/ (listen) al-JEER-ee-ə
), officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
, is a country in the Maghreb
region of North Africa
. The capital and most populous city is Algiers
, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean
coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world
, and the largest by area in the African Union
and the Arab world
With an estimated population of over 44 million, it is the ninth-most populous country
Pre-1962 Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians
and finally, the French colonial empire
. Most of the population is Arab-Berber
, practicing Islam
and using the official languages of Arabic
. However, French
serves as an administrative and education language in some contexts, and Algerian Arabic
is the main spoken language.
Algeria has a semi-presidential republic
, with local constituencies consisting of 58 provinces and 1,541 communes. Algeria is a regional
and middle power
. It has the highest Human Development Index
of all non-island African countries and one of the largest economies on the continent, based largely on energy exports. Algeria has the 16th largest
oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the ninth largest reserves
of natural gas
, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa, supplying large amounts of natural gas
to Europe. Algeria has one of the largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget. It is a member of the African Union, the Arab League
, the United Nations
, and the Arab Maghreb Union
, of which it is a founding member.
The country's name derives from the city of Algiers
which in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazāʾir
, "The Islands"),
a truncated form of the older Jazāʾir Banī Mazghanna
(جزائر بني مزغنة
, "Islands of the Mazghanna Tribe"),[page needed][page needed]
employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi
Prehistory and ancient history
The earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian
(located mainly in the 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 Maghreb perhaps as early as 11,000 BC
or as late as between 6000 and 2000 BC. This life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer
paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period. The mixture 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.
As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilisation was already at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and political organisation supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew, but territorial expansion also resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others.
(c. 238–148 BC), first king of Numidia
By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries
, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War
They succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, and they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa. The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars
In 146 BC the city of Carthage
was destroyed. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BC, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established in Numidia
, behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania
, which extended across the Moulouya River
in modern-day Morocco
to the Atlantic Ocean. The high point of Berber civilisation, unequalled until the coming of the Almohads
more than a millennium later, was reached during the reign of Masinissa
in the 2nd century BC.
After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were divided and reunited several times. Masinissa's line survived until 24 AD, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire
For several centuries Algeria was ruled by the Romans, who founded many colonies in the region. Like the rest of North Africa, Algeria was one of the breadbaskets of the empire, exporting cereals and other agricultural products. Saint Augustine
was the bishop of Hippo Regius
(modern-day Annaba, Algeria), located in the Roman province of Africa
. The Germanic Vandals
moved into North Africa in 429, and by 435 controlled coastal Numidia.
They did not make any significant settlement on the land, as they were harassed by local tribes.
In fact, by the time the Byzantines arrived Leptis Magna
was abandoned and the Msellata region was occupied by the indigenous Laguatan
who had been busy facilitating an Amazigh
political, military and cultural revival.
Furthermore, during the rule of the Romans, Byzantines, Vandals and Carthaginians the Kabyle people were the only or one of the few in North Africa who remained independent.
The Kabyle people were incredibly resistible so much so that even during the Arab conquest of North Africa they still had control and possession over their mountains.
Mansourah mosque, Tlemcen
Large numbers of the indigenous Berber people converted to Islam. Christians, Berber and Latin speakers remained in the great majority in Tunisia until the end of the 9th century and Muslims only became a vast majority some time in the 10th.
After the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate, numerous local dynasties emerged, including the Rustamids
and the Abdalwadid
. The Christians left in three waves: after the initial conquest, in the 10th century and the 11th. The last were evacuated to Sicily by the Normans and the few remaining died out in the 14th century.
During the Middle Ages
, North Africa was home to many great scholars, saints and sovereigns including Judah Ibn Quraysh
, the first grammarian to mention Semitic and Berber languages, the great Sufi masters Sidi Boumediene (Abu Madyan)
and Sidi El Houari
, and the Emirs Abd Al Mu'min
. It was during this time that the Fatimids
or children of Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, came to the Maghreb. These "Fatimids" went on to found a long lasting dynasty stretching across the Maghreb, Hejaz and the Levant, boasting a secular inner government, as well as a powerful army and navy, made up primarily of Arabs
extending from Algeria to their capital state of Cairo
. The Fatimid caliphate
began to collapse when its governors the Zirids
seceded. In order to punish them the Fatimids sent the Arab Banu Hilal
and Banu Sulaym
against them. The resultant war is recounted in the epic Tāghribāt
. In Al-Tāghrībāt the Amazigh Zirid Hero Khālīfā Al-Zānatī
asks daily, for duels, to defeat the Hilalan hero Ābu Zayd al-Hilalī
and many other Arab knights in a string of victories. The Zirids
, however, were ultimately defeated ushering in an adoption of Arab customs and culture. The indigenous Amazigh
tribes, however, remained largely independent, and depending on tribe, location and time controlled varying parts of the Maghreb, at times unifying it (as under the Fatimids). The Fatimid Islamic state, also known as Fatimid Caliphate
made an Islamic empire that included North Africa, Sicily, Palestine
, the Red Sea
coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz
Caliphates from Northern Africa traded with the other empires of their time, as well as forming part of a confederated support and trade network with other Islamic states during the Islamic Era.
