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Old December 30th, 2016, 04:08 PM   #1

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Why didn't France annex Tunisia like it did with (northern) Algeria?


Why didn't France annex Tunisia like it did with (northern) Algeria?

Basically, I could understand France not annexing Morocco (for one, Morocco had a long history of independence), but why didn't France annex Tunisia?
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Old December 30th, 2016, 04:19 PM   #2

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Note: only the northern part of Algeria was annexed.

Algeria is closer to France.
Tunisia was colonised half a century after Algeria.
There were already 100.000 French settlers in Algeria in 1851, 30 years before France got Tunisia.

Last edited by Offspring; December 30th, 2016 at 04:22 PM.
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Old December 30th, 2016, 04:31 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offspring View Post
Note: only the northern part of Algeria was annexed.
Yes; correct!

Quote:
Algeria is closer to France.
True, but it's still not very close.

Quote:
Tunisia was colonised half a century after Algeria.
There were already 100.000 French settlers in Algeria in 1851, 30 years before France got Tunisia.
Please keep in mind, though, that Tunisia probably had much less people than Algeria had and thus would have been possible to colonize to some extent even with a later start in comparison to Algeria.
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Old December 30th, 2016, 04:47 PM   #4

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Why bother?

More settlers => they need more protection;
more protection => more settlers come => more protection needed => etc.

Algeria was the better choice (some did go to Morocco and Tunisia). It was safer and the settlers were privileged. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indig%C3%A9nat
Even before that, they were able to buy land cheaper than the natives (so, they were encouraged to settle there). The Indigénat never applied to Morocco and Tunisia.

50 years of annexation meant you already had a well established community there, so it doesn't seem like there was a need to annex Tunisia. Maybe if that part of Algeria ever got too crowded, then it would make sense to consider it.
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True, but it's still not very close.
No, but it's closer. That + being the first one they captured in that area => snowball effect.
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Old December 30th, 2016, 07:19 PM   #5

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The political context was different, there was a complex and strong colonial competition between European powers.

1- Fierce opposition from Great Britain on 1857 ( when French completed the conquest of Algeria and began to consider that of Tunisia) fearing that an occupation of Bizerte would cut off its access to the eastern Mediterranean.

2- Attempt of Italian conquest.
Italy attempting to profit from the French defeat against Prussia by imposing its preponderance in Tunisia, sent its fleet invest Tunis on March 1871.
Strong opposition from Great Britain and Turkey which supported the French who still had ambitions on Tunisia, and pushed back the Italian.
But Turkey took the opportunity to reaffirm its suzerainty over Tunis strongly weakened by the debt.

3- 1878 Berlin Congress.
In exchange for the acceptance of the occupation of Cyprus, the British raised their veto to that of Tunisia by the French.

4- 1878-1881 struggles of economic influences between French and Italian.

5- April-May 1881 French military intervention, revolts and sporadic wars till December 1881.
Signature of the Bardo treaty establishing a protectorate over Tunisia so as not to collide with Italy.
To avoid the hostility of other European powers, the terms of the Bardo treaty are very limited, military occupation of some points of the Tunis Regency and abandonment of the external sovereignty which had never formally existed because dependant of the Ottomans.

Last edited by phil1904; December 30th, 2016 at 08:29 PM.
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Old December 31st, 2016, 02:13 PM   #6

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Great and very informative posts, you guys!

Also, I've got a question--do you have any good sources of information about France's interest in Tunisia back in 1857?
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Old December 31st, 2016, 08:34 PM   #7
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I think they should have taken Tunisia and that way they could have created a French majority state in a smaller territory
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Old January 1st, 2017, 01:40 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatstreetwarrior View Post
I think they should have taken Tunisia and that way they could have created a French majority state in a smaller territory
Achieving a European-majority state in Tunisia might have been very difficult even without both World Wars, though.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 02:14 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurist View Post

Basically, I could understand France not annexing Morocco (for one, Morocco had a long history of independence),
Can you though?

It certainly wasn't out of respect for any 'long history of independence'. Morocco naturally and historically falls into the Spanish 'sphere'. It was the great weakness of Spain compared to the great powers of the later 19th and early 20th century that allowed France to expand it's protectorate into large parts of Morocco, leaving Spain with only the upper part.

However Britain and Germany (and presumably Russia) would not be having anything of France taking over it all, in any shape or form. As it was, the large French military presence 'next door' was very useful for under-equipped Spain in the troubles within their own protectorate and the two worked quite well at times.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 03:35 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Futurist View Post
Great and very informative posts, you guys!

Also, I've got a question--do you have any good sources of information about France's interest in Tunisia back in 1857?
Dear Futurist sorry for the delay, i' ve got good sources but they are french, therefore i recomand you this major book about French colonialism, if you're interested .
https://www.mysciencework.com/public...534ffd57b67f2f
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