Algeria is a North African country that is part of the Maghreb and, since 1962, formed into a state named in long form, the democratic and popular Algerian Republic, abbreviated to RADP whose capital is Algiers. As of January 1, 2019, the resident Algerian population had reached 43 million. Its capital, Algiers, the most populous city in the country, is located in the North, on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of ​​2,381,741 km2, it is both the largest African country in the Arab world and the Mediterranean basin. In total, it shares more than 6,385 km of land borders, with Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Niger to the southeast, Mali to the southwest, Mauritania and Western Sahara to the west. ‘west, and finally Morocco to the northwest.

After more than a century of French colonization, after a long and deadly war of independence and following the self-determination referendum of July 1, 1962, Algeria proclaimed its independence on July 5, 1962. Algeria has been a member of the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab League practically since its independence in 1962. It has also joined the ‘Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1969. In February 1989, Algeria took part, with the other Maghreb States, in the creation of the organization of the Union of the Arab Maghreb (UMA). The country also joined the Union for the Mediterranean in 2008. The Algerian Constitution defines “Islam, Arabity and Amazighness” as “fundamental components” of the identity of the Algerian people and the country as “land of Islam, part of the Maghreb, Arab, Mediterranean and African country ” Since 2011, Algeria has been, according to the UNDP, the most developed country in continental Africa.

Algeria ‘s history

Algeria, because of its tradition of host country and the multiple civilizations which crossed it, inherited a very rich history which is expressed by vestiges of various times. This is how Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and the East marked with their specific influences the historical course of Algeria. The first notable archaeological remains are of prehistoric age and date back to Neolithic times, like those in Tassili National Park which is considered to be the most extensive open-air museum in the world. Later, the Berbers built several sites like Medracen, Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, Mausoleum of Béni Rehnane in Siga in the Wilaya of Aïn Témouchent, or even the site of Sauma (El Khroub) near Cirta which is in the city of Constantine. In addition, several tumuli, dolmens, caves, tombs (Jeddar at Frenda), etc., attest to Berber funeral practices. The Roman era has left an impressive number of vestiges, the most important of which are found in Tipaza, Timgad, Lambèse, N’Gaous, Zana, Calama, M’daourouch, Thagaste, Cherchell, Tamentfoust, Djemila, Tiddis, Tigzirt, Dellys, Hippo, tébessa. In addition, Apuleius and Saint Augustine were renowned thinkers.

The influence of religion in Algeria upset the Maghreb region during Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Several important cities in Algeria such as Hippone, Baghaï, Tobna, M’Sila, Tlemcen, Béjaïa, Algiers, etc., have developed. Several dynasties have also succeeded, over time, to take power in the various regions of Algeria. Finally, Algeria was taken by the Ottomans in 1515, then by the French in 1830. Algeria regained its independence in 1962. “The historic monuments have been well preserved despite all throughout Algerian history, but upon the arrival of the French, the deterioration was disastrous. Several decrees have made that prisons or cities were built on ancient Roman cities, following the example of Lambèse”. “During independence, the same policy was followed, which meant that several sites were looted, abandoned, abandoned and even destroyed, following the example of the towns of Zianides, Tlemcen. “


Archaeological sites have produced remains of hominids dated by archaeomagnetism dating back almost two million years. The site of Aïn Hanech (“the source of the serpent”), near El Eulma, in the wilaya of Sétif, delivered the oldest industries. The researchers also detected the presence of Homo habilis and Homo erectus (previously called Atlanthrope), from the Acheulean, in Mostaganem (Errayah site), in Tighennif in Tabelbala-Tachenghit, in N’Gaous. In the Middle Paleolithic, the Aerial lithic industries were characterized by the presence of pieces with peduncles. The evolution of human forms since Homo erectus has led to the appearance of Homo sapiens of archaic type, ancestor of the current human form. The Paleolithic ends with the Iberomaurusian, known in particular following excavations carried out in the cave of Afalou, in Kabylia, which revealed the existence at this period (20,000 years to 10,000 years ago approximately) of movable art (small zoomorphic statuettes) and burial. The last hunter-gatherers are represented in the North-East of Algeria by the Capsiens, attested until 8000 years ago. The methods of transition to the production economy (and therefore to the Neolithic) are very little known in the North.

In the South, in the Sahara, the Neolithic was a flourishing period due to a climate that was generally more humid than the current one and therefore to a much richer flora and fauna. Human beings from this period carved and painted the walls of their shelters. The exact chronology of this art is much discussed and in particular the date of its appearance (there is no way to date it directly). Some researchers believe that it appeared at the end of the Pleniglacial, in the Paleolithic, while others do not think it existed before the Neolithic. The Aurès include several sites dating from the prehistoric era to the protohistoric period. Several anthropological researches have been undertaken in the regions of Aurès, since many troglodyte caves were inhabited by Men in Maafa, Takarbourst in Aurès and Ghoufi.


The Berbers made up of several confederations including the Gétules, the Garamantes, the Libyans, etc, dispersed in the vast territory of present-day Algeria with the Haratins, will establish cultural relations with the Phoenicians, sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt ancient, ancient Greece, the Roman Empire. The Medracen monument dating from 300 BC. J-C attests to this. It would therefore belong to the rich Mediterranean archeology of the Hellenistic period, manifested by an archaic taste but also a very good knowledge of the most recent architectural vocabulary as evidenced by the presence of an Egyptian gorge. Under the Phoenicians, several ports were built including Icosium, Ténès.

The independent states of Numidia begin with the emergence of the two Massyle and Massaeyle confederations. The first is at the origin of the Numidia Orientale, the second of the Occidentale. These two tribes clashed during the Second Punic War, where Massinissa, leader of the Massyles, contributed decisively to the victory of the Roman Empire over Carthage. During the reign of Massinissa, he succeeded in unifying Numidia, which then extended from the Moulouya river in the west to Cyrenaica in the east.

After the death of Massinissa, a succession crisis, seen with a good eye by Rome, caused unrest in Numidia. Rome, which does not welcome the reconstitution of a powerful state, recognizes the constitution of two western and eastern Numidia. After the execution of Jugurtha, betrayed by his stepfather, King BocchusIer of Maurétanie in 104 BC. AD, Numidia is shared: its western part is attributed to Bocchus, king of Mauretania, the rest being left under the authority of a king vassal of Rome. In 25 BC. J.-C, Juba II receives the throne of Maurétanie, and Numidia is divided between Maurétanie and the province of Africa. Thereafter, the Romans penetrate into present Algeria. Agriculture is developing thanks to the planting of several thousand olive trees to make olive oil in Algeria. Roman-African civilization is at its peak; several big cities are built in the North and in the South in the desert, like Lambèse and Timgad. Roman nationality is offered to the Berbers, which facilitates their integration into the Roman world. Mixed marriages between Romans and naturalized Berbers are celebrated in major cities. The practice of Berber worship is represented in the Roman frescoes. Likewise, the Roman games are a source of distraction for most Berbers and public baths are a luxury accessible to all. In Timgad, there were twenty-seven baths. There were no ramparts around the cities. The arts are developed by Berber artisans such as ceramics and pottery. Several amphitheatres are built. Timgad’s theater could hold four thousand people from the Aurès. After the crisis in Rome, Christians are in power. The Vandals then the Byzantines will take over part of Algeria at the end.

Christianity and the Vandals

Christianity made its entry in the year 256. During the following century, in an atmosphere of growing decline, the populations of the Algerian and Tunisian coastal cities, as well as a minority of the population of the countryside converted to the new religion. In 313, with the political and economic crises of Rome dragging on, the new religion became the alibi of a new revolt which was once again Amazigh. In fact, the Donatist cult developed in Algeria in Baghaï in the Aurès and in Tunisia as a political challenge in Rome. The Donatists, refusing to accept the religious authority of the Emperor, demanded the separation of the State and religion. So they will end up declaring that the emperor represents the devil, and not the religion of Jesus. They also rejected the Catholic rite. The emperor sends his troops to reduce them, in what is commonly called the first persecution of Christians by other Christians. The repression only increased popular support for the Donatists. In 321, the Roman legions who came to suppress the Donatists withdrew.

