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Algeria (ăljērˈēə), Arab. Al Djazair, Fr. Algérie, officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, republic (2021 est. pop. 45,011,252), 919,590 sq mi (2,381,741 sq km), NW Africa, bordering on Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Morocco in the west, on the Mediterranean Sea in the north, on Tunisia and Libya in the east, and on Niger and Mali in the south. It is the largest country in Africa. Algiers is the capital and largest city.

Land and People

Algeria falls into two main geographical areas, the northern region and the much larger Saharan or southern region. The northern region, which is part of the Maghreb, is made up of four parallel east-west zones: a narrow lowland strip (interspersed with mountains) along the country's 600-mi (970-km) Mediterranean coastline; the Tell Atlas Mts. (highest point: c.7,570 ft/2,310 m), which have a Mediterranean climate and abundant fertile soil; the sparsely populated, semiarid Plateau of the Chotts (average elevation c.3,500 ft/1,070 m), containing a number of shallow salt lakes (chotts) and supporting mainly sheep and goat herders; and the Saharan Atlas Mts., a broken series of mountain ranges and massifs (highest point: 7,638 ft/2,330 m), also a semiarid area and used chiefly for pasturing livestock. The Chéliff River, which flows into the Mediterranean, is the largest of the country's few permanent streams. N Algeria is subject to earthquakes, which, as in 1954, 1980, and 2003, may be devastating, killing and injuring thousands.

The arid and very sparsely populated Saharan region has an average elevation of c.1,500 ft (460 m), but reaches greater heights in the Ahaggar Mts. in the south, where Algeria's loftiest point, Mt. Tahat (9,850 ft/3,002 m), is located. Most of the region is covered with gravel or rocks, with little vegetation; there are also large areas of sand dunes in the north (the Great Western Erg) and east (the Great Eastern Erg). Important oases include Touggourt, Biskra, Chenachane, In Zize, and Tin Rerhoh.

In addition to the capital, major cities include Annaba, Blida, Constantine, Mostaganem, Oran, Sétif, Sidi-bel-Abbès, Skikda, and Tlemcen. Berbers once constituted the chief ethnic group in Algeria, but have been largely assimilated into Arab culture. The Berbers, beginning in the late 7th cent. A.D., adopted the Arabic language and Islam from the small number of Arabs who settled in the country. Today those of Arab-Berber descent make up some 99% of the population. Arabic is the main language, although about 15% of the population still speaks a Berber language. These inhabitants live mostly in the mountainous regions of the north, but also include the nomadic Tuareg of the Sahara. Relations between Arabic-speaking and Berber-speaking Algerians have long been marked by tension. Arabic was made the sole national and official language in 1980, but that policy was reversed in 2002, when Tamazight, a Berber tongue, was also recognized as a national language. Tamazight became an official language in 2016. French is widely spoken, and about 1% of the Algerian population is of European descent (before independence Europeans accounted for some 10%). Almost all Algerians are adherents of the Sunni Muslim faith, the state religion.


About 15% of Algeria's workers are engaged in farming; agriculture contributes less to the country's GDP than either mining or manufacturing. The state plays a leading role in planning the economy and owns many important industrial concerns, including the mining and financial sectors. Since the late 1990s, there has been some privatization and openness to foreign investment.

Farming is concentrated in the fertile valleys and basins of the north and in the oases of the Sahara. The principal crops are wheat, barley, oats, wine grapes, olives, citrus, figs, and dates. Algeria is also an important producer of cork. Large numbers of sheep, poultry, goats, and cattle are raised, and there is a small fishing industry.

Petroleum and natural gas, found principally in the E Sahara, are Algeria's most important mineral resources and its leading exports. Production was decreased in the 1980s in order to delay the depletion of resources but rose again in the late 1990s. There are oil pipelines to the seaports of Arzew and Bejaïa in Algeria and As Sukhayrah in Tunisia. In 1993, a gas pipeline was laid between Hassi R'Mel (Algeria's main gas producing field) and Seville, Spain. Other minerals extracted in significant quantities include iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, and zinc. The country's leading industries include food and beverage processing, (notably olive oil and wine), petrochemicals, and light manufacturing. Algeria's limited rail and road networks serve mainly the northern region.

