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French Foreign Legion - History

The French Foreign Legion was created by Louis Philippe, then King of the French, on March 10, 1831. The direct reason was that foreigners were forbidden to serve in the French Army after the 1830 July Revolution.

The Legion was to remove disruptive elements from society and put them to use fighting the enemies of France. The recruits came from failed revolutionaries from the rest of Europe, soldiers from the disbanded foreign regiments and troublemakers in general, both foreign and French. Because Algeria was proving to be a very unpopular posting with regular regiments in the French Army, the Legion was welcomed.

In late 1831, the first legionnaires landed in Algeria, the country that would be its homeland for 130 years and shape its character. The early years in Algeria were hard for the Legion because they were often sent to the worst postings, received the worst assignments and were generally uninterested in the new colony of the French.

The Legion's first service in Algeria came to an end after only four years, since they were needed elsewhere to fight the enemies of France.

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