Algeria is the largest country in Africa and located on the Mediterranean coast between Morocco and Tunisia. At 2.38 million square kilometers (919,595.3 sq. miles), it is the tenth-largest country in the world. Most of the cities in Algeria are near the coast. Algiers, located in northern Algeria, is the most populated city with 2.594 million residents. Oran, located in the north-west, is the second-largest with 858,000 residents.
Algeria has a population of 40.4 million people (in 2016). About 90% of Algerians live in the northern, coastal area. The official language is Arabic, French is the language of the elite, Tamazight, the language of the indigenous Berber has been constitutionally recognized as a national language. The capital and most populous city are Algiers.
Excavations in Algeria have indicated that Homo erectus resided there between 500,000 and 700,000 years ago. Phoenician traders settled on the Mediterranean coast in the 1st millennium B.C. As ancient Numidia, Algeria became a Roman colony, part of what was called Mauretania Caesariensis, at the close of the Punic Wars (145 B.C.). Conquered by the Vandals about A.D. 440, it fell from a high state of civilization to virtual barbarism, from which it partly recovered after an invasion by Arabs about 650. Christian during its Roman period, the indigenous Berbers were then converted to Islam. Falling under the control of the Ottoman Empire by 1536, Algiers served for three centuries as the headquarters of the Barbary pirates. Ostensibly to rid the region of the pirates, French-occupied Algeria in 1830 and made it a part of France in 1848.
Algerian independence movements led to the uprisings of 1954–1955, which developed into full-scale war. In 1962, French president Charles de Gaulle began the peace negotiations, and on July 5, 1962, Algeria was proclaimed independent. In Oct. 1963, Ahmed Ben Bella was elected president, and the country became Socialist. He began to nationalize foreign holdings and aroused opposition. He was overthrown in a military coup on June 19, 1965, by Col. Houari Boumédienne, who suspended the…