In recent years the annual earnings from Algeria's exports have been substantially higher than the cost of its imports. The chief imports are machinery, food and beverages, and consumer goods. The principal exports besides petroleum and natural gas are wine and agricultural goods (especially fruit). Algeria's main trade partners are France, the United States, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Since independence, there has been large-scale emigration to France by Algerian job seekers, who contribute substantial cash remittances to the country's economy.


Algeria is governed under the constitution of 1976 as amended. The executive branch is headed by the president, who is head of state and is popularly elected for a five-year term; the president may serve for two terms. The prime minister is the head of government, and is appointed by the president in consultation with the parliament. The bicameral parliament consists of the 462-seat National People's Assembly, whose members are elected by popular vote to five-year terms, and the 144-seat Council of the Nation, whose members are appointed by the president (one third) or elected by indirect vote and serve six-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 48 provinces.


To the Early Nineteenth Century

The earliest recorded inhabitants of Algeria were Berber-speaking peoples who by the 2d millennium B.C. were living in small village-based political units. In the 9th cent. B.C., Carthage was founded in modern-day Tunisia, and Carthaginians eventually established trading posts at Annaba, Skikda, and Algiers. Coastal Algeria was known as Numidia and was usually divided into two kingdoms, both of which were strongly influenced by Carthage. The kingdoms of Numidia were united by King Masinissa (c.238–149 B.C.).

In 146 B.C., Rome destroyed Carthage, and by 106 B.C., after defeating King Jugurtha of Numidia, it held coastal Algeria. The Romans also gained control of the Tell Atlas region and part of the Plateau of the Chotts; the rest of present-day Algeria remained under Berber rulers and was outside Roman rule. Under Rome, the cities were built up and impressive public works (including roads and aqueducts) were constructed. Much grain was shipped from Algeria to Rome. By the Christian era, Algeria (divided into Numidia and Mauritania Caesariensis) was an integral, albeit relatively unimportant, part of the Roman Empire. One of its most famous citizens was St. Augustine (354–430), who was bishop of Hippo (now Annaba) and a leading opponent of Donatism (which was in part a Berber protest against Roman rule).

By the 5th cent. Roman civilization in Algeria had been eroded by incursions of Berbers, and the destruction wreaked by the Vandals (who passed through Algeria on their way to Tunisia) in 430–431 marked the end of effective Roman control. Algeria again came under the control of numerous small indigenous political units. In the early 6th cent. a temporary veneer of unity and order was forged by the Byzantine Empire, which conquered parts of the North African coast including the region E of Algiers. In the late 7th and early 8th cent. Muslim Arabs conquered Algeria and ousted the Byzantines. Although few Arabs settled in the region, they had a profound influence as most of the Berbers quickly became Muslims and gradually absorbed the Arabic language and culture. In addition, the Arabs intermarried with the Berbers.

A number of small Muslim states rose and fell in Algeria, but generally the eastern part of the country came under the influence of dynasties centered in Tunisia (notably the Aghlabid of Kairouan) and the western part was controlled by states centered in Morocco (notably the Almoravids and Almohads). Also, in the 8th and 9th cent. Tlemcen was the center of the Muslim Kharajite sect, and in the early 10th cent. the Fatimid dynasty began its major rise from a base in NE Algeria. In the late 15th cent. Spain expelled the Muslims from its soil and soon thereafter captured the coastal cities of Algeria. Algerians appealed to Turkish pirates (especially the Barbarossa brothers) for help, and, with the aid of the Ottoman Empire, they ended Spanish control by the mid-16th cent. Algeria then came under Ottoman rule.

The country was at first governed by officials sent from Constantinople, but in 1671 the dey (ruler) of Algiers, chosen by local civilian, military, and pirate leaders to govern for life and virtually independent of the Ottoman Empire, became head of Algeria. The country was divided into three provinces (Constantine, Titteri, and Mascara), each governed by a bey. The power of the Ottomans, and later of the deys, did not extend much beyond the Tell Atlas. The coast was a stronghold of pirates (see Barbary States) who preyed on Mediterranean shipping. Privateering reached a high point in the 16th and 17th cent. and declined thereafter; there was a temporary increase during the Napoleonic Wars (early 19th cent.). A large percentage of the dey's revenues came from pirates. Considerable trade with Europe also was conducted from Algerian ports; the chief exports were wheat, fruit, and woven goods. The country was in addition a center of the slave trade, most of the slaves being persons captured by pirates.

