French North Africa

Map of France's North African possessions

French North Africa (French: Afrique du Nord française) is the term often applied to the territories controlled by France in the North African Maghreb during the colonial era. It encompassed French Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Unlike French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa, which existed as federations of French colonies and administrative entities in their own right, French North Africa was never more than a term of convenience to refer to the three separately governed territories.[1]

In the 19th century, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, which had loosely controlled the area since the 16th century, left the region vulnerable to other forces. In 1830, French troops captured Algiers and from 1848 until independence in 1962, France treated Mediterranean Algeria as an integral part of France, the Métropole or metropolitan France.[2] Seeking to expand their influence beyond Algeria, the French established protectorates to the east and west of it. The French protectorate of Tunisia was established in 1881, following a military invasion,[3] and the French protectorate in Morocco in 1912. These lasted until 1955, in the case of Morocco, and 1956, when Tunisia gained full independence.

French North Africa came to an end soon after the Évian Accords of March 1962, which enabled the Algerian independence referendum of July 1962.[4]

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