“Baba Merzoug”, the canon of the French-Algerian disagreement

In the list of compensation that Algeria requested from France, 60 years after the end of the war, there is a canon called “La Consulaire” in France and “Baba Merzoug” (“Happy Father”) in Algeria. Taken away as a trophy by the French navy during the conquest of Algiers in 1830, it has stood for 130 years in the form of a column, in the naval base in Brest.

Twelve tons and seven meters long. The weapon is extraordinary in size and no longer works in 1830 during the French conquest of Algiers, but the French navy is keen on this trophy, as it symbolizes martyrdom.

“This martyrdom is that of Pastor Jean Le Vacher, who was consul in France in 1683 and who died martyred in front of the mouth of this cannon,” explains Hervé Bédri, responsible for the naval historical heritage. Admiral Duperré remembers it and will ask his sailors to bring back La Consulaire so that he can raise it in a column in memory of the revered father and all those who were martyred at the mouth of this cannon.

A solution where the Algerians and the French would together decide on the development of the column

Jean-Yves Guengant, historian

The file falls under the Elysée. In 1833, the barrel of the cannon in Algiers was installed in the then majestic framework of the general majority, in the military arsenal in Brest. Not without being decorated with the symbols of French power.

“We have a representation of France in majesty, on a throne, extending a hand to Africa to give it the benefits of civilization: medicine – we see a caduceus -, geography – with a globe -, science. A typical time representation, supplemented , at the top of La Consulaire, of a Gallic rooster, with paws resting on the globe, which represents the spirit of the times well, ”states Hervé Bédri further.

Miraculously spared by the German bombings during World War II, the pillars of the pistol seem a bit lost today between the cranes, the cars and the dry dock. Little known to Brestois, “Baba Merzoug” is claimed by the Algerian authorities. The file is up to the Elysée, assures Hervé Bédri, who concludes: “The fleet will do what it is told to do.”

It’s part of their history, it’s normal for them to restore it

Micro-pavement: few Brestois know of the existence of La Consulaire

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