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UCSB LIBRARY



ALGERIA
TO-DAY






WORKS BY THE
SAME AUTHOR



TRAVEL

The Land of the Boxers; or

China under the Allies
Life in an Indian OutposT:



FICTION
The Elephant God
The Jungle Girl
The Red Marshal
Daughters of Eve

MILITARY

Jungle and River Warfare
The Training of the Volunteers

for War

Tadtics for Beginners
Company Training
Trench Warfare



ALGERIA TO-DAY



BY

LiEUT.-CoL. GORDON CASSERLY, F.R.G.S.

Societe de Geographic d'Alger et de VAfrique du Nord



ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC SER VICE, GO VERNMENT OF ALGERIA,

AND THE AUTHOR



LONDON
T. WERNER LAURIE, LTD.

30 NEW BRIDGE STREET, E.C-4



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN
TUB NORTHUMBERLAND PRESS LIMITED, THORNTON STREET, NKWCAS TI.H-ON-TYNB



TO

BASIL CAVE, C.B.'

M.B.M. Ctttsul-General in Algeria

AND TO

MRS CAVE

IN TOKEN OF ADMIRATION OF

THE GOOD WORK THAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR

THE EMPIRE
BY THEIR EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN

THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN
THE FRENCH AND THE BRITISH PEOPLES.



PREFACE

THROUGH the dark centuries of Moslem domination
the Barbary States were a menace to the world, as
well as a curse to themselves. The countries that
under the Romans had held great cities, supported
teeming populations, fed with their surplus the
hungry millions of Europe, became a wilderness
again.

To France was it granted to restore them
to civilisation. And well has she performed her
task. In Algeria, in Tunisia, she has accomplished
marvels ; and what she has achieved there she is doing
to-day in Morocco. Old Rome never sent more
splendid Proconsul to Africa than the great French
soldier who is redeeming the Moorish Empire. In
ten brief years Marechal Lyautey has given peace,
security and justice to a land that in all her history

had never known them.

vii



viii PREFACE

All honour to the country he serves ! In her
far-stretching North African Empire her devoted
sons have built a monument more enduring than
brass. And on it is graven

To THE ETERNAL GLORY OF FRANCE.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

OLD ALGIERS

PAGE

The Atlas Mountains from the sea Hills and plain
Algiers An African Marseilles The new city
The old Pirate Town The watch seaward
Arabian Nights' streets Departed grandeur
Veiled beauties The Market A native coffee-
house Moslem musicians The Streets of the
Trades A Mosque The Daughters of Joy A
dancing girl The Thieves' Bazaar The Cemetery
of El Kettar A child's burial The Kasbah The
Hill of Soap The failure of Charles V. El Biar
Cathedral and Winter Palace The Palace of the
Dey's Daughters . . . . -9

CHAPTER II

THE NEW ALGIERS

The Place du Gouvernement The meeting of East and
West The New Mosque The Great Mosque
The Inner Port A Spanish relic Sea pictures
Convicts The modern city Square de la Re-
publique The Opera House A poet slave A
prophecy The Palace of the Janissaries The
pageant of Algerian life The Boulevard Laferriere
The Societe de Geographic Mustapha Superieur
The Colonne Voirol The Summer Palace The
Bardo The Sahel Hills Jardin d'Essai . . 27

CHAPTER III

THE PEOPLE OF ALGIERS AND THEIR WAYS

The population under the pirates The native in-
habitants Their mixed origin Their dress

ix A



CONTENTS

PAGE

Women's costumes The Jews A Moslem gentle-
man's house Negro soldiers The Mozabites
The legal position of Moslems in Algeria The
proportion of natives to Europeans How Algeria
is governed The European element Modern
buildings The flat roofs of Algiers Life in
Algiers Social customs Gaieties The Carnival
Commercial Algiers Its export trade Language
and education Algiers as a winter resort The
climate of Algeria What Algeria offers . . 43



