The New International Encyclopædia/Zouaves

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The New International Encyclopædia
Zouaves
Edition of 1905. See also Zouave on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

ZOUAVES. A body of troops in the French Army whose organization dates from 1830, when two battalions were formed by General Clausel from a tribe of Kabyles dwelling in Algeria. The name of the tribe was Zouaoua, which in French gave rise to the term zouave. The organization of these tribesmen as a part of the French Army was brought about to establish a friendly feeling between them and the conquerors, and inasmuch as they had been for years mercenary soldiers, they were considered an important addition to the army. French officers were placed in charge and a certain number of French soldiers were included in the companies, which were formed into two battalions. The mingling of the French and natives did not prove satisfactory, and after 1839 none of the latter were recruited, though regiments of Algerian tirailleurs were subsequently (1842) formed. The Moorish costume originally adopted was retained, and the zouaves, who were recruited from veterans of exceptional physique and courage, achieved a high reputation, serving not only in Africa, but also in the Crimea, Italy, Mexico, and more recently in Tunis and Tongking, The zouaves accordingly became an integral part of the French Army and are now organized into four regiments of five battalions each, divided into four companies, the total strength being somewhat in excess of 13,000 men. The Papal or Pontifical zouaves, under the command of General Lamoricière, served in Rome from 1860 to 1870, and played an important part in resisting the Italian occupation of Rome. In the United States during the Civil War a number of Northern volunteer regiments adopted the zouave uniform and were known as zouaves. Many of these organizations acquired great proficiency in drill and gave exhibitions throughout the Northern States.