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After more than a century of rule by France, Algerians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence in 1962. Algeria's primary political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), has dominated politics ever since. Many Algerians in the subsequent generation were not satisfied, however, and moved to counter the FLN's centrality in Algerian politics. The surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the December 1991 balloting spurred the Algerian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power. The army began a crackdown on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. The government later allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties, but did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 and which resulted in over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000. However, small numbers of armed militants persist in confronting government forces and conducting ambushes and occasional attacks on villages. The army placed Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA in the presidency in 1999 in a fraudulent election but claimed neutrality in his 2004 landslide reelection victory. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA in his second term, including the ethnic minority Berbers' ongoing autonomy campaign, large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing - although significantly degraded - activities of extremist militants. Algeria must also diversify its petroleum-based economy, which has yielded a large cash reserve but which has not been used to redress Algeria's many social and infrastructure problems.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 33,333,216 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Algerian(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Algerian

Official Language(s): Arabic

Major Languages Spoken: Arabic, French

Map of Algeria

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

Country Name (short form): Algeria

Country Name (local long form): Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash S

Country Name (local short form): Al Jaza'ir

Name of Capital: Algiers

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Algeria: Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger

Land Area: 2381740 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas

Total Land Boundry: 6,343 km

Coastline: 998 km

National Holiday: Revolution Day, 1 November (1954)

International Phone Code: 213

Currency Code: Algerian dinar (DZD)

Internet Country Code: .dz

US Embassy Location: 04 Chemin Cheikh Bachir Ibrahimi El-Biar 16030, Algiers

US Embassy Mailing Address: B. P. 408, Alger-Gare, 16030 Algiers


Algeria flag

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