Battle of the Smala
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|Battle of the Smala|
|Part of the French conquest of Algeria|
Capture of the Smala of Abd El-Kader, 16 May 1843 by Horace Vernet.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale|
|Casualties and losses|
more than 5,500 captured of which 1,200 were executed in captivity
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'Orleans, duke of Aumale, raided the encampment (known as a smala or zmelah) of Algerian resistance leader Abd al-Qadir 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 3,000 of al-Qadir's followers (out of a camp population of 30,000) were captured, as were many of his possessions, including his warchest and a library valued at £5,000. Three days later, another 2,500 followers were captured.
Al-Qadir fled to Morocco later that year, triggering French pressure on Morocco and the advent of the First Franco-Moroccan War in 1844. He was eventually captured in 1847, ending major Algerian resistance to the French colonial occupation.
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