Algeria

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People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
  • الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية (Arabic)
    al-Jumhūriyya al-Jazāʾiriyya ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyya aš‑Šaʿbiyya
  • République algérienne démocratique et populaire (French)
Motto: بالشعب وللشعب
("By the people and for the people")[1][2]
Anthem: Kassaman
(English: "We Pledge")
Location of Algeria (dark green)
Location of Algeria (dark green)
Capital
and largest city
Algiers
36°42′N 3°13′E / 36.700°N 3.217°E / 36.700; 3.217
Official languages
Other languagesAlgerian Arabic (Darja)
(lingua franca)
French[3][a]
(lingua franca)
Ethnic groups
Religion
Demonym(s)Algerian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
• President
Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Aymen Benabderrahmane
Salah Goudjil
Ibrahim Boughali
LegislatureParliament
Council of the Nation
People's National Assembly
Formation
202 BC
42
430
477
757
776
786
972
1014
1235
1516
1832
5 July 1830
5 July 1962
Area
• Total
2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq mi) (10th)
• Water (%)
1.1
Population
• 2021 estimate
44,700,000[4] (32nd)
• Density
17.7/km2 (45.8/sq mi) (168th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $581.189 billion[5] (43rd)
• Per capita
Increase $13,002[5] (111th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
• Total
Increase $191.941 billion[5] (58th)
• Per capita
Increase $4,294[5] (130th)
Gini (2011)27.6[6][7]
low
HDI (2019)Increase 0.748[8]
high · 91st
CurrencyAlgerian dinar (DZD)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+213
ISO 3166 codeDZ
Internet TLD.dz
الجزائر.

Algeria,[c] officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in North Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia; to the east by Libya; to the southeast by Niger; to the southwest by Mali, Mauritania, and Western Sahara; to the west by Morocco; and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. It is considered to be a part of the Maghreb region of North Africa. It has a semi-arid geography, with most of the population living in the fertile north and the Sahara dominating the geography of the south. Algeria covers an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), making it the world's tenth largest nation by area, and the largest nation in Africa.[9] With a population of 44 million, Algeria is the ninth-most populous country in Africa, and the 32nd-most populous country in the world. The capital and largest city is Algiers, located in the far north on the Mediterranean coast.

Algeria produced and is linked to many civilizations, empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Rustamids, Idrisids, Aghlabids, Fatimids, Zirids, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Zayyanids, Spaniards, Ottomans and the French colonial empire. The vast majority of Algeria's population is Arab-Berber, practicing Islam, and using the official languages of Arabic and Berber. However, French serves as an administrative and educational language in some contexts. The main spoken language is Algerian Arabic.

Algeria is a semi-presidential republic, with local constituencies consisting of 58 provinces and 1,541 communes. Algeria is a regional power in North Africa, and a middle power in global affairs. 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 world's sixteenth-largest oil reserves and the ninth-largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa, supplying large amounts of natural gas to Europe. Algeria's military is one of the largest in Africa, and has the largest defence budget on the continent. It is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, the OIC, OPEC, the United Nations, and the Arab Maghreb Union, of which it is a founding member.

Name

Other forms of the name are: Arabic: الجزائر, romanizedal-Jazāʾir, Algerian Arabic: الدزاير, romanized: al-dzāyīr; Berber languages: Lezzayer; Berber languages: ⵍⴻⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ; Berber languages: لزّاير; French: Algérie. It is officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria[10] (Arabic: الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية, romanizedal-Jumhūriyya al-Jazāʾiriyya ad-Dīmuqrāṭiyya aš-Šaʿbiyya; Berber languages: Tagduda tamegdayt taɣerfant tazzayrit,[citation needed] Berber languages: ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵜⴰⵎⴳⴷⴰⵢⵜ ⵜⴰⵖⵔⴼⴰⵏⵜ ⵜⴰⴷⵣⴰⵢⵔⵉⵢⵜ,[citation needed][nb 1] Berber languages: تڨذوذا تازايريت تاماڨذايت تاغرفانت;[citation needed][nb 2] French: République algérienne démocratique et populaire, abbreviated as RADP).

Etymology

The country's name derives from the city of Algiers which in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazāʾir (الجزائر, "The Islands"),[12] a truncated form of the older Jazāʾir Banī Mazghanna (جزائر بني مزغنة, "Islands of the Mazghanna Tribe"),[13][14][page needed][15][page needed] employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi.

History

Prehistory and ancient history

Around ~1.8-million-year-old stone artifacts from Ain Hanech (Algeria) were considered to represent the oldest archaeological materials in North Africa.[16] Stone artifacts and cut-marked bones that were excavated from two nearby deposits at Ain Boucherit are estimated to be ~1.9 million years old, and even older stone artifacts to be as old as ~2.4 million years.[16] Hence, the Ain Boucherit evidence shows that ancestral hominins inhabited the Mediterranean fringe in northern Africa much earlier than previously thought. The evidence strongly argues for early dispersal of stone tool manufacture and use from East Africa, or a possible multiple-origin scenario of stone technology in both East and North Africa.

Roman ruins at Djémila

Neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles (43,000 BC) similar to those in the Levant.[17][18] Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques.[19] Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian (after the archaeological site of Bir el Ater, south of Tebessa).