CHAPTER IV

THE STORY OF NORTH AFRICA

Prehistoric Africa The Legend of Hercules Its
meaning The Iberian invaders Their character-
istics and their descendants The Phoenicians The
Carthaginians The Romans The prosperity of
Barbary under Roman rule Its exports Hatred
of Rome The Vandals The Byzantine Empire
Christianity in Africa The coming of the Arabs
Okba-ben-Mafa The Moorish conquest of
Spain The second Arab invasion of Africa The
splendour of the Caliphs and Kings The rise of
the Barbary pirates The Spaniards in Barbary
The legendary founding of Algiers The early
history of Algiers Its naming The Barbarossas
The suzerainty of Turkey The Regency of Algiers
Its organisation, government and armed forces
The pirates At war with the world Christendom
under tribute Failure of attempts to destroy
Algiers Dey Hassan A fatal blow How France
avenged an insult The taking of Algiers The fall
of Constantine and Oran Abd-el-Kader The con-
quest of North West Africa . . . .61



CHAPTER V

ALGERIAN PICTURES

A splendid canvas An old-time picture Algiers under
the pirates Galley-slaves Christian captives



CONTENTS xi

PAGE

Janissaries and sea rovers at variance The Slave
Market True Christianity The fall of Algiers
The last of the tyrants A President of the Republic
A picture full of colour Veiled desert-riders
Street Arabs A desert vendetta A gallant
Frenchman The convict ship . . -79

CHAPTER VI

FROM ROSE TOWN AND THE STREAM OF THE MONKEYS TO
THE KSAR OF BOGHARI

A trip into the interior A morning scene in Algiers
The Square de la Republique The diligence to
Blida Its passengers Over the Sahel Hills The
Mitidja Plain The contrast of East and West
Wayside villages Vineyards and cornfields A
fruitful land Birkadem, Birmandreis and Boufarik
A memento of the brave Blida Its holy founder
The pirates 'Capua The Little Rose The punish-
ment of its sins The quarter of the Painted Ladies
Respectable Blida The Government Stud Farm
Ahmed-el-Kebir Oranges The Atlas Moun-
tains The Djurdjuras Winter sports Les
Glacieres The Gorges of the Chiffa The Beni-
Salah The Stream of the Monkeys Friendly
apes By rail to Boghari, Medea and Berouaghia
Boghar, the " Balcony of the South " The lure of
the Ksar of Boghari The daughters of the Ouled-
Nail The desert men's beacon . . -99

CHAPTER VII

KABYLIA AND THE KABYLES

The home of the Berbers The Kabyles Their
characteristics and their country Their customs
Their virtues and their failings Their women
Berber independence Their numbers A journey
into Kabylia The way to Tizi Ouzou The
countryside The Djurdjura Mountains Tizi
Ouzou, capital of Kabylia A Kabyle village
Kabyle women and children The men School-
boys A Saturday fair The road through Kabylia
Fort National African snow 120



xii CONTENTS

CHAPTER VIII

SOME ALGERIAN CITIES

PAGE

Constantine The city on a rock Its many sieges The
Gorge of the Rummel The bridges The approach
to Constantine A City of Contrasts Little
witches Chemin des Touristes A fearsome
gorge In the abyss Roman baths Dark caverns
Towards Tunis A cork-oak forest Hammam
Meskoutine The Accursed Baths The legend
Roman ruins St Augustine's birthplace Roads
and the flag Oran Algerian railways A flourish-
ing city The Spanish connection France's
colonising policy Sidi Bel Abbes The Foreign
Legion A fertile country Tlemgen Algeria's
treasure house Departed glories The City of
Victory Mansoura and Abou Yakoub Koulouglis
The citadel Sidi Bou Medine A sweetmeat-
maker saint The road to Morocco A contrast
The triumph of French administration What
France has achieved in Morocco . . .136

