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Divided Rule Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia 1881

After invading Tunisia in 1881 the French installed a protectorate in which they shared power with the Tunisian ruling dynasty and due to the dynasty's treaties with other European powers with some of their imperial rivals This indirect form of colonization was intended to prevent the violent clashes marking France's outright annexation of neighboring Algeria But as Mary Dewhurst Lewis shows in Divided Rule France's method of governance in Tunisia actually created a whole new set of conflicts In one of the most dynamic crossroads of the Mediterranean world residents of Tunisia whether Muslim Jewish or Christian navigated through the competing power structures to further their civil rights and individual interests and often thwarted the aims of the French state in the processOver time these everyday challenges to colonial authority led France to institute reforms that slowly undermined Tunisian sovereignty and replaced it with aheavy handed form of rule a move also intended to ward off France's European rivals who still sought influence in Tunisia In so doing the French inadvertently encouraged a powerful backlash with major historical consequences as Tunisians developed one of the earliest and most successful nationalist movements in the French empire Based on archival research in four countries Lewis uncovers important links between international power politics and everyday matters of rights identity and resistance to colonial authority while re interpreting the whole arc of French rule in Tunisia from the 1880s to the mid 20th century Scholars students and anyone interested in the history of politics and rights in North Africa or in the nature of imperialismgenerally will gain a deeper understanding of these issues from this sophisticated study of colonial TunisiaAfter invading Tunisia in 1881 the French installed a protectorate in which they shared power with the Tunisian ruling dynasty and due to the dynasty's treaties with other European powers with some of their imperial rivals This indirect form of colonization was intended to prevent the violent clashes marking France's outright annexation of neighboring Algeria But as Mary Dewhurst Lewis shows in Divided Rule France's method of governance in Tunisia actually created a whole new set of conflicts In one of the most dynamic crossroads of the Mediterranean world residents of Tunisia whether Muslim Jewish or Christian navigated through the competing power structures to further their civil rights and individual interests and often thwarted the aims of the French state in the processOver time these everyday challenges to colonial authority led France to institute reforms that slowly undermined Tunisian sovereignty and replaced it with aheavy handed form of rule a move also intended to ward off France's European rivals who still sought influence in Tunisia In so doing the French inadvertently encouraged a powerful backlash with major historical consequences as Tunisians developed one of the earliest and most successful nationalist movements in the French empire Based on archival research in four countries Lewis uncovers important links between international power politics and everyday matters of rights identity and resistance to colonial authority while re interpreting the whole arc of French rule in Tunisia from the 1880s to the mid 20th century Scholars students and anyone interested in the history of politics and rights in North Africa or in the nature of imperialismgenerally will gain a deeper understanding of these issues from this sophisticated study of colonial Tunisia After invading Tunisia in 1881 the French installed a protectorate in which they shared power with the Tunisian ruling dynasty and due to the dynasty's treaties with other European powers with some of their imperial rivals This indirect form of colonization was intended to prevent the violent clashes marking France's outright annexation of neighboring Algeria But as Mary Dewhurst Lewis shows in Divided Rule France's method of governance in Tunisia actually created a whole new set of conflicts In one of the most dynamic crossroads of the Mediterranean world residents of Tunisia whether Muslim Jewish or Christian navigated through the competing power structures to further their civil rights and individual interests and often thwarted the aims of the French state in the processOver time these everyday challenges to colonial authority led France to institute reforms that slowly undermined Tunisian sovereignty and replaced it with aheavy handed form of rule a move also intended to ward off France's European rivals who still sought influence in Tunisia In so doing the French inadvertently encouraged a powerful backlash with major historical consequences as Tunisians developed one of the earliest and most successful nationalist movements in the French empire Based on archival research in four countries Lewis uncovers important links between international power politics and everyday matters of rights identity and resistance to colonial authority while re interpreting the whole arc of French rule in Tunisia from the 1880s to the mid 20th century Scholars students and anyone interested in the history of politics and rights in North Africa or in the nature of imperialismgenerally will gain a deeper understanding of these issues from this sophisticated study of colonial Tunisia