n French Studies in Southern Africa - Conséquence de la colonisation française au Maghreb : division d'une communauté homogène et unie

Volume 2003, Issue 32
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



The Jews who settled in North Africa came from both East and West. The last wave of Jews came to the Maghreb from Spain, at the time of the Inquisition, in the 15th century. For hundred of years, the Jewish community who lived in symbiosis with the Muslims, formed a more or less homogeneous society. This situation changed with the arrival of the French in North Africa, Algeria becoming a colony in 1830, and Morocco a Protectorate only in 1909. Also crucial was the Crémieux law, passed in Paris in 1870, which conferred French citizenship upon Algerian Jews, with all the advantages in education, social position and economic benefits this entailed. However, in the 30s and 40s, many Algerian Jews and non Jews moved to Morocco to profit from economic opportunities, causing differences in culture and attitudes and eventually in Jewish identity, to become evident between the two Jewish groups living side by side in Morocco. Algerian Jews readily adopted the French culture and assimilated. This contributed to create a deep rift within this formerly cohesive society.

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