Into the Modern Era
Dreams of a trans-Saharan railway began in the 1860’s but were abandoned when interest waned in the wake of the killing of Colonel Flatter and his expedition in 1881 by the Toureg tribesmen of southern Algeri15. World War One brought about a renewed interest in penetrating deeper into the Sahara to secure and maintain territory during the war. The French were also required to drive Army convoys deep into the desert to suppress Toureg uprisings between 1914 and 1919.
The war renewed interest amongst the French in establishing trans-Saharan trade routes for both economic and military purposes which would link French Algeria with their southern colonies. The construction of improved roads made it as far south as the Hoggar mountains, but the rail line never materialized. Trans-Saharan air transportation was attempted but never realized as these early airplanes lacked many navigational aids, could be batted around in the air by sudden gusts of wind, and would be absolutely destroyed by desert sandstorms.
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