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French colonial empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

French colonial empire
Empire colonial français
1534–1980[1][2]
Status Colonial empire
Capital Paris
Bourbon
Bonaparte
History  
• Cartier claimed Gaspé Bay
1534
1803
1830–1852
1946
1958
• Independence of Vanuatu
1980[1][2]
Area 
1670 (first colonial empire peak)[3] 3,400,000 km2 (1,300,000 sq mi)
1920 (second colonial empire peak)[4] 11,500,000 km2 (4,400,000 sq mi)
Currency Franc and various other currencies
ISO 3166 code FR
Succeeded by
Overseas France

The French colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward. A distinction is generally made[by whom?] between the "first colonial empire," that existed until 1814, by which time most of it had been lost, and the "second colonial empire", which began with the conquest of Algiers in 1830. The second colonial empire came to an end after the loss in later wars of Vietnam (1954) and Algeria (1962), and relatively peaceful decolonizations elsewhere after 1960.

Competing with Spain, Portugal, the Dutch United Provinces and later England, France began to establish colonies in North America, the Caribbean and India in the 17th century. A series of wars with Great Britain and other European major powers during the 18th century and early 19th century resulted in France losing nearly all of its conquests. France rebuilt a new empire mostly after 1850, concentrating chiefly in Africa as well as Indochina and the South Pacific. Republicans, at first hostile to empire, only became supportive when Germany started to build their own colonial empire. As it developed, the new empire took on roles of trade with France, especially supplying raw materials and purchasing manufactured items as well as lending prestige to the motherland and spreading French civilization and language and the Catholic religion. It also provided manpower in the World Wars.[5]

It became a moral mission to lift the world up to French standards by bringing Christianity and French culture. In 1884, the leading proponent of colonialism, Jules Ferry, declared; "The higher races have a right over the lower races, they have a duty to civilize the inferior races." Full citizenship rights – assimilation – were offered, although in reality "assimilation was always receding [and] the colonial populations treated like subjects not citizens."[6] France sent small numbers of settlers to its empire, contrary to Great Britain and previously Spain and Portugal, with the only notable exception of Algeria, where the French settlers nonetheless always remained a small minority.

At its apex, it was one of the largest empires in history. Including metropolitan France, the total amount of land under French sovereignty reached 11,500,000 km2 (4,400,000 sq mi) in 1920, with a population of 110 million people in 1939. In World War II, Charles de Gaulle and the Free French used the overseas colonies as bases from which they fought to liberate France. Historian Tony Chafer argues: "In an effort to restore its world-power status after the humiliation of defeat and occupation, France was eager to maintain its overseas empire at the end of the Second World War."[7] However, after 1945 anti-colonial movements began to challenge European authority. The French constitution of 27 October 1946 (Fourth Republic), established the French Union which endured until 1958. Newer remnants of the colonial empire were integrated into France as overseas departments and territories within the French Republic. These now total altogether 119,394 km² (46,098 sq. miles), which amounts to only 1% of the pre-1939 French colonial empire's area, with 2.7 million people living in them in 2013. By the 1970s, says Robert Aldrich, the last "vestiges of empire held little interest for the French." He argues, "Except for the traumatic decolonization of Algeria, however, what is remarkable is how few long-lasting effects on France the giving up of empire entailed."[8]

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  • 12. French Imperialism (Guest Lecture by Charles Keith)
  • French Overseas Regions and Territories Explained
  • French colonial empire
  • 10 Most Evil Empires in History
  • French Colonies in Africa