Algeria in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

In an effort to discourage privateering from Algerian ports, a British fleet bombarded Algiers in 1816. By this time the dey's power was greatly circumscribed by the three beys and by independent-minded Berber groups, and he effectively controlled only a small part of the coastal region. In the 1820s a minor dispute with the French resulted in Charles X of France imposing a naval blockade of Algeria and then, in June, 1830, invading the country. The dey capitulated in July, 1830, but most of the country resisted.

In 1834 the French renewed their drive to occupy Algeria and in 1837 they took Constantine, the last major city to retain its independence. However, the Berber leader Abd al-Kader, whose power was centered in the hinterland of Oran, held out against the French until 1847, when Gen. T. R. Bugeaud de la Piconnerie led a major military campaign against him. Colonization by Europeans (half of whom were French and the rest mainly Spanish, Italian, and Maltese) began c.1840 and accelerated after 1848, when Algeria was declared French territory. By 1880 persons of European descent numbered about 375,000, and they controlled most of the better farmland. However, France continued to face isolated (but occasionally fierce) resistance, mainly in Kabylia (see Kabyles) and the Sahara region, until 1910.

In 1900 the country was given administrative and financial autonomy and placed under a governor-general, whose advisers were mainly European. By this time the colonists had started large-scale agricultural and industrial enterprises (introducing, among other things, wine and tobacco production) and had built roads, railroads, schools, and hospitals. The cities in particular were modernized. These improvements were intended for the Europeans' own use, and the Muslims benefited little from them, being left with scant political or economic power and with few legal rights. Although the official French policy in Algeria was to encourage the Muslims to adapt to European ways as preparation for full citizenship, very little was done to implement this policy, and there was virtually no mixing between the European and Muslim populations.

After World War I two types of protest groups were started by the Muslims. One movement called for a fully independent, Muslim-controlled Algeria; an early exponent was Messali Hadj, who in 1924 founded the Star of North Africa movement (later called, successively, the Party of the Algerian People and the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties, or MTLD). The other faction sought assimilation with France and the equality of Muslims and Europeans in Algeria; its chief exponent was Ferhat Abbas, who, however, after several rebuffs by the French, was calling for Algerian autonomy by the mid-1940s and advocated complete independence by the early 1950s.

In World War II, Algeria at first came under the Vichy regime but later became (1942) Allied headquarters in North Africa; it also served for a time as the seat of Charles de Gaulle's Free French government. In 1945, a spontaneous nationalist uprising in Sétif resulted in the killing of more than 100 Europeans; the French responded by a sweeping crackdown during which at least 1,500 Muslims (estimates have run as high as 45,000) were killed. In 1947 the French national assembly passed the Statute of Algeria, under which the Muslims were to be given some additional political power. Most of the statute's provisions were not implemented, however, and the colonists (in partnership with the French government) continued to control Algerian affairs.

A radical group of Muslims seceded in 1954 from Messali's MTLD, formed the National Liberation Front (FLN; its military arm was called the National Liberation Army or ALN), and attacked police posts and other government offices in the Batna-Constantine region. In the following months the revolt gradually spread to other parts of the country. The MTLD was reorganized into the Algerian Nationalist Movement, which, led by Messali, unsuccessfully competed with—and at times fought against—the FLN.

In 1955, the FLN carried out more extensive attacks on the colonists (especially in the Skikda area), and the French responded with severe reprisals. By 1956 the FLN had the support of virtually all Algerian nationalists except Messali, controlled much of the countryside, and was organizing frequent attacks in the cities (especially Algiers). In 1957 the French successfully put down the resistance, and the FLN was forced to concentrate on guerrilla activities in the rural areas; the French also constructed electrified barriers along Algeria's borders with Morocco and Tunisia in order to reduce the infiltration of men and matériel. By this time, about 500,000 French troops were stationed in Algeria.

In 1958 there were demonstrations in Algeria by colonists and elements of the French army who feared that the government in France might negotiate a settlement with the Muslims that would undermine the Europeans' position; an ensuing political crisis in France resulted in the return to power of de Gaulle and the establishment of the Fifth French Republic. Fighting continued, and in 1959 the FLN established at Tunis the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA), with Ferhat Abbas as prime minister.