However, around the year 340, the Donatist ideology gave birth to a popular sect, that of the circumcellions, literally those which surround the farms. As the Donatist cult celebrated the virtues of martyrdom, the circumcellions became extremists who considered martyrdom to be true Christian virtue and left aside all the other values ​​of their religion such as humility and charity. They armed themselves with wooden batons, refusing to carry iron weapons, because in the Gospels Jesus had asked Peter to put down his sword. Thus, equipped with their batons, they began to attack travelers on the roads of all regions, then the farms of the landowners. The purpose of the circumcellions was to die in combat as martyrs. These extremists killed, raped, robbed travelers and landowners. When they couldn’t get killed, they ended up committing suicide by jumping off the cliffs. The violently repressed circumcellion sect eventually disappeared around the fourth century. This slip of the Donatist cult had the effect of further blackening their reputation in Rome. While in the year 395 the Roman Empire faced serious internal problems, which reduced Rome’s control over North Africa, the Donatists seized this favorable conjuncture to try again to dominate the political scene and religious. Finally, exasperated, the emperor declared them heretics in 409 and ordered them to return all the churches in their possession in North Africa. He sends several legions which are of terrible ferocity towards the religious leaders of the cult, sometimes even towards the local population. Saint Augustine, who was then the Catholic bishop of Hippo (now Annaba), tried to calm the anger of the Roman administration, by pleading for a more humane treatment of the Donatists. Despite the urgent calls from several parties, the Donatists almost completely disappeared from the religious scene, a tiny community survived in hiding until the sixth century. A few years later, in 430, the entire Roman Empire withdrew from Algeria under pressure from the Vandals who invaded the country. On August 28, 430, Saint Augustine, one of the last symbols of the integration of the population within the Roman Empire, died during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. Part of Algeria followed the Arian movement, Arianism was well established by the Vandals.


Solomon was appointed in 534 by Justinian as governor of Africa, just recaptured by General Bélisaire on the Vandals of Gélimer. He was replaced two years later (in 536), before finding his post in 539. He had to face the Berber rebels, especially those of chief Antalas. He was however beaten by the latter in a battle near the city of Tébessa in 544, finding death in combat. Iaudas revolts in turn against the authority of the Byzantines and proclaims himself king of the Aurès, but after some successes, he is finally defeated by Jean Troglita in 548. But two Berber leaders of the Aurès, Ifisdias and Cutzinas, are also remarkable in their fight against the Byzantines, during the command of Jean Troglita, when the latter wants to attack the Berbers of the South after the Aurès and the Zab are dominated by the Byzantines to Solomon. On the other hand, Mastigas, the Berber king of the Cesarean Mauretania, after the Vandals, takes control of part of this province, although the Byzantines arrived as far as Frenda, because Byzantine inscriptions were found on the spot in Algeria. In 544, the Byzantines will exercise a power until in the province of Constantine. However, the emergence of a Berber insurrection against the Byzantines provoked the organization of several powerful states including the Djerawa, the Banou Ifren, the Maghraouas, the Awerbas, and the Zenetes. On the eve of the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, some Berber tribes practiced Judaism, according to Ibn Khaldoun, as well as Christianity. The rest of the population remains pagan like the Banou Ifren.

Middle Ages

Islamization of Algeria

The fall of Rome, then of the Vandals, and instability during the Byzantine period led to the reconstruction of several Berber principalities. Some, especially in the Aurès, will resist the arrival of Muslims between 665 and 708. From 644 to 656, the first Algerian Berber tribe to convert to Islam was the Maghraoua. Their leader, Ouezmar Ibn Saclab, was asked by the caliph Othmân ibn Affân to embrace the Muslim religion, according to the historian of the Middle Ages, Ibn Khaldoun. The Maghraouas converted en masse to the new religion when their chief returned. In 665, the Umayyads launched their first attack on the Maghreb. It was in 683 that Oqba Ibn Nafi al-Fihri undertook the conquest. If the resistance of the Byzantines does little to stop them, it is different from that of the Berbers. On the other hand, the Maghraoua allied around the Umayyads from the start. The political and administrative unity of eastern and central Berber, the Aurès, was largely achieved by Koceïla, an ally of the Umayyads. The conflict between Koceïla and Oqba Ibn Nafi al-Fihri brings another war. And at the death of Koceïla in 688, Dihya, known as the Kahina, took the lead in the resistance. From 688 to 708, Dihya thus proceeded to the reunification of numerous tribes from North East and South Africa. Dihya twice defeated the great army of the Umayyads thanks to the contribution of the horsemen Banou Ifren and the other confederations. She will reign over all of Ifriqiya for five years. Dihia will be defeated in the last battle against the Umayyads. Hassan Ibn in Nu’man of the Umayyads asks, in return, the different tribes allied to Dihia to be part of the Umayyad army. And then, Moussa Ibn Noçaïr appoints his freed Tariq ibn Ziyad governor of Tangier and placed him at the head of the Berber army of the Maghreb. In 708, the Umayyads remained masters of Algeria. The pre-Islamic period ends. Algeria is Islamizing, while the Romance and Punic languages ​​are disappearing. After the Muslim conquest, the townspeople gradually adopted the Arabic language.

Islamic dynasties

Around the eighth century, the Umayyads extended their empire to the Maghreb. There followed an important revolt of Berber sufrites under the command of Abu Qurra. This revolt lasted almost a century, several groups or Kharidjite dynasties like Nekkarites, Ibadites, Rostemides, gathered to rebel against the Abbasid and Umayyad power. Ibn Rustom founded in 761 an Ibadi kingdom in the north of the Maghreb with Tahert as its capital. The latter, like the emirate of Cordoba since its creation in 756, retains its independence from the Caliphate of the Abbasids, despite diplomatic and military pressure and the loss of territory. Thereafter, the Idrissides as well as the Soulimanides take power over a part of Western Algeria. In the ninth century, the Aghlabids, allies of the Abbasids, took power over part of Algeria.

In the tenth century, the Ismaili dai Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi founded the Fatimid dynasty in Lower Kabylia where he found a favorable response to his millennial preaches. The Fatimids established their authority in North Africa between 909 and 1171 and founded a dissident caliphate of the Abbasids of Baghdad. Their reign was marked by numerous Kharijite revolts, notably that of Abu Yazid in 944, at the head of Berber Zenet tribes, who inflicted the most severe defeat on the Fatimid army, weakened and made vulnerable, by taking Kairouan. The Fatimids will then transfer their capital from Kairouan to Mahdia and then to Egypt. The Zirids ally with the Fatimids and launch an attack against the Zenetes. However, the Umayyas repel them, so the Zenites return to their territories. The Hammadids found a dynasty after a divergence between the Zirid rulers. Thus, the Kharidjite revolt was defeated by Ziri ibn Menad, at the head of Sanhadjas tribes, who by saving the empire received the post of governor of central Maghreb. So in 972, when the Fatimids, after the Egyptian annexation, had less interest in the Maghreb, it was his son, Bologhine ibn Ziri, who inherited control of Ifriqiya. The Zirids will reign there for about two centuries.

Hammad ibn Bologhine, the son of Bologhine, will govern independently of the Zirids. His state includes the city of Béjaïa (its capital) and the northeast of present-day Algeria. From 1014, the Hammadides recognize as legitimate caliphs the Sunni Abbasids of Baghdad, they thus found the dynasty of Hammadides. The Zirids will recognize, in their turn, in 1046, the Abbasid caliphs, openly showing to the Fatimids their abandonment of Shiism. While the Ifrenides and the Maghraouas will govern in western Algeria and over part of southern Algeria and in present-day Morocco. The latter reject the authority of both the Fatimids and the Umayyads, according to historian Ibn Khaldoun. It was from 1048, in certain regions of the South, that Arab tribes, mainly the Banû Hilâl and the Banu Sulaym, immigrated to North Africa. These Hilalian “terrible Bedouins” were sent by the Fatimid power to suppress the Zirids and the Hammadids. In successive waves, The Hilalians led incursions and battles in the big cities, plundering and then destroying everything in their path. In the end, they will prevail. For Algeria, their number not exceeding a few tens of thousands, Arab immigration to North Africa was small, except in two regions outside Algeria, those of Kairouan and Tangier. So that in total, the population of Algeria received only a limited Arab demographic contribution, and that a large part of the Arabic-speaking populations is Berber. Algeria is then, on a small part to the west, under the control of the Almoravids, after having ousted the Banou Ifren and the Maghraouas. The Hammadids are in the center and will be partially driven from the south by the Hilalians. The Zirids remain in Ifriqiya and are surrounded by Hilalians to the south.

