Exogamous marriages in a colonial context. The nuptiality of Europeans in Algeria (1830-1900)

Guy Brunet, Université de Lyon II
Kamel Kateb, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Between 1830 and 1900 the number of Europeans living in Algeria grew from 7,000 to 580,000. During the first decades migrants the increase of population was only due to immigrations coming from different European countries. Later, migration was complemented by the birth of a generation of créoles born on the Algerian soil. Most of the migrants came from France, Spain, Italy, Malta and other countries such as Germany or Switzerland. They presented differences in culture, language, professional skills, wealth, but they had to live together as migrants on this African soil. How did access to marriage occur for these migrants, then for their sons and daughters ? What was the importance of exogamy in this particular context ? What were the characteristics of these men and women who married a foreigner, and why did they marry this way ? We will try to answer these questions by exploiting a database containing more than 11 000 marriage certificates recorded in twelve of the main cities of colonial Algeria (including the three largest ones: Alger, Oran and Constantine) between 1833 and 1894.

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Presented in Session 20: Marriage and cohabiting patterns in the past