Algeria

Algeria

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Headline News
Overview

AlgeriaAlgeria was originally inhabited by Berbers until the Arabs conquered North Africa in the 7th century. Based mainly in the mountainous regions, the Berbers resisted the spread of Arab influence, managing to preserve much of their language and culture. They make up some 30% of the population.

With a total area of 2,381,741 square kilometers (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and in the Mediterranean. The country is bordered in the northeast by Tunisia, in the east by Libya, in the west by Morocco, in the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, in the southeast by Niger, and in the north by the Mediterranean Sea. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League,OPEC and the United Nations, and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union.

Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian (after the archeological site of Bir el Ater, south of Tebessa). The earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian (located mainly in Oran region). This industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization (animal domestication and agriculture) developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghrib between 6000 and 2000 BC. This life, richly depicted in the Tassili n’Ajjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period.

The amalgam of peoples of North Africa coalesced eventually into a distinct native population that came to be called Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa. Algeria, a gateway between Africa and Europe, has been battered by violence over the past half-century.

More than a million Algerians were killed in the fight for independence from France in 1962, and the country is emerging from a brutal internal conflict caused when elections that Islamists appeared certain to win were cancelled in 1992; a low-level Islamist insurgency still affects Algeria. The Sahara desert covers more than four-fifths of the land. Algeria is the continent’s biggest country, and is the world’s 10th largest. Oil and gas reserves were discovered there in the 1950s, but most Algerians live along the northern coast.

The Situation
  • 1830 – France seizes Algiers, ending Algeria’s three centuries as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1939-1945 – The Collapse of France and the Anglo-American occupation of North Africa during Second World War encourages hopes for independence.
  • 1945 – Pro-independence demonstrations in Setif. Thousands are killed in suppression of ensuing unrest.
  • 1954-1962 – Algerian War of Independence.
  • 1962 – Independence.
  • 1976 – Algerian, Moroccan armies clash over Western Sahara.
  • 1989 – New constitution removes the one-party state and moves country away from socialism to western capitalism.
  • 1991-1999 – Civil war pitting Islamists against the government.
  • 1999 – Abdelaziz Bouteflika becomes president, introduces national reconciliation policy.
  • 2003 June – Leader of the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) Abassi Madani and his deputy Ali Belhadj are freed after serving 12-year sentences.
  • 2004 April – President Bouteflika is re-elected to a second term in a landslide poll victory.
  • 2008 November – Parliament approves constitutional changes allowing President Bouteflika to run for a third term.
  • 2009 April – President Bouteflika wins third term at the polls.
  • 2017 May – The governing coalition retains its majority in parliament following elections.
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Fun Trivia Facts

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
Capital: Algiers

  • Population: 36.5 million
  • Area: 2.4 million sq km (919,595 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Arabic, French, Berber
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 72 years (men), 75 years (women)
  • Currency: dinar

Other African Nations

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