|Source : wikipedia|
My mother-in-law is often refered to as Pied-Noir when talking about my husband's family history. Curious about the meaning of this expression I asked my husband what it means and also did a bit of research on my own.
In France, some French people are described as Pieds-Noirs which means Black-Foot. I was told the term was first used to describe Europeans who were born and who lived in Africa. But in 1962, when the French rule ended and Algeria was granted her independence, over one million Europeans living in Algeria returned to France. These returnees are described as Pieds-Noirs.
The Europeans, who lived in Algeria as immigrants after French invasion in 1830, are from France, Spain, Italy and Malta.
The parents of my mother-in-law are Sicilians. When French nationalities, other Europeans and Jews were evacuated from Algeria , her family ended up in France and not Italy. They had to leave all they had behind in Algeria to start all over again in France. She later married a French man and is French herself today.
Wikipedia describes Pied-Noir as rapatriés d'Algérie, those who were born in Algeria, and whose family lived there for generations. To read more about the storty surrounding "Pied-Noir", go to Wikipedia.