Ali III ibn al-Husayn

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Ali III Bey (Bey of Tunis, Tunisia)

Ali Bey (Arabic: أبو الحسن علي باشا باي بن الحسين‎) (La Marsa 14 August 1817 – La Marsa 11 June 1902)[1] was the Husainid Bey of Tunis from 1882 until his death.[2][3] He was the first ruler under the French protectorate.[1]

He was named Bey al-Mahalla (Heir Apparent) on 23 August 1863 by his brother Muhammad III as-Sadiq and was made a divisional General and placed at the head of an army column operating in the interior of the country (known in Tunisian Arabic as the 'mhalla') to assert beylical authority in remote regions, rendering justice in the name of the sovereign and collecting taxes from local tribes. A keen horseman, Ali Bey took personal charge of this work and undertook it thoroughly, twice a year - in the north of the country during the summer in Béja and El Kef, and in the south during the winter, in Kairouan and the towns further south. During the Mejba Revolt in 1864, while his ineffective brother remained in the Bardo palace, Ali put down the rebellion with Generals Ahmed Zarrouk, Rustum and Uthman.

Portrait of Ali III Bey

Following the French conquest of Tunisia and the signing of the Treaty of Bardo, Ali Bey succeeded his brother Muhammad III as-Sadiq on 29 October 1882. At the same time, he became an honorary Marshal in the army of the Ottoman Empire, as Tunisia was still nominally an Ottoman province.[2] His first act as sovereign was to accept the resignation of his father's old mamluk, the minister Mohammed Khaznadar, and replaced him, for the first time in the country's history, with a Grand Vizier of native (i.e. non-Turkish) extraction, Mohammed Aziz Bouattour.

On 8 June 1883, together with French Resident General Paul Cambon, he signed the Conventions of La Marsa in which he formally renounced his power while retaining nominal authority.,[2] The country remained under the occupation of the French expeditionary force of General Forgemol. The entire administration of the country, as well as control of the army, police and foreign affairs, was taken over by the colonial power.

On 5 April 1885 there was a political crisis arising from Cambon's decision to revoke the existing concession to supply water to the city of Tunis, which was valid for another eighteen years, and grant a new concession to a French company in which the brother of Prime Minister Jules Ferry had an interest. The entire city council of Tunis resigned, and a mass delegation of more than 2,000 notables from the souks and the traditional authorities of the city of Tunis came to at the palace of La Marsa, appealing for the Bey to revise the new municipal law and to repeal the water concession.[4] The old ruler, more popular than his late brother, was overcome with emotion at his inability to act on their petition. 'You have come to weep in the house of tears' he replied to them.[5] The colonial authorities took punitive action against the leaders of the demonstration without his being able to assist them. Cambon responded to this show of protest by sending leading figures into exile in El Kef and Gabes, and dismissing the top city officials from their posts on the grounds that they were 'fanatics hostile to the Protectorate'.[4]

Ali Bey met Sheikh Muhammad Abduh, one of the leading jurists and reformers in the Arab world, when he came to Tunis (December 1884-January 1885) to teach at the Zitouna mosque.[6]

Ali Bey withdrew increasingly from the affairs of state before he died. He was buried in the Tourbet el Bey mausoleum in the medina of Tunis and succeeded by his son Muhammad IV al-Hadi.[2]

Ali III Bey stamp

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Latest intelligence - Tunis". The Times (36792). London. 12 June 1902. p. 7. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Bedchamber of the Late Bey of Tunis, Kasr-el-Said, Tunisia". World Digital Library. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Elisabeth, Grand Duchess of Oldenburg; Weiberg, Thomas (2009). Zwischen Orient und Ostsee: Die Reisetagebücher der Großherzogin Elisabeth von Oldenburg (in German). Isensee Florian GmbH. p. 56. ISBN 978-3-89995-646-7. 
  4. ^ a b http://www.persee.fr/doc/outre_0300-9513_1967_num_54_194_1445 accessed 29/4/2017
  5. ^ Honoré Pontois, Les odeurs de Tunis, éd. Albert Savine, Paris, 1889, p. 298
  6. ^ http://www.persee.fr/doc/outre_0300-9513_1967_num_54_194_1445 accessed29/4/2017

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Muhammad III as-Sadiq
Bey of Tunis
1882–1902
Succeeded by
Muhammad IV al-Hadi