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Geography of Algeria

Learn Information about the African Nation of Algeria


Algeria Flag

The Algeria flag has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white; a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent centered over the two-color boundary; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion).

Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007
Updated March 06, 2011

Population: 34,586,184 (July 2010 estimate)
Capital: Algiers
Bordering Countries: Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia and Western Sahara
Area: 919,595 square miles (2,381,741 sq km)
Coastline: 620 miles (998 km)
Highest Point: Tahat at 9,852 feet (3,003 m)
Lowest Point: Chott Melrhir at -131 feet (-40 m)

Algeria is a country located in northern Africa along the Mediterranean Sea (map). It is the largest country by area located on the Mediterranean and it is the second largest in Africa after Sudan. Algeria has a large population of slightly fewer than 35 million and a total area of 919,595 square miles (2,381,741 sq km). Most recently the country has been in the news since January 2011 due to growing anti-government protests and a state of emergency due to social instability that has existed there for many years. Recently however, the government has eased some of its restrictions and lifted the state of emergency on the population in an effort to stop the unrest.

History of Algeria

The modern region of Algeria was first created in 1830 when the French began colonizing the area. Eventually the area became an overseas department of France and as such it was completely controlled by France for many decades. However, according to the U.S. Department of State, rural regions of the country were strongly Muslim in their traditions and they remained separate from the developed French regions.

On November 1, 1954 Algerians first began to push for the rights that the French denied them. In that year, the National Liberation Front (FLN) launched a revolution which resulted in the use of guerrilla warfare. A cease-fire agreement was signed between France and the FLN on March 18, 1962 and on July 3, 1962 France declared Algeria as independent. In September, Ahmed Ben Bella was elected as the country's first president and on September 8, 1963 a Constitution was adopted.

In 1965, Algeria's government underwent a change when President Ben Bella was replaced by the Council of the Revolution in a coup. After the coup, the Council of the Revolution's president, Minister of Defense Colonel Houari Boumediene became Algeria's leader. He was elected president on December 10, 1976 and served until his death in December 1978. Boumediene is known for modernizing the country during his time in office.

In 1989, Algeria adopted a new constitution and several new political parties emerged in the country which led to the development of tensions between the different groups in Algeria. As a result, throughout the 1990s, Algeria was plagued political unrest, violence and terrorism. In 1992, a state of emergency was declared which imposed many different restrictions on Algerians in an effort to stop the violence and end the ensuing civil war which later developed.

Despite the state of emergency, most of the rest of the 1990s in Algeria were highly unstable. In April 2004, the country held an election in which Abdelaziz Bouteflika was elected president and since his election, violence in Algeria has decreased significantly although terrorist acts did occur sporadically throughout the 2000's. In January 2011, Algeria, like many other Middle Eastern countries became the site of strong anti-government protests. In an effort to stop the unrest though, the government lifted the state of emergency and began enacting several different reforms.

Government of Algeria

Today Algeria, officially called the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is considered a republic with a bicameral Parliament consisting of the Council of the Nation and the National People's Assembly. Algeria's executive branch is made up of a chief of state and a head of government - both of which are filled by the president. The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court. Algeria is divided into 48 different provinces for local administration.

Economics and Land Use in Algeria

Algeria's economy is mainly controlled by the state and there are several restrictions on foreign trade. Most of Algeria's economy is based on hydrocarbons and natural gas is the country's most significant natural resource. Other industries in Algeria include petroleum, light industry, mining, electrical, petrochemical products and food processing. Agriculture is a small part of the country's economy but the main products are wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, various fruits, sheep and cattle.

Geography and Climate of Algeria

Algeria is located in northern Africa along the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by seven different countries and has a coastline of 620 miles (998 km). Its topography varies but it is mostly high plateau and desert but there are some mountains as well as a narrow coastal plain along the Mediterranean. The highest point in Algeria is Tahat at 9,852 feet (3,003 m) while the lowest point is Chott Melrhir at -131 feet (-40 m).

Algeria's climate varies and it has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers along the coast. Inland the climate is drier and winters are colder, while summers are hotter. The high plateau is also dominated by hot, dry winds in the summer. Algiers, Algeria's capital, has an average January low temperature of 42˚F (5.5˚C) and an August high of 90˚F (32˚C).

To learn more about Algeria, visit the Geography and Maps page on Algeria on this website.


Central Intelligence Agency. (14 February 2011). CIA - The World Factbook - Algeria. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ag.html

Infoplease.com. (n.d.). Algeria: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107272.html

United States Department of State. (17 February 2011). Algeria. Retrieved from: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/8005.htm

Wikipedia.com. (27 February 2011). Algeria - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algeria

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