Transcription

Charles Keith: Thanks. As Professor Merriman said, I'm going to talk today about the French Empire from 1871, the year that the course begins, to 1914, which is the beginning of World War I, of course; which is something that you'll talk about, if I'm not mistaken, in the lecture right after this one. So, I'm going to start the lecture with a passage from a French novel called Le Maître de la Mer, The Master of the Sea. It was written by Vicomte Melchior de Vogüé published in 1900; so, right in the middle of the period we're talking about. The novel is about an Army officer who is so upset by the defeat at the hands of Prussia and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine that he leaves France to go serve in a regiment in the Sudan, in the heart of West Africa. At one point during the novel the young officer returns to France and he meets an older general from his father's generation. So, during their conversation the older general expresses some anger that the young officer seemed to be more concerned with adventuring, in his words, than with recovering the lands where his father's generation had fallen. The young officer replied to him, this is a quote, "are we to blame if the world around us has changed and grown all out of recognition? Diplomacy used to be concerned with the Mediterranean and the Bosphorus; now it has to do with China and the Congo. The great states of Europe are dividing up the other continents of Africa and Asia in the way they used to divide up countries like Italy and Poland. What used to be a European balance of power is now a world balance of power, and any country which does not wish to become less important must obtain as much new territory as our rivals are doing. It is through colonies," concluded the young officer, "that we shall one day achieve your life's ambition"--the ambition of the older general. "I give you my word of honor," he said, "that you are mistaken in thinking that this ambition has died in our hearts." During the period I'm talking about today the French Empire quite literally exploded. An empire that in 1871 had been little more than parts of Algeria and a military presence in parts of North Africa, Southeast Asia, and a few small spits of land in the Pacific and the Caribbean exploded to include large swaths of North Africa and West Africa, most of mainland Southeast Asia, parts of the Middle East, and territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean as well. By the end of World War I the French Empire spanned eleven million kilometers and one hundred million inhabitants. So, just to put it in the context of France, that's twice as many people as lived in metropolitan France at that time, roughly. So, I chose the passage from the novel to begin this lecture because it captures what I think are the two central themes in this period in French colonial history. Both the young officer and the older general in the novel are serving in the French army because they are obsessed with recovering the national strength and prestige that France had lost in the devastating defeat to Prussia. Now, the older general thinks about this in terms of recovering Alsace-Lorraine, in terms of continental rivalries, but the young officer sees France's road to greatness in very different terms; he sees it overseas, outside of Europe. So, my first point is that in these decades after 1871 French nationalism became increasingly inseparable from the idea of a large and strong colonial empire. France had had colonies for a long time, but the fusion of a more modern and mass form of nationalism with colonialism was new in French history, to this period, and it was something that drove the explosion of the French Empire, that I just described, to its heights in the years just after World War I. The second point that I want to make about the novel is simply that it was a novel. It was one of many novels written about empire during this period. And novels were just one of the many forms of popular culture that began to reflect France's growing presence overseas. Indeed, during the late nineteenth century empire became something that more and more French people experienced directly, whether through popular culture or sometimes in much more active ways, serving in the army, or in the navy, or in colonial administrations, or even settling lands that had not been part of France when those people were born. So, what I would like you to take away from this lecture is that during the Third Republic empire became a central part of French national identity. Empire was something that all political platforms in France discussed and took positions on. It was part of the idea of French national greatness that citizens were beginning to learn in the schools of the Republic. It was in the national newspapers that more and more people were reading, and it even for some became a career and a way of life. So, in its many forms empire during this period became a common experience for French people, whether they were from Brittany, or from Burgundy, or from Provence or the Ardèche. In short, empire was a central part of making people French. Although it was in the decades after 1871 that France's colonial empire truly became a part of national identity, empire had a long past in French history. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries France had territories in the Caribbean and, of course, in North America. Although many of these were lost during the era of the French Revolution, one of the Revolution's most powerful legacies was the idea of a moral imperative to continue the revolution beyond France's borders; in other words, France had not only a right but a duty to bring French civilization to the rest of the world. Even as the revolution raged in France at the close of the eighteenth century, the Republic's armies had poured outward into Europe to bring the rights of men to the monarchies of the continent. This continued, of course, with Napoleon who extended the reach of the nation completely across Europe before its hands froze in the cold Russian plains. Napoleon also believed, and this is important, that France was destined to quote/unquote, "civilize those who were not only not French, but not European." Napoleon attempted to colonize Egypt just at the turn of the nineteenth century, and his attempt combined a messianic belief in science and progress, an absence of any real knowledge about non-Western world, and a predisposition for the idea that non-white races were inferior to whites, to Europeans. And this was a potent combination of nationalism with ideas about race and civilization that would drive French colonialism until its bitter end. This combination came to be known in French as the mission civilisatrice, the civilizing mission, the idea that a Greco-Roman heritage, Christianity, the legacy of the Enlightenment, modern science, capitalism, that all these things made France inherently superior and gave it a moral responsibility to export these legacies of its civilization to the less fortunate. So, although France had a long history of empire, at the birth of the Third Republic in 1871 the upheavals of many revolutions and the Paris Commune meant that the overseas empire had been fairly small for a long time, and that it was at that point pretty marginal in national politics and culture. In the years before the French defeat by Prussia the French government's control over territorial expansion was actually pretty limited. The main urge to expand came not from French politicians but often from soldiers and sailors in far off places who were often prompted by missionaries who urged intervention to save souls, or by businessmen who urged intervention to make a quick franc. Even the bulk of French expansion in Algeria after 1830 (Algeria was really France's major colony in the years--for most of the nineteenth century) even this was largely the work of generals who waved the flag and shot their rifles, often in direct opposition to the wishes of national governments in Paris. So, at times it really seemed like the French Empire was little more than a giant system of relief for the armed services. As one former colonial governor wrote, "what drove us to expand in far away places was above all the need to find something to occupy the army and the navy." But this began to change in important ways after 1871. In French politics after the end of the disastrous war with Prussia the overriding question for many was how France could regain its place as a national power, as a great power among Europe. The war with Prussia had shown that Germany was a nation on the move, and England's dominance in world affairs, especially its empire, was unquestioned. As you all know by now, politics in France during the 1870s and the 1880s were tumultuous, to say the least. As France hobbled from one affaire to the next critics attacked the Republic as a cesspool of intrigue and scandal. Periodic industrial downturns brought political challenges from left and right, as Boulangism and socialism both threatened to overthrow the Republic. France also suffered from the lowest birthrate among Western European nations. So, emasculated militarily, slumping economically, shrinking demographically, France appeared to many people to be in a state of inevitable decline. Staring at this specter of national stagnation and fading international relevance, many luminaries of the young Third Republic believed that the key to recovering France's greatness lay in the expansion of its colonial empire. Perhaps the most famous of these advocates of colonial expansion among the political elite was Jules Ferry, who was of course the famous advocate of the école républicaine and the battles over that in the 1870s and 1880s. Ferry's arguments for imperial expansion in many ways encapsulate French colonial ideology in the late nineteenth century. Ferry believed, in his words, quote, "that colonial policy was the daughter of industrial policy; enriched states where capital abounds and accumulates, where the manufacturing system is undergoing continual growth, export is an essential factor in public prosperity." In other words, colonies were essential to a strong national economy. And the rise of Germany and even the rise of the United States and Russia meant that France needed exclusive access to new markets and sources for raw materials that in the eyes of many people only colonies could provide. Closely tied to these economic imperatives of empire were strategic ones. Rivalries between nations in Europe, as they often had in the past, spilled out into the rest of the world, and a nation that wished to survive had to compete. Quote, this is Ferry again, "in today's Europe, in this competition of the many rivals whose power we see growing around us, a policy of abstention is very simply the road to decadence. In the times in which we live nations are only great in accordance with the activities which they develop. Exerting ourselves without action, regarding all expansion in Africa and the Orient as a trap or an adventure, to live in this way, believe me, is to abdicate our position and to tumble from the first to the third or the fourth rank of nations." Ferry also believed in what he called the humanitarian and civilizing side of the question. In his words, quote, "superior races have a right vis-à-vis inferior races," he wrote. "But they also have a duty," and this is echoing the language of the French revolution, almost directly, "they also have a duty to bring civilization, Western government, education, medicine and morals to other peoples." So, for men like Jules Ferry it was the greatness of the nation, of the French nation, that made the expansion of the French Empire not only necessary but legitimate. It was the colonial empire that would save France from losing ground to its rivals, and that would help elevate the cultures and the civilizations of the peoples that France colonized. So, in the 1880s politicians like Ferry brought France's colonial ambitions into national politics in ways never seen before. Indeed, just a few years after national political power swung decisively to the Republicans, in 1879, Ferry's government launched a campaign to try to jump-start France's stagnating presence in southeast Asia by taking over the northern half of what is now Vietnam; it was then called Tonkin, and the French had tried to take this on several occasions but had failed. On the pretext of defending persecuted Vietnamese Catholics and attacking pirates, the French sent several companies of soldiers north to attack the capital of Hanoi. The campaign was just a little too ambitious, and a French captain, a man named Rivière, ended up with his head on a pikestaff in the middle of the city. Yes, this happens places other than France, heads getting cut off. Ferry's aggressive colonial expansion was really very unpopular at first. Georges Clemenceau accused him of high treason and crowds outside shouted for Ferry's head on a pikestaff next to Rivière's. Nevertheless, Ferry's insertion of colonial affairs onto the national stage was a sign of the prominence that empire would come to play in national politics in the years to come. Just after Ferry's demise in national politics, French colonial activity began to expand at a rapid rate as the Third Republic raced to compete with the British, and the Germans, and the Dutch. By the 1890s debates over colonial policy had become a standard part of discussions in the Chamber of Deputies, and every government after Jules Ferry's presided over a steadily expanding colonial empire. This new prominence of colonial issues in French national politics was in many ways due to the activities of a growing and very influential colonial lobby in French society. So, in many ways it was this colonial lobby that was most responsible for imagining and spreading the idea that national greatness was closely tied to colonial expansion. What was this colonial lobby? I want to emphasize that it was not a single organization or formal movement, it really was more a large and very diverse group of individuals and associations who put forward the case for colonial expansion in many different ways. The colonial lobby was not organized by an executive committee; it had no organized sections and no clearly defined program or electoral platform. It was far beyond the vocal colonial advocates in the Chamber of Deputies. It included men like the informal group of explorers and geographers who met every week in Paris at the Petite Vache brasserie to share their fascination with exotic places, and to talk about how the government might be able to better promote and support these voyages of exploration. The colonial lobby included shipbuilders, and railway magnates, and factory owners, people who believed that the colonies were the way to--were the path to untold material wealth. It included missionaries who saw in the, quote/unquote, "heathen races" of Africa and Asia a potential source for converts to replace the French who were starting to skip church, and starting to use birth control in even greater numbers. It included writers and journalists for whom the colonies were little more than good copy. So, those who made up the colonial lobby weren't united at all by the same interests, but it was precisely this diversity of their interests that shows how compelling empire was becoming for so many different parts of French society. So, indeed during the 1880s and 1890s the assumption increasingly became that the French colonies served the nation, they served the nation as a whole, in ways that went further and further beyond economic and geo-strategic necessities. Many parts of French society increasingly came to see empire as a solution to national problems. In the words of the historian Gwendolyn Wright, the colonies were quote/unquote, "a laboratory of modernity;" they were places to further and protect the destiny of the nation, literally, quite literally through experiments in nation building. Before the Third Republic colonies had been seen--really, the social value of colonies was little more than seen as getting rid of people that the State considered to be undesirable. The French penal colony in New Caledonia was a good example of this, where over 4,000 of the communards had been sent in 1871. But toward the end of the century this began to change. Social reformers began to see the colonies as a potential home for landless peasants, for the unemployed, or even for orphans who had no home in France. In other words, colonies were places that could serve to solve the nation's problems and not merely lock them up and throw away the key. French engineers and social planners came to see the Empire as really a vast worksite where new forms of architecture and urban planning could be carried out, places where experiments could be carried out to help benefit France. Hubert Lyautey was a famous French military officer and future administrator in the colony of Morocco. He insisted that North Africa was for France, quote, "what the far west is for America, an excellent testing ground for creating new energy, rejuvenation, and fecundity." The French military likewise saw colonies as a training ground where the army and the navy could protect and expand France's overseas interests, and in doing so could learn to better defend the nation at home. So, as empire became a more important part of French national debates it also started to become an increasingly central part of popular culture and life in France. School children began reading about colonies in textbooks. One directive from the Ministry of Education read that, quote, "it must not be forgotten that France is a world power which possesses colonies in all parts of the earth. Let us not have any scruples about retaining for two years, just two years, the attention of French youth on France. Let us give them as rich an image as possible for their country, of the mother country and her distant daughters." French citizens, already out of school, began to learn about the empire in different ways. For example, the urban middle classes who visited the Museum of Man or the Museum of Natural History in Paris began to see collections of art, of clothing, and household objects, and other things collected in the French Empire by scientific societies that were brought back to Paris to be put on display. The colonies were put on display in even more spectacular fashion at international expositions which were held in Paris in 1878,1889, and 1900. The exposition of 1900, which quite literally took over the city of Paris, in that exposition colonies were for the first time given their own separate exposition grounds in the gardens behind the Trocadero Palace, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, and were, quote, "set apart enough by the river to permit the creation of an atmosphere different from the rest of the fair." Entire colonial buildings were transported to Paris and rebuilt. Colonial workmen were brought to France to execute the detail and decorative work on the buildings, and they remained there throughout the exhibition, posing as residents and merchants in the reconstructed villages and bazaars, from far away. Mosques, temples, archeological discoveries, dancers, music and food, all were brought to create a self-contained world that attempted to represent France's growing empire to the average French person. The empire was more than a periodic occasion for spectacle. Colonies slowly but surely crept into the most mundane forms of everyday life. Readers of French newspapers, for example, like the Petit Journal, read more and more about the French empire every day as it grew. For the most part, articles focused on military encounters and on the French who fought in them. African or Asian opponents merely filled the need in these stories for an evil or a savage enemy. They were a backdrop for main characters in a drama that unfolded every day, a story that more and more Frenchmen loved to follow. Other readers read novels that evoked the exotically different--the strange customs of natives, the bright colors and the pungent odors of overseas, and the lure of the desert or of the jungle. Pierre Loti, who was one of the most famous of these writers, wrote panoramas of colonial life that were packed with adventure, with danger, with sex and with local color, quote/unquote, "in which hardy Frenchmen lived the rough life, the sensual pleasures, and the fighting spirit of the Empire." Artists like Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse began painting Levantine harems and souks, African villages and jungles, temples in Indochina and native life throughout the Empire. Colonies were a