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[20] 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.[21]

Ancient Roman ruins of Timgad on the street leading to the local Arch of Trajan

From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast; by 600 BC, a Phoenician presence existed at Tipasa, east of Cherchell, Hippo Regius (modern Annaba) and Rusicade (modern Skikda). These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages.

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.

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.[22] 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.[23]

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 and Almoravids 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.

The lands which comprise modern day Algeria were part of the Byzantine Empire (The empire in 555 under Justinian the Great, at its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire (vassals
in pink))

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 of Geiseric moved into North Africa in 429, and by 435 controlled coastal Numidia.[24] They did not make any significant settlement on the land, as they were harassed by local tribes.[citation needed] 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.[24][25] Furthermore, during the rule of the Romans, Byzantines, Vandals, Carthaginians, and Ottomans the Berber people were the only or one of the few in North Africa who remained independent.[26][27][28][29] The Berber people were so resistant that even during the Muslim conquest of North Africa they still had control and possession over their mountains.[30][31]

The collapse of the Western Roman Empire led to the establishment of a native Kingdom based in Altava (modern day Algeria) known as the Mauro-Roman Kingdom. It was succeeded by another Kingdom based in Altava, the Kingdom of Altava. During the reign of Kusaila its territory extended from the region of modern-day Fez in the west to the western Aurès and later Kairaouan and the interior of Ifriqiya in the east.[32][33][34][35][36][37]

Middle Ages

After negligible resistance from the locals,

Dihya memorial in Khenchela, Algeria

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.[38] After the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate, numerous local dynasties emerged, including the Rustamids, Aghlabids, Fatimids, Zirids, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads 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.[38]

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 and Yāghmūrasen. 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 and Levantines 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, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz and Yemen.[39][40][41] 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.

The Berber people 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, Houara, Zenata, Masmouda, Kutama, Awarba, and Berghwata). All these tribes made independent territorial decisions.[42]

Several Amazigh 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, Ifranid, Maghrawa, Almoravid, Hammadid, Almohad, Merinid, Abdalwadid, Wattasid, Meknassa and Hafsid dynasties.[43] Both of the Hammadid and Zirid 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.[44][45][46] The Fatimids which was created and established by the Kutama Berbers [47][48] conquered all of North Africa as well as Sicily and parts of the Middle East.

A few examples of medieval Berber dynasties which originated in Modern Algeria

Following the Berber revolt numerous independent states emerged across the Maghreb. In Algeria the Rustamid Kingdom was established. The Rustamid realm stretched from Tafilalt in Morocco to the Nafusa mountains in Libya including south, central and western Tunisia therefore including territory in all of the modern day Maghreb countries, in the south the Rustamid realm expanded to the modern borders of Mali and included territory in Mauritania.[49][50][51]

Once extending their control over all of the Maghreb, part of Spain[52] and briefly over Sicily,[53] originating from modern Algeria, the Zirids only controlled modern Ifriqiya by the 11th century. The Zirids recognized nominal suzerainty of the Fatimid caliphs of Cairo. El Mu'izz the Zirid ruler decided to end this recognition and declared his independence.[54][55] The Zirids also fought against other Zenata Kingdoms, for example the Maghrawa, a Berber dynasty originating from Algeria and which at one point was a dominant power in the Maghreb ruling over much of Morocco and western Algeria including Fez, Sijilmasa, Aghmat, Oujda, most of the Sous and Draa and reaching as far as M'sila and the Zab in Algeria.[56][57][58][59]

As the Fatimid state was at the time too weak to attempt a direct invasion, they found another means of revenge. Between the Nile and the Red Sea were living Bedouin nomad tribes expelled from Arabia for their disruption and turbulency. The Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym for example, who regularly disrupted farmers in the Nile Valley since the nomads would often loot their farms. The then Fatimid vizier decided to destroy what he couldn't control, and broke a deal with the chiefs of these Beduouin tribes.[60] The Fatimids even gave them money to leave.

Whole tribes set off with women, children, elders, 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, arriving 1051.[61] 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 battlefield. They Arabs usually didn't take control over the cities, instead looting them and destroying them.[55]

The invasion kept going, and in 1057 the Arabs spread on the high plains of Constantine where they encircled the Qalaa of Banu Hammad (capital of the Hammadid Emirate), as they had done in Kairouan a few decades ago. From there they gradually gained the upper Algiers and Oran plains. Some of these territories were forcibly taken back by the Almohads in the second half of the 12th century. 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.[62] Ibn Khaldun noted that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal tribes had become completely arid desert.[63]

The Almohads originating from modern day Morocco, although founded by a man originating from Algeria[64] known as Abd al-Mu'min would soon take control over the Maghreb. During the time of the Almohad Dynasty Abd al-Mu'min's tribe, the Koumïa, were the main supporters of the throne and the most important body of the empire.[65] Defeating the weakening Almoravid Empire and taking control over Morocco in 1147,[66] they pushed into Algeria in 1152, taking control over Tlemcen, Oran, and Algiers,[67] wrestling control from the Hilian Arabs, and by the same year they defeated Hammadids who controlled Eastern Algeria.[67]

Following their decisive defeat in the