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The Algeria Portal

Flag of Algeria
Emblem of Algeria
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Algeria (/ælˈɪəriə/ (About this sound listen); Arabic: الجزائرal-Jazā'ir, familary Algerian Arabic الدزاير al-dzāyīr; French: Algérie), officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country. 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 in Africa since South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties).

Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisid, Aghlabid, Rustamid, Fatimids, Zirid, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Spaniards, Ottomans and the French colonial empire. Berbers are the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria.

Algeria is a regional and middle power. The North African country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest militaries in Africa and the largest defence budget on the continent; most of Algeria's weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are a close ally. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union.

Selected article

A Berber woman

Berbers, also called Imazighen (in antiquity known as Libyans by the Greek), are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are discontinuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke various Berber languages, which together form a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Today many of them speak Arabic and also French in the Maghreb, due to the French colonization of the Maghreb, and especially Spanish in Morocco. Today most Berber-speaking people live in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Many Berbers call themselves some variant of the word Imazighen (singular: Amazigh), possibly meaning "free people" or "free and noble men" (the word has probably an ancient parallel in the Roman name for some of the Berbers, "Mazices").

The best known of the ancient Berbers were the Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the Roman general Lusius Quietus, who was instrumental in defeating the major Jewish revolt of 115–117. Famous Berbers of the Middle Ages included Tariq ibn Ziyad, a general who conquered Hispania; Abd ar-Rahman I, the founder of the Caliphate of Córdoba and Abbas Ibn Firnas, a prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation.


Did you know ...

...that the Rustamid dynasty was the first Muslim state to have its capital in Algeria?

... That Algerian soldiers fought for the Free French, against Nazi-Germany and thousands of them died during the fights?

...that Chakib Khelil went to the same university as Gene Wolfe?

...that the Saharan oasis of Tabelbala, in Bechar, has its own unique language, called Korandje?

...that Jacques Gaillot's Partenia is a former Algerian city consumed by the Sahara?

...that Zinedine Zidane is actually Algerian?

...that in 1982, Algeria became the first African team to defeat a European team at the FIFA World Cup, winning 2-1 against West Germany in the first round?

...that the Algerian athlete Hassiba Boulmerka became the first African woman to win an athletics world title, and the first Algerian to win an Olympic title?

...that in 1861, the impressionist painter Claude Monet joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria where he stayed for two years?

Oran Santa Cruz.JPG

... that in defying Spanish dominance, locals built a chapel at a higher elevation next to Fort Santa Cruz (pictured) in Oran, Algeria?

Algiers cathedral 1899.jpg

... that Ketchaoua Mosque (pictured) in Algiers is a "mosque-turned-cathedral-turned-mosque"?

... that the name of Ghardaïa in northern-central Algeria has its origins in a female saint named Daïa who lived in a cave (ghār) in the M'zab valley?

Grande mosquée Alger.jpg

... that the Great Mosque of Algiers (pictured) is the oldest mosque in Algiers and is said to be the second oldest mosque in Algeria?

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In the news

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Selected biography

Adel Abdessemed in 2009.jpg

Adel Abdessemed', (born 1971 in Constantine, Algeria) is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Paris, France. He is represented by David Zwirner, New York, Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv and Christine König Galerie, Vienna. Abdessemed attended the École des Beaux-Arts de Batna, and Algiers, Algeria from 1987 to 1994. Due to political unrest in Algeria, he moved to Lyon, France in 1994. He continued his fine arts education at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, before completing his studies in Paris, France in 2000. The following year, he enrolled at the International Studio Program at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York.

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