Colonial North Africa
European colonial control came earlier to North Africa than to most of the continent. As the British occupied Egypt in 1882, the French extended their control from Algeria to Tunisia. Morocco managed to resist the establishment of a French protectorate until 1912. Banding together in Islamic resistance forces, North Africans provided European colonists with their most persistent opposition. When the Italians invaded Libya in 1911 they faced formidable opposition from the Sanusi Brotherhood, who conducted a brilliant guerrilla campaign that lasted for 20 years. In the northern extent of Morocco in the early 1920s the Berbers of the Er Rif Mountains almost expelled the Spanish from the region until the French came to their aid in 1926. In Algeria, Islamic brotherhoods had fought French rule for decades in the mid-19th century. However, by the 20th century French control was secure, and the French settler population rose rapidly.
In early-20th-century Egypt, anti-colonial opposition, protests, and riots were commonplace, as were violent British reactions. The pressure on the British, compounded by the demands of World War I, led Britain to make political concessions. In 1922 Egyptians gained nominal independence and a parliament under King Fuad I, although Britain remained in control behind the scenes. The corruption and ineffectiveness of Fuad’s government undermined the parliamentary system as a viable form of government. In the 1930s an organization called the Muslim Brotherhood emerged in vehement opposition to parliamentary government as well as European culture and interference. This brotherhood inspired other movements throughout Islamic North Africa, and its impact is still felt in the region.