By 1960, de Gaulle had come to recognize the inevitability of some form of Algerian independence; the main problem concerned the future status of the almost one million European colonists, many of whom had been born in Algeria. Sensing the direction of French policy, the colonists and army (both of whom aimed for the full integration of Algeria with France) staged major protests in 1960 and 1961, but both were put down by de Gaulle. In mid-1961, Ferhat Abbas resigned as prime minister of the GPRA and was replaced by Ben Yusuf Ben Khedda. Shortly thereafter, negotiations with the French government began, and in Mar., 1962, an agreement was signed. The accord provided for an end to the fighting and for Algerian independence after a transition period.

The people of France overwhelmingly approved the agreement in a referendum held in early Apr., 1962, but members of the French army in Algeria, banded together in the Secret Army Organization (OAS), launched an armed campaign against Muslims in an attempt to prevent the implementation of the accord. In late April, however, their leader, Gen. Raoul Salan, was captured, and by late June the army revolt had been ended. Already in April colonists had begun to leave Algeria in large numbers; by October only about 250,000 remained, and most of them soon left as well. As a result of the more than seven years' fighting at least 100,000 Muslim and 10,000 French soldiers had been killed; in addition, many thousands of Muslim civilians and a much smaller number of colonists lost their lives.

Algeria after Independence

On July 1, 1962, the people of Algeria voted almost unanimously for independence in a referendum, and on July 3, France recognized Algeria's sovereignty. As a result of the fighting and of the exodus of colonists, the Algerian economy lay in ruins. Ben Khedda, the moderate leader of the GPRA, formed the initial Algerian government, but in Sept., 1962, he was replaced as prime minister by Ahmed Ben Bella, a leftist radical who had the support of the ALN (led by Houari Boumedienne). A constituent assembly chosen in late 1962 established a strong presidential government, and in Sept., 1963, Ben Bella was elected president. Ben Bella, who increasingly concentrated power in his hands, followed a left-wing domestic policy that included the confiscation of European-held farms and the nationalization of various parts of the economy. From 1963 to 1965 the Socialist Forces Front, a Berber group that had fought against French rule, mounted a rebellion against the new Arab-dominated Algerian government.

In 1965, Ben Bella was deposed in a bloodless coup by Boumedienne, his defense minister, who suspended the constitution and established a ruling revolutionary council, of which he became president. At first Boumedienne faced resistance from students and regional groups, but by the end of 1968 he had a secure hold on power. Algeria gave strong vocal support to the Arabs in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973 and also contributed soldiers and matériel. After an initial slowdown Boumedienne increased the pace of state involvement in the economy. In 1971 he nationalized (with compensation) French oil and natural gas companies in Algeria, and by 1972 output had reached record levels. Price rises for petroleum and natural gas in 1973–74 resulted in considerably higher export earnings.

Boumedienne died in 1978 and was succeeded as head of the republic by FLN leader Colonel Chadli Bendjedid. Berbers rioted in 1980 over legislation making Arabic the only official language, and in the same year a massive earthquake struck NW Algeria, killing an estimated 4,500 people. The 1986 collapse of world oil prices plunged the country into a severe recession. Riots in 1988 led to a series of constitutional reforms in 1989 that legalized opposition parties and guaranteed workers the right to strike; at the same time, government control was established over the media.

Civil unrest resulting from a rise in Islamic fundamentalism led to the postponement of national elections set for June, 1991. When first-round elections were held in December, the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) took a commanding lead and was poised to win power. But in early 1992, Bendjedid resigned under pressure, and the military canceled the second round of elections and imposed a state of emergency. FIS activists were arrested and jailed, and their party banned. Islamic militants responded with a campaign of violence. An interim military council took power, with former independence leader Mohammed Boudiaf as president; he was assassinated in June, 1992, and succeeded by Ali Kalfa.

In Jan., 1994, Gen. Liamine Zéroual was appointed president. Under Zéroual, limited efforts at negotiations with the Islamic opposition were followed by a renewed crackdown. Zéroual won the Nov., 1995, presidential elections, which were boycotted by Islamic militants. Fighting continued, and he resigned early in 1999. Presidential elections held in Apr., 1999, were won by Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the candidate of the military oligarchy; all the opposition candidates had withdrawn before the vote, claiming ballot-rigging.

