Algeria Country Facts

By | March 21, 2024
الجزائر – al-Jazā’ir
Capital city Algiers
Surface 2,381,741 km²
Population 44,700,000
Road network length 71,656 km
Length of highway network 1,853 km
First highway 1985
Motorway name Autoroute
Traffic drives Right
License plate code DZ

Algeria (Arabic: الجزائر, Al-Jazā’ir), formally the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a large country in northern Africa. The country has 44.7 million inhabitants on an area of ​​2,381,741 km², roughly 60 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Algiers.

Geography

Algeria is a large country, with a long coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. The country further borders Tunisia and Libya to the east, Niger and Mali to the south and Mauritania and Morocco to the west. The country measures a maximum of 2000 kilometers from north to south and 1800 kilometers from west to east, making it the ninth largest country in the world.

The country can be divided into several zones, which largely coincide with the different climate zones. The northern coastal region has a Mediterranean climate with valleys, plains and mountain areas. The mountain areas belong to the Tell Atlas that stretches east-west from the border with Morocco to the border with Tunisia. The highest point of this is the 2,308 meter high Lalla Khedidja. The Tell Atlas forms the natural border between the Mediterranean coastal region and the immense hinterland of Algeria. Most of Algeria’s major cities are located in this region.

South of the Tell Atlas are the Hauts Plateaux, a steppe area that is mostly 1000 to 1300 meters above sea level. There are several medium-sized cities in this region. This region is already so arid that it is sometimes considered part of the Sahara. However, the vast majority of Algeria’s land area consists of the Sahara, a desolate region of rocky deserts, sandy deserts and mountain ranges. The two large sandy deserts are called the Grand Erg Oriental and the Grand Erg Occidental. An erg is a sea of ​​sand. In the southeast are the Hoggar Mountains, an isolated mountain range with peaks above 2000 meters, the highest point is the 2,908 meter Tahat, which is also the highest mountain in Algeria.

Algeria has several climatic zones. The north has a dry Mediterranean climate. The average maximum temperature in Algiers ranges from 17°C in winter to 32°C in summer. Snow falls regularly in the winter in the mountains of northern Algeria. South of this area there is a dry continental climate, with hot summers but rather cool winters due to the altitude. However, most of Algeria has a hot desert climate. The average maximum temperature in In Guezzam in the extreme south of Algeria ranges from 27°C in winter to 42°C in summer.

Demographics

The population of Algeria has grown rapidly in the 20th century, from just 4 million inhabitants in 1900 to more than 30 million inhabitants in 2000. About 90% of Algerians live in the northern region. Algeria’s two largest cities are the capital Algiers and the port city of Oran. The other cities have fewer than 500,000 inhabitants, but are relatively numerous, there are more than 20 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, almost all of which are located in the northernmost 300 kilometers of Algeria, there are few larger cities in the center and south of Algeria. Algeria, apart from oases, the population here is very thin, with mainly nomads.

Most Algerians identify with the Arab culture, although many Berbers also live there. During colonial times, Europeans made up about 10% of the population, but almost all of them left after independence. Arabic and Berber are spoken in Algeria, but French is more or less the lingua franca. French has no official status but is widely used by government, media, education and business.

Economy

Algeria is an economy in the middle on the global scale. The country is somewhat developed, especially in the large coastal cities where the level of prosperity is higher. However, the economy is dominated by the government, privatization has been halted and foreign investment outside the oil and gas sector is very low. Algeria’s exports are dominated by oil and gas, which make up more than 95% of the country’s exports. Algeria has been a member of OPEC since 1969. The country is struggling to develop other industries. A problem for Algeria is the lack of housing, due to the rapid population growth there is a major shortage of housing. There are also not enough jobs due to a huge wave of young people entering the labor market. This has been causing social unrest for a long time. Tourism is limited due to the past conflicts, Algeria does not have international tourism like neighboring countries Tunisia and Morocco. However, Algeria’s infrastructure has improved significantly since 2000.

History

The historical inhabitants of Algeria are the Berbers. However, the area has been under many different administrations since ancient times. Most civilizations developed from the natural harbors on the Mediterranean Sea. Foreign domination was frequent, such as the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans for centuries, Arabs from the 7th century and the Ottomans from the 16th century. In 1830, the French invaded Algiers, after which a period of French colonization began. However, unlike other French colonies, Algeria was governed as an integral part of France, with Europeans making up a majority of the population in the coastal cities of Algiers and Oran. The Europeans who migrated to Algeria were called Pieds-Noirs (black feet). During the French period, Algeria’s infrastructure was developed.

During World War II, Algeria was initially under the rule of Vichy France. Under Operation Torch, Allied landings took place in French North Africa in 1942, after which French forces in Algeria sided with the Allies. After that, no more major battles took place in Algeria. After World War II, the Algerian War broke out, a war of independence against France, which lasted from 1954 to 1962 and eventually resulted in Algerian independence from France.

Immediately after independence, most Europeans left the country. In the 1960s, the government of Algeria became more authoritarian and turned towards socialism. In the 1960s and 1970s, an industrialized socialist economy was built. However, the economy became almost entirely dependent on oil exports, which led to a major recession during the fall in oil prices in the 1980s. In 1991, the Algerian Civil War broke out, a religious conflict between the government and Islamist rebels. An estimated 150,000 were killed. In 1999, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected, after which the war weakened and finally came to an end in 2002. The country then started to develop more, cities grew rapidly and large-scale infrastructure was built, especially after 2000, partly with Chinese support.

 

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