In 1152, all the local forces were definitively defeated by a new Berber dynasty, the Almohads, led by Abdelmoumen Ibn Ali and whose spiritual leader is Ibn Toumert. The Almohads will form one of the most powerful Mediterranean empires, uniting the Maghreb and the country of Al-Andalus until 1269. With the major coastal cities, such as Béjaïa, Annaba and Algiers, the Maghreb central opens to the Christian West by maintaining an active trade, bringing in particular the famous bearded horses, wax or quality leather. The fall of the Almohads marks a turning point in relations with the Christian powers in the north, who are organizing for the Reconquista as the myth of Muslim invincibility ends. In the Maghreb, Zenet dynasties are essential, like the Merinids of Fez in the western Maghreb, the Abdelwadids of Tlemcen of the central Maghreb. The Hafsides are essential in the Eastern Maghreb. These dynasties, which radiate over North Africa first between the 13th and the 14th century, were increasingly subjected, towards the end of the 15th century, to the pressure of the rise of the Spanish and Portuguese powers, which, combined with internal struggles for access to the throne, then leads to successive setbacks of their power and the crumbling of their empire. Several Jews from Andalusia were sent to Algeria in 1492. In this state of affairs, the Zianides dynasty strongly resisted until the decisive attack by the Ottomans. The latter took the city of Tlemcen in 1554.

Effect of the Reconquista

The Catholic Kings will complete the Reconquista in 1492, after which the Jews will be driven back to North Africa. The arrival of Andalusians and Mudejars will coincide. After 1502, all Muslims who arrive in Algeria will be called Moriscos (Andalusians and Mudejars). The latter will be definitively expelled from the Iberian Peninsula between 1609 and 1614 under Philip III of Spain, following the expulsion decree of the Moriscos of Spain. Thus, thousands of families from Spain go into exile in Algeria, they come en masse to the cities of the north of the country, including Oran, Tlemcen, Nedroma, Blida, Algiers, Mostaganem, Cherchell, Annaba, Béjaïa. These big families, who did everything they could to stay in their country of origin, are forced to live in a land which is completely unknown to them. Their contribution will be very important in society, culture will be in the foreground, as well as the construction of cities and the economy. These families will change for many the decor of the social scene of the time.

Modern era Spanish

Presidencies in the 16th century

To the west, in July 1501, the Portuguese launched an expedition to try to dock on the Andalusian beach. It will be necessary to await the unloading of Mers el-Kébir, in 1505, to see Spain engaging in the first expedition organized against Oran. The capture of the city by the army of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, commanded by Pedro Navarro, took place on May 17, 1509. After the occupation of the port of Mers el-Kebir (1505), and that of the city of Oran (1509), the city was deserted, then completely occupied by Spanish troops. From 1509, Cardinal Ximenes undertook the construction, on the ruins of the Ibn El Beitar mosque, of the Church of St. Louis, which dominates the old city on both sides. In 1554, the governor count of Alcaudete made alliance with the Moroccan sultan Mohammed ech-Cheikh against the Ottomans then installed in Algiers and managed to maintain still the Spanish presence. The Spanish thus make Oran a stronghold. The Jews were expelled from Oran by the Spaniards in 1669. Under the King of Spain, Carlos III, the latter and the partisans of the conservation of the city clashed. Between 1780 and 1783, Minister Floridablanca proposed to England to exchange Oran for Gibraltar.

In the center, in 1510, Ferdinand the Catholic attacked the city of Algiers. The Spanish besieged it and built on a small island in the bay of Algiers a fortress, the Peñón of Algiers, intended to bombard the city and to prevent its supply. Salem ben Toumi chief of the Beni Mezghenna requests help from the Turks. In the northeast, Pedro Navarro took Béjaïa in 1510 and until 1555. He arrived there on January 5, 1510 with 5,000 men and attacked the city. Abderrahmane opposes 10,000 soldiers, which he immediately launches against the Spanish during the landing. The assault was repulsed thanks in particular to naval artillery. But the Spanish response began immediately, with sea and land bombardment. Most of the battle takes place in the city. In the end, Abderrahmane manages to escape and there will be several deaths. The fame of Navarro and the story of his military exploits incite the kings of Algiers, Tunis and Tlemcen to pay homage to the king of Spain and to release all their Christian prisoners. However in 1514, thanks to a combined attack of the Kabyles led by Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi, at the head of 20,000 men and Turks by sea, the city of Bejaia will be temporarily liberated from the Spanish presence. The Spanish were then definitively expelled from it in 1555 by the Ottomans, led by Salah Raïs pasha.

Regency of Algiers

Seeking to control their maritime space after the Reconquista, the Portuguese set off on an expedition to western North Africa at the beginning of the 15th century (capture of Ceuta in 1415), followed by the Spaniards who occupied Mediterranean ports at the beginning of the 16th century (Mers el- Kébir, Oran, Béjaïa). Spain decides to besiege the port of Algiers and seizes the islet of Peñon at the entrance of the port, which it fortifies. The Algiers then appeals to the Turkish privateers. The Barbarossa brothers, fortified by several successes in navigation, succeeded in 1518, after several failures, in driving out the Spaniards from Algiers – partly with the support of the Kabyle tribes – and in gradually extending their state to the rest of the country (Cherchell, Ténès, Tlemcen). In 1556, the Ottomans attack the Zianides and take Tlemcen. The older brother of Khayr ad-Din Barbarossa kills the last Zianid kings by drowning them in water in the sixteenth century. Then, the Spaniards launched from their possession of Oran a victorious offensive against the troops of Barbarossa in Tlemcen in which Aroudj lost his life.

It is in this context that Khayr ad-Din Barbarossa, who was in Algiers when he learned of the death of his brother, sought the support of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and placed his new state under the protection of the Ottoman Empire, receiving the title of beylerbey (governor of province) as well as a contingent of 2000 janissaries. This newly founded state will take the name of regency of Algiers. The latter was successively governed by beylerbeys from 1518 to 1587, pashas from 1587 to 1659, aghas from 1659 to 1671 and deys from 1671 to 1830. In 1609, the Muslims of Andalusia were sent to the Algerian coast. The regency of Algiers has broad independence from the Ottoman Sultan. The Algiers region, called Dar el Sultan, was placed under the direct authority of the Head of the Regency. The rest of the country was divided into 3 provinces called “beylics” each administered autonomously by a bey appointed by the Dey of Algiers. We distinguished : the Beylic of the West (capital based in Mazouna, Mascara then moved to Oran after the departure of the Spaniards) ; the Beylic of Titeri in the center (capital based in Medea) and the Beylic of the East (capital based in Constantine), the most powerful of the three. Each Beylic was divided into “outans” (cantons) with a head at the head, reporting directly to the bey. To administer the interior of the country, the Turks relied on the Makhzen tribes. These tribes were responsible for ensuring order and levying tax on the tributary regions of the country. It was through this system that for three centuries the Ottoman state of Algiers extended its authority over the north of present-day Algeria. But in reality, several regions of the country regularly defied the authority of the beys. The fortune of the state and the city of Algiers was essentially based on the profits of the race, and the external relations of the regency of Algiers were tense and complex, in particular with Great Britain, the United States, France, Spain. In 1815, Raïs Hamidou encountered a powerful American squadron who came to ask dey Omar reason. At the start of the fight, a ball killed the Raïs Hamidou. There followed several defeats of the regency of Algiers against other nations in naval battles.

Sultanates and revolts

In Kabylia, the direct territorial control of the governors of Algiers was limited to the large urban centers of the region (Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, Boghni), in which they built borjs (forts) and permanently stationed a limited number of troops there. The administration of the hinterland was therefore done indirectly through allies, characters or tribes. However, two tribal kingdoms regularly opposed the Ottomans: those of Koukou allied with the Spanish and the Aït Abbas. In Upper Kabylia, the Kingdom of Koukou was founded in the sixteenth century by Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi. The latter, first allied with the Ottomans especially during the resistance against the Spanish, will then become a rival for control of northern Algeria. In 1520, Khayr ad-Din Barbarossa decides to lead an expedition against Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi. The battle will take place in the plain of Issers. The Kabyles’ victory will be unequivocal and it is with great luck that Khayr ad-Din Barbarossa will be saved by having fled at the right time. Victorious, Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi seized Algiers and reigned without difficulty until 1527, when Khayr ad-Din Barbarossa defeated him and restored his authority in Algiers with the help of Abd-el-Aziz, Kabyle chief of Aït Abbas and rival of Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi. The kingdom of Koukou will last more than two centuries, until its extinction around 1750.

