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100 Francs 1940, Algeria

in Krause book Number: 85
Years of issue: 29.03.1940
Edition: --
Signatures: Le Directeur Général: Joseph Louis Escallier, Le Caissier Principal: Frédéric Sebald, Le Secrétaire Général: Pierre de Roux
Serie: 1938 - 1943 Issue
Specimen of: 03.07.1939
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 158 х 92
Printer: Banque de France, Chamalieres

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

100 Francs 1940



100 Francs 1940 Algeria 100 Francs 1940 Algeria 100 Francs 1940 Algeria

I've been looking for the relationship between the images on the note, and this is what I found.

On the bill, presumably, the profile of the queen Dahii al-Kahin with silver earrings Berber women - The Chaoui people. In general, all the images on the bill, in my opinion, made in the region of Aurès Mountains, in the north-east of Algeria. But about this, please, see the descriptions of obverse!

And now about the queen from watermark:

Dihya or Kahina (Berber: Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt, ⴷⵉⵀⵢⴰ Dihya) was a Berber warrior queen, religious and military leader who led indigenous resistance to the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, the region then known as Numidia. She was born in the early 7th century and died around the end of the VII century in modern-day Algeria.

Her personal name is one of these variations: Daya, Dehiya, Dihya (ⴷⵉⵀⵢⴰ), Dahya or Damya (with Arabic spelling it is difficult to distinguish between these variants). Her title was cited by Arabic-language sources as al-Kāhina (the priestess soothsayer). This was the nickname used by her Muslim opponents because of her reputed ability to foresee the future.

She was born in the early VII century. Arab historians wrote that she was a Jewish "sorcerer", and because of this fact she was able to defeat the Arab Islamic invaders who retreated to eastern Tripolitania.

For five years she ruled a free Berber state from the Aures mountains to the oasis of Gadames (695-700 AD.).

But the Arabs, commanded by Musa bin Nusayr, returned with a strong army and defeated her. She fought at the El Djem Roman amphitheater but finally died around the end of the 7th century in modern-day Tunisia in a battle near Tabarka.

Accounts from the XIX century on claim she was of Jewish religion or that her tribe were Judaized Berbers. According to al-Mālikī relates that she was accompanied in her travels by an "idol", possibly an icon of the Virgin Mary or one of the Christian saints, but certainly not something associated with Jewish religious customs.

The idea that the Jrāwa were Judaized comes from the medieval historian Ibn Khaldun, who named them among a number of such tribes[according to whom?]. Hirschberg and Talbi note that Ibn Khaldun seems to have been referring to a time before the advent of the late Roman and Byzantine empires, and a little later in the same paragraph seems to say that by Roman times "the tribes" (presumably those he had listed before) had become Christianized.

In the words of H. Z. Hirschberg, "of all the known movements of conversion to Judaism and incidents of Judaizing, those connected with the Berbers and Sudanese in Africa are the least authenticated. Whatever has been written on them is extremely questionable." Hirschberg further points out that in the oral legends of Algerian Jews, "Kahya" was depicted as an ogre and persecutor of Jews.

Over four centuries after her death, Tunisian hagiographer al-Mālikī seems to have been among the first to state she resided in the Aurès Mountains. Just seven centuries after her death, the pilgrim at-Tijani was told she belonged to the Lūwāta tribe. When the later historian Ibn Khaldun came to write his account, he placed her with the Jrāwa tribe.

According to various Muslim sources, al-Kāhinat was the daughter of Tabat, or some say Mātiya. These sources depend on tribal genealogies, which were generally concocted for political reasons during the 9th century.

Ibn Khaldun records many legends about Dihyā. A number of them refer to her long hair or great size, both legendary characteristics of sorcerers. She is also supposed to have had the gift of prophecy and she had three sons, which is characteristic of witches in legends. Even the fact that two were her own and one was adopted (an Arab officer she had captured) was an alleged trait of sorcerers in tales. Another legend claims that in her youth, she had supposedly freed her people from a tyrant by agreeing to marry him and then murdering him on their wedding night. Virtually nothing else of her personal life is known.

