Algeria

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Map of Africa showing location of Algeria

Situated north of the Sahara desert. Algeria shares a common border with Libya, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, and Morocco. Algeria has access to the Mediterranean Sea.

Algerian history spans thousands of years, some of it under the rule of foreign powers namely the Roman Empire, Byzantine, Germanic vandal societies and the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Sometime around 8 A.D., when Algeria was part of the Ottoman Empire, the indigenous Berber population converted to Islam. Then in 1830 the crumbling Ottoman rule gave way when the French monarchy invaded and occupied Algeria. In 1834 France annexed this country just across the Mediterranean Ocean. In 1848, in a move unprecedented amongst French colonial possessions, it was made another French department (or province) different from most colonies.

In the 1950s, Front De Liberation Nationale (FNL) led a guerrilla war against French rule which ended victoriously in 1962. Algeria became an independent republic after 132 years of French rule, and an exodus of one million French settlers occurred. Since independence Algeria has experienced political and economic crisis, attended by the spread of militant Islam and the start of a low intensity civil war between the government and the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), which won the annulled election of 1992.

Last updated : 11-Mar-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 21-Mar-2011