General Husayn and his Legacy: Slavery, Manumission and Nationality in Imperial Contexts
Title: General Husayn and his Legacy: Slavery, Manumission and Nationality in Imperial Contexts
Author: OUALDI, M’hamed
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP;2010/34
In 1887, six years after the colonization of Tunisia by France, General Husayn, a former slave serving the Tunisian state died in Florence. From that moment, a legal conflict over his legacy ensued involving the Tunisian, French, Ottoman and Italian authorities. Husayn had no legitimate heirs. He was born in Circassia. He spent a large part of his life in the Ottoman province of Tunis, serving the beys, the governors of Tunis, and he was in charge of political missions to Istanbul and to European countries, including Italy, France and Great Britain. By taking this as a case study, I will show how, after the French colonization of Tunis, we can and we must explore North-African history beyond the traditional colonial framework, taking into account the persistence of imperial and international webs and ways of circulation which are strong in General Husayn’s case. Even during the colonial era, North Africans still maintained their own interests and their own relationships with different countries, acting without the permission of the colonial authorities, in different international webs. Moreover the multiple actors and the claims of this kind of legal conflict reveal changes in the connections between various Mediterranean societies, governed by changes in the communication of news, in the transport of people and in the circulation of money.
Subject: History and Law; Ottoman Empire; French Colonial Empire; Tunisia; Slavery
Type of Access: openAccess