CHAPTER IX

FROM THE SEA TO THE SAHARA

The three zones of Algeria The Tell, the Tablelands
and the Sahara The climates of Algeria The
rainfall The flora The iron road to the desert
The railway to Biskra Among the mountains
The Iron Gates The Hauts Plateaux Bordj-bou-
Arreridj Setif El-Guerrah A night's halt
Batna, Lambessa and Timgad Ruined Roman
cities Roman penetration into Africa Snow on
the tablelands Ain Touta Mac Mahon The last
Arab revolt The Aures Mountains El Kantara
The Gateway of the Desert The first vision of the
Sahara The Senegalese barracks A dry river
Desert soil Oases Biskra, New and Old The
Streets of the Ouled Nails A desert fairyland
The Villa de Benevent In Old Biskra Hot
springs in the Sahara La Fontaine Chaude Sidi
Okba The Zab The Ben Gana Caid Ali-ben-
Gana . . . . . . .11



CONTENTS xiii



FROM BISKRA TO TOUGOURT

PAGE

The desert train Varied passengers The surprises of
the Sahara Water in the desert Appropriate
railway stations Mirage The salt lakes Chott El
Melghir Desert storms Saharan ice The useful
palm Dates France developing the desert
Tougourt The City of the Sands The market-
place A deep well The Caid of Tougourt
History and legend The end of a Saharan day . 170



CHAPTER XI

SHEIKHS, SAINTS AND SECRET SOCIETIES

The Governor-General in the Sahara His guests The
aeroplanes of Beni Mora Rain from Heaven
Oumache A desert wedding party Tolga Desert
warriors Arab chiefs Goums France's sway
over the Sahara In the town The Grand Mara-
bout A young Ben Gana Fantasia Moslem
democracy and aristocracy The Zmala Sheurfa
The military nobility A Caid at home The
hospitality of the Caid of L'Arba A link with
Napoleon III. The harem Spiritual leaders No
Moslem clergy Religious confraternities The
House of Islam and the House of War The
Sennoussi Their founder The Aissaoua The
Tidjania Anti-Christian societies . . . 186



CHAPTER XII

THE SAHARA

The Fable of the Sahara Varied character and climate
of the desert Its flora and fauna Water under-
ground The making of a desert A thousand kilo-
metres into the Sahara The Souf The lakes of
Tougourt Temassine Ouargla The Azdjer
Hills The Ahaggar Mountains The Air
Iferouane Cultivation in the Air Fashions
Agadez The Damergou The Niger River



xiv CONTENTS

PAGE

French exploration and conquest Saharan Arabs,
sedentary and nomad The region of Touat The
customs and commerce of the Touatians Bedouins
Their character, ways, food, manners and religion
Arab superstitions Surprising discoveries M.
de la Ronciere The Citroen cars The Sahara con-
quered at last ...... 208



THE TOUAREG

A mysterious race Early explorers Earth Duveyrier

Flatters Marquis de Mores Foureau The
numerical strength of the Touareg The combat of
Tit The name of the Touareg The Azdjer and
the Ahaggar Origin Customs Noble tribes and
imrad The amr'ar Tobol The amenokal The
pursuits of the Touareg Their weapons Their
customs Inheritance Freedom of women
Musical evenings Convenient beliefs The
difficulties of marriage A proposal The wedding

Divorce Death and burial Superstitions
Vampires and sorcerers Djinns Religion Fe-
male education Dress Veiled men Touareg
chieftains at Algiers ..... 228



CHAPTER XIV

ALGERIA TO-MORROW

Algeria's prosperity dependent on European control
France's success in Algeria Danger to European
predominance Captain Peyronnet's opinion In-
creasing disproportion between the races How to
preserve white supremacy How to develop
European colonisation North Africa's population
in a hundred years M. Saurin's plan M. Lutaud's
opinion Algeria must remain French Example of
Morocco Algeria's need Her future What she
has done for France . . 248



