Algeria


Map courtesy of travel.state.gov

Algeria, officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is located on Africa's Mediterranean coast, and is named for Algiers, the nation's capital and most populous city (3.5 million people). With an area approximately 3.5 times the size of Texas, 90% of which is desert, Algeria is the largest nation in Africa. Along with neighboring Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania, it is one of the five countries in North Africa west of Egypt that make up what is collectively known as the Maghreb (from the Arabic al-Maghrib for 'west').

Governed by France from 1830 until 1962, the area that makes up modern Algeria has been part of myriad empires over the centuries, including Roman, Phoenician, Ottoman, Carthaginians, and others. Arabic is spoken by about 80% of the population, while French is generally the secondary language. Algerian culture reflects its varied history and the many peoples who have occupied the region, with Arabic and French influences among the most prevalent.

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