Fatimid Caliphate, a Shia Ismaili
dynasty that ruled much of North Africa, c. 960–1100
historically consisted of several tribes. The two main branches were the Botr and Barnès tribes, who were divided into tribes, and again into sub-tribes. Each region of the Maghreb contained several tribes (for example, Sanhadja
, Awarba, and Berghwata
). All these tribes made independent territorial decisions.
dynasties emerged during the Middle Ages in the Maghreb and other nearby lands. Ibn Khaldun
provides a table summarising the Amazigh dynasties of the Maghreb region, the Zirid
, Banu Ifran
Both of the Hammadid
empires as well as the Fatimids
established their rule in all of the Maghreb countries. The Zirids
ruled land in what is now Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Spain, Malta and Italy. The Hammadids
captured and held important regions such as Ouargla, Constantine, Sfax, Susa, Algiers, Tripoli and Fez establishing their rule in every country in the Maghreb region.
which was created and established by the Kutama Berbers 
conquered all of North Africa as well as Sicily and parts of the Middle East.
Origin and conquests of the Fatimids
List of Empires/Dynasties created by the Berber people
Territories occupied by the Zirids during their reign
There reigned in Ifriqiya
, current Tunisia, a Berber
, somehow recognising the suzerainty of the Fatimid
caliph of Cairo
. Probably in 1048, the Zirid ruler or viceroy, el-Mu'izz, decided to end this suzerainty. The Fatimid
state was too weak to attempt a punitive expedition; The Viceroy, el-Mu'izz, also found another means of revenge.
Between the Nile
and the Red Sea
were living Bedouin
tribes expelled from Arabia
for their disruption and turbulent influence, both Banu Hilal
and Banu Sulaym
among others, whose presence disrupted farmers in the Nile Valley
since the nomads would often loot. The then Fatimid
vizier devised to relinquish control of the Maghreb
and obtained the agreement of his sovereign. This not only prompted the Bedouins to leave, but the Fatimid
treasury even gave them a light expatriation cash allowance.
Whole tribes set off with women, children, ancestors, animals and camping equipment. Some stopped on the way, especially in Cyrenaica
, where they are still one of the essential elements of the settlement but most arrived in Ifriqiya
by the Gabes
region. The Zirid
ruler tried to stop this rising tide, but with each encounter, the last under the walls of Kairouan
, his troops were defeated and the Arabs remained masters of the field.
The flood was still rising, and in 1057, the Arabs spread on the high plains of Constantine
where they gradually choked Qalaa of Banu Hammad
, as they had done in Kairouan a few decades ago. From there they gradually gained the upper Algiers
plains. Some were forcibly taken by the Almohads
in the second half of the 12th century. We can say that in the 13th century the Arabs were in all of North Africa
, with the exception of the main mountain ranges and certain coastal regions which remained entirely Berber.
The influx of Bedouin
tribes was a major factor in the linguistic, cultural Arabization
of the Maghreb and in the spread of nomadism
in areas where agriculture
had previously been dominant. Ibn Khaldun
noted that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal
tribes had become completely arid desert.
In the early 16th century, Spain
constructed fortified outposts (presidios
) on or near the Algerian coast. Spain
took control of few coastal towns like Mers el Kebir
in 1505; Oran
in 1509; and Tlemcen
in 1510. In the same year, a few merchants of Algiers ceded one of the rocky islets in their harbour to Spain, which built a fort on it. The presidios in North Africa turned out to be a costly and largely ineffective military endeavour that did not guarantee access for Spain's merchant fleet.
The region of Algeria was partially ruled by Ottomans
for three centuries from 1516 to 1830. In 1516 the Turkish
privateer brothers Aruj
and Hayreddin Barbarossa
, who operated successfully under the Hafsids
, moved their base of operations to Algiers. They succeeded in conquering Jijel and Algiers from the Spaniards
but eventually assumed control over the city and the surrounding region, forcing the previous ruler, Abu Hamo Musa III of the Bani Ziyad
dynasty, to flee. When Aruj was killed in 1518 during his invasion of Tlemcen
, Hayreddin succeeded him as military commander of Algiers. The Ottoman
sultan gave him the title of beylerbey
and a contingent of some 2,000 janissaries
. With the aid of this force, Hayreddin
conquered the whole area between Constantine and Oran (although the city of Oran remained in Spanish hands until 1792).
The next beylerbey was Hayreddin's son Hasan
, who assumed the position in 1544. Until 1587 the area was governed by officers who served terms with no fixed limits. Subsequently, with the institution of a regular Ottoman administration, governors with the title of pasha ruled for three-year terms. The pasha was assisted by janissaries, known in Algeria as the ojaq and led by an agha
. Discontent among the ojaq rose in the mid-1600s because they were not paid regularly, and they repeatedly revolted against the pasha. As a result, the agha charged the pasha with corruption and incompetence and seized power in 1659.
had repeatedly struck the cities of North Africa. Algiers lost from 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants to the plague in 1620–21, and suffered high fatalities in 1654–57, 1665, 1691 and 1740–42.
In 1671, the taifa
rebelled, killed the agha, and placed one of its own in power. The new leader received the title of Dey
. After 1689, the right to select the dey passed to the divan
, a council of some sixty nobles. It was at first dominated by the ojaq
; but by the 18th century, it had become the dey's instrument. In 1710, the dey persuaded the sultan to recognise him and his successors as regent, replacing the pasha
in that role, although Algiers remained a part of the Ottoman Empire.
The dey was in effect a constitutional autocrat. The dey was elected for a life term, but in the 159 years (1671–1830) that the system survived, fourteen of the twenty-nine deys were assassinated. Despite usurpation, military coups and occasional mob rule, the day-to-day operation of Ottoman government was remarkably orderly. Although the regency patronised the tribal chieftains, it never had the unanimous allegiance of the countryside, where heavy taxation frequently provoked unrest. Autonomous tribal states were tolerated, and the regency's authority was seldom applied in the Kabylie
The Kabyles were the only people in North Africa who were never conquered by the Ottomans. 
