The trade of Algeria has very much increased since it became a French colony. The imports, which in 1831 amounted to only £280,000, rose to £1,600,000 in 1844, to £3,249,377 in 1854, and to nearly £4,500,000 in 1863. The exports, however, have not grown in proportion; and during the ten years preceding 1863 they never exceeded from 1.5 to 2 millions sterling.
In 1865 an Act declared the navigation not only between France and Algeria but also between Algeria and foreign countries open to all nations, and abolished various oppressive taxes affecting foreign shipping. The following year these privileges were extended; the coasting trade was thrown open and free navigation permitted, tonnage duties on foreign shipping were abolished, and raw manufactured goods entering France free of duty had the same advantage conceded to them in Algeria. Algerian products might enter France free of duty, and the same privilege was accorded to French products in Algeria, sugar excepted. In 1868 the imports amounted to £7,706,574, which was an increase of £199,494 over the previous year. The proportions received from the different countries were -- France, 75 per cent; Turkey, 8.44; Russia; Spain, 3.99; Great Britain 3.54. Italy 2.56; Barbary States 1.40. The imports from Turkey and Russia are exceptionally high, owing to the necessity of obtaining grain supplies from these countries in consequence of a failure in the crops. The principal ports of import were - Algiers, 40.43 per cent; Oran 33.33; Philippeville, 15.04; Bona, 7-01; Mostaganem 2.33. In 1869 the imports amounted to £7,332,192, and in 1870 to £6,907,628. The principal imports are cotton goods, wines, spirits, sugar, glass crystal, cheese, salt-fish, soap, &c. The total value of the exports during 1868 amounted to £4,122,772, being an increase of £236,293 as compared with 1867. The proportion sent to the different countries were -- France, 79.20 per cent.; Spain, 11.68; Great Britain, 5.84; Italy, 1.80.
The principal exports are sheep, oxen, skins, wool, tobacco, flour, fresh and dried vegetables, olive-oil, flax, cotton, ores, crin vegetal. In 1869 the total exports amounted to £4,438,045, and in 1870 to £4,978,250. The overland trade between Algeria and its neighbours, Marocco and Tunis, now begins to assume some importance.
The number of vessels that entered and left the various ports in 1868 was 8740, of an aggregate burden of 1,664,513 tons, and manned by 16,173 men. This is an increase over the previous year of 18.40 per cent. As regards the number of ships, and of 12.63 per cent. as regards the tonnage.
As engaged in the direct trade with Britain, there entered 99 British vessels with an aggregate of 17,940 tons, and cleared 109 British vessels with an aggregate to 12,523 tons. Besides these there were British vessels engaged in the direct or carrying trade with other countries of which entered 125 with an aggregate burden of 14,972 tons, and cleared 106 with an aggregate of 19,960 tons. The number of British vessels trading at the four principal ports, namely, Algiers, Oran, Bona, and Philippeville in 1872 was a follows:-- direct, entered, 171--tonnage, 60285; left, 251--tonnage, 76,973; indirect, entered 170--tonnage, 79,454; left, 125--tonnage, 63,645. during that year 1595 vessels of 3,746,180 tons entered, and 1587 vessels of 376,402 tons cleared, at the port of Algiers.
The most important articles of export, as far as British trade is concerned, are crin vegetal and alpha fibre. During the first nine months of 1872 about 6000 tons of the former were exported from the port of Algiers alone; and about 60,000 tons of the latter from the whole colony, chiefly from Oran.
Some idea of the rapidly advancing commercial prosperity of Algeria may be gathered from the fact that the amount of sums discounted at the Bank of Algeria (which was established in 1851) had risen from £3,900,130 in 1866-7 to £8,131,535 in 1871-2. Much has been done, particularly of late years, in the way of opening up the country and developing its resources. Roads have been formed and bridges built in various parts, harbours have been improved, and lighthouses erected. There are now 374 miles of railway open for traffic, forming a line from Algiers to Oran and one from Philippeville to Constantine.
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