rich source of subjects for the growing medium of photography. Photographers liked photographing the rice paddies in the Mekong River, Buddhist monks in saffron robes, mysterious Muslim women behind veils, and cannibals with spears. These images were reproduced in books, newspapers, postcards and other places. The French encountered empire in many other ways in their daily lives. Colonial influences began to be heard in music, for example. Café and dancehall goers heard songs like Ma belle tonkinoise, about a Frenchman's Vietnamese concubine. I can't resist, I'm going to read it: "N'entends tu pas a ta fenêtre celui qui t'aime, ton quartier-maître? Je reviens de Tonkin où j'ai fini, hereux de te revoir, ma jolie. J'ai quitté ma belle tonkinoise. C'est pour toi, ma charmante Françoise. Tu étais la plus belle de l'îsle, loin de toi je n'étais pas tranquil." "Don't you hear at your window, he who loves you, your quartermaster? I'm back from Tonkin where I've finished, happy to see you, my darling. I've left my beautiful Tonkinoise for you my charming Francois. For you are the most beautiful of the isle. Far from you I was not at peace." More bourgeois music lovers heard orchestral works by composers like Ravel and Debussy, who were fascinated by the sounds of the Orient. The colonies also came to suggest new fashions. Oriental silks and Levantine frocks, popular in women's clothing in the early twentieth century, owed much to this fascination with the exotic. Even the goods that people bought increasingly evoked the colonies, often through advertising. One of the most famous French advertisements ever, for example, is the publicity for Banania, a sweet powdered beverage made from bananas that when mixed with milk makes a breakfast food. The yellow Banania box featured a derogatory caricature of a smiling African uttering the pigeon phrase in French, "y'a bon Banania," "good stuff Banania." Things like this brought the empire all the way to the breakfast tables of many French families. French people even began to encounter the empire in church. The last third of the nineteenth century was a time of intense Catholic missionary activity outside of France, usually in the French colonies, and churchgoers in France listened to the appeals of their priests to donate money to help a French missionary from their département away in far- off Indochina or Senegal replace a little bamboo or straw chapel with a proper brick church. Of course, there was no better way to experience, or more intense way, I would say, to experience empire than to actually go there, and in the late nineteenth century more and more French people did exactly that. Until the 1880s and the 1890s there were relatively few French people in territories that the French controlled as colonies, with the exception again of Algeria, which had about 300,000 French settlers in 1871. This really was an exception. Even by the 1880s or 1890s places like Indochina only had probably between 20,000 and 30,000, at the most, maybe even less. So, at first many of these French colonies had little more than administrators, garrisons of troops, and some explorers and missionaries beating the bush for riches or for souls. Gradually, however, more and more French citizens came to overseas territories, not for adventure but just to make a living. The part of French society most immediately affected, of course, was the military, which went to the colonies in increasingly greater numbers as the empire, and resistance to it, spread. Soldiers in the empire risked long sea journeys, and tropical diseases, and miserable pay for the risk and the adventure that they thought that they might find over there. Missionaries too, as I mentioned, went overseas more and more toward the end of the century to try to find converts that they weren't finding in France. Apart from soldiers, and traders, and missionaries were settlers who increasingly went to the colonies not for a tour of duty, but they went there to stay. Settlers were often committed to the colonies for life. They gave up the resources they possessed at home, they took to the colonies whatever capital and whatever possessions they could get and could carry with them. The colonies were not hospitable places, needless to say. Remoteness from France and relatives, tropical diseases, and a very understandable hostility of indigenous populations were a major deterrent for many people. However, a number of French men and women did dare a new life in the Maghreb, in Indochina or in West Africa. Many were drawn by the inducements of people who owned large tracts of land and who needed people to work and cultivate this land to help them turn a profit. When there weren't enough Frenchmen, landowners didn't hesitate to populate their lands with non-French Europeans like Italian and Spanish, some of whom were also in the colonies as members of the famous international military force, the Légion Étrangère, the Foreign Legion. As the French Empire grew, life in the empire became, slowly, more regularized. The French government began to replace soldiers and sailors with administrators who exercised the will of the State. These administrators held responsibility for collecting taxes, for overseeing spending, and for keeping law and order, which often mean authorizing violence against those who resisted the spread of the French Empire. Increasingly these administrators came not from the ranks of the military but from new schools founded in France to train people for service in the Empire. One of the most famous of these was the École Coloniale, founded in 1887, which taught future administrators a little bit about the language and the culture of the place that they were being sent, as well as the basics of the position that they were going to fill when they were over there. The French government also did its best to draw professionals to newly acquired territories; lawyers, doctors, engineers, surveyors, all of these were much needed in the empire, and Paris offered subsidiaries to get qualified candidates to take a post overseas. As the empire continued to grow, more and more women came to live in these places that had for a long time been perceived as much too dangerous for them. In many ways the domesticity that the arrival of women brought to French life in the colonies was the clearest sign of the idea of domesticating and even taming French colonies and integrating them into the sphere of greater France. Places that had once been considered too dangerous for women became places where women eager to marry went to find a husband. A book called La Femme aux colonies, The Women in the Colonies, published in 1900, assured interested women that the empire could provide a hospitable home, quote, "a woman who arrives in Tonkin, for example, is sure of success. There are no women in Tonkin who fail to marry." There were, of course, women who did not go to the colonies simply for marriage, and even those who did found themselves pushed out of normal social expectations by the necessities of colonial life. Many women in the colonies, for example, were drawn into humanitarian work at hospitals or in distance areas or orphanages; which is ironic in light of the positions that many of their husbands held in the colonial administration, doing work that couldn't exactly be described as humanitarian, of course. So, just to put the expansion of the French population in the colonies in the context of one place, let me just mention the Algerian town of Annaba during this period. Before the French conquest, Annaba had a population of about 4,000 Arabs and Berbers, some Turks and a fairly large Jewish population. The French captured Annaba fairly early, in 1832; but, for many years the European population of the city was really little more than the soldiers who kept control of the city. By the mid-1840s, however, there were 5,000 Europeans. As time went by mines and forests in that area became an attractive source of employment for people. A railway line was built, and the city and infrastructure slowly grew. In fact, the city was also at that time renamed Bône. A transient population of Europeans, mostly French, evolved into a rooted and stable one. By the 1890s, Europeans born in Bône outnumbered migrants from overseas and French citizens formed the majority of the residents of the city. Algeria is by far, of course, the French colony with the largest French population, but the others grew and grew during this time, and by World War I there would be almost a half a million French citizens scattered throughout the French Empire. So, what was life like for these people? Few men and women in the Empire had lives that were as exciting or as romantic as the newspapers and popular songs made the colonial experience out to be. Despite being drawn to the empire by the promise of adventure and prosperity, few people who went over there found either. Disease took a large toll on French people in the colonies, many of whom fell victim to malaria or yellow fever, dengue fever or leprosy, before they had spent much time in the colony at all. Attack was often--always a concern, in fact, as were accidents in deserts or jungles. Medical care in the colonies was often pretty inadequate. Working conditions were harsh. Most settlers, for example, had to build and maintain their own houses, clear forests or brush, and set up their own shops. Colonial goods were often susceptible to rapidly changing market conditions and many colonists ended up in debt. Many benefits offered by the French State to its citizens didn't extend to the empire, and subsidies that people had received to move to Algeria or to Morocco were quickly exhausted. Social life in the colonies was pretty limited. Bigger cities had theaters, and some had art galleries and concert halls, but in most places French citizens might spend months without the sight of another European. Most of the French who lived in colonies never abandoned the stereotypical attitudes that they had about their own superiority, and these attitudes, of course, were often reinforced by French laws and institutions that gave whites more privileges than indigenous populations. For the most part, life was really quite separate between whites and others. European neighborhoods again had a town hall, theaters, shops lining shaded streets and cafés. Very often indigenous peoples were separated from the French by social barriers and by physical barriers, sometimes. Markets and shops, mosques and pagodas, were often apart from French colonial life. So, taking us now to World War I. When the guns of August began to roar in August 1914, the colonial empire was very near its height. Paris controlled the second largest empire in the world, second only to Britain's. During the forty years before the First World War, the empire spanned these vast swaths of north and west Africa, and southeast Asia; enormous islands like Madagascar, famous cities like Timbuktu; and it even contained parts of India, the crown jewel of the empire of their fiercest national rival. Colonial promoters lauded the benefits of an empire that they said provided international prestige, a secure place for investments, a market for French products, a source for raw materials, and a reserve army of soldiers. Empire had become a popular part of popular culture, of daily life, and even a career for many French men and women. In short, empire had become a fundamental part of the national identity and in some ways the national hubris then sweeping through France, not only France but the rest of Europe as well. Just as many in France cheered at the declaration of war on Germany in 1914, with no idea of what was to come, few French people in 1914 could see any reason to think that anything might threaten this eternal marriage between France and its outposts overseas, between the brave, beneficent purveyors of French civilization and the "graceful natives" under French rule. For many people France had recovered completely from its devastating defeat in 1871, and from the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, to once again become a powerful nation. Empire, again, empire had been a central part of this national revival. As one member of the colonial lobby said in 1912, quote, "it may be said that it was colonial expansion which, coming as it did just after the events of 1871, brought the renewal of France. It was on the day that France became a colonial power again that she became once more conscious of her vitality and her strength, and was able to resume her role in the concert of Europe and on the world stage. Today when that role is becoming so important again in the concert of Europe, when France finds herself in all parts of the world on a footing with the greatest European powers, we may indeed be proud; we may indeed be proud of the colonial work which France has performed." What was there to be proud of? Again, this idea of national expansion and national greatness, intimately tied to the perceived positive benefits of bringing French civilization abroad. A member of the Chamber of Deputies in fact answered this question, what was there to be proud of? Quote: "What nobler or more inspiring work could one find? Colonizing means coming in touch with new races and civilizations, and it means achieving the noblest type of fellowship, for any form of colonization which did not successfully seek to increase the dignity, the moral standards, and the wellbeing of the colonized people would be uncivilized and unworthy of a great nation," end quote. Of course, not all was well in the empire. I've focused in this lecture so far on the place of the empire in domestic politics and culture. So, I haven't spoken all that much about the effect that French colonization had on the lives of those in the colonies. Needless to say, the realities of empire did not often coincide with Jules Ferry's promises to spread the best of French civilization, nor did it coincide with the caricature of the smiling, graceful African in the popular press or on the front of the Banania box on the breakfast table. Empire, of course, was much more complicated than that. Few people accepted the rise of French power without a struggle, but few could match the technological advantages then enjoyed by the French military and the navy. As the French Empire spread, soldiers and sailors put down one resistance movement after another, usually with uncompromising brutality and often with very high death tolls. As French colonial administrations, legal systems, police forces, replaced the army and the navy, military repression, what had been military repression, took more the character of an occupation, dressed up as integration, the integration of the colonies into the French nation. French structures of authority enforced inequality between French and other races, and justified the exploitation of resources and the political repression that really were the realities of everyday life, for most of the French colonial subjects. Cracks--by 1914, however, cracks began to appear in this edifice. Not everybody had been swept up by France's colonial dreams, and as the realities of empire became more and more apparent a small anti-colonial lobby in France began to grow. Like their counterparts in the colonial lobby, anti-colonialists opposed French expansion for a number of reasons. For some people, French colonial adventures seemed a dangerous over-extension of French power. Some people wondered how useful these dense jungles and barren deserts could possibly be to France, especially when it became clear that a lot of the financial returns on colonial expansion that had been expected did not come to match these initial projections. Some people began to criticize colonial expansion for moral reasons, protesting the growing incidences of colonial barbarity. To give one example, at one public protest in 1906 the famous intellectual and novelist Anatole France thundered, quote, "whites do not communicate with blacks or yellow people except to enserf or massacre them. The people whom we call barbarians know us only through our own crimes. It is our responsibility as Frenchmen to denounce the crimes being committed in our name," end quote. Jean Jaurès, the leader of the Socialist party, went even further. Refuting the myth of the civilizing mission of the mission civilisatrice, in this case in Morocco, Jaurès said, quote, "there existed before the French takeover a Moroccan civilization capable of the necessary transformation, capable of evolution and progress, a civilization both ancient and modern. And there was a seed for the future, there was a hope. And let me say that I cannot pardon those who have crushed this hope for pacific and human progress, African civilization, by all sorts of ruses and by the brutality of conquest," end quote. During the 1920s and 1930s, anti-colonialism would become a more powerful force in French politics, grouping together some socialists and communists, some voices within the French Catholic Church, journalists and writers, and a number of intellectuals and avant-garde artists, the latter of whom would famously organize an anti-colonial counter- exposition during the famous 1931 Colonial Exposition in Vincennes. In 1900 in Paris there had been no similar anti-colonial exposition. However, and I want to underscore this, it was not the French themselves who would eventually succeed in crumbling the imperial edifice built over so many generations. When the French colonial empire eventually expired in 1962, when the French left Algeria, it did so first and foremost because of the many forms of resistance organized and carried out by those who lived under its yoke. That's another topic for another lecture, but what I want to say here sort of in conclusion is that the First World War was in many ways the beginning of the end for the French colonial empire. It was a tipping point, after which these myths underpinning French rule were no longer sustainable. They'd been very powerful myths. Before World War I, many in the colonized world had actually asked themselves whether French civilization might in fact be superior to their own. The French had arrived with technological advantages that many in the colonized world did not have, and they had achieved military and political control with few numbers. For some people it did seem for a time that what the French were saying about the mission civilisatrice, the civilizing mission, might actually in fact be true. But for many of these people World War I was a revelation. During the war, nearly half a million colonial subjects were conscripted or even volunteered, and many of them did, to don a blue uniform of the poilu and to fight for France. Many others came to the metropole to work in shipyards or in factories. Those who came saw poverty, they saw deep rifts in French society over the place of religion, over politics, and most importantly they saw their omnipotent colonial masters in a war that was literally ripping French civilization apart. Although those who came to France to fight or to work were a very small minority of Colonial subjects, the echoes of the guns of August reverberated worldwide; and for countless people throughout the Empire the Great War showed that France, for all its power, did not and could not correspond to its own colonial myths. "In the minds of other races," would write the Governor General of Indochina in 1931, "in the minds of other races the war dealt a terrible blow to the moral standing of a civilization which Europeans claimed with pride to be superior, yet in whose name Europeans spent more than four years savagely killing each other. Europe's prestige had been greatly compromised. It has long been commonplace to contrast European greatness with Asian or African decadence. The contrast now seems to be reversed." Indeed empire would have a very different relationship to national identity in the years after World War I. For growing numbers of people in France, empire slowly came to seem too difficult to maintain, too expensive, especially during the lean years of the Depression in the 1930s, and perhaps, for many, even immoral. What had been a point of unification in France slowly turned into a source for political and cultural tension. But the opposite was true of the places that France had colonized. Indeed, during the 1920s and 1930s national identities would be formed outside France, throughout the French empire, in opposition to the French colonial project, as anti-colonial activists laid the roots for liberation movements that would ultimately tear down the French colonial empire in the years after the Second World War; and that's a subject for another lecture. Thanks very much.