ILLUSTRATIONS

Algiers from the Air .... Frontispiece

To/actpaft

A Street in Old Algiers . . . .12

In the Market ...... 14

Outside a Native Cafe ..... 14

A Dancing Girl . . . . .20

The Street of the Tailors . . . .26

In the Palace of the Daughters of the Dey . . 26

The Admiral's House . . . . .30

Boulevard de la Republique, Algiers . . -34

Place du Gouvernement . . . .38

The General Post Office and a Newspaper Office . 38
Women of Algiers . . . . .44

Shoppers ...... 48

The Summer Palace, Mustapha Superieur . . 94

The Gorge of the Chiffa . . . .112

Ouled Nail Dancers . . . . .118

Kabyle Boys, Tizi Ouzou .... 132

African Snow Fort National in Winter . . 134

Constantine and the Gorge of the Rummel . .138

Oran ....... 144

XV



xvl ILLUSTRATIONS

To face page

The Gorge of El Kantara and the Aures Mountains

from the Sahara . . . . .162

A Village of Old Biskra . . . .162

In the Biskra Oasis ..... 168

Cai'd Ali-ben-Gana . . . . .168

Tougourt from the Air . . . .180

The Palms of Tougourt . . . .180

Tribal Chiefs in Tolga . . . . .190

In Tolga ...... 190

The Grand Marabout of Tolga . . .194

Hamma-ben-Gana . . . . .194

A Goumier ...... 198

Men of the Camel Corps in the Sahara . . 246

Map of the Sahara . . . Front end paper



ALGERIA TO-DAY

CHAPTER I

OLD ALGIERS

THE vessel nears the North African coast. Out
of the blue depths of the Mediterranean rise the
rugged crests of the Atlas Mountains, seeming to
support the heavens on their snow-clad shoulders.
Below the white peaks the clouds gather and leave
the sky clear and blue, almost as blue as the waters
in the long sweeping curve of the crescent bay below,
here fringed with yellow sand, there edged with black
cliffs and glistening rocks, and everywhere backed by
the steep green slopes of a chain of low hills. Hills
climbing abruptly from the water's edge and crowned
with dark pinewoods or white villas in verdant gardens
flaming with the reds of roses and poinsettia and
bougainvillea. Between the hills and the snow-
topped mountains lies a narrow, fertile plain, the
Mitidja, now in spring-time blazing with the varied
hues of wild flowers, the yellow of oranges, the green
of cornfield and vineyard.

And set in the curxe of the lovely bay, in the

9



10 ALGERIA TO-DAY

emerald crescent of low hills, the white houses of
Algiers climb on each other's shoulders up the steep"
slopes to stare out seaward as in the past centuries
when every sail winging its way towards them came
to fill them to the eaves with wealth or to batter them
down with fire and iron.

Algiers El Djezair, " The Islands," the old
Arabs called it from the rocky islets before it its
story running in legend and history from Hercules
and his Quest of the Golden Apples through the long-
forgotten chronicles of Numidian, Roman, Vandal,
Byzantine, Arab and Turk to the last of the Bourbon
kings, Napoleon the Little and the French Republic
to-day. Less than a century ago the headquarters of
the cruellest pirates that the world has known and
now a bright and beautiful city of modern France.
With its mixed population of over two hundred
thousand the capital, no longer of a colony, but of a
Department of France; for such Algeria is with its
representatives in the Senate and the Chambre des
Deputes in Paris. An up-to-date city. To the eye
a second Marseilles with its walled harbour where beside
the quays lie great steamers being loaded with the
produce of a bountiful land in cask and case piled high
on the wharves.

From the decks of the ships it looks just a modern-
built town ; for all along the high, cliff -like wall above
the harbour and stretching north and south on either
hand over the sea it is a city of long blocks of six-
storied stone or stucco houses in European mould, of
shady squares where palm-trees wave above electric
trams, of theatres, hotels, restaurants and cafes. Of



OLD ALGIERS 11

shops that would not disgrace Paris. Of crowded
streets where automobile and motor-lorry dispute the
right of way with tram and five-horsed wagon loaded
with wine casks.

