Ben Bella, Ahmed (1918–2012)
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This essay explores the life and work of Algerian politician, soldier, revolutionary, and first President of Algeria Ahmed Ben Bella (1918–1912).
From 1830 to 1962 Algeria was a French colony. The French occupation was marked by a long period of bloody conquest, and a mixture of disease and violence caused the indigenous population of Algiers to decline by a third between 1830 and 1872. Arab Algerians were discriminated against and were denied basic rights while hundreds of thousands of Europeans emigrated to Algeria. Under French colonialism two societies evolved in Algeria, a Muslim society based on a traditional economy and a European society which was heavily dependent on French capital and markets but also relied on Muslim labour. The two societies had relations of extreme inequality. French authorities had introduced capitalist property relations in landholding in the late nineteenth century, and...
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