Kabyle Kingdoms at their height
The Barbary pirates
preyed on Christian and other non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea.
The pirates often took the passengers and crew on the ships and sold them or used them as slaves
They also did a brisk business in ransoming some of the captives. According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th century, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves.
They often made raids, called Razzias
, on European coastal towns to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets
in North Africa and other parts of the Ottoman Empire
In 1544, for example, Hayreddin Barbarossa
captured the island of Ischia
, taking 4,000 prisoners, and enslaved some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari
, almost the entire population.
In 1551, the Ottoman governor of Algiers, Turgut Reis
, enslaved the entire population of the Maltese
island of Gozo
. Barbary pirates often attacked the Balearic Islands
. The threat was so severe that residents abandoned the island of Formentera
The introduction of broad-sail ships from the beginning of the 17th century allowed them to branch out into the Atlantic.
Bombardment of Algiers
by the Anglo-Dutch fleet, to support the ultimatum to release European slaves, August 1816
Barbary raids in the Mediterranean continued to attack Spanish merchant shipping, and as a result, the Spanish Navy
bombarded Algiers in 1783
For the attack in 1784, the Spanish fleet was to be joined by ships from such traditional enemies of Algiers as Naples
and the Knights of Malta
. Over 20,000 cannonballs were fired, much of the city and its fortifications were destroyed and most of the Algerian fleet was sunk.
In 1792 the Regency of Algiers conquered the Moroccan Rif and Oujda, which they then abandoned in 1795. 
The estimated extent of the Regency of Algiers in 1792 after taking possession of the Rif and Oujda
In the 19th century, Algerian pirates forged affiliations with Caribbean powers, paying a "licence tax" in exchange for safe harbour of their vessels.
Attacks by Algerian pirates on American
merchantmen resulted in the First
and Second Barbary Wars
, which ended the attacks on U.S. ships. A year later, a combined Anglo
fleet, under the command of Lord Exmouth bombarded Algiers
to stop similar attacks on European fishermen. These efforts proved successful, although Algerian piracy would continue until the French conquest in 1830.
Despite being removed from Algeria in the 19th century, Spain retained a presence in Morocco
. Algeria consistently opposed Spanish fortresses and control in nearby Morocco through the 20th century.
French colonization (1830–1962)
Battle of Somah in 1836
Under the pretext of a slight to their consul, the French invaded and captured Algiers
Historian Ben Kiernan
wrote on the French conquest of Algeria: "By 1875, the French conquest was complete. The war had killed approximately 825,000 indigenous Algerians since 1830."
French losses from 1831 to 1851 were 92,329 dead in the hospital and only 3,336 killed in action.
The population of Algeria, which stood at about 2.9 million in 1872, reached nearly 11 million in 1960.
French policy was predicated on "civilising" the country.
The slave trade and piracy in Algeria ceased following the French conquest.
The conquest of Algeria
by the French took some time and resulted in considerable bloodshed. A combination of violence and disease epidemics caused the indigenous
Algerian population to decline by nearly one-third from 1830 to 1872.
On September 17, 1860, Napoleon III declared "Our first duty is to take care of the happiness of the three million Arabs, whom the fate of arms has brought under our domination. "
During this time, only Kabylia resisted, the Kabylians were not colonized until after the Mokrani revolt
, Algerian leader insurgent against French colonial rule, 1865
From 1848 until independence, France administered the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria as an integral part and département
of the nation. One of France's longest-held overseas territories, Algeria became a destination for hundreds of thousands of Europeanimmigrants
, who became known as colons
and later, as Pied-Noirs.
Between 1825 and 1847, 50,000 French people emigrated to Algeria.
These settlers benefited from the French government's confiscation of communal land from tribal peoples, and the application of modern agricultural techniques that increased the amount of arable land.
Many Europeans settled in Oran
, and by the early 20th century they formed a majority of the population in both cities.
During the late 19th and early 20th century; the European share
was almost a fifth of the population. The French government aimed at making Algeria an assimilated part of France, and this included substantial educational investments especially after 1900. The indigenous cultural and religious resistance heavily opposed this tendency, but in contrast to the other colonised countries' path in central Asia and Caucasus, Algeria kept its individual skills and a relatively human-capital intensive agriculture.
Gradually, dissatisfaction among the Muslim population, which lacked political and economic status under the colonial system, gave rise to demands for greater political autonomy and eventually independence from France. In May 1945, the uprising against the occupying French forces was suppressed through what is now known as the Sétif and Guelma massacre
. Tensions between the two population groups came to a head in 1954, when the first violent events of what was later called the Algerian War
began after the publication of the Declaration of 1 November 1954
. Historians have estimated that between 30,000 and 150,000 Harkis
and their dependants were killed by the Front de Libération Nationale
(FLN) or by lynch
mobs in Algeria.
The FLN used hit and run attacks in Algeria and France as part of its war, and the French conducted severe reprisals
The war led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Algerians and hundreds of thousands of injuries. Historians, like Alistair Horne
and Raymond Aron
, state that the actual number of Algerian Muslim war dead was far greater than the original FLN and official French estimates but was less than the 1 million deaths claimed by the Algerian government after independence. Horne estimated Algerian casualties during the span of eight years to be around 700,000.
