This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopędia. 16 volumes complete..
Abd-El-Kader, an Arab emir in Algeria, born near Mascara in 1806 or 1807. He was the descendant of an ancient family of Mara-bouts, and the son of Mahiddin, an influential emir, who, suspected of plotting the subversion of Turkish rule, was compelled to retire with his son to Cairo in 1827. When Abd-el-Kader returned from this exile Algiers had been captured by the French. A man of remarkable powers and accomplishments, and of the greatest bravery, the young emir soon became the leader of his countrymen, and organized among them a system of resistance to the French invaders, whom he began to harass at the head of his own and the neighboring tribes. Encouraged by the failure of an attack which Gen. Boyer, commandant of Oran, made in the spring of 1832 upon his stronghold at Tlemcen, Abd-el-Kader conducted his attacks upon the French on a larger scale, and with such skill and bravery that the admiring Arabs proclaimed him chief of the believers. For two years he continued operations, but in 1834 Gen. Des-michels, Boyer's successor, by causing a defection of the native tribes, obliged him to make peace, France acknowledging his sway over the tribes west of the Shellilff. Abd-el-Kader now spent a short period of quiet in introducing European discipline and tactics among his followers.
But he soon crossed the Shelliff during a successful war with a native chief; and the French, alarmed by his growing power, again began hostilities under Gen. Trezel, who was sent to replace. Desmichels. Trezel, marching toward Mascara, was surprised and utterly defeated by Abd-el-Kader in the defile of Muley Ismail. Marshal Clauzel was now made governor of Algiers. In December and January, 1835-'6, he succeeded in reaching and destroying Mascara, and in capturing Tlemcen, where he left a garrison; but this accomplished, he was obliged at once to make a disastrous retreat to Oran. In April, 1836, Abd-el-Kader utterly defeated Gen. d'Arianges near Tlemcen, and obliged him to fall back on a fortified camp he had established on the Tafna to keep open the communication between the French garrison of Tlemcen and their base of supplies. In this camp the general was shut up by Abd-el-Kader's troops, and compelled to remain until relieved by Gen. Bugeaud. This officer was now appointed to the command in Algiers, and conducted the war with great success, first defeating Abd-el-Kader July 7, 1836, and finally compelling him in May, 1837, to conclude a peace by which he acknowledged French sovereignty, though himself confirmed as emir of Oran, Titteri, and part of Algiers. But he was not content, and in 1839 war was renewed.
After desperate fighting, Abd-el-Kader was defeated everywhere; and in 1842 he was driven from Algeria and took refuge in Morocco, where he induced the emperor to aid him against the French. But the Moorish ruler, being utterly defeated by the French army at Isly, Aug. 14, 1844, was obliged, in order to save himself from the vengeance of France, to turn against the emir; and Abd-el-Kader, who now defied both the French and the Moors, soon found himself deserted by all but his own tribe, and beaten at every point. After continuing the contest as long as possible, he was finally captured and sent to Paris in 1848, although he bad surrendered only on condition that he should be sent to Egypt or St. Jean d'Acre. He was kept in France until released by Louis Napoleon in 1852, with a pension of 100,000 francs, on condition that he should not return to Algeria or again take up arms against France. He went to Broussa in Asia Minor, and when that town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1855, he removed to Constantinople. He has been since 1852 on the best terms with the French government, and in 1855 visited Paris during the industrial exposition.
He subsequently took up his residence in Damascus, where he distinguished himself by generously aiding the Christians during the bloody riots in the summer of 1860. In 1864 he went to Egypt, where he was presented with a piece of land by M. de Lesseps, projector of the Suez canal. During this journey he was also made a member of the order of Freemasons. In 1865 he went to England, and in 1867 attended the great exposition in Paris. In 1870 he offered his sword to the French against the Germans, but the offer was declined. In October, 1871, he addressed a lettei to M. Thiers declining to visit France on the ground of ill health, but making suggestions relative to the condition and government of Algeria. Of his 24 children most have died. One of his daughters has become a convert to Christianity. Abd-el-Kader is the author of a book of philosophico-religious meditations, Written in exile, in Arabic, and translated into French under the title of Rappel a Vintelligent, Avis a Vindifferent (Paris, 1858).