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Mediterraneans: North Africa and Europe in an Age of Migration, c. 1800–1900

Julia A. Clancy-Smith
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 468
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Today labor migrants mostly move south to north across the Mediterranean. Yet in the nineteenth century thousands of Europeans and others moved south to North Africa, Egypt, and the Levant. This study of a dynamic borderland, the Tunis region, offers the fullest picture to date of the Mediterranean before, and during, French colonialism. In a vibrant examination of people in motion, Julia A. Clancy-Smith tells the story of countless migrants, travelers, and adventurers who traversed the Mediterranean, changing it forever. Who were they? Why did they leave home? What awaited them in North Africa? And most importantly, how did an Arab-Muslim state and society make room for the newcomers? Combining fleeting facts, tales of success and failure, and vivid cameos, the book gives a groundbreaking view of one of the principal ways that the Mediterranean became modern.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94774-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Julia A. Clancy-Smith
    (pp. xv-xv)
  6. MAPS
    (pp. xvi-xx)
  7. Introduction: Peoplings
    (pp. 1-21)

    A colossal Anglo-Dutch naval force assembled at Gibraltar under the command of Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, Lord Exmouth, and set sail for the so-called Barbary Coast in the spring of 1816. The expedition first anchored off Algiers, where Exmouth obtained the release of Christian captives; subsequently the fleet moved on to Tunis and Tripoli. By April 1816, agreements were reached with the local rulers of the three Ottoman regencies over the ostensible objective—the abolition of corsairing and the trade in enslaved Europeans. Nevertheless, the armada returned a second time that summer to Algiers, where the commander of the British...

  8. 1 Arrival: Tunis the “Well-Protected”
    (pp. 22-63)

    Farid Boughedir’s 1994 filmUn été à la Goulette(A Summer in La Goulette), set on the eve of the 1967 war, depicts the residue of a culturally striated landscape still found in many Mediterranean port cities even after the end of empire. The annual festival to honor Santa Maria de Trapani, transplanted from Sicily before 1881, remained a collective celebration. As in the past, Muslims and Jews took part in this most cherished of public processions for Maltese and Sicilian Catholics. In Boughedir’s film, religious affiliation presented few barriers to residential cohabitation, socializing, or employment, although cross-religious sexual relations...

  9. 2 Detours: Migrations in a Mobile World
    (pp. 64-99)

    Husayn Bey was clearly displeased and complained yet again in 1827 about paupers arriving from the Maltese islands to the British consul, who promised to “inform the governor of Malta of His Highness’ observations … I have already written about this subject to the governor of Malta. If he has not found that the number of Maltese is rising in Tunis now, it is because usually there are as many who leave as who arrive. This fact can be verified easily by the number of passports which are always deposed at the British consulate [in Tunis].”¹

    But things scarcely improved...

  10. 3 Making a Living: Domestic Service and Other Forms of Employment
    (pp. 100-131)

    During the early morning hours of Ramadan in 1833, sixty Neapolitan servants (mustakhadimin) in the Bardo palace’s inner service slumbered soundly—too soundly—after a busy night of preparing food and serving their masters, the mamluks. Heedless of thenawba(military band) announcing the final meal before dawn, the hapless servants only awoke when the day’s fast was announced.¹ Infuriated by their dereliction of duty (and perhaps hungry), the head mamluk ordered the Neapolitans punished by thebastinado. The fast-footed escaped, taking refuge at their consulate in Tunis; the rest received brutal beatings resulting in severe injuries. Incensed, the Neapolitan...

  11. 4 Making a Living: Petty Commerce, Places of Sociability, and the Down-and-Out
    (pp. 132-158)

    Even in relatively tranquil times, foreign vagrants in the streets of the capital alarmed urban authorities and the palace, prompting Mustafa Bey to publicly declare that “the laws of the kingdom demand that individuals without means of subsistence are subject to expulsion from the country.”¹ As discussed previously, “making it” required networks, patronage, risk taking, and serendipity, to name the most critical elements. How did immigrants lacking skills, family, capital, and connections generated by service to the rich and powerful survive in nineteenth-century Tunis? Petty commerce, cafés, taverns, and other spaces of sociability offered hope for a more or less...