The war uprooted more than 2 million Algerians.
The war against French rule concluded in 1962, when Algeria gained complete independence following the March 1962 Evian agreements
and the July 1962 self-determination referendum
. Some estimates put the Algerian death toll during the French colonial rule at over 10 million.
The first three decades of independence (1962–1991)
The number of European Pied-Noirs
who fled Algeria totaled more than 900,000 between 1962 and 1964.
The exodus to mainland France accelerated after the Oran massacre of 1962
, in which hundreds of militants entered European sections of the city, and began attacking civilians.
In the 1960s and 1970s under President Houari Boumediene, Algeria pursued a program of industrialisation within a state-controlled socialist economy. Boumediene's successor, Chadli Bendjedid
, introduced some liberal economic reforms. He promoted a policy of Arabisation
in Algerian society and public life. Teachers of Arabic, brought in from other Muslim countries, spread conventional Islamic thought in schools and sowed the seeds of a return to Orthodox Islam.
The Algerian economy became increasingly dependent on oil, leading to hardship when the price collapsed during the 1980s oil glut
Economic recession caused by the crash in world oil prices resulted in Algerian social unrest during the 1980s; by the end of the decade, Bendjedid introduced a multi-party system. Political parties developed, such as the Islamic Salvation Front
(FIS), a broad coalition of Muslim groups.
Civil War (1991–2002) and aftermath
In December 1991 the Islamic Salvation Front
dominated the first of two rounds of legislative elections
. Fearing the election of an Islamist government, the authorities intervened on 11 January 1992, cancelling the elections. Bendjedid resigned and a High Council of State
was installed to act as the Presidency. It banned the FIS, triggering a civil insurgency
between the Front's armed wing, the Armed Islamic Group
, and the national armed forces, in which more than 100,000 people are thought to have died. The Islamist militants conducted a violent campaign of civilian massacres
At several points in the conflict, the situation in Algeria became a point of international concern, most notably during the crisis surrounding Air France Flight 8969
, a hijacking perpetrated by the Armed Islamic Group. The Armed Islamic Group declared a ceasefire in October 1997.
Algeria held elections in 1999
, considered biased by international observers and most opposition groups
which were won by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
. He worked to restore political stability to the country and announced a "Civil Concord" initiative, approved in a referendum
, under which many political prisoners were pardoned, and several thousand members of armed groups were granted exemption from prosecution under a limited amnesty, in force until 13 January 2000. The AIS disbanded and levels of insurgent violence fell rapidly. The Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat
(GSPC), a splinter group of the Armed Islamic Group, continued a terrorist campaign against the Government.
In November 2008, the Algerian Constitution
was amended following a vote in Parliament, removing the two-term limit on Presidential incumbents. This change enabled Bouteflika to stand for re-election in the 2009 presidential elections
, and he was re-elected in April 2009. During his election campaign and following his re-election, Bouteflika promised to extend the programme of national reconciliation and a $150-billion spending programme to create three million new jobs, the construction of one million new housing units, and to continue public sector and infrastructure modernisation programmes.
A continuing series of protests throughout the country started on 28 December 2010, inspired by similar protests across the Middle East and North Africa
. On 24 February 2011, the government lifted Algeria's 19-year-old state of emergency
The government enacted legislation dealing with political parties, the electoral code, and the representation of women in elected bodies.
In April 2011, Bouteflika promised further constitutional and political reform.
However, elections are routinely criticised by opposition groups as unfair and international human rights groups say that media censorship and harassment of political opponents continue.
On 2 April 2019, Bouteflika resigned from the presidency after mass protests
against his candidacy for a fifth term in office.
Since the 2011 breakup of Sudan
, Algeria has been the largest country in Africa, and the Mediterranean Basin
. Its southern part includes a significant portion of the Sahara
. To the north, the Tell Atlas
form with the Saharan Atlas
, further south, two parallel sets of reliefs in approaching eastbound, and between which are inserted vast plains and highlands. Both Atlas tend to merge in eastern Algeria. The vast mountain ranges of Aures
occupy the entire northeastern Algeria and are delineated by the Tunisian border. The highest point is Mount Tahat
(3,003 metres or 9,852 feet).
Algeria lies mostly between latitudes 19°
(a small area is north of 37°N and south of 19°N), and longitudes 9°W
. Most of the coastal area is hilly, sometimes even mountainous, and there are a few natural harbours
. The area from the coast to the Tell Atlas is fertile. South of the Tell Atlas is a steppe
landscape ending with the Saharan Atlas
; farther south, there is the Sahara desert.
The Hoggar Mountains
: جبال هقار
), also known as the Hoggar, are a highland region in central Sahara, southern Algeria. They are located about 1,500 km (932 mi) south of the capital, Algiers, and just east of Tamanghasset
. Algiers, Oran
, and Annaba
are Algeria's main cities.
Climate and hydrology
Algeria map of Köppen climate classification.
ski resort in northern Algeria
In this region, midday desert temperatures can be hot year round. After sunset, however, the clear, dry air permits rapid loss of heat, and the nights are cool to chilly. Enormous daily ranges in temperature are recorded.
Rainfall is fairly plentiful along the coastal part of the Tell Atlas, ranging from 400 to 670 mm (15.7 to 26.4 in) annually, the amount of precipitation increasing from west to east. Precipitation
is heaviest in the northern part of eastern Algeria, where it reaches as much as 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in some years.
Farther inland, the rainfall is less plentiful. Algeria also has ergs
, or sand dunes, between mountains. Among these, in the summer time when winds are heavy and gusty, temperatures can go up to 43.3 °C (110 °F).
