The whole of the north African coastal region, apart from the western kingdom of Morocco, was still nominally part of the Ottoman Empire in the early nineteenth century. But the Turkish regents of the north African provinces ruled their territories with no direct reference to the sultan at Istanbul. Even within the territories themselves, regency authority did not extend far beyond a narrow coastal fringe. Algeria was typical in this respect. Here, the ruler, the dey, was drawn from the ranks of the Turkish officers of the coastal and garrison towns. Beyond the towns, the Arab and Berber clans remained virtually independent, especially in the mountains. The dey periodically intervened in disputes between rival clans, but otherwise had little effective influence in the rural areas. Nominal Ottoman rule in Algeria was ended by the French in 1830 when they occupied the coastal towns of Algiers and Oran and sent the dey into exile.
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