Contents

First French colonial empire

The Americas

Global map of French colonial empire
Map of the first (green) and second (blue) French colonial empires
The French colonial empire in the Americas comprised New France (including Canada and Louisiana), French West Indies (including Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago and other islands) and French Guiana.
The French colonial empire in the Americas comprised New France (including Canada and Louisiana), French West Indies (including Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago and other islands) and French Guiana.
French Northern America was known as 'Nouvelle France' or New France
French Northern America was known as 'Nouvelle France' or New France

During the 16th century, the French colonization of the Americas began. Excursions of Giovanni da Verrazzano and Jacques Cartier in the early 16th century, as well as the frequent voyages of French boats and fishermen to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland throughout that century, were the precursors to the story of France's colonial expansion.[9] But Spain's defense of its American monopoly, and the further distractions caused in France itself in the later 16th century by the French Wars of Religion, prevented any constant efforts by France to settle colonies. Early French attempts to found colonies in Brazil, in 1555 at Rio de Janeiro ("France Antarctique") and in Florida (including Fort Caroline in 1562), and in 1612 at São Luís ("France Équinoxiale"), were not successful, due to a lack of official interest and to Portuguese and Spanish vigilance.[10]

The story of France's colonial empire truly began on 27 July 1605, with the foundation of Port Royal in the colony of Acadia in North America, in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada. A few years later, in 1608, Samuel De Champlain founded Quebec, which was to become the capital of the enormous, but sparsely settled, fur-trading colony of New France (also called Canada).[11]

New France had a rather small population, which resulted from more emphasis being placed on the fur trade rather than agricultural settlements. Due to this emphasis, the French relied heavily on creating friendly contacts with the local First Nations community. Without the appetite of New England for land, and by relying solely on Aboriginals to supply them with fur at the trading posts, the French composed a complex series of military, commercial, and diplomatic connections. These became the most enduring alliances between the French and the First Nation community. The French were, however, under pressure from religious orders to convert them to Catholicism.[12]

Through alliances with various Native American tribes, the French were able to exert a loose control over much of the North American continent. Areas of French settlement were generally limited to the St. Lawrence River Valley. Prior to the establishment of the 1663 Sovereign Council, the territories of New France were developed as mercantile colonies. It is only after the arrival of intendant Jean Talon in 1665 that France gave its American colonies the proper means to develop population colonies comparable to that of the British. Acadia itself was lost to the British in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Back in France there was relatively little interest in colonialism, which concentrated rather on dominance within Europe, and for most of its history, New France was far behind the British North American colonies in both population and economic development.[13][14]

In 1699, French territorial claims in North America expanded still further, with the foundation of Louisiana in the basin of the Mississippi River. The extensive trading network throughout the region connected to Canada through the Great Lakes, was maintained through a vast system of fortifications, many of them centred in the Illinois Country and in present-day Arkansas.[15]

1767 Louis XV Colonies Françoises (West Indies) 12 Diniers copper Sous (w/1793 "RF" counterstamp)
1767 Louis XV Colonies Françoises (West Indies) 12 Diniers copper Sous (w/1793 "RF" counterstamp)

As the French empire in North America grew, the French also began to build a smaller but more profitable empire in the West Indies. Settlement along the South American coast in what is today French Guiana began in 1624, and a colony was founded on Saint Kitts in 1625 (the island had to be shared with the English until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, when it was ceded outright). The Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique founded colonies in Guadeloupe and Martinique in 1635, and a colony was later founded on Saint Lucia by (1650). The food-producing plantations of these colonies were built and sustained through slavery, with the supply of slaves dependent on the African slave trade. Local resistance by the indigenous peoples resulted in the Carib Expulsion of 1660.[16] France's most important Caribbean colonial possession was established in 1664, when the colony of Saint-Domingue (today's Haiti) was founded on the western half of the Spanish island of Hispaniola. In the 18th century, Saint-Domingue grew to be the richest sugar colony in the Caribbean. The eastern half of Hispaniola (today's Dominican Republic) also came under French rule for a short period, after being given to France by Spain in 1795.[17]

Africa and Asia

Arrival of Marshal Randon in Algiers in 1857, by Ernest Francis Vacherot
Arrival of Marshal Randon in Algiers in 1857, by Ernest Francis Vacherot

French colonial expansion was not limited to the New World. In Senegal in West Africa, the French began to establish trading posts along the coast in 1624. In 1664, the French East India Company was established to compete for trade in the east. With the decay of the Ottoman Empire, in 1830 the French seized Algiers, thus beginning the colonization of French North Africa.

During the First World War, after France had suffered heavy casualties on the Western Front, they began to recruit soldiers from their African empire. By 1917, France had recruited 270,000 African soldiers.[18] Their most decorated regiments came from Morocco, but due to the ongoing Zaian War they were only able to recruit 23,000 Moroccans. African soldiers had success in the Battle of Verdun and failure in the Nivelle Offensive, but in general regardless of their usefulness, French generals did not think highly of their African troops.[18]

After the First World War, France's African war aims were not being decided by her cabinet or the official mind of the colonial ministry, but rather the leaders of the colonial movement in French Africa. The first occasion of this was in 1915–1916, when Francois Georges-Picot (both a diplomat and part of a colonial dynasty) met with the British to discuss the division of Cameroon.[18] Picot proceeded with negotiations with neither the oversight of the French president nor the cabinet. What resulted was Britain giving nine tenths of Cameroon to the French. Picot emphasized the demands of the French colonists over the French cabinet. This policy of French colonial leaders determining France's African war aims can be seen throughout much of France's empire.[19]

Colonies were established in India's Chandernagore (1673) and Pondichéry in the south east (1674), and later at Yanam (1723), Mahe (1725), and Karikal (1739) (see French India). Colonies were also founded in the Indian Ocean, on the Île de Bourbon (Réunion, 1664), Isle de France (Mauritius, 1718), and the Seychelles (1756).

Colonial conflict with Britain

French and other European settlements in Colonial India
French and other European settlements in Colonial India

In the middle of the 18th century, a series of colonial conflicts began between France and Britain, which ultimately resulted in the destruction of most of the first French colonial empire and the near complete expulsion of France from the Americas. These wars were the War of the Austrian Succession (1744–1748), the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), the American Revolution (1765–1783), the French Revolutionary Wars (1793–1802) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815). It may even be seen further back in time to the first of the French and Indian Wars. This cyclic conflict is sometimes known as the Second Hundred Years' War.

Although the War of the Austrian Succession was indecisive – despite French successes in India under the French Governor-General Joseph François Dupleix and Europe under Marshal Saxe – the Seven Years' War, after early French successes in Menorca and North America, saw a French defeat, with the numerically superior British (over one million to about 50 thousand French settlers) conquering not only New France (excluding the small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon), but also most of France's West Indian (Caribbean) colonies, and all of the French Indian outposts.

While the peace treaty saw France's Indian outposts, and the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe restored to France, the competition for influence in India had been won by the British, and North America was entirely lost – most of New France was taken by Britain (also referred to as British North America), except Louisiana, which France ceded to Spain as payment for Spain's late entrance into the war (and as compensation for Britain's annexation of Spanish Florida). Also ceded to the British were Grenada and Saint Lucia in the West Indies. Although the loss of Canada would cause much regret in future generations, it excited little unhappiness at the time; colonialism was widely regarded as both unimportant to France, and immoral.[20]

Some recovery of the French colonial empire was made during the French intervention in the American Revolution, with Saint Lucia being returned to France by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, but not nearly as much as had been hoped for at the time of French intervention. True disaster came to what remained of France's colonial empire in 1791 when Saint Domingue (the Western third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola), France's richest and most important colony, was riven by a massive slave revolt, caused partly by the divisions among the island's elite, which had resulted from the French Revolution of 1789.

The slaves, led eventually by Toussaint L'Ouverture and then, following his capture by the French in 1801, by Jean-Jacques Dessalines, held their own against French and British opponents, and ultimately achieved independence as Empire of Haiti in 1804 (Haiti became the first black republic in the world, followed by Liberia in 1847).[21] The black and mulatto population of the island (including the Spanish east) had declined from 700,000 in 1789 to 351,819 in 1804. About 80,000 Haitians died in the 1802–03 campaign alone. Of the 55,131 French soldiers dispatched to Haiti in 1802–03, 45,000, including 18 generals, had died, along with 10,000 sailors, the great majority from disease.[22] Captain [first name unknown] Sorrell of the British navy observed, "France lost there one of the finest armies she ever sent forth, composed of picked veterans, the conquerors of Italy and of German legions. She is now entirely deprived of her influence and her power in the West Indies."[23]

In the meanwhile, the newly resumed war with Britain by the French, resulted in the British capture of practically all remaining French colonies. These were restored at the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, but when war resumed in 1803, the British soon recaptured them. France's repurchase of Louisiana in 1800 came to nothing, as the success of the Haitian Revolution convinced Napoleon that holding Louisiana would not be worth the cost, leading to its sale to the United States in 1803. The French attempt to establish a colony in Egypt in 1798–1801 was not successful. Battle casualties for the campaign were at least 15,000 killed or wounded and 8,500 prisoners for France; 50,000 killed or wounded and 15,000 prisoners for Turkey, Egypt, other Ottoman lands, and Britain.[24]

Second French colonial empire (after 1830)

Animated map showing the growth and decline of the first and second French colonial empires
Animated map showing the growth and decline of the first and second French colonial empires

At the close of the Napoleonic Wars, most of France's colonies were restored to it by Britain, notably Guadeloupe and Martinique in the West Indies, French Guiana on the coast of South America, various trading posts in Senegal, the Île Bourbon (Réunion) in the Indian Ocean, and France's tiny Indian possessions; however, Britain finally annexed Saint Lucia, Tobago, the Seychelles, and the Isle de France (now Mauritius).

In 1825 Charles X sent an expedition to Haïti, resulting in the Haiti indemnity controversy.[25]

The beginnings of the second French colonial empire were laid in 1830 with the French invasion of Algeria, which was conquered over the next 17 years. One authority counts 825,000 Algerian victims of the French conquest.[26]

Napoleon III: 1852–70

The last photograph of Napoleon III (1872)
The last photograph of Napoleon III (1872)

Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas Empire; he established French rule in New Caledonia, and Cochinchina, established a protectorate in Cambodia (1863); and colonized parts of Africa. He joined Britain sending an army to China during Second Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion (1860), but French ventures to establish influence in Japan (1867) and Korea (1866) were less successful. His attempt to impose a European monarch, Maximilian I of Mexico on the Mexicans ended in a spectacular failure in 1867. To restore the Mexican Republic, 31,962 Mexicans died violently, including over 11,000 executed by firing squads, 8,304 were seriously wounded and 33,281 endured captivity in prisoner of war camps. Those Mexicans who fought for the monarchy sacrificed 5,671 of their number killed in combat, 2,159 badly wounded, and 4,379 taken prisoner. The French suffered 1,729 battle deaths, including 549 who died of wounds, 2,559 wounded, and 4,925 dead from disease.[27]

To carry out his new overseas projects, Napoleon III created a new Ministry of the Navy and the Colonies, and appointed an energetic minister, Prosper, Marquis of Chasseloup-Laubat, to head it. A key part of the enterprise was the modernization of the French Navy; he began the construction of fifteen powerful new battle cruisers powered by steam and driven by propellers; and a fleet of steam powered troop transports. The French Navy became the second most powerful in the world, after Britain's. He also created a new force of colonial troops, including elite units of naval infantry, Zouaves, the Chasseurs d'Afrique, and Algerian sharpshooters, and he expanded the Foreign Legion, which had been founded in 1831 and won fame in the Crimea, Italy and Mexico. By the end of Napoleon III's reign the French overseas territories had tripled in area; in 1870 they covered a million square kilometers, with more than five million inhabitants.[28]

New Caledonia becomes a French possession (1853–54)

On 24 September 1853, Admiral Febvrier Despointes took formal possession of New Caledonia and Port-de-France (Nouméa) was founded 25 June 1854. A few dozen free settlers settled on the west coast in the following years, but New Caledonia became a penal colony and, from the 1860s until the end of the transportations in 1897, about 22,000 criminals and political prisoners were sent to New Caledonia to be killed.[29]