Fauna and flora
Algeria varies from coastal areas to mountainous areas and deserts
The varied vegetation of Algeria includes coastal
and grassy desert
-like regions which all support a wide range of wildlife. Many of the creatures comprising the Algerian wildlife live in close proximity to civilisation. The most commonly seen animals include the wild boars
, and gazelles
, although it is not uncommon to spot fennecs
(foxes), and jerboas
. Algeria also has a small African leopard
and Saharan cheetah
population, but these are seldom seen. A species of deer, the Barbary stag
, inhabits the dense humid forests in the north-eastern areas.
In the north, some of the native flora includes Macchia
scrub, olive trees
and other conifers
. The mountain regions contain large forests of evergreens (Aleppo pine
, and evergreen oak
) and some deciduous trees. Fig
, and various palm trees
grow in the warmer areas. The grape vine
is indigenous to the coast. In the Sahara region, some oases have palm trees. Acacias
with wild olives
are the predominant flora in the remainder of the Sahara
. Algeria had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index
mean score of 5.22/10, ranking it 106th globally out of 172 countries.
are used extensively; the desert also abounds with venomous and nonvenomous snakes, scorpions
, and numerous insects.
Government and politics
Elected politicians have relatively little sway over Algeria. Instead, a group of unelected civilian and military "décideurs" ("deciders"), known as "le pouvoir" ("the power"), actually rule the country, even deciding who should be president.
The most powerful man might have been Mohamed Mediène
, the head of military intelligence, before he was brought down during the 2019 protests
In recent years, many of these generals have died, retired, or been imprisoned. After the death of General Larbi Belkheir
, Previous president Bouteflika
put loyalists in key posts, notably at Sonatrach
, and secured constitutional amendments that made him re-electable indefinitely, until he was brought down in 2019 during protests
The head of state is the President of Algeria
, who is elected for a five-year term. The president was formerly limited to two five-year terms, but a constitutional amendment passed by the Parliament on 11 November 2008 removed this limitation.
The most recent presidential election
was planned to be in April 2019, but widespread protests
erupted on 22 February against the president's decision to participate in the election, which resulted in President Bouteflika announcing his resignation on 3 April. Abdelmadjid Tebboune
, an independent candidate, was elected as President after the election eventually took place on 12 December 2019. Protestors refused to recognise Tebboune as President, citing demands for comprehensive reform of the political system.
Algeria has universal suffrage
at 18 years of age.
The President is the head of the army
, the Council of Ministers
and the High Security Council
. He appoints the Prime Minister
who is also the head of government.
The Algerian parliament is bicameral
; the lower house, the People's National Assembly
, has 462 members who are directly elected for five-year terms, while the upper house, the Council of the Nation
, has 144 members serving six-year terms, of which 96 members are chosen by local assemblies and 48 are appointed by the president.
According to the constitution
, no political association may be formed if it is "based on differences in religion, language, race, gender, profession, or region". In addition, political campaigns must be exempt from the aforementioned subjects.
Algeria is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy
(ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. Giving incentives and rewarding best performers, as well as offering funds in a faster and more flexible manner, are the two main principles underlying the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) that came into force in 2014. It has a budget of €15.4 billion and provides the bulk of funding through a number of programmes.
In 2009, the French government agreed to compensate victims of nuclear tests in Algeria. Defence Minister Herve Morin stated that "It's time for our country to be at peace with itself, at peace thanks to a system of compensation and reparations," when presenting the draft law on the payouts. Algerian officials and activists believe that this is a good first step and hope that this move would encourage broader reparation.
Tensions between Algeria and Morocco in relation to the Western Sahara
have been an obstacle to tightening the Arab Maghreb Union
, nominally established in 1989, but which has carried little practical weight.
Total military personnel include 147,000 active, 150,000 reserve, and 187,000 paramilitary staff (2008 estimate).
Service in the military is compulsory for men aged 19–30, for a total of 12 months.
The military expenditure was 4.3% of the gross domestic product
(GDP) in 2012.
Algeria has the second largest military
in North Africa with the largest defence budget in Africa ($10 billion).
Most of Algeria's weapons are imported from Russia
, with whom they are a close ally.
In 2007, the Algerian Air Force signed a deal with Russia to purchase 49 MiG-29
SMT and 6 MiG-29UBT at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion. Russia is also building two 636-type
Algeria has been categorised by Freedom House
as "not free" since it began publishing such ratings in 1972, with the exception of 1989, 1990, and 1991, when the country was labelled "partly free."
In December 2016, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor
issued a report regarding violation of media freedom
in Algeria. It clarified that the Algerian government imposed restriction on freedom of the press
; expression; and right to peaceful demonstration, protest and assembly as well as intensified censorship of the media
and websites. Due to the fact that the journalists and activists criticise the ruling government, some media organisations' licenses are cancelled.
Independent and autonomous trade unions face routine harassment from the government, with many leaders imprisoned and protests suppressed. In 2016 a number of unions, many of which were involved in the 2010–2012 Algerian Protests, have been deregistered by the government.
is illegal in Algeria.
Public homosexual behavior is punishable by up to two years in prison.
The administrative divisions have changed several times since independence. When introducing new provinces, the numbers of old provinces are kept, hence the non-alphabetical order. With their official numbers, currently (since 1983) they are
Graphical depiction of the country's exports in 28 colour-coded categories.