  12. 5 Making a Living: The Sea, Contraband, and Other Illicit Activities
    (pp. 159-198)

    Demands for rides in seaside villages were brisk in summer and the evening of July 5, 1874, was no exception. Alexander Buhagiar, a Maltese coachman operating a leased carriage, was ferrying passengers around La Marsa. Buhagiar, who was drunk, already had several people in his coach when two Italian ladies, Margherita Cariglio Livolsi and her sister, signaled for him to stop and began bargaining over the fare. Intoxicated, but still able to navigate, Buhagiar “persuaded, if not forced,” the women to enter the vehicle. After he deposited one passenger at the home of a Sicilian family, the women realized the...

  13. 6 From Protection to Protectorate: Justice, Order, and Legal Pluralism
    (pp. 199-246)

    The taverns and cafés that sprang up in Tunis and La Goulette were the scenes of interminable altercations fueled by alcohol and affronts to male honor. One Saturday evening in 1870, Nicola Malinghoussy, a soldier in the pope’s army, got drunk and insulted several persons in a tavern at the port. Assuming he was a protégé of France, the outraged patrons stormed to the nearby French vice-consul to lodge a complaint. Yet Nicola could produce no valid document establishing French protection. Soon thereafter, he declared himself a Venetian subject, so the Italian vice-consul had Nicola arrested and thrown in prison....

  14. 7 Muslim Princes and Trans-Mediterranean Missionaries
    (pp. 247-287)

    In 1850 an unusual event occurred in a city traumatized by the onset of a much-feared disease, cholera morbus. Ahmad Bey awarded the dynasty’s highest decoration to Fidèle Sutter (1796–1881), the Holy See’svicaire apostolique de Tunisie, for invaluable medical assistance provided by female missionaries during the pandemic that reached the capital in December 1849 and wreaked havoc for years.¹ This outbreak carried off a good percentage of the population, notably the poor, as well as several nuns from the Sisters of Saint-Joseph de l’Apparition (hereafter SSJ).² A sort of Légion d’Honneur, the medal, called Nishan al-Iftikhar (the medal...

  15. 8 Where Elites Meet: Households, Harim Visits, and Sea Bathing
    (pp. 288-314)

    Strolling along the Corniche in La Marsa, one immediately notices a curious structure partially set in the water. Topped by a whitewashed dome, with balconies and verandas facing the Mediterranean, it is linked to the beach by a small walkway. To the right, another much smaller edifice sits abandoned and half in ruins; fishermen now use it to store nets. A stone’s throw away, the wholly submerged remains of a third structure are barely visible at low tide. Today the largest pavilion, built during the reign of Ahmad Bey, has been converted into a three-star restaurant, Qubbat al-Hawa’, which serves...

  16. 9 Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi and a Mediterranean Community of Thought
    (pp. 315-341)

    In the Bardo museum there once hung a dramatic portrait of Khayr al-Din (c. 1822–1890) in the manner of Jacques-Louis David’s monumentalNapoleon at the Saint Bernard Pass. His right hand clasping an ornate sword, his left firmly grasping the reins, Khayr al-Din is mounted in full military dress upon a prancing white steed in a style reminiscent of the French emperor. (This image now appears on twenty-dinar notes that characterize Khayr al-Din as “the Tunisian.”) Other portrayals, however, present him in a serene mood after classic Van Dyck arrangements, or perhaps David’s 1812Napoleon in His Study. In...

  17. Epilogue: Fetched Up on the Maghrib’s Shores
    (pp. 342-348)

    Exactly how the tragedy came to pass remains uncertain, although the plan was probably hatched in one of La Goulette’s popular cafés where young men with too much time on their hands gather to while away the hours. Sometime during the evening of Sunday, January 18, 2009, and the following day, a band of thirty-five would-be labor migrants, all apparently Tunisian nationals from the port’s modest neighborhoods, stole a fishing boat. Driven by dreams of reaching the “European El Dorado,” the group set out at night for Italy via the islets of Pantelleria and Lampedusa. They never made it past...

  18. NOTES
    (pp. 349-420)
    (pp. 421-424)
    (pp. 425-432)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 433-445)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 446-446)