But raise your eyes beyond the level new city over
the harbour. Look up where the close-clustering
white houses of the native quarter, the old Pirate Town,
climb one above the other up the steep hillside as
though striving to gaze over their neighbours' heads
out to sea. For here dwelt the piratical people that
lived by bloody crime on the face of the waters. Every
being in it, man, woman and child, Moorish pasha or
Christian slave, had a personal interest in watching
each sail that lifted above the distant horizon. It
might be an Algerian rover loaded with plunder and
chained captives. It might be the herald of a Prankish
fleet coming to batter down the pirate stronghold and
set the wretched slaves free. The flat roof of every
house, then, must show its occupants the coming ship
that might be friend or foe, might bear the master of
the household back enriched with spoils to deck his
wives with further jewels or else bring the news of his
death in battle, news that would scatter those wives to
other harems or, if youth and beauty had deserted them,
to the slave-market or the beggars' corner. Upward
and still upward, house topping house, until comes the
dwelling of the biggest pirate of all the scoundrelly
crew, the Kasbah, once the palace-fortress of the Dey,
the tyrant of Algiers, who claimed his share of the
booty that each murderous seafarer brought home,
whether it were plunder from sacked towns on European
shores or weeping women from Italy, France or Spain.



12 ALGERIA TO-DAY

To outward appearance this Moorish quarter has
changed but little since those pirate days. Streets,
alleys rather, traverse it, steep and narrow so steep
that frequently they must become staircases to climb
the hillside. So narrow that three men cannot walk
abreast, and the pedestrian must flatten himself against
a wall to let a tiny, loaded donkey go by. Their very
names are fascinating Rues du Chameau, de la
Girafe, des Abencerrages, de Tombouctou, des Sarra-
sins. Has not Rue Lalahoum or Rue des Abderrames
the Arabian Nights' touch? Has not Rue de Nuit a
mysterious, and Rue des Dattes an exotic, sound ? The
houses hemming them in thrust out their upper stories
supported on inclined wooden struts 1 until they are not
a yard apart and often are built completely across, so
that the narrow lane must pass under them in a dark
tunnel. The few windows, small square openings,
are barred with gratings bent outward; and here and
there from them a pretty, painted face looks out and
smiles invitingly on the wayfarer.

But usually the houses present a blank front to the
outer world, blank, that is', but for an arched, carved
door with a small, twisted column on either side and a
stone crescent above it. One of these doors open and
three tiny children toddle out laughing, one a boy in
a red fez and a small shirt, the others little girls with
flowered blouses, coloured skirts, and gaudy handker-
chiefs twisted around their heads. The open door gives
a glimpse of a wee, tiled hall with a dwarf staircase twist-
ing up out of sight. Farther down another door stands
invitingly open. Pass through it out of the dim alley
and you are in another world. A bright courtyard open




Photo. Service, Government of Algeria.
A STREET IN OLD ALGIERS.



OLD ALGIERS 13

to the blue sky above, two, three tiers of galleries with
gaily-tiled parapet walls supported on carved stone or
marble pillars, a vine swinging across the void, flowers
in pots or a bougainvillea dashing a note of glowing
colour into the court on which, as in the days of yore,
veiled women look down and call shrilly to the unveiled
serving-maids seated on the paving-stones below
cleaning great brass water-jars of old and graceful
design.

But the glory has departed ; pasha and pirate have
had their day, and their mansions, too often, have fallen
from their high estate. Instead of one rich man
peopling the chambers that open on to the tiled galleries
with his harem of silken-clad wives of many races and
rilling the dark cellars and noisome dungeons below
with wretched slaves, a dozen or more poor families,
Arabs, Jews, Maltese, Spaniards, crowd into the
one-time pasha's palace. Too often the beautiful
courtyards are turned to utilitarian purposes ; and a
carpenter's bench or a grocer's counter replaces the
marble fountain that once filled the air with the tinkle
of falling water.

Out again into the dark lanes and vaulted tunnels.
Stand aside and let this porter pass. Bent double he
lurches heavily up the steep ascent, a band around his
forehead helping to support the weight of the immense
package on his back. With his red cap twisted about
with a dirty kerchief, his torn shirt and baggy trousers,
his bare feet thrust into heel-less slippers, he resembles

and is alike to him in feature as in faith a hamal,
or porter, of Constantinople toiling up the equally

steep streets of Stamboul.



