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Northern Africa.

Africa, Mediaeval and Modern.
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The spread of Islam in this region has been already recorded. Up to the 15th century much was done to make Mauritania, Soudan, and the Sahara known to the world, through the work of Arab (Moorish) explorers and writers. As regards Egypt, we have seen that the country became part of the Eastern (Greek or Byzantine) Empire, and then, by Mohammedan conquest, a province of the Caliph Omar. Arab governors, in the 9th and 10th centuries, became practically independent, and then the country was conquered by a line of Fatimi caliphs, heretical (Shi'ah) rulers descended from AH and Fatima, Mohammed's daughter. They founded modern Cairo in 969, with its famous University and some of the chief mosques. In 1169 the dynasty was deposed by the Kurd commander Salah-ed-din, the renowned Saladin of the Crusades, who fortified Cairo and built the citadel. We have seen the fortunes of the country in the Crusade period. The bodyguard of the last prince of Saladin's line was composed of the celebrated Mamelukes (Mamluks), meaning "white slaves," introduced by him from the Caucasus and Asia Minor. It was they who played the chief part in repelling the French invasion, with the capture of St. Louis (Louis IX.) in 1249, and in the following year, on their sultan's death, they usurped supreme power, and founded the line of "slave-kings," Turkish and Circassian Mamelukes, which ruled Egypt for over 250 years. The succession was not hereditary, but by choice of these Moslem "praetorians," on the ground of personal courage, strength, and achievement. Much -of the land was held by the troops on a kind of feudal tenure, and there were frequent conflicts between the supporters of rival lords or commanders. These Mameluke rulers of Egypt were very remarkable for their display of military violence and superficial semi-barbarism combined with a high degree of civilisation in government, luxury, and patronage of literature and art. Fighting fiercely in Palestine against Mongol hosts, in order to preserve the "holy places," they had diplomatic intercourse with Venice and France, and with Persia in the East. Tyrannical in rule, and cruel to all opponents, they were more enlightened in their methods of administration, and in promoting high culture, than any holders of power in Egypt since the Pharaohs, or, at least, since the time of Alexander the Great. Refined in their domestic life, they adorned Cairo with its fairest mosques; maintained a court of surpassing splendour; decorated their palaces with exquisite works in brass, engraved and inlaid, in ivory and wood-carvings, tile and stone-work, mosaic pavements, and enamelled glass. The judicial, legal, educational, and police arrangements; the naval and military systems; the postal service, engineering, and irrigation-works, were far in advance of the age, and they rank, as Turks of really civilised tastes and performances, among the surprising things of history.

It was a grievous matter for Egypt when the Ottoman Turks, under Selim I., became masters of the country in 1517. Corrupt pashas were then in nominal power, with Mameluke beys holding real rule in the provinces, until 1798, when the Mamelukes, in their last gleam of glory, fought bravely against Napoleon's soldiers. The British occupation of the country, and its restoration to the Porte, have been recorded. A revival came with the pashaship of Mohammed (Mehemet) Ali in 1805. The country was disturbed by the contests of rival Mameluke commanders, and the energetic new ruler resolved to be rid of the whole body. A portion were -massacred in 1805. A British expedition in 1807, under General Fraser, aimed at restoring the supremacy of the rest, then at open war in Upper Egypt against the Pasha, at a time when Great Britain was engaged in hostilities with Turkey. When he heard of the landing of the British, the pasha at once patched up a peace with the Mamelukes and marched northwards. Alexandria had surrendered to a force of 5,000 men embarked at Messina, and then Rosetta was entered by Fraser with 1,500 men, who were repulsed with great loss by firing from the house-tops and windows. Another force, under General Stewart, of 2,500 men, was compelled to retreat with severe loss, and the matter ended with the evacuation of the country by Fraser, and the surrender of the British prisoners It had been arranged with the Mamelukes that the whole corps should reside at Cairo, and most of them fixed their residence at Gizeh, near the city. They then intrigued with the Pasha of Acre for an attack on Mohammed AM and the remnant of his troops, when the main Egyptian army, at the command of his suzerain, the Turkish Sultan, should have started on an expedition against the Wahabis in Arabia, who had, as we have seen, seized Mecca and Medina. The Pasha was, however, aware of the plot through the bought treachery of a confidant of the Mameluke commander, and he craftily laid his plans for punishment. In March, 1811, at a, festivity to which the Mamelukes had been invited in Cairo citadel, they were suddenly assailed in a narrow way, between the outer and inner walls of the fortress, by infantry-fire at close quarters from the walls, and the survivors who surrendered were at once beheaded. Nearly the whole body perished there and, in the course of the month, at various towns and villages in Upper Egypt. Twenty-four heads of beys and other chief men were sent to Constantinople.

