Algeria, a gateway between Africa and Europe, has been battered by violence over the past half-century.
More than a million Algerians were killed in the fight for independence from France in 1962, and the country is emerging from a brutal internal conflict caused when elections that Islamists appeared certain to win were cancelled in 1992; a low-level Islamist insurgency still affects Algeria.
The Sahara desert covers more than four-fifths of the land. Algeria is the continent’s biggest country, and is the world’s 10th largest.
Oil and gas reserves were discovered there in the 1950s, but most Algerians live along the northern coast.
- People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
- Capital: Algiers
- Population 36.5 million
- Area 2.4 million sq km (919,595 sq miles)
- Major languages Arabic, French, Berber
- Major religion Islam
- Life expectancy 72 years (men), 75 years (women)
- Currency dinar