The Islamic Salvation Army, the armed wing of the outlawed FIS, renounced its armed struggle in June, 1999; its members were to be granted amnesty (approved in a referendum in September) and invited to join government forces in fighting other radical guerrillas still waging war against the state. In Jan., 2000, President Bouteflika granted a blanket pardon to the Islamic Salvation Army forces, and the government announced that 80% of all the Islamic guerrillas had surrendered under the amnesty. Violence has diminished since then, but attacks do continue to occur. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 people were killed in the violence and repression that began in 1992.

The easing of the fighting has brought such issues as government corruption and widespread poverty and unemployment (estimated at 30%) to the fore. In addition, in 2001 there were large demonstrations and clashes with police by Berbers, who remained deeply unhappy about Arabic's status as the sole national language, a policy that was reversed the following year. Berber protests also sparked demonstrations against the country's stagnant economy by non-Berber Algerians. Parliamentary elections in May, 2002, were boycotted by a number of major opposition parties and many voters, and the FLN won more than half the seats.

French president Jacques Chirac made a state visit to Algeria in Mar., 2003; it was the first such visit since Algerian independence. Two months later a strong earthquake devastated many towns east of the capital, killing more than 2,200 people. The ineffective official response to the disaster led to public outrage and widespread criticism of the government. Late in 2003, tensions between the president and Ali Benflis, the FLN party leader and a former prime minister, led to a split in the government and within the party. Bouteflika was returned to office in Apr., 2004, in an election that observers called Algeria's fairest to date, but the vote for Bouteflika (83%) led Benflis, his main opponent, to accuse the government of massive fraud.

In 2005 the government reached an agreement with Berber leaders that promised economic aid and greater recognition of the Berber language and culture, but many of the details were not finalized. Voters approved a government national reconciliation plan that would provide amnesty for many Islamic insurgents and government security forces and compensate the families of persons killed in the insurgency. The plan, which was criticized by human-rights groups for absolving government forces of their involvement in extrajudicial killings, came into effect in 2006. At the same time, Algeria's remaining Islamic fundamentalist guerrillas, while largely confined to more remote mountain and desert regions, continued to mount attacks against the government and sought to expand their influence through training non-Algerian Islamists and recruiting fighters for non-Algerian conflicts from among Muslims in Europe and elsewhere outside Algeria. The main fundamentalist guerrilla group also officially aligned itself with Al Qaeda, and in Dec., 2007, mounted bombings against government and UN buildings in Algiers. Bombings, some of them significant, and other attacks continued into 2009. By 2012, however, government counterinsurgency efforts largely had confined the group to the rugged Kabylia region, and its attacks were much diminished. Other Islamist guerrillas, associated with a Mali-based group, have launched attacks in the remote Saharan south.

The May, 2007, parliamentary elections were won by the FLN-led governing coalition, whose three parties secured nearly two thirds of the seats. Turnout was light, however, with a little more than a third of the voters going to the polls, and some parties boycotted or were banned from the campaign. In Nov., 2008, parliament ended presidential term limits, enabling Bouteflika to run for a third term in 2009. In Apr., 2009, the president was reelected with 90% of the vote; although the election was boycotted by some opposition parties, the goverment said there was a 74% turnout.

In Jan., 2011, protests overs food prices soon turned into protests demanding political reforms, paralleling those in other Arab nations. They continued in subsequent weeks, but after the government in February ended the state of emergency dated to the military takeover in 1992, the protests dwindled. In April, the president promised to enact democratic constitutional and legal reforms. Elections for the parliament in May, 2012, resulted in a significant majority for the FLN-led government, but opposition parties denounced the result, and turnout appeared to be much lighter than the 42% announced by the government.

Bouteflika, despite significant health problems due to a stroke, won a fourth term as president in Apr., 2014; turnout was reported at nearly 52%, with more than 81% voting for the president. Several candidates withdrew from the race after Bouteflika announced he would run; his main opponent, a former ally, alleged the voting was affected by serious irregularities. By late 2015 Bouteflika's sequestration from public life and from some former associates had created divisions in the leadership of the country and resulted in accusations that the president's brother and a clique associated with him was running Algeria. A number of constitutional changes, including restoring presidential term limits, were adopted in Feb., 2016. Parliamentary elections in May, 2017, again resulted in a majority for the FLN-led government, but the FLN lost seats.