In Little Kabylia, the kingdom of Beni Abbès also often went to war against the regency of Algiers. In 1823, they went to war against the authority of the Regency and cut the lines of communication between Algiers and Constantine. It was only after several months of fighting that the agha Yahia was able to negotiate the submission of the revolted tribes. The kingdom of Aït Abbas will survive the Ottoman era and will not fall until 1871 during the French conquest. The beys experienced enormous difficulties in governing and collecting taxes, some of them who dared to enter the mountain ranges or across the desert died there. To link Algiers and Constantine, the regency of Algiers also had to pay a right of passage called the Ouadia to take the route of the “Iron Gates” (locally named in Arabic (El’Biban or Tamazight Tiggoura); a mountainous parade of the chain of Bibans in Kabylia, then stronghold of the kingdom of Beni Abbes and Mokrani. In the Aurès, several tribes united and started struggles against the Ottomans. However, several internal conflicts between Chaouis factions ignited the mountainous areas of Aurès. The Ouled Daoud and several tribes prevented the Ottomans from entering their territories. Saleh Bey tried unsuccessfully to submit them by directing an expedition against them. In short, the great union of the Chabias divided, causing the independence of several tribes from the Ottomans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In the southern part of Algeria between 1515 and 1830, the Ottomans were not able to extend their authority to the Saharan regions of the country. The Sahara was the main axis for trade between Black Africa and the North. The relationship between the Saadians and the Ottomans was deteriorating. This led Ahmad al Mansour Addahbi, the Saadian sultan of Marrakech, to control the Gourara and the Touat. Then, Mulay M’hammed, Alawite sultan of Fez, took the country of Gourara with the help of the local tribes. When the Alawites came to power, the latter abandoned the Gourara and Touat regions. The local emirs then took charge of the governance of their territories. The tax was collected by the caïds sent by the Alaouites, and the one who did not pay was taken as a slave to Fez. In Ouargla, the inhabitants were governed by the authority of the Zaouïas. The Marabout movements were strongly established in all the regions of the South and in part of the Aurès. On the other hand, the Mzab retained the practice of the Ibadite dogma. In the south, the sultanate of Touggourt gained independence in 1414. When the Beylic of Constantine was created, Touggourt quickly became dependent on it. The recurring refusals of the Touggourt sultans to pay the tribute imposed by the Turks provoked numerous expeditions by the authorities of the Regency against them. Finally in the far south, a Targui confederation, the Kel Ahaggar, was formed in the Algerian Sahara around the year 1750.

Contemporary period

French colonization

Reason for the conquest

Initially, relations between France and the regency of Algiers were good, since one can read in June 1793 that “while Europe is coaling against free France, a more loyale and faithful African power (Algiers) recognizes the republic and swears friendship ”. In addition there was also the Bastion de France which exploited the coral in El Kala.

In 1794, revolutionary France was attacked by the European coalition powers, and found it difficult to feed its population and its soldiers. The dey of Algiers Hussein then offered the Convention all the facilities for shopping for wheat, also subsequently granting under the Directory a loan of interest-free money. Once the war is over, successive regimes do not honor the debt and, when France becomes a royalist again, the debt is lowered. However, it is paid, but only in Paris, at the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. However, a large number of real or supposed creditors, Livorno traders who had served as intermediaries then appeared. Thus, under the guise of satisfying their claims, we had “made legal its spoliation”. The dey is therefore on the cold with the French consul, because he understands that he will not get his money back and that deliveries of wheat will never be paid to him.

In 1827, the dey of Algiers discovered that France had fortified, at the end of the Regency at Calle, a warehouse which it had the concession to trade, and that it had undertaken not to fortify. Obtaining no explanations from the French government, on April 30, 1827, the dey decided to verbally refer to the French consul. The consul openly ignoring his request, the dey got carried away, insulted him, and finally gave the “representative of France” a shot from his fan. If we refer to Robert Louzon, militant anti-colonialist committed, it is therefore the affair of the fortifications of La Calle and not simply the debt remained unpaid which was at the origin of the anger of the dey of Algiers. The government of the Restoration and Charles X, anxious to restore the image of France abroad and strengthen the royal authority in France, then found in this incident – an outrage to France through its “representative “, The consul – a pretext to intervene militarily. Conquest The conquest of Algeria was very violent and long. It resulted in the disappearance of a third of the Algerian population between 1830 and 1850. The methods were perverse and led above all to death by famine (destruction of villages, crops, uprooted trees), completing the known smokers, massacres of prisoners and civilians, raids. At this level the qualification of war crime or “mass murder” is appropriate. The French army conquers Algeria village after village. The emblematic Armand Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud, zealous executor of French military policy, newly promoted captain since 1837, was appointed general of division after the expedition of Petite Kabylie in 1851.

In parallel with these military operations, a settlement colony policy was implemented, a common corollary practice of conquests.

Between 11 and 18 May 1830, some 37,000 men on board 675 ships chartered by the Seillière company, that is to say practically all the French merchant navy of the time, embarked to conquer the coastal strip of the old regency, later unified under the name of Algeria. The landing took place on June 14, 1830 at Sidi-Ferruch and, on July 5, French troops commanded by Louis Auguste Victor de Ghaisne de Bourmont, general in chief of the expedition, entered the fortress of Algiers, the dey capitulated the same day. But France faces the west with the emir Abdelkader ibn Muhieddine and the east with Berber tribes including those of Kabylia led by Lalla Fatma N’Soumer. France began negotiations with Emir Abdelkader ibn Muhieddine in 1834 and 1837, when the Tafna treaty was signed. But in 1839, Abd el-Kader declared war on France, considering the expedition to the “Iron gates” (in the chain of Bibans in Kabylia) by the French army as a violation of treaty. In May 1843, the smala and the famous treasure of Abd el-Kader were in the hands of the French. On September 10, 1844, the Moroccan sultan Abderrahmane ben Hicham, defeated during the Battle of Isly by General Bugeaud, signed with France the Treaty of Tangier, calling the emir “outlaw”. A year later, in 1845, the Moroccan Sultan signed another treaty with France, the Treaty of Lalla Maghnia which marked the borders between Morocco and Algeria.

In 1847, Abd el-Kader, attacked in the North and East by French troops and in the West by Moroccan troops, laid down his arms and surrendered. The French army in Africa then controlled all of northwestern Algeria. At the end of the battle of Zaatcha, in the Aurès, in 1848, the Constantine was conquered. Between 1849 and 1852, domination extended to Little Kabylia. In July 1857, the tribes of Grande Kabylie surrendered, and the capture of Lalla Fatma N’Soumer put an end to the resistance ; but the Kabyles rose again until the early 1870s. The conquest of northern Algeria was then completed. In the south, the capture of Laghouat and Touggourt, the capitulation of the Beni-M’zab du Mzab (1852) and that of the Souf push back the limits of Algeria to the great desert. It was only after a final uprising, in 1871, during the Mokrani Revolt, waged from the Kabylie of the Bibans, and which would bring together more than 250 tribes across Algeria, that the “pacification” mission was launched complete. Combined with the famine of 1866-1868 and the cholera epidemic, nearly a million civilians will lose their lives according to demographer R. Ricoux, demographic loss concentrating in particular on the last six years of the conquest. It follows a great war between the French Army the troops of Cheikh Bouamama and the tribe of Ouled Sidi Cheikh.

