|Originally Posted: 1/23/2008|
Along the coastal strip are the main towns, fertile land, good food, beach resorts and 90% of the population. Further south lies the area of the Hauts Plateaux, mountains of up to 6,600 feet covered in cedar, pine and cypress forests with broad arable plains dividing the plateau. The remaining 85% of the country is the Sahara Desert in its various forms, sustaining only 500,000 people, many of whom are nomadic tribes with goat and camel herds.
There are folks from Singapore, America and the 'moor next door' living and working in Algeria. A large country, Algeria was originally inhabited by the Berbers until the Arabs conquered North Africa in the seventh century. Staying mainly in the mountainous regions, the Berbers resisted the spreading Arab influence, managing to preserve much of their language and culture until the present day. Today, Berbers make up some 20 per cent of the total population.
In 1992, a general election won by an Islamic party (Islamic Salvation Front) was annulled, marking the beginning of a bloody campaign which saw the slaughter of more than 150,000 people. An amnesty in 1999 led many rebels to lay down their arms. Violence has largely abated, although a state of emergency remains in place. In 2001, the Government agreed to a series of demands by the minority Berber community, after months of unrest involving Berber youths pressing for greater cultural and political recognition.
Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem has been the head of government since 2006. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been the head of state since 1999.
- Language: Arabic & Berber, however French is used quite often as well.
- Capital City: Algiers (El Djezaïr)
- Population: 34 million
- Area: 919,595 square miles
- Currency: 1 US Dollar = 67.19560 Algerian Dinar (as of 1/22/08)
- Entry Requirements: Passports and visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Algeria.