Algeria is classified as an upper middle income country by the World Bank
Algeria's currency is the dinar
(DZD). The economy remains dominated by the state, a legacy of the country's socialist post-independence development model. In recent years, the Algerian government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy.
These restrictions are just starting to be lifted off recently although questions about Algeria's slowly-diversifying economy remain.
Algeria has struggled to develop industries outside hydrocarbons in part because of high costs and an inert state bureaucracy. The government's efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector have done little to reduce high youth unemployment rates or to address housing shortages.
The country is facing a number of short-term and medium-term problems, including the need to diversify the economy, strengthen political, economic and financial reforms, improve the business climate and reduce inequalities amongst regions.
A wave of economic protests in February and March 2011 prompted the Algerian government to offer more than $23 billion in public grants and retroactive salary and benefit increases. Public spending has increased by 27% annually during the past 5 years. The 2010–14 public-investment programme will cost US$286 billion, 40% of which will go to human development.
The port city of Oran
The Algerian economy grew by 2.6% in 2011, driven by public spending, in particular in the construction and public-works sector, and by growing internal demand. If hydrocarbons are excluded, growth has been estimated at 4.8%. Growth of 3% is expected in 2012, rising to 4.2% in 2013. The rate of inflation was 4% and the budget deficit 3% of GDP. The current-account surplus is estimated at 9.3% of GDP and at the end of December 2011, official reserves were put at US$182 billion.
Inflation, the lowest in the region, has remained stable at 4% on average between 2003 and 2007.
In 2011 Algeria announced a budgetary surplus of $26.9 billion, 62% increase in comparison to 2010 surplus. In general, the country exported $73 billion worth of commodities while it imported $46 billion.
Thanks to strong hydrocarbon revenues, Algeria has a cushion of $173 billion in foreign currency reserves
and a large hydrocarbon stabilisation fund. In addition, Algeria's external debt
is extremely low at about 2% of GDP.
The economy remains very dependent on hydrocarbon wealth, and, despite high foreign exchange reserves (US$178 billion, equivalent to three years of imports), current expenditure growth makes Algeria's budget more vulnerable to the risk of prolonged lower hydrocarbon revenues.
In 2011, the agricultural sector and services recorded growth of 10% and 5.3%, respectively.
About 14% of the labor force are employed in the agricultural sector
Fiscal policy in 2011 remained expansionist and made it possible to maintain the pace of public investment and to contain the strong demand for jobs and housing.
Algeria has not joined the WTO
, despite several years of negotiations.
Dubai-based conglomerate Emarat Dzayer Group said it had signed a joint venture agreement to develop a $1.6 billion steel factory in Algeria.
Oil and Natural Resources
Pipelines across Algeria
Non-hydrocarbon growth for 2011 was projected at 5%. To cope with social demands, the authorities raised expenditure, especially on basic food support, employment creation, support for SMEs, and higher salaries. High hydrocarbon prices have improved the current account and the already large international reserves position.
Income from oil and gas rose in 2011 as a result of continuing high oil prices, though the trend in production volume is downwards.
Production from the oil and gas sector in terms of volume, continues to decline, dropping from 43.2 million tonnes to 32 million tonnes between 2007 and 2011. Nevertheless, the sector accounted for 98% of the total volume of exports in 2011, against 48% in 1962,
and 70% of budgetary receipts, or US$71.4 billion.
The Algerian national oil company is Sonatrach
, which plays a key role in all aspects of the oil and natural gas sectors in Algeria. All foreign operators must work in partnership with Sonatrach, which usually has majority ownership in production-sharing agreements.
Access to biocapacity
in Algeria is lower than world average. In 2016, Algeria had 0.53 global hectares
of biocapacity per person within its territory, much less than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person.
In 2016 Algeria used 2.4 global hectares of biocapacity per person - their ecological footprint
of consumption. This means they use just under 4.5 times as much biocapacity as Algeria contains. As a result, Algeria is running a biocapacity deficit.
Research and alternative energy sources
Algeria has invested an estimated 100 billion dinars towards developing research facilities and paying researchers. This development program is meant to advance alternative energy production, especially solar and wind power.
Algeria is estimated to have the largest solar energy potential in the Mediterranean, so the government has funded the creation of a solar science park in Hassi R'Mel. Currently, Algeria has 20,000 research professors at various universities and over 780 research labs, with state-set goals to expand to 1,000. Besides solar energy, areas of research in Algeria include space and satellite telecommunications, nuclear power and medical research.
Despite a decline in total unemployment
, youth and women unemployment is high.
Unemployment particularly affects the young, with a jobless rate of 21.5% among the 15–24 age group.
The overall rate of unemployment was 10% in 2011, but remained higher among young people, with a rate of 21.5% for those aged between 15 and 24. The government strengthened in 2011 the job programmes introduced in 1988, in particular in the framework of the programme to aid those seeking work (Dispositif d'Aide à l'Insertion Professionnelle).
The development of the tourism sector in Algeria had previously been hampered by a lack of facilities, but since 2004 a broad tourism development strategy has been implemented resulting in many hotels of a high modern standard being built.
The main highway connecting the Moroccan to the Tunisian border was a part of the Cairo–Dakar Highway
The Algerian road network is the densest in Africa; its length is estimated at 180,000 km (110,000 mi) of highways, with more than 3,756 structures and a paving rate of 85%. This network will be complemented by the East-West Highway
, a major infrastructure project currently under construction. It is a 3-way, 1,216-kilometre-long (756 mi) highway, linking Annaba
in the extreme east to the Tlemcen
in the far west. Algeria is also crossed by the Trans-Sahara Highway
, which is now completely paved. This road is supported by the Algerian government to increase trade between the six countries crossed: Algeria, Mali
, and Tunisia
Historical populations (in thousands)
In January 2016 Algeria's population was an estimated 40.4 million, who are mainly Arab-Berber
At the outset of the 20th century, its population was approximately four million.