14 ALGERIA TO-DAY

Out of a dim alley come two white-robed female
figures, veiled to the dark eyes that, lustrous and beau-
tiful, shine under the black eyebrows and fair foreheads.
Massive silver and gold necklaces hang on their bosoms,
their henna-tipped fingers are loaded with rings, broad
silver bracelets adorn their wrists and heavy anklets
surround the silk-stockinged legs thrust into dainty
slippers. Unlike the women of other Mahommedan
countries they do not avoid the gaze of the unbeliever ;
rather do they seek it challengingly. For many of the
veiled beauties of Algiers are not averse to an affair
with a European ; for they know that he is more chival-
rous in his love than are their countrymen. With a
lingering backward glance these two enter slowly a
carved marble portal leading into a hall walled and
floored with flower-designed porcelain tiles. Inscrip-
tions in French and Arabic tell that this is the entrance
to Moorish Baths, open to men until noon, to women in
the afternoon. And the fair ones flock to it; for it is
their lounge, their club, their glimpse of social life out-
side the harem, their Gossip Exchange. It and the
Mahommedan cemeteries on Fridays, when only
women may visit them.

The narrow alley dives into another tunnelled
passage under the houses and emerges on a wider
space, a market. Here spread out on the ground or on
rough stalls are meat, fruit, vegetables, bread. Arab
and negro dealers shout out their wares and their prices
in Arabic and in French, while tall men in white burn-
ouses, shrouded Moorish women and dark-haired,
bare-headed Maltese girls chaffer and bargain with
them excitedly. Buyer and seller shake their hands




IN THE MARKET.



Photo, by the Author.




OUTSIDE A NATIVE CAFE.



Photo, by the Author.



OLD ALGIERS 15

in each other's faces, scream with rage, call on Allah
or the God of the Christians to bear witness, then quieten
down and conclude the deal peaceably.

At the corner of the market-place is an Arab coffee-
house a Caf& Maure. Outside, squatting on the
pavement or seated on benches against the wall, are
Arabs, Kabyles, men of all classes and ages, merchants,
small shopkeepers, clerks, labourers, conversing volubly,
playing cards, dominoes, draughts, or merely sitting.
Sitting idly, vacantly, unconscious of those around
them. No man on earth, Neapolitan lazzarone, Hindu
ascetic, Buddhist lama seeking Nirvana, is capable of
such utter detachment from the world as the ordinary
Arab.

A few of those gathered in front of the cafe* hold
tiny cups of coffee in their hands, taste it, drink it
slowly, savouring every precious drop of the penny-
worth of fragrant dark fluid. Inside, at the tiled,
waist-high fireplace the cook is dipping a long-handled
small measure into the steaming copper pot placed on
a handful of red embers and filling the cups for the
bare-armed attendant to take to customers seated on
benches or huddled on mats in the interior of the estab-
lishment. The walls are scrawled with crude drawings
of mosques, palm-trees, tigers and elephants these
last by an artist who had evidently never seen either
animal or adorned with chromos of French Presidents
and European royalties, even German, indifferently.

A grey-haired, wild-looking old man in ragged
garments, hung round with the skins of small animals,
strumming a one-stringed guitar made from the shell
of a tortoise and slung round his neck, enters the cafe*.



16 ALGERIA TO-DAY

Half shambling, half dancing, he wanders among its
clients, holding out a hand for money. As he moves
he sings in a high-pitched, nasal voice ; and the contrast
between the old Eastern love-song and its singer
is striking. In better-class establishments situated
nearer the French quarter and patronised by well-to-do
Arabs you will often find quite a superior orchestra.
Three or four respectable-looking, black-coated, white-
collared gentlemen in red fezzes or, as this headgear
is termed in Algeria, checchias, pronounced " shess-
hias " play strange instruments a big guitar, a big
drum called a teboul, a long one, the derbrouka, like
an Indian tom-tom, a ghdita or sort of flageolet shaped
like a doctor's stethoscope, and perhaps a tambourine,
the tar while they sing in nasal tones. And the
expensively-burnoused or frock-coated clients, most of
them probably educated at French lycees, listen in


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