March 18, 1962 – Peace Agreement Ending the Seven-Year Algerian War

On this day in history, France and the leaders of the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) of Algeria signed a peace agreement to end the 1954-1962 French/Algerian War, signaling the end of 130 years of colonial French rule in Algeria. The Évian Accords ended the seven year war with a formal ceasefire proclaimed for March 19, and formalized the idea of cooperative exchange between the two countries.

In a referendum held in April, the French electorate approved the Accords, with almost 91% in favor of Algerian independence. On July 1, the Accords were subject to a second referendum in Algeria, where an overwhelming majority voted for independence. De Gaulle pronounced Algeria an independent country on July 3rd.

Algerians celebrate their country's independence in the centre of Algiers in July 1962. Photograph: AFP

Algerians celebrate their country’s independence in the centre of Algiers in July 1962. Photograph: AFP

Following the exposure of torture techniques by the U.S. in recent wars, attention was again drawn to the highly acclaimed 1966 film “The Battle of Algiers,” that depicts the Algerian struggle for independence against the French occupation in the 1950’s and early 60’s. The French are shown employing torture, intimidation, and murder to defeat the resistance. “The Battle of Algiers” was nominated for three Academy Awards, but the film was banned in France for many years following its release. If you can find it to rent or borrow, it is definitely worth watching.

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