Algeria

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ALGERIA

Algeria is a country in Africa. This country lies in the very north of the continent. It is beside the Mediterranean Sea. To the west of Algeria there are Morocco and Mauritania. To the east is Tunisia and Libya. To the south there is Mali and Niger.

The northern section of the country is mountains. These are the Atlas Mountains. These mountains also run into Morocco. These mountains are mentioned in Greek myths. Hercules stood here to hold up the sky. Later he was replaced by Atlas who did the same.

The climate of the country is mild in winter and very hot in summer. It is not so bad in winter.

This country was conquered by the Romans. They founded cities here. The Carthaginians had been there before. The coast is mentioned in Ancient Greek annals. Christianity came to this land at the end of the Roman era. St Augustine of Hippo came from there.

There was a Vandal kingdom in northern Algeria in the Dark Ages. These people gave their name to mindless destruction.

The people in northern Algeria mostly spoke the Berber languages.

In the 7th century AD Islam began in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic faith spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East. By the end of the 8th century almost everyone in Algeria was a Muslim. Algeria became part of the Islamic Empire.

Muslims from North Africa invaded Spain and Portugal. Algerians joined this invasion. Soon the whole of Spain and Portugal were under Muslim rule. The North African Muslims were called Moors by the Europeans. The Moors invaded France but were defeated by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours. But for that the continent might have become Islamic.

Algeria was part of the Islamic Empire. Eventually this fell apart. The Ottoman Empire was founded in the 11th century. In time Algeria came to be a province of the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan of this empire resided at Istanbul. He appointed a governor of Algeria whose title was the dey. In the 15th century the Moors were driven out of Iberia.

The Ottoman Empire declined in the 18th century. Algeria became largely independent. The sultan remained the titular ruled of the country. There were Barbary pirates based on the coast of Algeria. They raided the shipping of Christendom. They pillaged Christian towns. The Spanish developed a phrase equivalent to ”the coast is clear.” It is ”no hay Moriscos in la costa”. That means ”there are no Moors on the coast.” Infidels were abducted and taken as slaves.

In 1830 the French ambassador was speaking the Dey of Algiers. The dey was displeased with the ambassador and struck him in the face with a fly whisk. The French then invaded Algeria. France annexed northern Algeria very quicky because they possessed superior military technology.

French immigrants arrived. They introduced modern agriculture to the country. French became the official language. Some Algerians were dispossessed of their land.

The French did not evangelise for Christianity. That would have enraged the Algerians.

More European settlers arrived such as Germans, Italians, Spanish and Maltese. They became French citizens. In the 19th century Muslims could not be French citizens.

Algerians were allowed to join the French Army. They served in Muslim units.

Railways and roads were built by the French. Algeria was represented in the French National Assembly. France did much for healthcare in Algeria.

Gradually the French extended their control to southern Algeria. That area is mostly desert and of negligible economic value. People there were principally nomads.

In 1904 France became a secular state. Muslims were allowed to become citizens. Very few did so.

In the First World War many Algerians fought for France. This was vital in ensuring Allied victory. By this time some cities on the Algerian coast had a French majority.

In the Second World War France was beaten in 1940. A Vichy Government was established under Henri-Philippe Petain. Petain co-operated with Germany. The Governor of Algeria was Admiral Darlan. The British were anxious lest the French Fleet be placed at the disposal of Germany. The Royal Navy attacked the French Navy at Mers el Kebir in Algeria. Over 1 000 French sailors were killed.

In 1942 Americans landed in ALgeria. Darlan changed sides and joined the Allies. He was assassinated by a French monarchist.

At the end of the war some Algerians massacred 100 French people. French settlers then killed 10 000 Algerians. No one was punished for this huge scale massacre.

Some Algerians agitated for independence. In Vietnam there was a successful uprising. This gave heart of Algerian nationalists. In 1954 and insurrection began. There were many crimes on both sides.

France spent a lot of money trying to keep control of Algeria. Many Frenchmen were killed and conscription was extended. France agreed to independence for her other colonies. Legally Algeria was part of France and not a colony. It had 15% of its people being French.

In 1958 there was a new constitution in France. It was the Fifth Republic. Charles de Gaulle became president again. He said to Frenchmen in Algeria ”Je vous ai compris.” They took this to be an expression of support. In fact he saw that the situation was untenable. He then fast tracked to independence for Algeria. The French settlers les pieds noirs mostly returned to France. Many pro French Algerians moved too. Pro French Algerians who stayed behind were killed.

In 1962 Algeria became independent. It was a military dictatorship. The country was allied to the Soviet Bloc.

Arabic is the official language. French is used a lot but is unofficial. This is the only former French colony never to give French official status. This is because of the ill feeling engendered by the conflict. Many Algerians have emigrated and gone to Francophone nations.

Algeria suffers poverty. There is high population growth. The country’s hydrocarbons have not helped the common people.

In 1991 the army allowed free elections. The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won. The army then annulled the elections. This lead to years of bloody fighting. The army retained control.

Algiers is the capital city. In Arabic it is Al Jazeera – meaning the island.

The Flag has green and white halves. The green is the on the left. There is a red crescent moon and a red five pointed star on the middle.

Football is popular here.

  1. Which continent is this country in?
  2. What is the capital?
  3. What is the official language?
  4. What is the main religion?
  5. WHat European language is widely spoken here?
  6. What is the original language of the country?
  7. Which saint came from this land?
  8. What was the title of the Ottoman governor of Algeria?
  9. When did the French invade.
  10. Which French president granted independence to Algeria?
  11. Who were les pieds noirs?
  12. What is the main mountain range here?
  13. Is this a rich land?
  14. Who was Admiral Darlan?
  15. What does Al Jazeera mean?

 

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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