Under Mohammed Ali's rule a regular Egyptian army was formed, irrigation was improved, and some elements of European civilisation arose. His son Ibrahim conquered part of Arabia in 1816, and in 1820 Nubia and part of the Soudan were annexed. We have noted the part taken by Egyptian troops in Greece during the war of liberation, and the destruction of the fleet at Navarino in 1827. Ibrahim evacuated the Morea in the following year, and then, in pursuance of his father's ambitious schemes against the Sultan, he undertook the conquest of Syria, routing the Ottoman forces, and advancing through Asia Minor to the Bosphorus. Peace came through the intervention of the Powers, and Mohammed Ali held Syria for some years as a fief from the Sultan. In 1839 the Turkish troops employed to reconquer Syria were defeated by Ibrahim at Nisib, on the Euphrates, in a battle remarkable for the presence, on the beaten side, of Captain von Moltke, afterwards the illustrious strategist of the Austro-Prussian and Franco-German wars. He was on the staff of the Turkish general as military adviser, but at the critical moment his words were unheeded. A rout ensued in which von Moltke and two Prussian officers had to ride for their lives. The Turkish fleet, through the treachery of its commander, came into Mohammed Ali's possession, and the Pasha of Egypt seemed likely to dethrone and succeed the Sultan; but the Powers intervened, and British and Austrian naval operations on the Syrian coast, with the seizure of St. Jean d'Acre by the British, compelled the withdrawal of Mohammed Ali from his conquest, with the retention of only the pashaship of Egypt as hereditary, under the Porte as suzerain. His abdication from mental imbecility in 1848, and the almost immediate death of his son and successor Ibrahim, brought to the throne his grandson Abbas Pasha, succeeded in 1854 by Mohammed Ali's youngest son Sa'id Pasha. M. de Lesseps was then enabled to undertake the construction of the Suez Canal, completed in 1869 under Ismail Pasha, son of Ibrahim. Ismail, succeeding his uncle Sa'id in 1863, had purchased from the Sultan the hereditary title of "Khedive" (sovereign) in 1866, with direct succession of power from father to son, instead of by the Turkish law of descent to the eldest male of the family.

In this secure position, Ismail plunged into vast expenses for the advancement of the country. The completion of the Suez Canal; the increase of telegraphs and railways; the construction of roads, lighthouses, and bridges; a new postal service; the improvement of harbours at Port Said, Suez, and Alexandria; the spread of education, and other schemes of internal reform, piled up a great debt in loans, and caused, in 1875, the sale to Great Britain of about half the shares in the Suez Canal. The dominions were extended southwards by the annexation of Dar-Fur in 1874, and by further conquests, and attempts were made to suppress the slave-trade through the action of Sir Samuel Baker and Charles Gordon, successive governors in the Soudan. It was the financial difficulty which started the "Egyptian question," still before the political and diplomatic world. The Khedive, in his distress, applied to the British government to aid him with loans, but no good security was forthcoming, and, after inquiries into the condition of affairs by various British and French financiers, a "dual control" exercised by Great Britain and France brought Egyptian revenue and expenditure under proper management. Further misrule caused Ismail's deposition by the Sultan, at the instance of the two Western Powers, in 1879, and his eldest son, Prince Tewfik, became Khedive. European intervention caused the rise of a hostile native party, and in 1881 the military revolt under Arabi Pasha brought events known from British history. In Tune, 1882, a rising against foreigners, and the slaughter of English and French residents at Alexandria, was followed by the bombardment of the forts by a British fleet, the faring of the city by the mob, the murder of about 2,000 Europeans, the restoration of order by British sailors and marines, and the occupation of Egypt by British forces. Sir Garnet (Lord) Wolseley won the battles of Kassassm and Tel-el-Kebir, and the surrender of Cairo and capture of Arabi sent him an exile to Ceylon. The rule of the country has since, to the great advantage of the people, been put on a new basis by Lord Cromer (Sir Evelyn Baring) and able coadjutors.

Tunis, having many bays and ports suitable for Mediterranean commerce and naval enterprise, was invaded and occupied by French and Navarrese forces in 1270, but little use was made of the acquisition, and it was soon again in Moorish possession, and became a centre of corsair-raids, under the famous Barbarossa, early in the 16th century. The expedition of Charles V. placed it in Christian hands for a time, but in 1575 the country was wholly subdued by the Ottoman Turks, and the beys, at first high officials under the pashas, and then hereditary sovereigns, enriched themselves by piracy on Christian vessels. Their insolence, and the apathy of the great European governments, in the 18th century, appear almost incredible in these days. A French consul, in 1740; a British envoy, in 1762; and the government of Austria, in 1784; made ignominious submission, in servile dread, to the demands of these marauders, and Spain, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and the United States, at the very end of that century, were tributaries of the beys, paying sums of money for treaties to secure their mercantile vessels from attack. Lord Exmouth, afterwards the victor of Algiers, was the first to deal firmly with the government of Tunis, forcing the bey, by threats of hostilities, to sign a treaty, in 1816, for the abolition of Christian slavery throughout his dominions. After the great bombardment of Algiers, piracy began to cease in the Mediterranean, and Tunis made great progress under some enlightened and reforming sovereigns. In 1881 the country was invaded, on a frivolous pretence, by French troops, and a "protectorate" was established, followed by the virtual annexation of the territory, now administered by the French Foreign Office.

