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Regency of Algiers (Algeria, 1671-1847)

Last modified: 2015-03-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: regency of algiers | barbary coast | head |
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[flag of the Ottoman Empire]

Flag of the Ottoman Empire - Image by Željko Heimer, 2 March 1999


See also:


Historical outline

In 1671, a system of deys was instituted. Twenty-nine deys ruled Algiers until the French conquest, of whom 14 were assassinated. Nevertheless, real power was frequently in large part in the hands of the Adjaks, militias recruited in Anatolia, or in those of the Taiat-al-raasa, a body of corsair captains who provided the state with its principal sources of income.
The dey held absolute power, assisted by a divan composed of the Treasurer-General (khazinedar), the Chief of the Army (agha), the Minister of Marine (Wakil al kharj), the Procuror of the Chamber of Shipping (Bayt al malji) and the Collector of Tributes (Atkhodjan).

The Dey had a personal standard, and so, probably, did the other officials. A French writer mentions that the deys used a green standard with a golden crescent. This might be the result of an erroneous interpretation of the coat of arms of one of the deys.

The country was divided into the zone of Dir al Sultan (Algiers), administered directly and composed of seven regions (watans) governed by Turkish kaids. The rest of the country consisted of three provinces (beyliks) each with a bey (named by the dey) in charge: Titari (capital Medea), East (Constantine) and West (first capital Mazuna, then Mascara, and then Oran after 1792).
In any case, except for the very elaborate personal standards, the flag in use in the country was the Ottoman flag. This flag waved over Algiers and along the coast and in the Turkish garrisons at Bejaia, Bordj Leahou, Constantine, Medea, Mliana, Mazouna, Mascara, and Tlemcen (formed by the Yoldash recruited in Anatolia), and in the military colonies (Zumul; especially the important ones in Kabylia) but was scarcely seen in the rest of what is now Algeria.

Jaume Ollé, translated by Joe McMillan, 19 January 2002


Dubious flag report

[Dubious flag]

Regency flag as reported by MacMeekin - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 January 2002

MacMeekin, who cites as his source Flags at Sea, says that the flag of the state for the period 1671-1847 (even though the deylicate ended in 1830) was a flag of seven stripes, identical except for different proportions to one mentioned in vexillological sources as the special ensign of Algeria in 1875.

Jaume Ollé, translated by Joe McMillan, 19 January 2002

This flag was indeed the ensign of Algerian ships prescribed by the French in 1875. Before 1830 flags used on ships were horizontal white over black.

Sources:

  • Karl Fachinger collection
  • personal information from Whitney Smith and Dr. Neubecker,
  • R. Siegel: Die Flagge, 1912 [sig12]

Ralf Stelter, 18 February 2001

[Dey standard?]

Dey's stansard as reported by MacMeekin - Image by Jaume Ollé, 19 January 2002

As the standard of the dey, MacMeekin (citing the same source) indicates a red flag with a white head, most probably a variant of the so-called "Barbary" ensign.

Jaume Ollé, translated by Joe McMillan, 19 January 2002