In early 2019, as Bouteflika prepared to run for a fifth term, there were ongoing antigovernment demonstrations, and the president then lost the support of the army, the largest union, and other political allies. In April, he resigned and was succeeded by Abdelkader Bensalah, chairman of the Council of the Nation (parliament's upper house), who called a presidential election for July, but in June it was postponed. A number of high ranking FLN leaders also resigned and others were investigated for corruption as protests continued by Algerians wanting thorough reforms. Bensalah's term as acting president was extended by the Constitutional Council in July.

In September, Bensalah, under pressure from the military, called a presidential election for December. In the vote, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a former prime minister, was elected to the post. In Nov., 2020, voters approved an amended constitution that included term limits for the president and legislators, somewhat reduced presidential powers, and other changes, but less than a quarter of voters participated, and the opposition had called for a boycott, deeming the changes inadequate.


See H. D. Nelson, ed., Algeria (4th ed. 1983); M. Bennoune, The Making of Contemporary Algeria, 1830–1987 (1988); F. Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (tr. 1988); J. Ruedy, Modern Algeria (1991); A. Horne, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962 (1977, repr. 2006).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



The name is derived from the city Algiers (from the Arabic, al-djazair, “the islands”). The country’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria (in Arabic, al-Djumhuria al-Djazairia Demokratia al-Shaabia; in French, République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire).

Algeria is a state in North Africa located in the western part of the Mediterranean Basin, where important world routes pass between the Atlantic and the Near East, Europe, and countries of Africa. Algeria is bounded by Morocco and the Western Sahara to the west, Mauritania and Mali to the southwest, Niger to the southeast, and Libya and Tunisia to the east. Area, 2,382,000 sq km. Population in 1968, 12,900,000. Capital, Algiers.

Administratively, Algeria is divided into 15 wilayas (until March 1969, departments), which are in turn divided into arrondissements (91) and communes (676). For information on the basic administrative divisions of Algeria, see Table 1.

Table 1. Administrative division, 1969
WilayaArea (sq km)Population (1966 census)Administrative center
Algiers ..........3,4001,648,200Algiers
Annaba .........24,000950,000Annaba
al-Asnam ........12,300789,600al-Asnam
Médéa ..........61,200870,200Médéa
Mostaganem .....11,100778,900Mostaganem
Oasis ...........1,282,400505,600Ouargla
Oran ............16,800958,400Oran
Saïda ...........56,400237,000Saïda
Saura ...........789,700211,500Béchar
Sétif ............18,1001,237,900Sétif
Tiaret ...........25,700362,000Tiaret

After the achievement of independence (1962) and the formation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Algeria, the bases of the country’s state and social structure were consolidated by the constitution approved by the referendum of Sept. 8, 1963. The constitution proclaimed the goal of the Algerian state to be abolition of the exploitation of man by man; it guaranteed the democratic rights and freedoms of the citizens; and it secured the revolutionary democratic type of one-party system already established in the country.

After June 19, 1965, the constitution of 1963 was abolished. However, no basic changes ensued in the principles of social and state structure that it had established; some state institutions created on the basis of the constitution were simply eliminated. Pending the drawing up of a new constitution, the temporary organization of state power has been established through a series of ordinances of the Revolutionary Council (for example, the ordinance of July 10, 1965). The highest organ of state power is the Revolutionary Council (a chairman and 17 members), which exercises the authority formerly belonging to the president and National Assembly; it is also the supreme organ of leadership of the party of the National Liberation Front (FLN). The Revolutionary Council forms the government—the Council of Ministers, which consists of a chairman (the chairman of the Revolutionary Council) and ministers. Legislative authority is exercised by the Revolutionary Council and the Council of Ministers.

The heads of the administration of the wilayas (departments) and arrondissements are prefects (wall) and subprefects, who are appointed by the government. In 1969, in accordance with the Codex of Wilayas of that year, elective organs—popular assemblies of the wilayas—were established. The arrondissements are divided into communes, in which people’s communal assemblies are elected for four-year periods in accordance with the Communal Codex of 1967. The people’s assemblies of the wilayas and communes are elected by the population on the basis of universal, direct suffrage by secret ballot. An active electoral right is granted to citizens reaching 19 years of age and enjoying civic and political rights; eligibility is given to citizens reaching 23 years of age. People’s assemblies are given broad rights: participation in the working out of a national plan for economic development, within the limits of which they adopt their own plans; control over the activity of the enterprises of the socialist sector in the territory under their jurisdiction; assistance in the establishment of producers’ and consumers’ cooperatives; and so on.