Establishment and statutes

At the start of the conquest in 1830, Algeria experienced a large influx of European settlers (mainly French and Spanish) who would soon be called pied-noirs. In 1834, Algeria was annexed to France, the natives became “French subjects” by royal decree of February 24, 1834 which conferred on them the “quality of French”. In 1848, following the “submission of Abd-el-Kader to France” on December 23, 1847, the three provinces of Algeria (the Sahara, independent of the former regency of Algiers, was conquered in 1902) become the French departments of Algeria (there will later be the French departments of the Sahara), having an administrative and judicial organization modeled on that of the metropolis, for example the districts, the communes and the courts . Article 1 of the Sénatus consulte of July 14, 1865 proclaims that : “The Muslim native is French, nevertheless he will continue to be governed by Sharia. He can be admitted to serve in the land and sea armies. He can be called to civil functions and jobs in Algeria. He can, on his request, be allowed to enjoy the rights of French citizen ; in this case, it is governed by the civil and political laws of France. This possibility nevertheless remained purely theoretical, since in practice it was more difficult for them to gain French citizenship than for a foreigner and that even when it was granted the rights attached to it were in any case called into question. The native Israelites benefited from special provisions of the Crémieux decree no 136 of October 24, 1870 (automatic nature of French citizenship), unlike the Muslim natives, but also of the foreign European settlers to whom the Crémieux decree no 137 applied, including article 2 title III orders that: “The native Muslim who wants to be admitted to enjoy the rights of French citizen must appear in person before the head of the Arab office of the district in which he resides, in order to form his request and to declare that it intends to be governed by the civil and political laws of France. ”

At the end of the Second Empire, the Algerian population was confronted from 1866-1868 with considerable agricultural difficulties which generated the Algerian Famine of 1866-1868. Under the Vichy regime, Jews in Algeria were again discriminated against by law, as were Algerians from a Muslim culture in Algeria from 1940 to 1942 (Chantiers de la jeunesse française). A direct descendant of Emir Abd el Kader, Emir Khaled put his personal presence and prestige at the service of an essentially Modernist program, which brought him into exile: representation in Parliament on an equal basis with the Algerian Europeans; suppression of laws and emergency measures of the criminal courts, criminal courts, administrative surveillance, same charges and rights as the French with regard to military service, accession for the Algerian natives to all civil and military ranks, without distinctions other than merit and personal capacity, application of the law on compulsory public education, freedom of the press and association, application to the Muslim faith of the law of separation of Church and State, general amnesty , application to the natives of social and workers’ laws; absolute freedom for them to go to France. Algeria then experienced rapid economic growth, particularly in iron ore, with the emergence of the Société de l’Ouenza, the tenth French company111, which took over from the large and oldest Mokta El Hadid Company. From the end of the Second World War, in 1945 and following the birth of a nationalist movement, the parties (FLN, MNA) and (PCA, Algerian Liberal Movement, etc.), claimed the independence of the ‘Algeria compared to France, while the supporters of the maintenance of a French Algeria (FAF and OAS) demand the maintenance of Algeria in French territory; a war ensued from 1954 to 1962.

Nationalism and law

At the start of the 20th century, several Algerian leaders claimed the right to equality or independence from France. Several parties will be created, and several pamphlets will be written to defend the law for Algerians. Several Algerian thinkers will vilify the most important personalities of the French colonial regime. Most figures of the Algerian movement will be closely watched by French police, others will be exiled to other countries as was the emir Khaled el-Hassani ben el-Hachemi in Egypt, then in Syria. Emir Khaled chaired the first Algerian party the Association of the North African Star from 1926 until his death in 1936. His role was symbolic since he was exiled. Messali Hadj, Malek Bennabi, Mohamed Hamouda Bensai, Saleh Bensai, Abdelhamid Ben Badis, Mohamed Bachir El Ibrahimi, Fodil El Ouartilani, Larbi Tébessi, Ferhat Abbas, Chérif Saâdane, Omar Ouzeggane, etc., all will diverge on the Algerian question , this will cause the emergence of several Algerian associations and parties: Reform Party or Movement for Equality, Association of Algerian Muslim Ulemas, the Party of the Algerian People, Friends of the manifesto and freedom founded by Ferhat Abbas and including Chérif Saâdane is a member of the steering committee, Algerian Communist Party.

After the end of World War II, the Atlantic Charter, the First Charter of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, the Arab League, the San Francisco conference, etc., all contributed to the independence of Algeria. At the March 1945 congress that the AMLs held, the delegates proclaimed the Algerian nation constituted, Messali Hadj was elected as leader of the Algerian people. On May 8, 1945, demonstrations of Algerians took place in several cities in the east of the country (Sétif and Constantine), which were intended to recall their nationalist claims, concomitantly with the joy of victory. In Setif, after clashes between police and nationalists, the demonstration turned into a riot and the demonstrators’ anger turned against the « French » : a hundred were killed in the following days. The repression of the French army is brutal. Officially, it killed 1,500 Algerians, a figure potentially underestimated and probably closer to 20,000 to 30,000 according to historian Benjamin Stora. The Party of the Algerian People (PPA) estimates that there have been 45,000 dead. Due to the radicalization they engendered in Algerian nationalist circles, certain historians consider these massacres as the real beginning of the Algerian war. Following these massacres of Sétif, Guelma and Kherrata, the same day and when they came to present their wishes to Yves Chataigneau on the occasion of the defeat of Nazi Germany ; Mohamed Bachir El Ibrahimi, Ferhat Abbas and Hadj Ahmed Chérif Saâdane will be arrested at 10 :30 am because they are accused of “undermining French sovereignty” by fomenting the bloody events in Setif. They will be incarcerated in the Algiers prison then transferred to that of Constantine.

Following the imprisonment of Messali Hadj and the ban of the Party of the Algerian people, the Movement for the triumph of democratic freedoms party claims after the status of equality or independence of Algerians in 1948. Also, the The Association of Algerian Muslim Ulemas was banned. Then, the Special Organization appears and its purpose is to collect weapons for combat. Mohamed Belouizdad was the first head of the underground organization. Then, Hocine Aït Ahmed took the head of the Organization and continued to work for the purchase of weapons. The Post Office in Oran was attacked by members of the OS. Ferhat Abbas and Chérif Saâdane, upon their release from prison in April 1946 in Constantine, created the UDMA (Democratic Union of the Algerian Manifesto). Ahmed Ben Bella took the place of Hocine Aït Ahmed in 1949. The organization’s plan was exposed and a series of arrests was started by the French authorities in 1950. The Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Freedoms denied any relationship with the Special organization. The Revolutionary Committee for Unity and Action (CRUA) was founded in March 1954 and organized the armed struggle. The Algerian National Movement party was founded in July 1954 by the messalists. Subsequently, the National Liberation Front was founded in October 1954 by the branch of the CRUA (Revolutionary Committee for Unity and Action). The National Liberation Front (Algeria) and the Algerian National Movement will be rivals for power control. Messali Hadj will be released from prison in 1958 and will be assigned to house arrest in France.

Historiographical note

The official archives of the Algerian war are still only partially available and accessible to researchers in France; they are inaccessible in Algeria. The French law of July 15, 2008 on archives shortened the time limits for communicating public archives, including for certain archives classified as “secret defense” that can be communicated after a period of 50 years. In 2008, during the discussion of this text in Parliament, an amendment adopted by the French Senate aimed at prescribing a period of 75 years concerning documents “likely to invade private life”. This provision, strongly criticized by historians because it would have increased the delays in communicating the archives relating to the Algerian war, was finally withdrawn from the text during its examination in the National Assembly.

Algerian War

In 1954, Algeria had eight million non-French Algerians and one million “French Algerians” (Pied-noir and native Jewish naturalized French). After the crisis within the Algerian nationalist movements and the French authorities, a group of patriots stood out and considered the transition to the armed struggle for independence. The war began on November 1, 1954, after the meeting in Algiers of the six heads of the National Liberation Front (Algeria) and former members of the Special Organization, the armed wing of the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Freedoms and also responsible for the Revolutionary Committee of unity and action, and after the declaration of November 1, 1954. Armed action was proclaimed during the so-called All Saints’ Night. The attacks were reported across the country and the first attacks took place in the Aurès. The six share Algeria in 6 Wilayas and the Minister of the Interior François Mitterrand is dispatched to the region of Aurès to denounce the attacks in the same month.

It follows guerrilla warfare, maquis and clashes. the French Army, which includes “Muslim” auxiliary units called “Harkis”, the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance and the French police attack the FLN and its relatives. The FLN then organized its fight on two fronts. Internally, he is building resistance through his armed wing, the National Liberation Army, which initially faced the Algerian National Movement and multiple internal crises. The Soummam Congress organizes the insurrectionary movement and releases the properties of the Revolution. The General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) and the General Union of Algerian Muslim Students (UGEMA) were created to organize revolts in 1956. While on the diplomatic front, it began its activities under the supervision of the provisional government of the Algerian Republic, which pleads the Algerian cause and also lived several crises; he nevertheless succeeded in 1958 in bringing the Algerian question to the United Nations agenda for the first time, which represented a great success for Algerian diplomacy. The conflict was part of the decolonization process which took place after the end of the Second World War. For France, this concerns among others French Indochina, Madagascar, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, French Equatorial Africa and French West Africa. The case of Algeria differs from the others in that it officially belonged to French territory, with a million citizens known as “of the First College” (the “Blackfoot”), including some, the Jews of Algeria and eight million citizens of the Second College (says Muslims), before the arrival of General de Gaulle. The latter will negotiate directly with the leaders of the FLN during the Evian agreements. De Gaulle succeeded in saving the republic after the generals’ putsch in Algiers 1961.

