Baba Merzoug

Baba Merzoug

Baba Merzoug was born in 1542, he was 7 metres tall and weighed 12 tonnes, and he was already strong enough to reach targets within a 4872 meters range. Very quickly, he was associated with his older but smaller brothers and helped protect and defend Algiers during more than two centuries.

Beylerbey Hassan ordered the famous Algerian canon, but it was Mezzo Morto (aka Hadj Hussein) who added to his fame. In 1683, the Regency’s marine captured a French ship and sold its commander as a slave. Louis XIV decided to punish Algiers and almost succeeded as his fleet attacked the city and the Dey (Baba Hassan) accepted the French conditions. But Mezzo Morto assassinated Baba Hassan became the new Dey, and encouraged the inhabitants to fight against the French. He ordered Baba Merzoug to aim at the French fleet and fire, but only after the French King’s consul was placed between the canon and its target. Many say this new retaliation method was used many times by the Algerians, and that’s why the French decided to call Baba Merzoug “La Consulaire”.

In 1830, the French captured Baba Merzoug and transferred him to Brest where he is jailed since 1833. He is now humiliated in the middle of a car park of a military zone in Brest, and the French put on his top their stupid rooster.

Many Algerians filed demands for the recovery of Baba Merzoug, but the French haven’t accepted… yet. An Algerian committee was founded in 1999, a book was written by the commitee’s founder, a poem was written by a former minister, and at least two Facebook groups were created for this purpose.

Jacques Chirac returned Dey Hussein’s seal in 2004, so we could as well see Baba Merzoug handed back to us in the near future.


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