Many colonial laws have been abolished in Algeria, and many important legislative acts in a number of branches of law have been adopted (in 1963 and 1969 decrees on self-government, in 1966 a criminal code and codes on criminal and civil procedure, and other matters). In 1965 a reorganization of the judicial system—which had been characterized by a plurality of judicial organs (tribunals for trials, tribunals for major cases, and so on)—was carried out, and a unified system of civil courts created. Special courts were also formed, as well as military tribunals and courts for the investigation of cases involving economic crimes.


Algeria occupies the central part of the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. It is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. The coastal region of Algeria lies in the northern subtropical zone, while the rest of its territory is in the torrid zone of the northern hemisphere.

The coasts are primarily steep and lined with cliffs and narrow beaches. Over the entire length of the coast, there are no gulfs that cut deeply into land; the number of large bays (the bays of Oran, Algiers, Bejaïa, and Annaba) is insignificant.

Terrain Northern Algeria consists of the folded mountains, massifs, and intermontane plains of the Atlas Mountain system. The largest ranges of the Atlas—the Tell Atlas and Saharan Atlas—are located within the boundaries of Algeria, as are the Ouarsenic (Sidi-Amar; 1,985 m), the Greater Kabylie and Lesser Kabylie (up to 1,200 m), the Hodna and the Aurés (or Chelia; 2,328 m). The mountains, cut through by rivers in deep canyons, are separated into individual domelike smaller massifs. Large saltwater lakes—sebkhas—occupy the large intermontane plains and plateau (the so-called High Plateaus) in the central regions.

The Algerian Sahara occupies the central part of the Sahara, the largest desert region in the world. In its topography, plateaus around 500 m high predominate. To the northeast is a large depression, filled in with sand, and the hollow of a salt lake, Shott Melrhir (26 m below sea level). To the southeast is a vast volcanic highland, the Ahaggar, with the Attakor massif (Mount Tahat, 3,003 m, the highest point in Algeria), surrounded by a system of stepped plateaus (Tademait, Tassili n’Ajjer, Moudir, etc.). Within Algeria’s borders are large sandy deserts with high ridges of dunes (Grand Erg Occidental, Grand Erg Oriental, Erg Iguidi, Erg Chech, and others), as well as stony deserts (Tanezrouft to the south).


Geological structure and minerals The territory of Algeria within the boundaries of the Atlas Mountains belongs to the Mediterranean geosynclinal folded belt and in the Sahara region to the ancient African platform. A large projection of the platform’s foundation—the Ahaggar (Touareg) massif (shield)—is located in the extreme south of Algeria. The Precambrian metamorphic rocks and granite of which it is composed have a meridional trend and are divided by large faults in the same direction. The highest points of the massif are the peaks of the cones of extinct volcanoes. Also within Algeria’s boundaries is the western part of the Regibat massif (al-Eglab plateau), separated from the Ahaggar massif by the Ougarta-Tanezrouft flexure. To the north, the Precambrian rocks are submerged under a sedimentary cover that was formed by marine Lower and Middle Paleozoic, continental-lagoon Upper Paleozoic and Lower Cretaceous, and also marine Upper Cretaceous (partially paleogenetic). deposits. Gentle anticlinal folds containing oil and gas deposits, which constitute Algeria’s basic wealth, can be observed along the meridional breaks of the Ahaggar in the Paleozoic cover of the northern Sahara (at Hassi-Messaoud and other places).

The folded Atlas system is separated from the Saharan range by the Southern Atlas break and has a highly complex structure. Its littoral zone, the Tell Atlas, is alpine in structure, representing a system of tectonic covers (charriage) displaced from north to south. To the extreme north of the ancient nuclei (the Kabyliya massifs), the system is alpine in height as well. The relatively stable massif of the High Plateaus (the Oran meseta), which is over lapped by a weak and faintly deformed Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover, lies to the south of the Tell Atlas. The moderately folded zone of the Saharan Atlas, which rises up out of a Mesozoic flexure, extends still further south, bordering on the platform. Deposits of iron, lead, and zinc ores and phosphorites and mercury are known to be in the Atlas.


