Algeria History – Department of Algiers

Outside of Kabylia, the Tellian Atlas no longer has such a uniformly mountainous character, but is sprinkled with sublittoral plains, especially developed to the W.: Mitidja, plain of Chélif, plains of Orano, and which, beyond Kabilia, also reappear in E .: plain of Bona. These lowlands, with their deep humus, were the support point and the radiating center of the colonization.

Algeria, treated as an extension of the metropolis, was administratively divided into three departments, similar to the French departments, although much larger: the departments of Algiers, Orano and Constantine. This division into departments includes all of Algeria, and the borders of the departments themselves, drawn hastily, without the collaboration of time, outside the Tell, do not always correspond to natural borders. In the Tell itself, an administrative border divides Kabylia into two parts; the sub-prefecture of Tizi-Ouzou depends on Algiers, and that of Bugia depends on Constantina. But in colonized Tell the division into departments is not so artificial; it is the only one that responds to the present condition of things. The earlier indigenous life,

Department of Algiers. – The heart of the department of Algiers is the great plain of Mitidja, which has all the conditions necessary for agricultural prosperity. 700 to 800 millimeters of rain fall here. In the mountains (Blida Atlas) the persistence of snow on the ground allows a certain development of winter sports.

Thanks to these climatic conditions, it has been possible to enhance a wonderfully fertile land. However, we must keep in mind the central situation, in the vicinity of a natural border between two very different sectors of the Tell, the mountains of Kabylia to the east, between which Mitidia is half wedged, and, to the west, the chain of sublittoral plains., which extends beyond the border of Morocco and of which the Mitidja is the first ring. It is no coincidence that the Mitidja area has been, over the centuries, the seat of great capitals. The Roman Caesarea (the French Cherchell) is an ancestor of Algiers (the Tombeau de la Chrétienne, sepulcher of the kings of Cherchell, can be seen from Algiers). On the meridian of Algiers, on the southern border of the Tell, near Boghari, Achir was another great capital, that of the Ṣanhāgiah emirs. For Algeria 2009, please check

A historic road, which roughly corresponds to the current route of the railway, connected Achir-Boghari to the coast. It was flanked by Médéa and Miliana, two cities (today sub-prefectures) which were always closely linked to the fate of Algiers. At the time of the Turks, Médéa was a governorate subject to that of Algiers. In the first years of the French conquest, the provisioning of Médéa and Miliana was always the preponderant subject of all discussions referring to the Algiers garrison. Currently Médéa and Miliana, despite being renowned for their excellent wines, are in great decline; especially Miliana, which was once located right on the ridge road, is now nestled at the foot of the mountain, many hundreds of meters above its station.

The real capital of Mitidja is Blida, the city of orange trees, which is also the seat of a sub-prefecture; but, like all the others, it is overwhelmed by Algiers.

Mitidja and the hills of the Sahel, which separate it from the sea, perhaps constitute the part of Algeria where the elimination of the indigenous, due to economic progress, has reached the highest degree. Upon their arrival, the French found the Sahel covered with dwarf palms and mastic trees, and the Mitidja dotted with marshes and dense woods, where Bonbonnel could still go panther hunting. At present, there is not an inch of wasteland left. In 1913 the hectare had a minimum value of around ten thousand francs, not to mention today’s figures, which are even fabulous. We learn from historians that, under Louis Philippe, in Mitidia there were Hadjoutes knights, who gave French soldiers a lot of trouble; now it is impossible to imagine what their descendants may have become. All the tribes are dispersed, and the remaining natives have adapted to common life in European villages. According to the 1921 census, in the city of Algiers, out of a total population of 195,635 residents, There were only 47,669 indigenous people.

Algeria History - Algiers