Dihya succeeded Caecilius as the war leader of the Berber tribes in the 680s and opposed the encroaching Arab Islamic armies of the Umayyad Dynasty. Hasan ibn al-Nu'man marched from Egypt and captured the major Byzantine city of Carthage and other cities (see Muslim conquest of North Africa). Searching for another enemy to defeat, he was told that the most powerful monarch in North Africa was "the Queen of the Berbers" (Arabic: malikat al-barbar) Dihyā, and accordingly marched into Numidia. The armies met near Meskiana in the present-day province of Oum el-Bouaghi, Algeria. She defeated Hasan so soundly that he fled Ifriqiya and holed up in Cyrenaica (Libya) for four or five years. Realizing that the enemy was too powerful and bound to return, she was said to have embarked on a scorched earth campaign, which had little impact on the mountain and desert tribes, but lost her the crucial support of the sedentary oasis-dwellers. Instead of discouraging the Arab armies, her desperate decision hastened defeat.

Another, lesser known account of Dihyā claimed that she had an interest in early studies of desert birds. While this view may or may not be plausible, some evidence has been recovered at the site of her death place, modern-day Algeria. Several fragments of early parchment with a painting of a bird on them were found, although there's no way to conclude the fragments were hers. However, it is possible that she began her interest while in Libya, as the painting was of a Libyan bird species.

Hasan eventually returned and, aided by communications with the captured officer adopted by Dihya, defeated her at a locality (presumably in present-day Algeria) about which there is some uncertainty. Before the battle, foreseeing the outcome, she sent her two biological sons over to the Arab Islamic army under the care of the adopted son, and Hasan is said to have given one of them charge of a section of his forces. According to some accounts, Dihya died fighting the invaders, sword in hand, a warrior's death. Other accounts say she committed suicide by swallowing poison rather than be taken by the enemy. This final act occurred in the 690s or 700s, with 703 AD given as the most likely year. In that year, she was, according to Ibn Khaldun, 127 years old. This is evidently yet another of the many myths which surround her.

According to Muslim historians, her sons Bagay and Khanchla converted, and led the Berber army to Iberia.


100 Francs 1940

On right and left sides are wheat ears.

On top and bottom are vine grapes (black grape).

100 Francs 1940 Algeria

Right of watermark window is Sisal (Agāve sisalāna).

Sisal, with the botanical name Agave sisalana, is a species of Agave native to southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. It yields a stiff fibre used in making various products. The term sisal may refer either to the plant's common name or the fibre, depending on the context. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "sisal hemp", because for centuries hemp was a major source for fibre, and others were named after it.

The sisal fibre is traditionally used for rope and twine, and has many other uses, including: paper, cloth, wall coverings, carpets, and dartboards.

100 Francs 1940 Algeria

On foreground is the Algerian man in gandoura (turban as headdress).

Gandoura - a long loose gown with or without sleeves that is worn chiefly in northern Africa.

Long time I have tried to find the answer to the question - what region of Algeria served as the prototype for the banknote and what is the image of the arch building, shown on the obverse (at bottom)?

After a long search and a compound of assumptions I came to decision, that banknote images are from the north-east of Algeria, the region of Aurès Mountains.

That's why I thought though:

1) It is from that region came the queen Dahiya al-Kahin from watermark (again, my assumption).

2) Silver Earrings on the queen, they cannot be confused, clearly belong to Chaoui peoples, who inhabit the north-east of Algeria (Aurès Mountains).

3) After reviewing many old pictures, it seemed to me, that the building, at the bottom, looks like city market in the city of Biskra.

For more detail:

100 Francs 1940 Algeria

Biskra (Arabic: بسكرة ‎‎) is the capital city of Biskra Province, Algeria.

During Roman times the town was called Vescera, though this may have been simply a Latin transliteration of the native name. Around 200 AD under Septimius Severus' reign, it was seized by the Romans and became part of the province of Numidia. As a major settlement in the border region, it was significant even then. Its name was apparently bowdlerized by the Romans to Ad Piscīnam ("at the piscīna"), implying the presence of important waterworks. A significant portion of the inhabitants descend from the Arab bedouin tribe of Banu Hilal, others are mainly Chaoui Berbers.

In 1844, Biskra became a French garrison. As of 1935, Biskra was an inland town, the principal settlement of a Saharan oasis watered by the intermittent Oued Biskra. In 1911, it was described as the Nice, France of Algiers. It is in the southern part of the Algerian rail system, and a favourite winter resort. Large quantities of fruit, especially dates and olives, were grown in the vicinity. The town was a military post, and was the scene of severe fighting in the rebellions of 1849 and 1871. .

100 Francs 1940 Algeria 100 Francs 1940 Algeria

My guess - on the note, at the bottom, is the market building in Biskra.