Colonization of Senegal (1854–65)

French trading post on Gorée
French trading post on Gorée

At the beginning of Napoleon III's reign, the presence of France in Senegal was limited to a trading post on the island of Goree, a narrow strip on the coast, the town of Saint-Louis, and a handful of trading posts in the interior. The economy had largely been based on the slave trade, carried out by the rulers of the small kingdoms of the interior, until France abolished slavery in its colonies in 1848. In 1854, Napoleon III named an enterprising French officer, Louis Faidherbe, to govern and expand the colony, and to give it the beginning of a modern economy. Faidherbe built a series of forts along the Senegal River, formed alliances with leaders in the interior, and sent expeditions against those who resisted French rule. He built a new port at Dakar, established and protected telegraph lines and roads, followed these with a rail line between Dakar and Saint-Louis and another into the interior. He built schools, bridges, and systems to supply fresh water to the towns. He also introduced the large-scale cultivation of Bambara groundnuts and peanuts as a commercial crop. Reaching into the Niger valley, Senegal became the primary French base in West Africa and a model colony. Dakar became one of the most important cities of the French Empire and of Africa.[30]

Intervention in China (1858–60)

In 1857, after the murder of a French priest and the arrest by the Chinese police of the crew of a British merchant ship, Napoleon III joined together with Great Britain to form a military expedition to punish the Chinese government. The object of his policy was not to take territory, but to assure that the vast and lucrative Chinese market was open to French commerce, and not the exclusive trading partner of Britain. In January 1858 a combined British and French fleet bombarded and occupied Canton, and landed troops at the mouth of the Hai River in northern China. In June 1858 the Chinese government in Peking was forced to sign the Treaty of Tientsin with Britain, France, Russia and the United States. This treaty opened six additional Chinese ports to European merchant ships, allowed Christian missionary activity, and legalized the import of opium into China.

The Anglo-French forces pillage China's Summer Palace, October 1860.
The Anglo-French forces pillage China's Summer Palace, October 1860.

The Chinese government was reluctant to observe the treaty, so Napoleon III and the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston decided to take more forceful action, in what became known in history as the second phase of the Second Opium War. A joint French-British expeditionary force of 8,000 men was created under a French general, Charles Cousin-Montauban, who had commanded French forces in Algeria. At the beginning of 1860 the French-British fleet sailed from Europe, and in the spring of 1860 landed the army in China. The Anglo-French army force, led by Cousin-Montauban, captured Tientsin, and then marched on the capital. On 21 September 1860 it defeated the army of the Chinese emperor at the Battle of Palikao and seized the capital Beijing. At the orders of the British commander Lord Elgin, the British and French forces burned and pillaged the Old Summer Palace of the Chinese Emperor. On 25 October 1860, the Chinese Emperor was obliged to accept a second treaty of Tientsin, opening an additional eleven new ports to European trade, making westerners immune to prosecution by Chinese courts, and establishing western diplomatic missions in Beijing. Some of the art objects taken from the looted Summer Palace were carried to France, where the Empress used them to decorate a Chinese-themed salon at the Palace of Fontainebleau, where they can be seen today.[31]

France in Korea and Japan (1866–68)

In 1866, French diplomats in China learned that French priests had been arrested and executed in Korea, a country which had had no diplomatic or commercial contact with Europe or America. Twelve Catholic priests at the time were living in Korea, with an estimated 23,000 Korean converts, belonging to churches founded by French missionaries in the 18th century. In January 1866, King Gojong and his father, the regent, ordered the execution of most of the French priests, and ten thousand converts. A squadron of French ships, carrying eight hundred naval infantry, attempted retaliation but made little headway.[32]

In Japan the Meiji Emperor, and his enemies, the Tokugawa shogunate, both sought French military training and technology in their battle for power, known as the Boshin War. In 1867, a military mission to Japan played a key role in modernizing the troops of the shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, and even participated on his side against Imperial troops during the Boshin war. The European representative of the Shogunate, Shibata Takenaka, approached both Britain and France, asking assistance to build a modern shipyard and to train the Shogunate army in modern western warfare. The shipyard, which became the naval base of Yokosuka, was designed by the French engineer Leonce Verny. The British, who supported the imperial faction, declined to provide trainers, but Napoleon III agreed, and in 1867 dispatched a delegation of nineteen French military experts in the fields of infantry, cavalry and artillery to Japan. They trained an elite corps, called the Denshutai, to fight on the side of the shōgun.

On the other side, the Emperor purchased from the United States a French-built ironclad warship, renamed the Kotetsu (literally "ironclad"). It played an important role in the first modern naval battle fought in Japan. By 1868, the Imperial forces had won a decisive victory. French influence in the Japanese navy remained strong.[33]

France in Indochina and the Pacific (1858–70)

Queen Pōmare IV in 1860. Tahiti was made a French protectorate in 1842, and annexed as a colony of France in 1880.
Queen Pōmare IV in 1860. Tahiti was made a French protectorate in 1842, and annexed as a colony of France in 1880.

Napoleon III also acted to increase the French presence in Indochina. An important factor in his decision was the belief that France risked becoming a second-rate power by not expanding its influence in East Asia. Deeper down was the sense that France owed the world a civilizing mission.[34]

French missionaries had been active in Vietnam since the 17th century, when the Jesuit priest Alexandre de Rhodes opened a mission there. In 1858 the Vietnamese emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty felt threatened by the French influence and tried to expel the missionaries. Napoleon III sent a naval force of fourteen gunships, carrying three thousand French and three thousand Filipino troops provided by Spain, under Charles Rigault de Genouilly, to compel the government to accept the missionaries and to stop the persecution of Catholics. In September 1858 the expeditionary force captured and occupied the port of Da Nang, and then in February 1859 moved south and captured Saigon. The Vietnamese ruler was compelled to cede three provinces to France, and to offer protection to the Catholics. The French troops departed for a time to take part in the expedition to China, but in 1862, when the agreements were not fully followed by the Vietnamese emperor, they returned. The Emperor was forced to open treaty ports in Annam and Tonkin, and all of Cochinchina became a French territory in 1864.

In 1863, the ruler of Cambodia, King Norodom, who had been placed in power by the government of Thailand, rebelled against his sponsors and sought the protection of France. The Thai Emperor granted authority over Cambodia to France, in exchange for two provinces of Laos, which were ceded by Cambodia to Thailand. In 1867, Cambodia formally became a protectorate of France.

Intervention in Syria and Lebanon (1860–61)

French expedition in Syria led by General Beaufort d'Hautpoul, landing in Beyrouth on 16 August 1860
French expedition in Syria led by General Beaufort d'Hautpoul, landing in Beyrouth on 16 August 1860

In the spring of 1860, a war broke out in Lebanon, then part of the Ottoman Empire, between the quasi-Muslim Druze population and the Maronite Christians. The Ottoman authorities in Lebanon could not stop the violence, and it spread into neighboring Syria, with the massacre of many Christians. In Damascus, the Emir Abd-el-Kadr protected the Christians there against the Muslim rioters. Napoleon III felt obliged to intervene on behalf of the Christians, despite the opposition of London, which feared it would lead to a wider French presence in the Middle East. After long and difficult negotiations to obtain the approval of the British government, Napoleon III sent a French contingent of seven thousand men for a period of six months. The troops arrived in Beirut in August 1860, and took positions in the mountains between the Christian and Muslim communities. Napoleon III organized an international conference in Paris, where the country was placed under the rule of a Christian governor named by the Ottoman Sultan, which restored a fragile peace. The French troops departed in June 1861, after just under one year. The French intervention alarmed the British, but was highly popular with the powerful Catholic political faction in France, which had been alarmed by Napoleon's dispute with the Pope over his territories in Italy.[35]

Algeria

Algeria had been formally under French rule since 1830, but only in 1852 was the country entirely conquered. There were about a hundred thousand European settlers in the country, at that time, about half of them French. Under the Second Republic the country was ruled by a civilian government, but Louis Napoleon re-established a military government, much to the annoyance of the colonists. By 1857 the army had conquered Kabyle Province, and pacified the country. By 1860 the European population had grown to two hundred thousand, and the land of the Algerians was being rapidly bought and farmed by the new arrivals.[36]

Between 500,000 and 1,000,000, from approximately 3 million Algerians, were killed within the first three decades of the conquest as a result of war, massacres, disease and famine.[37][38] French losses from 1830–51 were 3,336 killed in action and 92,329 dead in the hospital.[39][40]

In the first eight years of his rule Napoleon III paid little attention to Algeria. In September 1860, however, he and the Empress Eugénie visited Algeria, and the trip made a deep impression upon them. Eugénie was invited to attend a traditional Arab wedding, and the Emperor met many of the local leaders. The Emperor gradually conceived the idea that Algeria should be governed differently from other colonies. in February 1863, he wrote a public letter to Pelissier, the Military Governor, saying: "Algeria is not a colony in the traditional sense, but an Arab kingdom; the local people have, like the colonists, a legal right to my protection. I am just as much the Emperor of the Arabs of Algeria as I am of the French." He intended to rule Algeria through a government of Arab aristocrats. Toward this end he invited the chiefs of main Algerian tribal groups to his chateau at Compiegne for hunting and festivities.[41]

Compared to previous administrations, Napoleon III was far more sympathetic to the native Algerians.[42] He halted European migration inland, restricting them to the coastal zone. He also freed the Algerian rebel leader Abd al Qadir (who had been promised freedom on surrender but was imprisoned by the previous administration) and gave him a stipend of 150,000 francs. He allowed Muslims to serve in the military and civil service on theoretically equal terms and allowed them to migrate to France. In addition, he gave the option of citizenship; however, for Muslims to take this option they had to accept all of the French civil code, including parts governing inheritance and marriage which conflicted with Muslim laws, and they had to reject the competence of religious Sharia courts. This was interpreted by some Muslims as requiring them to give up parts of their religion to obtain citizenship and was resented.

More importantly, Napoleon III changed the system of land tenure. While ostensibly well-intentioned, in effect this move destroyed the traditional system of land management and deprived many Algerians of land. While Napoleon did renounce state claims to tribal lands, he also began a process of dismantling tribal land ownership in favour of individual land ownership. This process was corrupted by French officials sympathetic to the French in Algeria who took much of the land they surveyed into public domain. In addition, many tribal leaders, chosen for loyalty to the French rather than influence in their tribe, immediately sold communal land for cash.[43]

His attempted reforms were interrupted in 1864 by an Arab insurrection, which required more than a year and an army of 85,000 soldiers to suppress. Nonetheless, he did not give up his idea of making Algeria a model where French colonists and Arabs could live and work together as equals. He traveled to Algiers for a second time on 3 May 1865, and this time he remained for a month, meeting with tribal leaders and local officials. He offered a wide amnesty to participants of the insurrection, and promised to name Arabs to high positions in his government. He also promised a large public works program of new ports, railroads, and roads. However, once again his plans met a major natural obstacle' in 1866 and 1867, Algeria was struck by an epidemic of cholera, clouds of locusts, draught and famine, and his reforms were hindered by the French colonists, who voted massively against him in the plebiscites of his late reign.[44]

French intervention in Mexico (1862–67)

Napoleon III tried unsuccessfully to place Maximilian I, brother of the Austrian Emperor, on the throne of Mexico. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in Chapultepec Castle, Mexico.
Napoleon III tried unsuccessfully to place Maximilian I, brother of the Austrian Emperor, on the throne of Mexico. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in Chapultepec Castle, Mexico.