About 90% of Algerians live in the northern, coastal area; the inhabitants of the Sahara desert are mainly concentrated in oases
, although some 1.5 million remain nomadic
or partly nomadic. 28.1% of Algerians are under the age of 15.
Women make up 70% of the country's lawyers and 60% of its judges and also dominate the field of medicine. Increasingly, women are contributing more to household income than men. 60% of university students are women, according to university researchers.
The largest concentration of Algerian migrants outside Algeria is in France, which has reportedly over 1.7 million Algerians of up to the second generation.
Some of Algeria's traditional clothes
Despite the dominance of the Berber ethnicity in Algeria, the majority of Algerians identify with an Arabic-based identity, especially after the Arab nationalism rising in the 20th century.
Berbers and Berber-speaking Algerians are divided into many groups with varying languages. The largest of these are the Kabyles, who live in the Kabylie
region east of Algiers, the Chaoui of Northeast Algeria, the Tuaregs in the southern desert and the Shenwa people
of North Algeria.[page needed]
During the colonial period, there was a large (10% in 1960) European
population who became known as Pied-Noirs
. They were primarily of French, Spanish
origin. Almost all of this population left during the war of independence or immediately after its end.
has been recognised as a "national language" by the constitutional amendment of 8 May 2002. Kabyle
, the predominant Berber language, is taught and is partially co-official (with a few restrictions) in parts of Kabylie
. In February 2016, the Algerian constitution passed a resolution that would make Berber an official language alongside Arabic.
has no official status, Algeria is the second-largest Francophone country in the world in terms of speakers,
and French is widely used in government, media (newspapers, radio, local television), and both the education system (from primary school onwards) and academia due to Algeria's colonial history
. It can be regarded as a lingua franca
of Algeria. In 2008, 11.2 million Algerians could read and write in French.
An Abassa Institute study in April 2000 found that 60% of households could speak and understand French or 18 million in a population of 30 million then. After an earlier period during which the Algerian government tried to phase out French, in recent decades the government has backtracked and reinforced the study of French, and some television programs are broadcast in the language.
Algeria emerged as a bilingual state after 1962.
Colloquial Algerian Arabic
is spoken by about 72% of the population and Berber by 27–30%.
is the predominant religion in Algeria, with its adherents, mostly Sunnis, accounting for 99% of the population according to a 2021 CIA World Factbook estimate,
and 97.9% according to Pew Research in 2020.
There are about 290,000 Ibadis
in the M'zab Valley in the region of Ghardaia
. Estimates of the Christian population
range from 20,000 to 200,000
Algerian citizens who are Christians predominantly belong to Protestant
groups, which have seen increased pressure from the government in recent years including many forced closures.
In 2002, Algeria had inadequate numbers of physicians (1.13 per 1,000 people), nurses (2.23 per 1,000 people), and dentists (0.31 per 1,000 people). Access to "improved water sources" was limited to 92% of the population in urban areas and 80% of the population in the rural areas. Some 99% of Algerians living in urban areas, but only 82% of those living in rural areas, had access to "improved sanitation". According to the World Bank, Algeria is making progress toward its goal of "reducing by half the number of people without sustainable access to improved drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015". Given Algeria's young population, policy favours preventive health care and clinics over hospitals. In keeping with this policy, the government maintains an immunisation program. However, poor sanitation and unclean water still cause tuberculosis
, typhoid fever
. The poor generally receive health care free of charge.
Health records have been maintained in Algeria since 1882 and began adding Muslims living in the south to their vital record database in 1905 during French rule.
Algerian school children
Since the 1970s, in a centralised system that was designed to significantly reduce the rate of illiteracy, the Algerian government introduced a decree by which school attendance became compulsory for all children aged between 6 and 15 years who have the ability to track their learning through the 20 facilities built since independence, now the literacy rate is around 78.7%.
literacy rate Algeria population plus 15 1985–2015
Since 1972, Arabic is used as the language of instruction during the first nine years of schooling. From the third year, French is taught and it is also the language of instruction for science classes. The students can also learn English, Italian, Spanish and German. In 2008, new programs at the elementary appeared, therefore the compulsory schooling does not start at the age of six anymore, but at the age of five.
Apart from the 122 private schools, the Universities of the State are free of charge. After nine years of primary school, students can go to the high school or to an educational institution. The school offers two programs: general or technical. At the end of the third year of secondary school, students pass the exam of the baccalaureate, which allows once it is successful to pursue graduate studies in universities and institutes.
Education is officially compulsory for children between the ages of six and 15. In 2008, the illiteracy rate for people over 10 was 22.3%, 15.6% for men and 29.0% for women. The province with the lowest rate of illiteracy was Algiers Province
at 11.6%, while the province with the highest rate was Djelfa Province
Algeria has 26 universities and 67 institutions of higher education, which must accommodate a million Algerians and 80,000 foreign students in 2008. The University of Algiers
, founded in 1879, is the oldest, it offers education in various disciplines (law, medicine, science and letters). 25 of these universities and almost all of the institutions of higher education were founded after the independence of the country.
