The completion of the conquest of Algeria

The completion of the conquest of Algeria

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Title: Storming of Zaatcha by Colonel Canrobert, November 26, 1849.

Author : BEAUCE Jean-Adolphe (1818 - 1875)

Creation date : 1855

Date shown: November 26, 1849

Dimensions: Height 237 - Width 388

Technique and other indications: Commissioned by Napoleon III for the historical museum of Versailles Oil on canvas

Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowskisite web

Picture reference: 98DE24298 / MV 1942

Storming of Zaatcha by Colonel Canrobert, November 26, 1849.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

The surrender of Abd el-Kader in December 1847 did not mark the end of resistance to French occupation in Algeria. The oases successively fell into the hands of the French, sometimes after hard fighting: Zaatcha in 1849, Laghouat in 1852,

Touggourt in 1854. Under the Third Republic, he was one of the leaders of the Bonapartist party.

Image Analysis

This painting represents the capture of Zaatcha, an oasis occupied at the end of 1849. In the booklet for the Salon of 1857, we can read about him: " The signal is given. The charge rings. The attacking column on the right, made up of two battalions of Zouaves, the 5th battalion of chasseurs à pied, a hundred elite men from the 16th line and thirty engineers, rushed into the breach. Colonel Canrobert of the Zouaves marches at the head of this column. Four officers, sixteen non-commissioned officers or soldiers of good will accompany him. Two of these officers are killed (Messrs. Toussaint and Rosetti des spahis); two were wounded (Messrs. Besson from the staff and Dechard from the Zouaves); out of sixteen soldiers twelve were killed or wounded. The irresistible momentum of this column contributed powerfully to the capture of the city. (Monitor January 4, 1850.) (Emperor's M [aison].) »


The glorious military epic of the July monarchy and then of the Second Republic, the conquest of Algeria had in particular for historiographer the painter Horace Vernet, who staged, according to the very right expression of a critic of the time, the "intelligent figures of these peaceful warriors and administrators ”. Intended for the Versailles museum, this retrospective composition, paid for 3,000 francs to the painter Jean-Adolphe Beaucé, was not commissioned until under the Second Empire, to join, in the room of the Conquest of Algeria, the Taking of the Smalah of Abd el-Kader, a masterpiece by Horace Vernet, and the Capture of Laghouat by General Pélissier, December 4, 1852, from the same Beaucé. Painter of battles, Beaucé exhibited regularly at the Salon from 1839 to 1868. The ease of his compositions imprinted with reminiscences of Vernet and the quality of his palette explain the notoriety of this artist who also painted portraits of Marshal Count d'Ornano for Versailles (Salon of 1863,) and Marshal Bazaine (Salon of 1867).

  • Algeria
  • battles
  • colonial conquest
  • Second Republic
  • Napoleon III


Charles- Robert AGERON History of contemporary Algeria Paris, PUF, 1979.

D. CLOGGED History of French colonization , t.2, Flux et reflux, 1815-1952 Paris Fayard, 1991.

A. CORVISIER (dir.) Military history of France , t.2, 1715-1871 Paris, PUF, 1992.

J. MARTIN The Renaissance Empire, 1789-1871 Paris, Denoël, 1987.

J. MEYER, J. TARRADE, A. REY-GOLDZEIGUER Colonial history of France , t.1, The conquest Paris, Armand Colin, Agora Pocket collection, 1991.

To cite this article

Robert FOHR and Pascal TORRÈS, "The completion of the conquest of Algeria"

Video: A Detailed History of Algeria, 1830-2019


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