On March 19, 1962, after the signing of the cease-fire, the conflict officially ended. A double referendum was organized on January 8, 1961 and April 8, 1962: the French in mainland France voted for the choice of General de Gaulle for the two. On July 1, 1962, Algerians voted overwhelmingly for independence (99.72% in favor of “yes”). The independence of Algeria was proclaimed on July 3, 1962. The events of the Algerian war, the declaration of independence – which consumes decolonization -, the climate of general violence which reigned in the last months of the war or even traumatic events like the massacre of Oran will bring most of the pied-noirs to leave the country: out of nearly one million, one hundred and fifty thousand leave before 1962, six hundred and fifty-one thousand during this year. The history of the two hundred thousand black feet still present after 1962 remains to be written, according to the historian Benjamin Stora. The Secret Army Organization spoke out against the independence of Algeria and committed, at the end of the war, several deadly attacks in Algeria134 including 7,000 with plastic against property and 2,000 against individuals.

Loss balance

If the results of the war remained controversial at the start of the 21st century, it is clear that the Algerian war was “extraordinarily deadly and cruel”. According to French historian Benjamin Stora, the total of French military losses is around 25,000 dead, including nearly 8,000 killed in accidents and a thousand diseases. The losses of the Algerian soldiers enlisted in the French troops amount to approximately 4,500 dead and 600 missing. Historians also estimate between 15,000 and 30,000 the number of harkis executed the day after the proclamation of independence. On the Algerian side, the number of a million and a half deaths is advanced ; by relying on the pensions paid to the families of the civilian or military mujahideen who died during the conflict, Benjamin Stora puts forward the figure of approximately 150,000 dead, or one combatant in two. To this must be added approximately 12,000 victims of internal purges and fratricidal battles between the Algerian National Movement and the National Liberation Front. According to the comparative process of age pyramids, historians estimate between 350,000 and 400,000 – or 3% of the population – the number of Algerians who died during the conflict. Since 1962, the FLN estimates that there have been 1.5 million deaths – a figure that no historian supports and 3 millions Algerians displaced in regroupment camps. In addition, torture during the Algerian war was practiced by the French army and by the French police in proportions that would concern hundreds of thousands of Algerians. On the side of “European” civilians, the death toll stands at around 4,500 people. To the human toll, we can add the 8,000 burnt villages, four million head of cattle destroyed between 1954 and 1962 – on a herd of six million in 1954 – and tens of thousands of hectares of forest burnt down with napalm.

Independent Algeria

Algeria becomes independent at the end of an 8-year war against the French colonial presence, a presence which lasted 132 years, and which officially ended on July 5, 1962. The National Liberation Front (FLN), although dominated militarily, emerged as the political victor in the war, both against the partisans of French Algeria and against its rivals, and then came to power. Having a socialist project, and receiving military aid from the USSR, he governed the country, as a single party, until 1989. The allusion to the socialist revolution was nevertheless abandoned in 1976, under Houari Boumédiène, Algeria approaching the non-aligned movement. The democratization of the regime in the 1980s, under Chadli Bendjedid and following major protest movements, ended abruptly with the start of the civil war in 1991. Algeria then went through a “dark decade”, marked by the confrontation between the military, who continue to hold the reins of power, and the various Islamist groups (AIS, GIA, GSPC, etc.). In 1999, the election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika helped restore order.

GPRA crisis and Ben Bella

Algeria therefore became independent after a long and costly war against the colonial presence, a presence which lasted 132 years, and which officially ended on July 3, 1962. This independence was acquired politically in favor of self-determination referendum provided for by the Evian agreements, and through which the Algerians voted overwhelmingly for the independence of Algeria. Cultural demands gave birth to a political slogan : Tahya el Djazaïr, “Long live Algeria”. Ferhat Abbas presided over Algeria from September 25, 1962 to September 15, 1963. He was against the OAS because he saw that it was a military formation of the French army. He will be for the maintenance of the Blackfoot (Europeans and Jews) in Algeria and he considers them as Algerians. According to him, the Organization of the Secret Army is responsible for the massive departure of the French from Algeria. Discord breaks out between the leaders of the FLN. Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumédiène helped by Wilaya I (Aurès), Wilaya II (Constantinois), Wilaya V (Oran), Wilaya VI (South), make war against Mohamed Boudiaf and Krim Belkacem of Wilaya (III) and (IV). However, talks are subsequently launched to resolve the internal crisis. Ahmed Ben Bella and Houari Boumédiène take Algiers on September 4, 1962, after having compromised with the colonels of the National Liberation Army. Several opposition parties have been banned such as the FFS (Front des forces socialistes), the PRS (Party of the Socialist Revolution), the CNDR (National Committee for the Defense of the Revolution), the MDRA (Democratic Movement for the Algerian Revolution) ), the GCR (Revolutionary Communist Group), the CNRA (National Council of the Algerian Revolution) (which has become in opposition), the OCRA (Clandestine Organization of the Algerian Revolution), RNDR (National Rally for Democracy and Revolution), the PAPS (Party of the allegedly healthy army) and finally the RUR (Unitary Gathering of Revolutionaries).


Ahmed Ben Bella is designated as the first president of independent Algeria in 1962, he then constitutes the first government of independent Algeria, he makes adopt a year later, a Constitution, the first of the country, which consecrates the primacy of the party FLN whose secretary general is ipso facto designated as the sole candidate for the presidency of the Republic, Ferhat Abbas who was then president of the Constituent Assembly decides to resign, protesting against the autocratic excesses of the new president. Several conflicts arise such as the outbreak of the Sand War with Morocco and the revolt of the Kabyle and a part of the Tuaregs supported by the party of Hocine Aït Ahmed. From 1963 to 1966, France made four atmospheric tests and thirteen underground nuclear tests in the Algerian Sahara at Reggane in the B2-Namous base and the French company Total has 90% of Algerian oil resources, according to the Algerian-French agreement. The very low schooling rate (around 10%) during the colonial period made the country deprived of technical and administrative staff. It has no architects, only a few dozen engineers and doctors and less than 2,000 teachers.

At the international level, Ben Bella dedicates his first visit abroad to the United States, where he is received with honors by President Kennedy, he very quickly brings about a rapprochement with the proponents of non-alignment and develops with the Soviet Union very dense economic and military relations. June 19, 1965 was marked by the dismissal of Ahmed Ben Bella from his post following a coup led by the Minister of Defense Houari Boumédiène. who takes power and thus becomes the new president of the Council of the Revolution. He therefore retained the single party system and urged the authorities to work for a break with the policy undertaken by Ahmed Ben Bella. He runs the country inspired by two foundations of the revolution, the strengthening of national independence and the development of the economy from a socialist perspective. He undertakes achievements in the education, training, planning, industrialization, development sectors. The nationalization policy carried out by the Algerian Revolutionary Council provokes the questioning of the Evian agreements. He launched the nationalization of gas and oil and developed Sonatrach.

Algeria is experiencing significant economic and social development under his government. Between 1962 and 1982, the Algerian population rose from 10 to 20 million people and, massively rural before independence, was 45% urbanized. Annual income per capita, which did not exceed 2,000 francs (305 euros) in 1962, exceeded 11,000 francs (1,677 euros) twenty years later, while the rate of schooling fluctuates from 75 to 95% depending on the region. , far from 10% of French Algeria. The agricultural possibilities being significantly limited by the desert, Boumédiène turns to industrial development. A three-year plan is imagined for the period 1967-1969, followed by two four-year plans (1970-1973 and 1974-1977). They are accompanied by major works, such as the Trans-Saharan (or “road of unity”) which connects the Mediterranean to black Africa or the “green dam”, forest to be planted in twenty years to prevent the advancement of the desert. The road network is significantly extended within the Algerian territory (the network developed under colonization remained limited to port cities). This nationalization creates a shock wave, the effects of which are felt at the international level, notably on the price of oil. Boumediene’s Algeria influences young Libyan colonel Muammar Gaddafi and Iraqi vice-president Saddam Hussein, who in turn nationalize the hydrocarbon sector, occasionally causing the first oil shock in 1973. The agriculture sector was modified by several reforms including the construction of socialist villages and the construction of the green dam, 1,500 km long, 20 km wide and made up of 3 million hectares. However, Krim Belkacem openly opposes Boumédienne’s policy, the government accuses him of having organized a coup and condemns him to death in absentia. Krim Belgacem was assassinated in Frankfurt in 1970. Ferhat Abbas also denounced the single system in 1976, he was placed under house arrest until 1978.