In December 1862, the conservative Mexican government was overthrown by Benito Juarez, who established a secular state and refused to pay the internal and external debts of the old government. France was the largest owner of the debt, owed 135 million gold francs of the 260 million francs total. The rest of the debt was owed to Britain (85 million francs) and Spain (40 million). Under an 1861 agreement, France, Britain and Spain organized a joint military force to compel the Mexican government to pay. A British-French flotilla of ships arrived at VeraCruz in December 1861 and landed 7500 French soldiers and 700 British soldiers, joined later by 6000 Spanish soldiers from Cuba.

Juarez opened negotiations with the international force, but it soon became evident that the French expedition had a more ambitious objective than debt repayment. Napoleon III and the Empress had been intensively lobbied by Mexican émigrés in Europe, who proposed that France establish a new conservative and Catholic government in Mexico, under a European monarch. Napoleon III was told that the new monarch would be welcomed by the entire Mexican population. He consented to launch the operation if the new monarch would be approved by a national plebiscite, as he had been. The monarch selected for this task was the Archduke Maximilian, the brother of the Austrian Emperor Franz-Joseph II, and husband of Carlota of Mexico, daughter of the King of Belgium.

When the British and Spanish realized the French goals, they withdrew from the expedition, but the French marched on Mexico City. The first attempt by General Lorencez was repulsed by the forces of General Ignacio Zaragoza at Puebla on 5 May 1862, the first defeat of a French Army since Waterloo. Napoleon III appointed a new commander, General Forey, one of the victors of Solferino, and sent 23,000 fresh soldiers. Napoleon III believed that the Mexican people would embrace the new government. He also knew that the government of the United States would be unable to prevent it, even though it was in contravention of the Monroe Doctrine, because of the American Civil War then underway, and the implicit support provided by the neighboring Confederate States of America.[45]

The reinforced French army under Forey launched a new offensive from March to June 1863. After bitter resistance, the defenders of Mexico City surrendered on 7 June 1863. Forey, disregarding Napoleon III's instructions not to install a monarch without a popular plebiscite, organized an assembly of Mexican notables who proclaimed the Mexican Empire and invited Maximilian I of Mexico to rule. Ruling President Benito Juárez and his Republican forces retreated to the countryside and fought against the French troops and the Mexican monarchists.

French chasseurs d'Afrique taking the standard of the Durango lancers at the Battle of San Pablo del Monte
French chasseurs d'Afrique taking the standard of the Durango lancers at the Battle of San Pablo del Monte

Maximilian was a reluctant Emperor, not arriving in Mexico until June 1864. One of his first acts was to sign an agreement that Mexico would repay France the entire cost of the war. The combined Mexican monarchist and French forces won victories up until 1865, but then the tide began to turn against them, in part because the American Civil War had ended. The U.S. government demanded that France withdraw its soldiers from Mexico. Facing a guerilla war and a financial catastrophe, the Emperor Maximilian became more and more depressed, leaving the capital for long periods and allowing the Empress Carlota to reign. Not willing to have a war with the United States, Napoleon III decided at the beginning of 1866 to withdraw French troops from Mexico. In 1863 Maximilian had sent Carlota to Europe to appeal for funds and support. She appealed to Napoleon III, but he refused to provide more troops or money. During her tour of European courts, she lost and never regained her sanity. Maximilian refused pleas that he depart, and fought against the growing partisan army of Juarez. He was captured, judged, and shot on 19 June 1867.

The misadventure in Mexico cost the lives of six thousand French soldiers and 336 million francs, in a campaign originally designed to collect 60 million francs. It also aroused the hostility of both the United States and Austria, which had lost a member of its royal family. It was also a distraction to Napoleon III, on the eve of his coming confrontation with Prussia.[46]

French–British relations

Despite the signing of the 1860 Cobden–Chevalier Treaty, a historic free trade agreement between Britain and France, and the joint operations conducted by France and Britain in the Crimea, China and Mexico, diplomatic relations between Britain and France never became close. Lord Palmerston, the British foreign minister from 1846 to 1851 and prime minister from 1855 to 1865, sought to maintain the balance of power in Europe; this rarely involved an alignment with France. In 1859 there were even briefly fears that France might try to invade Britain.[47] Palmerston was suspicious of France's interventions in Lebanon, Southeast Asia and Mexico. Palmerston was also concerned that France might intervene in the American Civil War (1861–65) on the side of the South.[48] The British also felt threatened by the construction of the Suez Canal (1859–1869) by Ferdinand de Lesseps in Egypt. They tried to oppose its completion by diplomatic pressures and by promoting revolts among workers.[49]

The Suez Canal was successfully built by the French, but became a joint British-French project in 1875. Both nations saw it as vital to maintaining their influence and empires in Asia. In 1882, ongoing civil disturbances in Egypt prompted Britain to intervene, extending a hand to France. France's leading expansionist Jules Ferry was out of office, and Paris allowed London to take effective control of Egypt.[50]

French–U.S. relations

During 1861 to 1862, at the beginning of the American Civil War, Napoleon III considered recognizing the Confederacy in order to protect his operations in Mexico. Washington repeatedly warned that this meant war but the emperor kept this option open, hoping to get Britain as an ally. The Union blockade of southern ports stopped the supply of cotton to textile mills in France, and caused unemployment. The Confederacy had put their faith in "King Cotton" diplomacy, expecting that the cutoff of cotton supplies would cause Britain and France to declare war to reopen the trade. Through 1862, Napoleon III met unofficially with Confederate diplomats, raising their hopes that he would unilaterally recognize the Confederacy. France was too weak to act without collaboration with the British, who after much wavering finally rejected intervention as not worth the heavy risk of losing American food exports. Napoleon realized that a war with the U.S. without allies "would spell disaster" for France.[51] In 1863 the Confederacy realized there was no longer any chance of intervention, and expelled the French and British consuls, who were advising their citizens not to enlist in the Confederate Army. In 1865, the United States stationed a large combat Army near the Mexican border as a warning sign. Napoleon III pulled the French troops out, and the "emperor" he had imposed on Mexico was captured and shot.[52][53][54]

1870–1939

Most Frenchmen ignored foreign affairs and colonial issues. In 1914 the chief pressure group was the Parti colonial, a coalition of 50 organizations with a combined total of only 5000 members.[55]

Asia

The Presidential Palace of Vietnam, in Hanoi, was built between 1900 and 1906 to house the French Governor-General of Indochina.
The Presidential Palace of Vietnam, in Hanoi, was built between 1900 and 1906 to house the French Governor-General of Indochina.

It was only after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 and the founding of the Third Republic (1871–1940) that most of France's later colonial possessions were acquired. From their base in Cochinchina, the French took over Tonkin (in modern northern Vietnam) and Annam (in modern central Vietnam) in 1884–1885. These, together with Cambodia and Cochinchina, formed French Indochina in 1887 (to which Laos was added in 1893 and Guangzhouwan[56] in 1900). In 1849, the French concession in Shanghai was established, lasting until 1946.[57] The French also had concessions in Guangzhou and Hankou (now part of Wuhan).[58]

French colonies in 1891 (from Le Monde illustré). 1. Panorama of Lac-Kaï, French outpost in China. 2. Yun-nan, in the quay of Hanoi. 3. Flooded street of Hanoi. 4. Landing stage of Hanoi
French colonies in 1891 (from Le Monde illustré).
1. Panorama of Lac-Kaï, French outpost in China.
2. Yun-nan, in the quay of Hanoi.
3. Flooded street of Hanoi.
4. Landing stage of Hanoi

Africa

France also extended its influence in North Africa after 1870, establishing a protectorate in Tunisia in 1881 with the Bardo Treaty. Gradually, French control crystallised over much of North, West, and Central Africa by around the start of the 20th century (including the modern states of Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Benin, Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, the east African coastal enclave of Djibouti (French Somaliland), and the island of Madagascar).

Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza helped to formalise French control in Gabon and on the northern banks of the Congo River from the early 1880s. The explorer Colonel Parfait-Louis Monteil traveled from Senegal to Lake Chad in 1890–1892, signing treaties of friendship and protection with the rulers of several of the countries he passed through, and gaining much knowledge of the geography and politics of the region.[59]

The Voulet–Chanoine Mission, a military expedition, set out from Senegal in 1898 to conquer the Chad Basin and to unify all French territories in West Africa. This expedition operated jointly with two other expeditions, the Foureau-Lamy and Gentil Missions, which advanced from Algeria and Middle Congo respectively. With the death (April 1900) of the Muslim warlord Rabih az-Zubayr, the greatest ruler in the region, and the creation of the Military Territory of Chad (September 1900), the Voulet-Chanoine Mission had accomplished all its goals. The ruthlessness of the mission provoked a scandal in Paris.[60]

Central and east Africa, 1898, during the Fashoda Incident
Central and east Africa, 1898, during the Fashoda Incident

As a part of the Scramble for Africa, France aimed to establish a continuous west-east axis across the continent, in contrast with the proposed British north-south axis. Tensions between Britain and France heightened in Africa. At several points war seemed possible, but no outbreak occurred.[61] The most serious episode was the Fashoda Incident of 1898. French troops tried to claim an area in the Southern Sudan, and a British force purporting to act in the interests of the Khedive of Egypt arrived to confront them. Under heavy pressure the French withdrew, implicitly acknowledging Anglo-Egyptian control over the area. An agreement between the two states recognised the status quo: acknowledging British control over Egypt while France became the dominant power in Morocco, but France suffered a humiliating defeat overall.[62][63]

During the Agadir Crisis in 1911 Britain supported France against Germany, and Morocco became a French protectorate.

Pacific islands

At this time, the French also established colonies in the South Pacific, including New Caledonia, the various island groups which make up French Polynesia (including the Society Islands, the Marquesas, and the Tuamotus), and established joint control of the New Hebrides with Britain.[citation needed]

The French made their last major colonial gains after World War I, when they gained mandates over the former territories of the Ottoman Empire that make up what is now Syria and Lebanon, as well as most of the former German colonies of Togo and Cameroon.