Tripoli, conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century, annexed for a time by Spain in 1510, and held by the Knights of St. John, on their expulsion by the Turks from Rhodes, from 1523 till 1551, was then finally conquered by Turkey. The ports were, like many others in the Barbary States, the centres of the piracy which preyed upon maritime Christendom down to the earlier years of the 19th century. In 1715 a pasha, assuming the title of "bey" ("lord"), made the country semi-independent of Turkey, and his successors, for more than a century, were mere impudent pirates and blackmailers of commerce. In 1801 the Tripolitan ruler, after shameless demands for money and cannon and small-arms from the United States government, as the price of immunity for American ships, chopped down the flagstaff of the American Consulate at Tripoli. The United States took up the scoundrel's challenge, and sent men-of-war to the Mediterranean. After some delays, from various causes, and the loss of the frigate Philadelphia, 36 guns, by running ashore, under hostile fire, on the Tripoli coast, an American squadron, in July, 1804, bombarded Tripoli, and then maintained a blockade, forcing the bey to satisfactory terms in June, 1805. In 1816 Lord Exmouth compelled the bey to abolish Christian slavery, and the piratical state came again under full Turkish authority in 1835. About the middle of the 19th century a "prophet" named Senusi arose, and on his death in 1860 his son, styling himself the "Mahdi" ("the guided, well-directed, one"), or Moslem Messiah for the restoration of all things, gained a large following in northern Africa, composed of austere fanatics banded in hostility to foreign and infidel influences.

Algeria, the capital of which was built early in the loth century by an Arab chief, was split up into many small territories late in the 13th century, after being long ruled by the Almohades dynasty whom we have met in Spanish history. Its career as a piratical state began, early in the 16th century, after the expulsion from Spain of the Moors and Jews, who settled in Algeria, and avenged themselves by preying on the commerce of Christians. The city was taken by Ferdinand of Spain; on his death it was occupied by the famous corsair Barbarossa, who left it in 1535 to become High Admiral of the Ottoman Empire. His successors Dragut, Sinan, and others kept up the game of piracy with great success, encouraged by the utter failure of Charles. V.'s great expedition in 1541. Under the rule of Pashas or Deys, subject to the Porte at Constantinople, the audacious sea-robbery continued, to the disgrace of the European nations - the British, Dutch, Spaniards, and French - whose commercial interests were most concerned, until Lord Ex-mouth, as we have seen, inflicted a heavy blow in 1816. Even then Algerine piracy was not wholly stayed, and its end came only with French conquest. In 1829 the Dey, after a two-years blockade of Algiers by a French squadron, dismissed a French envoy and fired upon his ship as he sailed away under a flag of truce. Open war was inevitable after such an outrage, and in May, 1830, a large fleet sailed from Toulon, with over 40,000 men aboard, including cavalry and artillery. Landing with little opposition, the invaders severely defeated an army of Arabs and Kabyles, a branch of the great Berber race of northern Africa, and forced the surrender of the city of Algiers, after a bombardment, early in July. The Dey, with his family, suite, and goods, sailed for Naples in a French frigate, and Algeria saw no more of Mohammedan rule. The story of French conquest cannot be given in detail. It is one not to the credit of the conquerors, being marked on their part by incapacity, cruelty, and perfidy seldom equalled in history. One famous commander after another, as Clausel and D'Erlon, failed in the attempt to subdue the tribes of the interior, roused by the "Marabouts" (devotees or ascetics) to a "holy war," in which a leading part was played by Abd-el-Kadr, emir of the Arab tribes of the province of Oran, and one of the noblest characters of modern history. With grand persistence and great strategical ability, this hero of Islam, from 1832 to 1847, fought the French, rallying swiftly after defeat, and baffling his foes by rapidity of movement. In June, 1835, he severely defeated a large French army at the river Maska, and won another brilliant victory in May, 1837, in the plain of the Metija. In spite of every effort, Abd-el-Kadr was compelled, by overwhelming numbers, sweeping the country in movable columns, to retire, in 1841, into Morocco. Emerging thence with fresh armies, in 1843 and ^44, he was defeated by the Due d'Aumale and by General Bugeaud, and, in December, 1847, recognising the inevitable, and desirous of ending useless bloodshed, the brave leader surrendered himself to General Lamoriciere, becoming a captive in France for five years, in direct violation of the terms of capitulation; liberated in 1852 by Louis Napoleon, with a large life-pension; earning the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour for his signal services in defending Christians during the Damascus massacres of 1860; and ending his days at that city in 1883. After the departure of Abd-el-Kadr, Algeria served the French, in many years of wretched guerilla-contests, as a school of warfare for armies under Pelissier, Canrobert, St. Arnaud, MacMahon, and other commanders afterwards distinguished in nobler scenes of action. The French rulers could not or would not conciliate; the French people cannot, in the true sense, colonise; and Algeria has always been, as it remains, a costly possession. In 1870, under the Third Republic in France, a step forward was made by the abolition of the old military government, and the country now enjoys peace and some degree of prosperity.

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Pictures for Northern Africa.

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