Below is a list of the most important Algerian cities:
Contemporary Algerian cinema
is various in terms of genre, exploring a wider range of themes and issues. There has been a transition from cinema which focused on the war of independence to films more concerned with the everyday lives of Algerians.
Mohammed Racim was a painter and founder of the Algerian school of miniature painting
Algerian painters, like Mohamed Racim
or Baya, attempted to revive the prestigious Algerian past prior to French colonisation, at the same time that they have contributed to the preservation of the authentic values of Algeria. In this line, Mohamed Temam
, Abdelkhader Houamel
have also returned through this art, scenes from the history of the country, the habits and customs of the past and the country life. Other new artistic currents including the one of M'hamed Issiakhem
, Mohammed Khadda
and Bachir Yelles
, appeared on the scene of Algerian painting, abandoning figurative classical painting to find new pictorial ways, in order to adapt Algerian paintings to the new realities of the country through its struggle and its aspirations. Mohammed Khadda
and M'hamed Issiakhem
have been notable in recent years.
Today Algeria contains, in its literary landscape, big names having not only marked the Algerian literature, but also the universal literary heritage in Arabic and French.
As a first step, Algerian literature was marked by works whose main concern was the assertion of the Algerian national entity, there is the publication of novels as the Algerian trilogy
of Mohammed Dib
, or even Nedjma
of Kateb Yacine
novel which is often regarded as a monumental and major work. Other known writers will contribute to the emergence of Algerian literature whom include Mouloud Feraoun
, Malek Bennabi
, Malek Haddad
, Moufdi Zakaria
, Abdelhamid Ben Badis, Mohamed Laïd Al-Khalifa, Mouloud Mammeri
, Frantz Fanon
, and Assia Djebar
Currently, a part of Algerian writers tends to be defined in a literature of shocking expression, due to the terrorism that occurred during the 1990s, the other party is defined in a different style of literature who staged an individualistic conception of the human adventure. Among the most noted recent works, there is the writer, the swallows of Kabul
and the attack
of Yasmina Khadra
, the oath of barbarians
of Boualem Sansal
, memory of the flesh
of Ahlam Mosteghanemi
and the last novel by Assia Djebar nowhere in my father's House
Folk music styles include Bedouin music
, characterized by the poetic songs based on long kacida (poems); Kabyle music, based on a rich repertoire that is poetry and old tales passed through generations; Shawiya music, a folklore from diverse areas of the Aurès Mountains
. Rahaba music style is unique to the Aures. Souad Massi
is a rising Algerian folk singer. Other Algerian singers of the diaspora include Manel Filali
and Kenza Farah
in France. Tergui music is sung in Tuareg languages
had a worldwide success. Finally, the staïfi music is born in Sétif
and remains a unique style of its kind.
Modern music is available in several facets, Raï
music is a style typical of western Algeria. Rap
, a relatively recent style in Algeria, is experiencing significant growth.
The Algerian state's interest in film-industry activities can be seen in the annual budget of DZD 200 million (EUR 1.3 million) allocated to production, specific measures and an ambitious programme plan implemented by the Ministry of Culture in order to promote national production, renovate the cinema stock and remedy the weak links in distribution and exploitation.
The financial support provided by the state, through the Fund for the Development of the Arts, Techniques and the Film Industry (FDATIC) and the Algerian Agency for Cultural Influence (AARC), plays a key role in the promotion of national production. Between 2007 and 2013, FDATIC subsidised 98 films (feature films, documentaries and short films). In mid-2013, AARC had already supported a total of 78 films, including 42 feature films, 6 short films and 30 documentaries.
According to the European Audiovisual Observatory's LUMIERE database, 41 Algerian films were distributed in Europe between 1996 and 2013; 21 films in this repertoire were Algerian-French co-productions. Days of Glory (2006)
and Outside the Law (2010)
recorded the highest number of admissions in the European Union, 3,172,612 and 474,722, respectively.
Algerian cuisine is rich and diverse. The country was considered as the "granary of Rome". It offers a component of dishes and varied dishes, depending on the region and according to the seasons. The cuisine uses cereals as the main products, since they are always produced with abundance in the country. There is not a dish where cereals are not present.
Algerian cuisine varies from one region to another, according to seasonal vegetables. It can be prepared using meat, fish and vegetables. Among the dishes known, couscous
, rechta, chakhchoukha, berkoukes, shakshouka
, mthewem, chtitha, mderbel, dolma, brik or bourek, garantita, lham'hlou, etc. Merguez
sausage is widely used in Algeria, but it differs, depending on the region and on the added spices.
Cakes are marketed and can be found in cities either in Algeria, in Europe or North America. However, traditional cakes are also made at home, following the habits and customs of each family. Among these cakes, there are Tamina, Baklawa, Chrik, Garn logzelles, Griouech, Kalb el-louz, Makroud, Mbardja, Mchewek, Samsa, Tcharak, Baghrir, Khfaf, Zlabia, Aarayech, Ghroubiya and Mghergchette. Algerian pastry also contains Tunisian or French cakes. Marketed and home-made bread products include varieties such as Kessra or Khmira or Harchaya, chopsticks and so-called washers Khoubz dar or Matloue. Other traditional meals sold often as street food include mhadjeb or mahjouba, karantika, doubara, chakhchoukha, hassouna, and t'chicha.
Various games have existed in Algeria since antiquity. In the Aures
, people played several games such as El Kherba or El khergueba (chess
variant). Playing cards, checkers
and chess games are part of Algerian culture. Racing (fantasia
) and rifle shooting
are part of cultural recreation of the Algerians.
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