Battle of the Smala

The Battle of the Smala was fought in 1843 between France and Algerian resistance fighters during the French conquest of Algeria. The French, led by Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale, raided the personal encampment (Arabic: زمالة zmala) of Algerian resistance leader Emir Abdelkader al-Jazairi on 16 May 1843 while al-Qadir was absent on a raiding expedition. The 500 French cavalrymen surprised the camp defenders, who fired a single volley before scattering. More than 3000 of al-Qadir's followers out of a camp population of 30,000 were captured, as were many of his possessions, including his war chest and a library valued at £5000. Three days later, another 2500 followers were captured.

Battle of the Smala
Part of the French conquest of Algeria
Prise de la smalah d Abd-El-Kader a Taguin 16 mai 1843 Horace Vernet.jpg
Capture of the Smala of Abd El-Kader, 16 May 1843 by Horace Vernet.
Date16 May 1843
Result French victory
France Kingdom of France Dz flag-Abdelkader.png Emirate of Mascara
Commanders and leaders
France Henri d'Orléans Dz flag-Abdelkader.png Emir Abdelkader
500 cavalry 2,000 infantry
1,200 cavalry
Camp followers
Casualties and losses
9 dead
12 wounded
300 dead
3,000 captured

Al-Qadir fled to Morocco later that year, triggering French pressure on Morocco and the advent of the Franco-Moroccan War in 1844. He was eventually captured in 1847, ending major Algerian resistance to the French colonial occupation.

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Coordinates: 34°57′N 5°39′E / 34.95°N 5.65°E / 34.95; 5.65