Tir du clairon, grandes manoeuvres
Musée national des Arts et Traditions populaires, Paris
The word zouave is of Berber origin: Zwava (or Zouaoua) was a Kabyle tribe which gave its name to the Zouaves corps of the French army, created in 1830 during the Algerian conquest.
It should be noted that this corps was the model that subsequently inspired the creation of other indigenous corps such as the Colonial Infantry, the Spahis and the African Chasseurs. It should be recalled that as from 1852, mixed Zouaves battalions were transformed to regiments composed exclusively of Frenchmen.
The fame that the Zouaves gained through their popular imagery came about first as a result of the outstanding Western uniform of their privates and non-commissioned officers. This attire, which right up to the First World War was still in use, was made up of a bolero jacket carrying stripes, a baggy pair of trousers and a red hat.
10 octobre 1837 - Episode de la conquête de l'Algérie
Second siège de Constantine par le général Drémont
Assaut final donné par les Zouaves de Lamoricière
Horace Vernet - Château de Versailles
But, besides this cultural aspect, Zouaves regiments distinguished themselves through their might and series of military exploits. To begin with, in 1843, they participated in the capture of Abd El Kader’s tribe during the Algerian conquest of 1831 to 1849. During the Crimean War their popularity soared as names like Sebastopol , Malakoff and Alma became associated with military victories scored by Zouaves units. They made news during the Italian campaign, particularly in Magenta in 1859. From 1862 to 1867, the Zouaves were once again in action, this time in Mexico .
Three Zouaves regiments participated in Mac Mahon’s army during the ill-fated French campaign of 1870-71. Reconstituted in Algeria , in 1872, they served as an order-maintaining force.
In 1887-88, the 3rd Zouaves battalion took part in the Tonkin and Annam conquests, before proceeding to China in 1900 to suppress the Boxers revolt.
In 1914, four North African regiments and eight march regiments were called up to participate in the First World War. Between the two GM, six regiments were retained: the 4th in Tunisia , the 1st and 2nd in Morocco , and the other three in Algeria .
At the beginning of the Second World War, four Zouaves reservists regiments took part in the French campaign of 1939-40.
The Algerian War mobilized the regiments of North Africa . After the successive independence of Tunisia and Morocco , Zouaves regiments based in these countries were dissolved, just like those of Algeria in 1962.
29 sept. 2006 - Givet -
L'emblème du 9e Zouaves
part pour le musée de Montpellier
Past glories of the Zouaves have, however, remained indelible in the mines of the French. It is for this reason that the Commandos Training Centre (C.E.C.) of Givet, renamed 9th Zouaves, is keeping the flag and legacies of the last Zouaves regiment that served in Algiers.
Zouaves montant au front, durant la guerre 1914-1918