Derna - Encyclopedia




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DERNA (anc. Darnis-Zarine), a town on the north coast of Africa and capital of the eastern half of the Ottoman province of Bengazi or Barca. Situated below the eastern butt of Jebel Akhdar on a small but rich deltaic plain, watered by fine perennial springs, it has a growing population and trade, the latter being mainly in fruits grown in its extensive palm gardens, and in hides and wool brought down by the nomads from the interior. If the port;were better there would be more rapid expansion. The bay is open from N.W. round to S.E. and often inaccessible in winter and spring, and the steamers of the Na y. Gen. Italiana sometimes have to pass without calling. The population has recovered from the great plague epidemic of 1821 and reached its former figure of about 7000. A proportion of it is of Moorish stock, of Andalusian origin, which emigrated in 1493; the descendants preserve a fine facial type. The sheikhs of the local Bedouin tribes have houses in the place, and a Turkish garrison of about 250 men is stationed in barracks. There is a lighthouse W. of the bay. A British consular agent is resident and the Italians maintain a vice-consul. The names Darnis and Zarine are philologically identical and probably refer to the same place. No traces are left of the ancient town except some rock tombs. Darnis continued to be of some importance in early Moslem times as a station on the Alexandria-Kairawan road, and has served on more than one occasion as a base for Egyptian attacks on Cyrenaica and Tripolitana. In 1805 the government of the United States, having a quarrel with the dey of Tripoli on account of piracies committed on American shipping, landed a force to co-operate in the attack on Derna then being made by Sidi Ahmet, an elder brother of the dey. This force, commanded by William Eaton, built a fort, whose ruins and rusty guns are still to be seen, and began to improve the harbour; but its work quickly came to an end with the conclusion of peace. After 1835 Derna passed under direct Ottoman control, and subsequently served as the point whence the sultan exerted a precarious but increasing control over eastern Cyrenaica and Marmarica. It is now in communication by wireless telegraphy with Rhodes and western Cyrenaica. It is the only town, or even large village, between Bengazi and Alexandria (600 m.) (D. G. H.) Deroulede, Paul (1846-), French author and politician, was born in Paris on the 2nd of September 1846. He made his first appearance as a poet in the pages of the Revue nationale, under the pseudonym of Jean Rebel, and in 1869 produced at the Theatre Frangais a one-act drama in verse entitled Juan Strenner. On the outbreak of the Franco-German War he enlisted as a private, was wounded and taken prisoner at Sedan, and sent to Breslau, but effected his escape. He then served under Chanzy and Bourbaki, took part in the latter's disastrous retreat to Switzerland, and fought against the Commune in Paris. After attaining the rank of lieutenant, he was forced by an accident to retire from the army. He published in 187 2 a number of patriotic poems (Chants du soldat), which enjoyed unbounded popularity. This was followed in 1875 by another collection, Nouveaux Chants du soldat. In 1877 he produced a drama in verse called L'Hetman, which derived a passing success from the patriotic fervour of its sentiments. For the exhibition of 1878 he wrote a hymn, Vive la France, which was set to music by Gounod. In 1880 his drama in verse, La Moabite, which had been accepted by the Theatre Frangais, was forbidden by the censor on religious grounds. In 1882 M. Deroulede founded the Ligue des patriotes, with the object of furthering France's "revanche" against Germany. He was one of the first advocates of a Franco-Russian alliance, and as early as 1883 undertook a journey to Russia for the furtherance of that object. On the rise of General Boulanger, M. Deroulede attempted to use the Ligue des patriote.s, hitherto a non-political organization, to assist his cause, but was deserted by a great part of the league and forced to resign his presidency. Nevertheless he used the section that remained faithful to him with such effect that the government found it necessary in 1889 to decree its suppression. In the same year he was elected to the chamber as member for Angouleme. He was expelled from the chamber in 1890 for his disorderly interruptions during debate. He did not stand at the elections of 1893, but was re-elected in 1898, and distinguished himself by his violence as a nationalist and anti-Dreyfusard. After the funeral of President Faure, on the 23rd of February 1899, he endeavoured to persuade General Roget to lead his troops upon the Elysee. For this he was arrested, but on being tried for treason was acquitted (May 31). On the 12th of August he was again arrested and accused, together with Andre Buffet, Jules Guerin and others, of conspiracy against the republic. After a long trial before the high court, he was sentenced, on the 4th of January 1900, to ten years' banishment from France, and retired to San Sebastian. In 1901, he was again brought prominently before the public by a quarrel with his Royalist allies, which resulted in an abortive attempt to arrange a duel with M. Buffet in Switzerland. In November 1905, however, the law of amnesty enabled him to return to France.

Besides the works already mentioned, he published Le Sergent, in the Theatre de campagne (1880); De l'education nationale (1882); Monsieur le Uhlan et les trois couleurs (1884); Le Premier grenadier de France; La Tour d'Auvergne (1886); Le Livre de la ligue des patriotes (1887); Refrains militaires (1888); Histoire d'amour (1890); a pamphlet entitled Desarmement? (1891); Chants du paysan (1894); Poesies Militaires (1896) and 71iessire du Guesclin, drame en vers (1895); La mort de Hoche. Cinq actes en prose (1897); dialogue en vers libres (1898) .

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