Civilising mission

A hallmark of the French colonial project in the late 19th century and early 20th century was the civilising mission (mission civilisatrice), the principle that it was Europe's duty to bring civilisation to benighted peoples.[64] As such, colonial officials undertook a policy of Franco-Europeanisation in French colonies, most notably French West Africa and Madagascar. During the 19th century, French citizenship along with the right to elect a deputy to the French Chamber of Deputies was granted to the four old colonies of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyanne and Réunion as well as to the residents of the "Four Communes" in Senegal. In most cases, the elected deputies were white Frenchmen, although there were some blacks, such as the Senegalese Blaise Diagne, who was elected in 1914.[65] Elsewhere, in the largest and most populous colonies, a strict separation between "sujets français" (all the natives) and "citoyens français" (all males of European extraction) with different rights and duties was maintained until 1946. As was pointed out in a 1927 treatise on French colonial law, the granting of French citizenship to natives "was not a right, but rather a privilege".[66] Two 1912 decrees dealing with French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa enumerated the conditions that a native had to meet in order to be granted French citizenship (they included speaking and writing French, earning a decent living and displaying good moral standards). From 1830 to 1946, only between 3,000 and 6,000 native Algerians were granted French citizenship. In French West Africa, outside of the Four Communes, there were 2,500 "citoyens indigènes" out of a total population of 15 million.[67]

French colonial troops, led by Colonel Alfred-Amédée Dodds, a Senegalese mulatto, conquered and annexed Dahomey in 1894
French colonial troops, led by Colonel Alfred-Amédée Dodds, a Senegalese mulatto, conquered and annexed Dahomey in 1894

French conservatives had been denouncing the assimilationist policies as products of a dangerous liberal fantasy. In the Protectorate of Morocco, the French administration attempted to use urban planning and colonial education to prevent cultural mixing and to uphold the traditional society upon which the French depended for collaboration, with mixed results. After World War II, the segregationist approach modeled in Morocco had been discredited by its connections to Vichyism, and assimilationism enjoyed a brief renaissance.[65]

In 1905, the French abolished slavery in most of French West Africa.[68] David P. Forsythe wrote: "From Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Niger in the east (what became French Africa), there was a parallel series of ruinous wars, resulting in tremendous numbers of people being violently enslaved. At the beginning of the twentieth century there may have been between 3 and 3.5 million slaves, representing over 30 percent of the total population, within this sparsely populated region."[69]

Critics of French colonialism gained an international audience in the 1920s, and often used documentary reportage and access to agencies such as the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization to make their protests heard. The main criticism was the high level of violence and suffering among the natives. Major critics included Albert Londres, Félicien Challaye, and Paul Monet, whose books and articles were widely read.[70]

While the first stages of a takeover often involved the destruction of historic buildings in order to use the site for French headquarters, archaeologists and art historians soon engaged in systematic effort to identify, map and preserve historic sites, especially temples such as Angkor Wat, Champa ruins and the temples of Luang Prabang.[71] Many French museums have collections of colonial materials. Since the 1980s the French government has opened new museums of colonial artifacts including the Musée du Quai Branly and the Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, in Paris; the Centre Culturel Tjibaou in New Caledonia; and the Maison des Civilisations et de l’Unité Réunionnaise in Réunion.[72]

Revolt in North Africa Against Spain and France

The Berber independence leader Abd el-Krim (1882-1963) organized armed resistance against the Spanish and French for control of Morocco. The Spanish had faced unrest off and on from the 1890s, but in 1921 Spanish forces were massacred at the Battle of Annual El-Krim founded an independent Rif Republic that operated until 1926 but had no international recognition. Paris and Madrid agreed to collaborate to destroy it. They sent in 200,000 soldiers, forcing el-Krim to surrender in 1926; he was exiled in the Pacific until 1947. Morocco became quiet, and in 1936 became the base from which Francisco Franco launched his revolt against Madrid.[73]

World War II

The gradual loss of all Vichy territory to Free France and the Allies by 1943. Legend.
The gradual loss of all Vichy territory to Free France and the Allies by 1943. Legend.

During World War II, allied Free France, often with British support, and Axis-aligned Vichy France struggled for control of the colonies, sometimes with outright military combat. By 1943, all of the colonies, except for Indochina under Japanese control, had joined the Free French cause.[74]

The overseas empire helped liberate France as 300,000 North African Arabs fought in the ranks of the Free French.[75] However Charles de Gaulle had no intention of liberating the colonies. He assembled the conference of colonial governors (excluding the nationalist leaders) in Brazzaville in January 1944 to announce plans for postwar Union that would replace the Empire.[76] The Brazzaville manifesto proclaimed:

the goals of the work of civilization undertaken by France in the colonies exclude all idea of autonomy, all possibility of development outside the French block of the Empire; the possible constitutional self-government in the colonies is to be dismissed.[77]

The manifesto angered nationalists across the Empire, and set the stage for long-term wars in Indochina and Algeria that France would lose in humiliating fashion.

Decolonization

French soldiers with suspected Algerian rebels
French soldiers with suspected Algerian rebels

The French colonial empire began to fall during the Second World War, when various parts were occupied by foreign powers (Japan in Indochina, Britain in Syria, Lebanon, and Madagascar, the USA and Britain in Morocco and Algeria, and Germany and Italy in Tunisia). However, control was gradually reestablished by Charles de Gaulle. The French Union, included in the Constitution of 1946, nominally replaced the former colonial empire, but officials in Paris remained in full control. The colonies were given local assemblies with only limited local power and budgets. There emerged a group of elites, known as evolués, who were natives of the overseas territories but lived in metropolitan France.[78]

Conflict

France was immediately confronted with the beginnings of the decolonisation movement. In Algeria demonstrations in May 1945 were repressed with an estimated 6,000 Algerians killed.[79] In late May, a general strike in Syria was met by a French warship shelling Damascus for three days.[dubious ] Unrest in Haiphong, Indochina, in November 1945 was met by another warship bombarding the city.[80] Paul Ramadier's (SFIO) cabinet repressed the Malagasy Uprising in Madagascar in 1947. French officials estimated the number of Malagasy killed from a low of 11,000 to a French Army estimate of 89,000.[81]

In Asia, Ho Chi Minh's Vietminh declared Vietnam's independence, starting the First Indochina War. The French Union's struggle against the independence movement, which was backed by the Soviet Union and China. The war dragged on until 1954 when a new French government pulled out.[82]

In France's African colonies, Cameroun, the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon's insurrection, started in 1955 and headed by Ruben Um Nyobé, was violently repressed over a two-year period, with perhaps as many as 100 people killed.

French involvement in Algeria stretched back a century. Ferhat Abbas and Messali Hadj's movements had marked the period between the two wars, but both sides radicalised after the Second World War. In 1945, the Sétif massacre was carried out by the French army. The Algerian War started in 1954. Atrocities characterized both sides, and the number killed became highly controversial estimates that were made for propaganda purposes.[83] Algeria was a three-way conflict due to the large number of "pieds-noirs" (Europeans who had settled there in the 125 years of French rule). The political crisis in France caused the collapse of the Fourth Republic, as Charles de Gaulle returned to power in 1958 and finally pulled the French soldiers and settlers out of Algeria by 1962.[84][85]

The French Union was replaced in the new 1958 Constitution of 1958 by the French Community. Only Guinea refused by referendum to take part in the new colonial organisation. However, the French Community dissolved itself in the midst of the Algerian War; almost all of the other African colonies were granted independence in 1960, following local referendums. Some few colonies chose instead to remain part of France, under the status of overseas départements (territories). Critics of neocolonialism claimed that the Françafrique had replaced formal direct rule. They argued that while de Gaulle was granting independence on one hand, he was creating new ties with the help of Jacques Foccart, his counsellor for African matters. Foccart supported in particular the Nigerian Civil War during the late 1960s.[86]

Robert Aldrich argues that with Algerian independence in 1962, it appeared that the Empire practically had come to an end, as the remaining colonies were quite small and lacked active nationalist movements. However, there was trouble in French Somaliland (Djibouti), which became independent in 1977. There also were complications and delays in the New Hebrides Vanuatu, which was the last to gain independence in 1980. New Caledonia remains a special case under French suzerainty.[87] The Indian Ocean island of Mayotte voted in referendum in 1974 to retain its link with France and forgo independence.[88]

Demographics

French census statistics from 1931 show an imperial population, outside of France itself, of 64.3 million people living on 11.9 million square kilometers. Of the total population, 39.1 million lived in Africa and 24.5 million lived in Asia; 700,000 lived in the Caribbean area or islands in the South Pacific. The largest colonies were Indochina with 21.5 million (in five separate colonies), Algeria with 6.6 million, Morocco, with 5.4 million, and West Africa with 14.6 million in nine colonies. The total includes 1.9 million Europeans, and 350,000 "assimilated" natives.[89]

French Empire 1919-1939.png

Population of the French Empire between 1919 and 1939
 1921   1926   1931   1936 
Metropolitan France 39,140,000 40,710,000 41,550,000 41,500,000
Colonies, protectorates, and mandates 55,556,000 59,474,000 64,293,000 69,131,000
Total 94,696,000 100,184,000 105,843,000 110,631,000
Percentage of the world population 5.02% 5.01% 5.11% 5.15%
Sources: INSEE,[90] SGF[91]

French settlers

The deportation order is read to a group of Acadians in 1755.
The deportation order is read to a group of Acadians in 1755.

Unlike elsewhere in Europe, France experienced relatively low levels of emigration to the Americas, with the exception of the Huguenots in British or Dutch colonies. France generally had close to the slowest natural population growth in Europe, and emigration pressures were therefore quite small. A small but significant emigration, numbering only in the tens of thousands, of mainly Roman Catholic French populations led to the settlement of the provinces of Acadia, Canada and Louisiana, both (at the time) French possessions, as well as colonies in the West Indies, Mascarene islands and Africa. In New France, Huguenots were banned from settling in the territory, and Quebec was one of the most staunchly Catholic areas in the world until the Quiet Revolution. The current French Canadian population, which numbers in the millions, is descended almost entirely from New France's small settler population.

On 31 December 1687 a community of French Huguenots settled in South Africa. Most of these originally settled in the Cape Colony, but have since been quickly absorbed into the Afrikaner population. After Champlain's founding of Quebec City in 1608, it became the capital of New France. Encouraging settlement was difficult, and while some immigration did occur, by 1763 New France only had a population of some 65,000.[92]

In 1787, there were 30,000 white colonists on France's colony of Saint-Domingue. In 1804 Dessalines, the first ruler of an independent Haiti (St. Domingue), ordered the massacre of whites remaining on the island.[93] Out of the 40,000 inhabitants on Guadeloupe, at the end of the 17th century, there were more than 26,000 blacks and 9,000 whites.[94] Bill Marshall wrote, "The first French effort to colonize Guiana, in 1763, failed utterly when tropical diseases and climate killed all but 2,000 of the initial 12,000 settlers."[95]

French law made it easy for thousands of colons, ethnic or national French from former colonies of North and West Africa, India and Indochina to live in mainland France. It is estimated that 20,000 colons were living in Saigon in 1945. 1.6 million European pieds noirs migrated from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.[96] In just a few months in 1962, 900,000 French Algerians left Algeria in the largest relocation of population in Europe since World War II.[citation needed] In the 1970s, over 30,000 French colons left Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime as the Pol Pot government confiscated their farms and land properties. In November 2004, several thousand of the estimated 14,000 French nationals in Ivory Coast left the country after days of anti-white violence.[97]

