petit-Lac slaughterhouse where they were tortured and executed.[26]

Exodus: The exodus began once it became clear that Algeria would become independent.[7] In Algiers, it was reported that by May 1961 the Pieds-Noirs' morale had sunk because of violence and allegations that the entire community of French nationals had been responsible for "terrorism, torture, colonial racism, and ongoing violence in general" and because the group felt "rejected by the nation as Pieds-Noirs ".[7] These factors, the Oran Massacre, and the referendum for independence caused the Pied-Noir exodus to begin in earnest.[2][5][7]

The number of Pied-Noirs who fled Algeria totaled more than 800,000 between 1962 and 1964.[25] Hurried, many Pieds-Noirs left only with what they could carry in a suitcase.[5][25] Adding to the confusion, the de Gaulle government ordered the French Navy not to help with transportation of French citizens.[19] By September 1962, cities such as Oran, Bône, and Sidi-Bel-Abbès were half-empty. All administration, police, schools, justice, and commercial activities stopped within three months after many were told to choose either "la valise ou le cercueil" (the suitcase or the coffin).[21] 200,000 Pieds-Noirs chose to remain, but they gradually left through the following decade; by the 1980s only a few thousand Pieds-Noirs remained in Algeria.[6][18]

Flight to mainland France: The French government claimed that it had not anticipated that such a massive number would leave; it believed that perhaps 300,000 might choose to depart temporarily and that a large portion would return to Algeria.[7] The administration had set aside funds for absorption of those they called "repatriates" to partly reimburse them for property losses .[19] The administration avoided acknowledging the true numbers of refugees in order to avoid upsetting its Algeria policies.[19] Consequently, few plans were made for their return, and, psychologically at least, many of the Pieds-Noirs were alienated from both Algeria and France.[2][5]

Many Pieds-Noirs settled in continental France, while others migrated to New Caledonia, Italy, Spain, Australia, North America, Israel, and South America.[27] In France, many relocated to the south, which offered a climate similar to North Africa. The influx of new citizens bolstered the local economies; however, the newcomers also competed for jobs, which caused resentment.[5][19] In some ways, the Pieds-Noirs were able to integrate well into the French community, relative to their Muslim counterparts.[28] Their resettlement was made easier by the economic boom of the 1960s. However, the ease of assimilation depended on socioeconomic class. Integration was easier for the upper classes, many of whom found the transformation less stressful than the lower classes, who had no other capital than all they left in Algeria. Many were surprised that they were often treated as an "underclass or outsider-group" with difficulties to get advancement in their careers. Also, many Pieds-Noirs contended that the money allocated by the government to assist in relocation and reimbursement was insufficient regarding their loss.[5][19]

Thus, the repatriated Pieds-Noirs frequently felt "disaffected" from French society. They also suffered from a sense of alienation stemming from the French government's changed position towards Algeria. Until independence, Algeria was legally a part of France; after independence many felt that they had been betrayed and were now portrayed as an "embarrassment" to their country or to blame for the war.[5][29] At times, the repatriates were stigmatized by assumptions that they had all been grands colons and were to blame for their misfortune. Conversely, the Pieds-Noirs felt unable to return to their birthplace, Algeria, because of the independence movement's violence.[2][5][30]

The Song of the Africans

The Pied-Noir community has adopted an unofficial anthem as a symbol of its identity, Captain Félix Boyer's 1943 version of Le Chant des Africains (lit. "The Song of the Africans").[31] This is a 1915 Infanterie de Marine march song, originally titled C'est nous les Marocains (lit. "We are the Moroccans") and dedicated to the French Army Colonel Van Hecke, commander of the WWI cavalry 7e régiment de chasseurs d'Afrique ("7th African Light Infantry Regiment") which originated in the French North African Chantiers de la jeunesse française ("Youth Workshops") Boyer was in charge. It was adopted by General de Lattre's First Army (a.k.a. Armée d'Afrique, lit. "Africa army") who used it during World War II's European liberation campaigns. This song was later used by the Pied-Noir to demonstrate their allegiance to France. (listen to the Chant des Africains)

This official military song was banned at the end of the Algerian War in 1962 until August 1969, when French Minister of Veterans Affairs (Ministre des Anciens Combattants) under Georges Pompidou, Henri Duvillard, removed the prohibition.[32]


  • 1. Ibn Hammad (d. 1230) in Akhbar al-Muluk Bani Ubayd (ed. Paris, 1927, p. 57) mentions that Ismail al-Mansur in 948 after his victory over Abu Yazid was met at Kairwan by the notables mounted on fine horses and carrying drums and green flags.
  • 2. Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems research 12 (2): 219–229. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  • 3. In his “Mutanabbi devant le siècle ismaëlien de l’Islam”, in Mém. de l’Inst. Français de Damas, 1935, p.
  • 4. Wintle, Justin (May 2003). History of Islam. London: Rough Guides Ltd. pp. 136–7. ISBN 1-84353-018-X.
  • 5. Goldschmidt, Arthur (2002). A concise history of the Middle East. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. pp. 82. ISBN 0-8133-3885-9.
  • 6. a b c d e Goldschmidt 84-86
  • 7. The Fatimids and their traditions of learning (1997) Heinz Helm
  • 8. Beeson, Irene (September/October 1969). "Cairo, a Millennial". Saudi Aramco World: 24, 26–30. Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  • 9. Shorter Shi'ite Encyclopaedia, By: Hasan al-Amin, http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=574
  • 10. Shorter Shi'ite Encyclopaedia, By: Hasan al-Amin, http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=574
  • 11. Shorter Shi'ite Encyclopaedia, By: Hasan al-Amin, http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=574
  • 12. http://www.oldroads.org/pastblogs/pastsingles2007/Cairo_of_the_mind.htm
  • 13. Cambridge history of Egypt vol 1 page 154
  • 14. Cambridge history of Egypt Vol 1 page 155
  • 15. Shorter Shi'ite Encyclopaedia, By: Hasan al-Amin, http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=574
  • 16. Cambridge history of Egypt vol 1 page 155
  • 17. Amin Maalouf (1984). The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Al Saqi Books. pp. 160–170. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4.
  • 18. http://durrenajaf.com/Articles/Ahl%20al%20Bait/Brief%20History%20of%20Transfer%20of%20th

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  • 3. []
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    This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fatimid Caliphate" and "Pied-Noir", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.