On the external front, Algeria is negotiating with Vietnam for the release of the last American prisoners of war. During the Yom Kippur War, it declared war on Israel and sent troops to Egypt in 1973. Algeria was the first military power on the Egyptian front and its force consisted of squadrons and armored vehicles. Yasser Arafat succeeded in opening an office in Algiers in 1965. 1974 was also an important year for Yasser Arafat, progress in favor of a political settlement. The Algerian authorities decide to take him for the first time to the United Nations under Algerian escort. Subsequently, Algeria will organize the peace treaty between Iran and Iraq, it also intervenes to resolve the crisis in Lebanon. However, the conflict between Morocco and Algeria is intensifying because of the Western Sahara. Algeria will invest in the African Union, the Arab League and with the Non-Aligned Movement. She will be against Apartheid in South Africa. Internally, the government continues nationalization and starts the three revolutions: industrial, agrarian and cultural. A charter and a constitution are adopted. The arabization of institutions is decreed. French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is received in Algiers. In 1978, the secret French base B2-Namous was closed. Houari Boumedienne died in 1978 and Rabah Bitat was in charge of the state’s interim. Chadli Bendjedid is designated to be elected by the people.


Chadli Bendjedid became head of the Algerian state on February 9, 1979. He released all political prisoners. The economic sector becomes liberal. The policy of Arabization continues despite the Berber Spring in 1980 and the demands of the French-speaking elites. On the diplomatic front, Algeria has successfully contributed to the settlement of a number of crises, such as the release of the American hostages in 1981 from Tehran to Algiers. Algerian diplomacy was able to open the doors to dialogue with the other Maghreb heads of state and the French president. Chadli is the first Algerian president to make an official visit to France during François Mitterrand’s tenure. King Hassan II is received in Algiers to sign bilateral agreements. In addition, Algeria allows the Palestinian National Council to proclaim the independence of a Palestinian state on November 15, 1988 in Algiers. Before the Gulf War, Algerian diplomacy was very active in trying to convince President Saddam Hussein to release the hostages and Kuwait. The visit of President Nelson Mandela, just after his release, will mark relations between Algeria and the countries of Africa. Internally, after several years of autocratic management of state affairs, Algeria launched in 1988, in an attempt to democratize, particularly following the events of October 5, 1988.

This opening was accompanied in June 1990 by the entry of the Islamists of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) into the political field, who won municipal elections on June 21, 1990. The FIS also led the first round of the legislative elections of the December 26, 1991, with 47% of the votes cast (the abstention rate being 41%), which provoked the intervention of the army, which interrupted the electoral process at the beginning of 1992, according to opponents of Chadli’s resignation. But, officially, President Chadli Bendjedid announced his resignation on January 11 and a High State Committee was set up on January 14 because of the constitutional vacuum, according to the Algerian constitution. This development is dragging Algeria into a wave of violence and terrorism that will last a decade of Algerian civil war. The conflict claimed the lives of an estimated 60,000 to 200,000 people with thousands of missing and one million displaced.


Mohamed Boudiaf takes the head of the High Committee of State, after 28 years of exile. One of the historical leaders of the Algerian war and founder of the FLN party wanted a democratic Algeria turned towards modernity, he said he wanted to put an end to the corruption which plagued the State. He was assassinated after six months in Annaba in the middle of a speech on June 29, 1992. Ali Kafi was then appointed president of the state. In 1994, Liamine Zéroual replaced Ali Kafi. On January 15, 1995, he had to face new international diplomatic pressure, notably generated by the Platform of Sant’Egidio in Rome, signed by the political leaders of the opposition denouncing the military takeover of the State. Thus, in order to restore the lost legitimacy of state institutions, he organized a presidential election in 1995, the first with pluralist ballots in Algeria. Liamine Zeroual wins the election, he is elected President of the Republic on November 16, 1995. In 1999, Liamine Zeroual decides to end his presidential mandate which was due to end in 2000. An early presidential election is then organized in the month of April 1999. Eight candidates presented themselves in the first round, including Abdelaziz Bouteflika. At the start of the ballot, seven candidates decide by mutual agreement to withdraw following cases of fraud which they declare to have observed. Abdelaziz Bouteflika decides to maintain his candidacy by winning the presidential election with a score of 74%. He therefore undertakes to apply his program, which revolves around three main axes: the return of peace through the application of national harmony, the reactivation of the economy and the return of Algeria to the international scene. His first mandate ends in 2004. New elections are organized in April, the main competitor of the outgoing president being his former Prime Minister Ali Benflis. Abdelaziz Bouteflika is re-elected with a rate of 85%. His program for the second term provides for a five-year plan to revive the economy, for which he devotes a financial envelope of $ 150 billion. During the months of March and April of 2009, the electoral campaign for the presidential election was launched following a new constitutional amendment. Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected for a fourth term in 2014.

Islamism and Muslim extremism are among the problems of contemporary Algeria, beyond the only Islamist offensive of the 1990s which caused tens of thousands of victims. Bigotry is spreading quickly, El Watan having deplored in a 2015 article, on the occasion of a news story, that Algerian society “is gangrened by conservatism and religious extremism, more and more accepted and trivialized. “Le Monde is surprised that” the representatives of the most radical Islamist currents do not lack media forums “, reporting that an Islamist, former militant of the Islamic Salvation Front and who wishes to impose sharia law in Algeria, could have called publicly to the murder of an intellectual without having been worried by the justice. The Algerian government is nonetheless traditionally known for its policy of vigorous fight against Islamist terrorism.

Algeria ‘s politics

On the political level, Algeria has adopted a republican regime since the advent of its independence in 1962. The current Constitution gives the Head of State a central role in the management of the affairs of the country, this is how by virtue of its articles, the President of the Republic is the head of the executive, the supreme head of the armed forces and the Minister of Defense. The head of state also has the power to appoint his prime minister and members of the government on the latter’s proposal. The election of the President of the Republic is by direct universal suffrage, every five years. The current president of the republic is Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who took office on December 19, 2019. Tebboune succeeds interim head of state Abdelkader Bensalah, who himself succeeds President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced into the resignation in April 2019 through mass protests against the regime. Abdelmadjid Tebboune won the presidential election on December 12, 2019 in the first round, but the conduct of this election is marked by massive Hirak demonstrations and by record abstention.

In addition, the legislative power is of bicameral type since the constitutional reform of 1996. It should be noted however that the powers which are allotted to him are strongly diminished by the pre-eminence of the executive power. The distribution of the different elected representatives at the level of the two chambers of Parliament reveals the following composition : the Council of the Nation (Upper House): composed of 144 members, one third of whom are appointed by the President of the Republic; the National People’s Assembly (Lower House): made up of 389 members elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year term. The Algerian Constitution was adopted on September 10, 1963. It was subsequently revised three times. The first revision, in 1976, was initiated under the impetus of Houari Boumédiène, in order to complete the institutions of the Algerian State by providing it with a Legislative Assembly, and by creating the post of President of the Republic, subject to suffrage. Universal direct, replacing the office of President of the Revolution Council. The second revision of the Constitution is carried out on February 28, 1989, date on which the multiparty system and the freedom of expression were established, it is therefore in the wake of this reform that the regime of the single party was dissolved and that many parties policies were created at the same time. The third and last constitutional revision was carried out in 1996, with the main objective of establishing a bicameral parliament. The Constitutional Council (Algeria) is the supreme magistracy of the Republic.