It should be noted, that this form of markets buildings (with arches) are presented in many cities of that Algerian region.

About the mountain on banknote - I have not yet decided. I think, that on banknote used coincident objects, that are not located in close proximity to each other. This question is still open to me.

Denominations in numerals are in top corners, in words on top.


100 Francs 1940

Algerian peasant plowing with two household bulls or oxen (Bos taurus). Behind him, in the background, is a mountain village, a well and the woman with a dog.

On top are the branches of date palms with dates.

On left - pomegranate and grapes.

On right - oranges, grapes.

At the bottom (near the field of watermark) are olives.

100 Francs 1940 Algeria

Again, my assumption - the mountain town or village on banknote is from Kabylia region, north of Algeria.

In my opinion - the nature (the neighborhood) is very similar to this place. In addition, a small hitch - on the note, at the bottom, is the branch of olives, which are widely cultivated by Berbers of that region.

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner.


Designer: Jacques Simon.

Obverse engraver: Camille Beltrand.

Reverse engraver: Georges Hourriez.

Printing method: Intaglio.

Cheikh Mokrani

There is an assumption (thanks to Pavel from Samara, Russia), that the image of the Algerian on the obverse of the banknote could be taken from the portrait of Sheikh Mohamed El-Mokrani, himself from the Kabiliya region, to the north of Algiers (on the reverse of the banknote).

Mohamed El-Mokrani (1815-1871) was one of the principal leaders of the popular uprising at the end of XIX century, following the French conquest, in Bordj Bou Arreridj, Algeria, in 1830.

Reasons for Revolt.

The revolt was triggered by extension of civil colonization authority to previously self-governing tribal Berber confederation and the abrogation of commitments made by the military government, but it clearly had its basis in more long-standing grievances. Since the Crimean War (1854-1856), the demand for grain had pushed up the price of Algerian wheat to European levels. Storage silos were emptied when the world market's impact was felt in Algeria, and Muslim farmers sold their grain reserves - including seed grain - to French speculators. When serious drought struck Algeria and grain crops failed in 1866 and for several years following, Muslim areas faced starvation, and with famine also came pestilence. It was estimated that 20% of the Muslim population of Constantine died over a three-year period. In 1871 the civil authorities repudiated guarantees made to tribal chieftains by the previous military government for loans to replenish their seed supply. This act alienated even pro-French Muslim leaders, while it undercut their ability to control their people. It was against this background of misery and hopelessness that the stricken Kabyles rose in revolt.

Revolt of Cheikh Mokrani.

Mohand at-AMokrane was the son of Ahmed AMokrane one of the governors (Bachagha) of the area of Medjana located in the highlands of Kabylie, who was also the cheikh of Rahmania order. After the death of Ahmed-AMokrane, the French authorities appointed Mohand in his place. However following dissension with the French administration, he resigned from his position in March 1871. This conflict happened as a result of the colonial authorities disregarding at-AMokrane, creating a French-populated commune of Bordj Bou Arréridj and appointing a French officer as its head. The great many discontented flocked to the banners of the Cheikh aggrieved by the ravages of famine, increasing racial oppression by the French and Christianization policy pursued by the Catholic church.

In March 1871 Mohamed El-Mokrani revolted against French by carrying out his army until Bordj-Bou-Arréridj with the assistance of his brother oumezrag and his cousin El Hadj Bouzid, and Sheikh mohand ameziane AHaddad of saddouk oufella great schollar theoligien of the zaouia tarahmanit which joined this uprising with his tribe. Using his position and influence on Rahmania brotherhood sheikh mohand-aMokrane was able to overcome the dissension in his camp and retake Bordj-Bou-Arreridj.

The members of the brotherhood Rahamania, disciples of the Sheik Ahaddad (El Haddad) played an eminent part in success of the insurrection of El Mokrani (amokrane), in particular after Sheikh Ahaddad (El Haddad) had proclaimed the jihad against the French on April 8, 1871. The insurrection acquired a total character through the increase in the number of combatants who rejoined it and his extension to the west, north and the East where considerable stations of the colonial army were encircled in several areas.

After having carried several battles Mohand Amokrane (Mohamed El-Mokrani) was martyred on May 5, 1871 at Taouraga. His tomb is located in kollaa n'at-Abbas (Bgayet) (Béjaïa). Under the command of his brother Oumzrag (Boumezreg), the uprising continued until January 20, 1872, date of his arrest and deportation to New Kaledonia, an island in the pacific.