Apart from French-Canadians (Québécois and Acadians), Cajuns, and Métis other populations of French ancestry outside metropolitan France include the Caldoches of New Caledonia, the so-called Zoreilles, Petits-blancs with the Franco-Mauritian of various Indian Ocean islands and the Beke people of the French West Indies.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Robert Aldrich, Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion (1996) p 304
  2. ^ Melvin E. Page, ed. (2003). Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 218.
  3. ^ Rein Taagepera (September 1997). "Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia". International Studies Quarterly. 41 (3): 501. doi:10.1111/0020-8833.00053. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  4. ^ Rein Taagepera (September 1997). "Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia". International Studies Quarterly. 41 (3): 502. doi:10.1111/0020-8833.00053. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  5. ^ Tony Chafer (2002). The End of Empire in French West Africa: France's Successful Decolonization?. Berg. pp. 84–85.
  6. ^ Julian Jackson, The Other Empire, Radio 3
  7. ^ Tony Chafer, The end of empire in French West Africa: France's successful decolonisation? (2002)see Chafer abstract Archived 14 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Robert Aldrich, Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion (1996) p 305. His section on "Ending the Empire" closes in 1980 with the independence of New Hebrides, p. 304.
  9. ^ Singer, Barnett & Langdon, John (2008). Cultured Force: Makers and Defenders of the French Colonial Empire. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780299199043.
  10. ^ Steven R. Pendery, "A Survey Of French Fortifications In The New World, 1530–1650." in First Forts: Essays on the Archaeology of Proto-colonial Fortifications ed by Eric Klingelhofer (Brill 2010) pp. 41-64.
  11. ^ Marcel Trudel, The Beginnings of New France, 1524-1663 (McClelland & Stewart, 1973).
  12. ^ James R. Miller, Skyscrapers hide the heavens: A history of Indian-white relations in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2000).
  13. ^ Edward Robert Adair, "France and the Beginnings of New France." Canadian Historical Review 25.3 (1944): 246-278.
  14. ^ Helen Dewar, "Canada or Guadeloupe?: French and British Perceptions of Empire, 1760-1763." Canadian Historical Review 91.4 (2010): 637-660.
  15. ^ Carl J. Ekberg, French roots in the Illinois country: The Mississippi frontier in colonial times (U of Illinois Press, 2000).
  16. ^ Paul Cheney, Revolutionary Commerce: Globalization and the French Monarchy (2010)
  17. ^ H.P.Davis, Black Democracy The Story of Haiti (1928) pp 16-86 online free
  18. ^ a b c Andrew, C. M.
  19. ^ Andrew, C. M., and A. S. . KANYA-FORSTNER. "FRANCE, AFRICA, AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR." The Journal of African History 19.1 (1978): 11–23. Print.
  20. ^ Colin Gordon Calloway, The scratch of a pen: 1763 and the transformation of North America (2006). pp 165-69
  21. ^ Mimi Sheller, "The 'Haytian Fear': Racial Projects and Competing Reactions to the First Black Republic." Research in Politics and Society 6 (1999): 285-304.
  22. ^ Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015, 4th ed. McFarland. 9 May 2017. p. 142.
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  24. ^ Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492–2015, 4th ed. McFarland. 9 May 2017. p. 106.
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Further reading

  • Hutton, Patrick H. ed. Historical Dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870–1940 (2 vol 1986)
  • Northcutt, Wayne, ed. Historical Dictionary of the French Fourth and Fifth Republics, 1946- 1991 (1992)

Policies and colonies

  • Aldrich, Robert. Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion (1996)
  • Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (2001)
  • Baumgart, Winfried. Imperialism: The Idea and Reality of British and French Colonial Expansion, 1880–1914 (1982)
  • Betts, Raymond. Tricouleur: The French Overseas Empire (1978), 174pp
  • Betts, Raymond. Assimilation and Association in French Colonial Theory, 1890–1914 (2005) excerpt and text search
  • Burrows, Mathew (1986). "'Mission civilisatrice': French Cultural Policy in the Middle East, 1860–1914". The Historical Journal. 29 (1): 109–135. doi:10.1017/S0018246X00018641..
  • Chafer, Tony (2002). The End of Empire in French West Africa: France's Successful Decolonization?. Berg.
  • Clayton, Anthony. The Wars of French Decolonization (1995)
  • Conklin, Alice L. A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (1997) online
  • Evans, Martin. "From colonialism to post-colonialism: the French empire since Napoleon." in Martin S. Alexander, ed., French History since Napoleon (1999) pp: 391-415.
  • Jennings, Eric T. Imperial Heights: Dalat and the Making and Undoing of French Indochina (2010).
  • Lawrence, Adria. Imperial rule and the politics of nationalism: anti-colonial protest in the French empire (Cambridge UP, 2013).
  • Newbury, C. W.; Kanya-Forstner, A. S. (1969). "French Policy and the Origins of the Scramble for West Africa". The Journal of African History. 10 (2): 253–276. doi:10.2307/179514..
  • Klein, Martin A. Slavery and colonial rule in French West Africa (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
  • Manning, Patrick. Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa 1880-1995 (Cambridge UP, 1998). online
  • Neres, Philip. French-speaking West Africa: From Colonial Status to Independence (1962) online
  • Priestley, Herbert Ingram. France overseas: a study of modern imperialism (1938) 464pp.
  • Quinn, Frederick. The French Overseas Empire (2000) online
  • Pakenham, Thomas (1991). The Scramble for Africa, 1876–1912. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-51576-5..
  • Petringa, Maria (2006). Brazza, A Life for Africa. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. ISBN 1-4259-1198-6..
  • Priestley, Herbert Ingram. (1938) France overseas;: A study of modern imperialism 463pp; encyclopedic coverage as of late 1930s
  • Roberts, Stephen H. History of French Colonial Policy (1870-1925) (2 vol 1929) vol 1 online also vol 2 online; Comprehensive scholarly history
  • Segalla, Spencer (2009). The Moroccan Soul: French Education, Colonial Ethnology, and Muslim Resistance, 1912–1956. Lincoln: Nebraska UP. ISBN 978-0-8032-1778-2..
  • Strother, Christian. "Waging War on Mosquitoes: Scientific Research and the Formation of Mosquito Brigades in French West Africa, 1899–1920." Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences (2016): jrw005.
  • Thomas, Martin. The French Empire Between the Wars: Imperialism, Politics and Society (2007) covers 1919–1939
  • Thompson, Virginia, and Richard Adloff. French West Africa (Stanford UP, 1958).
  • Wellington, Donald C. French East India companies: A historical account and record of trade (Hamilton Books, 2006)
  • Wesseling, H.L. and Arnold J. Pomerans. Divide and rule: The partition of Africa, 1880–1914 (Praeger, 1996.) online
  • Wesseling, H.L. The European Colonial Empires: 1815-1919 (Routledge, 2015).

Decolonization

  • Betts, Raymond F. Decolonization (2nd ed. 2004)
  • Betts, Raymond F. France and Decolonisation, 1900-1960 (1991)
  • Chafer, Tony. The end of empire in French West Africa: France's successful decolonization (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002).
  • Chamberlain, Muriel E. ed. Longman Companion to European Decolonisation in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2014)
  • Clayton, Anthony. The wars of French decolonization (Routledge, 2014).
  • Cooper, Frederick. "French Africa, 1947–48: Reform, Violence, and Uncertainty in a Colonial Situation." Critical Inquiry (2014) 40#4 pp: 466-478. in JSTOR
  • Ikeda, Ryo. The Imperialism of French Decolonisation: French Policy and the Anglo-American Response in Tunisia and Morocco (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
  • Jansen, Jan C. & Jürgen Osterhammel. Decolonization: A Short History (princeton UP, 2017). online
  • Jones, Max, et al. "Decolonising imperial heroes: Britain and France." Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42#5 (2014): 787-825.
  • Lawrence, Adria K. Imperial Rule and the Politics of Nationalism: Anti-Colonial Protest in the French Empire (Cambridge UP, 2013) online reviews
  • McDougall, James. "The Impossible Republic: The Reconquest of Algeria and the Decolonization of France, 1945–1962," The Journal of Modern History 89#4 (December 2017) pp 772-811 excerpt
  • Rothermund, Dietmar. Memories of Post-Imperial Nations: The Aftermath of Decolonization, 1945-2013 (2015) excerpt; Compares the impact on Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Italy and Japan
  • Rothermund, Dietmar. The Routledge companion to decolonization (Routledge, 2006), comprehensive global coverage; 365pp
  • Shepard, Todd. The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (2006)
  • Simpson, Alfred William Brian. Human Rights and the End of Empire: Britain and the Genesis of the European Convention (Oxford University Press, 2004).
  • Smith, Tony. "A comparative study of French and British decolonization." Comparative Studies in Society and History (1978) 20#1 pp: 70-102. online
  • Smith, Tony. "The French Colonial Consensus and People's War, 1946-58." Journal of Contemporary History (1974): 217-247. in JSTOR
  • Thomas, Martin, Bob Moore, and Lawrence J. Butler. Crises of Empire: Decolonization and Europe's imperial states (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015)
  • Von Albertini, Rudolf. Decolonization: the Administration and Future of the Colonies, 1919-1960 (Doubleday, 1971), scholarly analysis of French policies, pp 265-469..

Images and impact on France

  • Andrew, C. M.; Kanya-Forstner, A. S. (1976). "French Business and the French Colonialists". The Historical Journal. 19 (4): 981–1000. doi:10.1017/S0018246X00010803..
  • August, Thomas G. The Selling of the Empire: British and French Imperialist Propaganda, 1890–1940 (1985)
  • Chafer, Tony, and Amanda Sackur. Promoting the Colonial Idea: Propaganda and Visions of Empire in France (2002) online
  • Confer, Vincent (1964). "French Colonial Ideas before 1789". French Historical Studies. 3 (3): 338–359. doi:10.2307/285947..
  • Conkin, Alice L. A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (1997) online
  • Dobie, Madeleine. Trading Places: Colonization & Slavery in 18th-Century French Culture (2010)
  • Freundschuh, Aaron. The Courtesan and the Gigolo: The Murders in the Rue Montaigne and the Dark Side of Empire in Nineteenth-Century Paris, Stanford University Press (2017). ISBN 1-50360-082-3
  • Martin, Guy (1985). "The Historical, Economic, and Political Bases of France's African Policy". The Journal of Modern African Studies. 23 (2): 189–208. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00000148..
  • Rosenblum, Mort. Mission to Civilize: The French Way (1986) online review
  • Rothermund, Dietmar. Memories of Post-Imperial Nations: The Aftermath of Decolonization, 1945-2013 (2015) excerpt; Compares the impact on Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal, Italy and Japan
  • Singer, Barnett, and John Langdon. Cultured Force: Makers and Defenders of the French Colonial Empire (2008)
  • Thomas, Martin, ed. The French Colonial Mind, Volume 1: Mental Maps of Empire and Colonial Encounters (France Overseas: Studies in Empire and D) (2012); The French Colonial Mind, Volume 2: Violence, Military Encounters, and Colonialism (2012)

Historiography and memoir

  • Bennington, Alice. "Writing Empire? The Reception of Post-Colonial Studies in France." Historical Journal (2016) 59#4: 1157-1186. abstract
  • Dubois, Laurent. "The French Atlantic," in Atlantic History: A Critical Appraisal, ed. by Jack P. Greene and Philip D. Morgan, (Oxford UP, 2009) pp 137–61
  • Dwyer, Philip. "Remembering and Forgetting in Contemporary France: Napoleon, Slavery, and the French History Wars," French Politics, Culture & Society (2008) 26#3 pp 110–122.
  • Emerson, Rupert (1969). "Colonialism". Journal of Contemporary History. 4 (1): 3–16. doi:10.1177/002200946900400101..
  • Greer, Allan. "National, Transnational, and Hypernational Historiographies: New France Meets Early American History," Canadian Historical Review, (2010) 91#4 pp 695–724, in Project MUSE
  • Hodson, Christopher, and Brett Rushforth, "Absolutely Atlantic: Colonialism and the Early Modern French State in Recent Historiography," History Compass, (January 2010) 8#1 pp 101–117
  • Lawrence, Adria K. Imperial Rule and the Politics of Nationalism: Anti-Colonial Protest in the French Empire (Cambridge UP, 2013) online reviews

External links

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