Currently, Algeria has more than 40 active political parties. However, these same parties cannot under article 42 of the Constitution “be founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, gender, corporatist or regional basis” they must also receive the approval of the Ministry of the Interior and local authorities to be able to run for the different electoral deadlines. The most important of them remain those of the presidential alliance which is composed of three majority parties in the Assembly and the Senate, these are the National Liberation Front (FLN), the National Democratic Rally (RND) and the Society for Peace Movement (MSP). The main opposition parties are the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), the Movement for National Reform (MRN), the Workers’ Party (PT) and the Front of Socialist Forces (FFS). The Algerian bureaucracy remains problematic and causes enormous concern for citizens. The fight against terrorism remains in force against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Algeria ‘s economy

From 1962, the Algerian government opted for a highly centralized planned economy, the first objectives consisted in giving Algeria economic independence through the recovery, in particular, of national wealth. A series of nationalizations is being conducted in this regard, affecting in particular foreign companies. Subsequently a considerable industrialization effort is deployed. The 1986 oil counter-shock marks the end of this period of socialist planning, the State being unable to bear during this period the financial investment it was making for the benefit of national enterprises, nor being able to respond favorably. To the new wave of job applications that have greatly increased with the demographic increase, that the country has known since independence. From 1988, Algeria resorted to the IMF in order to achieve structural adjustment, a vast program of reforms was initiated in order to ensure a transition from the socialist economy to a market economy. Characterized by a strong dependence on hydrocarbons, the economic situation of Algeria seems favorable until 2014 both internally and externally. Following in particular the very sustained increase in oil prices, the country’s economic growth follows a constant and stable progression, going from 2.1% in 2001 to 5.3% in 2005, with a peak of 6.8 % in 2003. Despite the presence of excess liquidity linked to the abundance of petroleum resources, inflation during this period remained under control thanks to the strict control exercised by the Bank of Algeria, the inflation rate at the end of 2005 was 1.5% compared to 3.6% for 2004. The unemployment rate fell throughout the decade 2000 even if the unemployment rate for young people remained high.

However, the private sector is not developing and the economy seems doomed to remain a rentier economy. Since 2011, inflation has resumed a more sustained pace with rates varying between 4.5% in 2011 to 8.9% in 2012. In 2014, the Bank of Algeria reveals that oil and gas revenues have declined by almost 50% in the first quarter of 2015, going from $ 15.6 billion in March 2014 to just $ 8.7 billions, raising fears of a major financial crisis in the country. The Bank of Algeria is worried about the country’s excessive dependence on sales from the energy sector, which represents more than 95% of its external revenue and 60% of the Algerian state budget. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, the country’s foreign exchange reserves collapsed from $ 179 billions to $ 160 billion and the state drew on the sovereign revenue regulation fund (FRR), whose balance rose from 5 633 billion dinars in 2012 to 4,408 billion dinars at the end of 2014. The balance of payments deficit reached the record level of 10.72 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2015. Algeria could encounter difficulties by 2017- 2018 to pay the salaries of its officials, maintain its imports, and ensure its economic activity. The budget deficit exceeds 12% of GDP in 2015 and a possible austerity policy may raise fears of social unrest. Algeria is the 4th economic power of the African continent with, in 2014, a GDP of 214.08 billion USD and 284.7 billion USD in GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and the 48th world economy. Reduced to purchasing power parity, GDP (PPP) per capita is estimated at 7,600 USD in 2012.

Algeria ‘s demography

Algeria had 43 million inhabitants in January 2019 with an annual growth rate of 1.99%. About 90% of Algerians live on just over 10% of the territory, concentrated along the Mediterranean coasts. The density of the country’s average population is 14 inhabitants / km2. However, this figure does not reflect an uneven distribution, it indeed exceeds 100 inhabitants / km2 for the northern regions, the main populated regions of Algeria. Almost half of Algerians are under the age of 19. After independence, Algeria was among the countries with the highest fertility rates in the world. There was a low employment rate of women during the 1970s. The demographic transition took place in 2000. The country is located in countries with moderate fertility with a rate of 20 per thousand. The main causes are the introduction of contraception, the emancipation of women in the world of work and the socio-economic situation (housing crisis, advanced marriage age, inflation, unemployment, etc.) from the drop. According to official figures, there were 1,038,000 live births in 2018 in the country.

The country also has a high rate of emigration. In 2000, Algeria was the 15th country in the world that provided the most migrants, estimated at more than two million individuals, a proportion of 6.8% compared to the country’s population. France is home to the largest Algerian community abroad, estimated at one million people, including nearly 450,000 binationals. According to the International Association of the Algerian Diaspora, other important communities live in Spain (300,000), the United Kingdom (250,000), Canada (110,000), Belgium (50,000) and Italy (50 000) 275. The migration rate is negative (-0.33 ‰), because the emigration rate is only partially offset by the immigration of populations from southern countries. Algeria shelters in particular in the region of Tindouf nearly 165,000 Sahrawi refugees who fled Western Sahara in 1975. This emigration has further accelerated since 2000. Between 2000 and 2013, 840,000 Algerians left the country carrying the number of ” Algerians expatriated to 1,770,000 in 2013. 82% of Algerian emigrants are in France. This emigration has resulted in a “serious hemorrhage in the management and the university elites”. In 2017, emigration figures started to rise again. Between July and September, the Algerians were among the five main nationalities arriving in Europe after Syria, Morocco, Nigeria and Iraq. In 2012, residents in Algeria included 30,344 French people and around 30,000 to 40,000 Chinese.

Algeria ‘s education

Since the 1970s, part of a centralized system which aimed to significantly reduce the illiteracy rate, the Algerian government has introduced a decree by which education in schools has become compulsory for all children aged between 6 and 15 year olds, who have the opportunity to follow their school learning through the 20,262 establishments built since independence. In 2018, the literacy rate (in the population aged 15 and over) is, according to Unesco, 81.41% (87.42% in the male population, 75.32% in the female population). Arabic is used as the language of instruction during the first nine years of school, and this since 1972. From the 3rd year, French is taught and it is also the language of instruction for science courses. Students can also learn from medium, English, Italian, Spanish and German. In 2008, new programs at the primary level appeared, consequently compulsory education started not at 6 years old, but at 5 years old.

Outside of the 122 private institutions, learning at school and state university is free. After the nine years of primary school, pupils can go to high school (secondary) or to a vocational education institution. The school offers two programs: general or technical. At the end of the third year of secondary school, students take the baccalaureate exam, which, once successful, allows them to pursue higher education at universities and institutes. Algeria also has 26 universities and 67 higher education establishments, which in 2008 are expected to host one million Algerian students and 80,000 foreign students. The University of Algiers, founded in 1879, is the oldest, offering education in several disciplines (law, medicine, science and letters). 25 of these universities and almost all of the specialized higher education establishments were founded after the country’s independence. Even if a certain number of them offer education in the Arabic language like law and economics, most of the other fields like science and medicine continue to be provided in French. Among the most important universities are the Houari Boumediene University of Science and Technology, the University of Mentouri Constantine, the University of Oran Es-Senia. The best quality universities remain the universities of Tlemcen and Batna Hadj Lakhder, they rank 26th and 45th respectively in Africa.

Algeria ‘s language

The Constitution provides that Arabic and Tamazight are the official languages ​​of the country. The Arabic designated as the official language is modern standard Arabic. In everyday life, Arabic-speaking Algerians generally speak a dialectal Arabic, Dardja, which differs from literal Arabic in its morphology, syntax, pronunciation and vocabulary. The dardja has preserved certain Berber words and syntactic structures and has borrowed terms from French and to a lesser extent from Turkish and Spanish. The Berber or Tamazight is available in several regional variants : chaoui in the Aurès, chenoui in the Dahra, kabyle in Kabylia, mozabite in the Mzab, the Tuareg in the Sahara, and the chleuh on the Moroccan border. Algeria thanks to the Tuareg populations also preserved the Berber writing system : the Tifinagh which was then reintroduced in other Berber-speaking communities. It is difficult to know the exact number of Arabic and Berber speakers. However, according to some estimates, the figure varies from 70 to 85% for Arabic-speaking Algerians, and from 15 to 30% for Berber-speakers.

French is also very widespread: Algeria is regularly cited as the second French-speaking country in the world, with nearly 16 million speakers; in 2008, it listed 11.2 million people aged five and over who declared that they could read and write French, which is nevertheless considered a foreign language there. The Algerian state does not join the International Organization of La Francophonie but attends its meetings. Colonizations had a certain influence on the languages ​​spoken in Algeria. Indeed, some words used by Algerians are of French origin, while these same words have their Berber or Arabic equivalent, in use before the colonization of Algeria by France. Also, since the independence of Algeria, the Algerian government has embarked on a policy of systematic Arabization of the country, consisting in imposing on the population, and in all fields, modern standard Arabic to the detriment of Dardja and Berber. Foreign languages ​​such as English, Spanish, Russian and German have been taught in schools and universities since the decrees of August 4, 1975 and February 13, 1976. Several reforms of the various governments have brought corrections in the volume. schedule to teach. In 1992, Spanish was spoken by almost 60,000 people in Oran.