Climate The climate in northern Algeria is subtropical, or Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The average January temperature is 12°C on the coast and 5°C (25°C in July) on the intermontane plains. The absolute maximum temperature everywhere is over 40°C. The summer heat is difficult to endure because of parching winds. There are severe droughts in some areas. Most of the precipitation falls in November-January (in the Tell Atlas, 400–800 mm; in the Kabyliya massifs, up to 1,200 mm and more per year). In winter there are up to ten to 20 or more days of snow on the peaks in mountainous areas. In the zone transitional to the Algerian Sahara, the climate is more arid, semidesert; the average July temperature is above 30°C, and annual precipitation is 200–400 mm. The climate in the Sahara is desert and extremely dry, with less than 50 mm of precipitation a year; in some years, there is no rain at all. Daily temperature fluctuations reach 30°C: in summer, the temperature during the day is 40°C and above, while at night it is 20°C; in winter, the temperature is about 20°C during the day and falls to 0° and below at night. The dry winds often produce sandstorms.

Rivers and lakes All of Algeria’s rivers are of the wad type. The wadis of northern Algeria are closely related to the rivers of the Mediterranean type, with pluvial feeding predominant. Only in the coastal zone is the flow of the wadis directed to the Mediterranean Sea; in the other areas of Algeria, there are closed basins of internal flow. The outflow of waters in the Mediterranean Sea wadis varies from 0–2 cu m/sec in the summer to 1,000 cu m/sec and more in flash floods after rains. Short-lived but powerful floods are frequent. The biggest wad is Cheliff (700 km long); other wadis rarely exceed 100 km in length (al-Hamman, Isser, Soum-mam, al-Kabir, etc.). Dams, reservoirs, and hydroelectric power plants have been built on the wadis of northern Algeria. The waters of the wadis are used for irrigation (more than 100,000 ha). The majority of the salt lakes (sebkhas) lie in the intermontane hollows (Shott ech-Chergui. Shott al-Hodna, Zakhrez-Cherguir, Zakhrez-Garbi, etc.) or in depressions (Shott Melrhir). There are large reserves of underground water in the Sahara, especially in its northern parts, where large oases (Tidikelt, Touggurt, al-Golea) are located.

Soil The zonal type of soil in northern Algeria is brown (carbonate and leached in the Tell Atlas, gray-brown in semidesert regions). The high-altitude belt displays variations of brown and dark brown forest soils. In the foothills, tracts of saltmarshes are prevalent around sebkhas. In the Sahara, road-metal soils of subtropical deserts and dispers-ible and semifixed sands predominate.

Flora Along the coast, vegetation is of the Mediterranean type, with dry, hard-leafed forests and shrubs. High-altitude belting is well defined in the mountains: up to 800–1,000 m is the belt of evergreen, drought-loving thickets of shrubs and undersized trees (maquis), predominantly cultivated (olive and pistachio trees, etc.), while higher up are forests of cork trees and evergreen (stone) oak and leaf-shedding varieties; from 1,200 to 1,500 m is the belt of Aleppo pine; from 1,500–2,000 m are junipers and thujas; above 2,000 m are cedars. To the south of the Tell Atlas, vegetation assumes a semidesert character, with a predominance of cereals and wormwood. The vegetative cover is highly degraded; only isolated tracts of forest remain. In the Sahara there are plants of the genus Salsola (ephemeral growths in the sand after brief spring rains), grasses (Sahara Genista, ephedra, and drinn), and shrubs (varieties of acacia and jujubes).

Fauna Large mammals (lions, leopards, gazelles, and others) and birds (ostriches and cormorants) have been heavily exterminated. Among the mammals in northern Algeria, the Barbary ape, the hare, and the rabbit have survived; in the northern Algerian Sahara, the hyena, genet, jackal, and fennec remain. Gazelles and antelopes are rarely encountered. There are many small rodents (jerboas and others), bats, and predatory birds. Reptiles (lizards, monitors, more than 20 varieties of snakes, tortoises) and insects (pests such as the locusts and phylloxera) are very numerous, as are Solpugida, scorpions, mites, ticks, and centipedes.


The bulk of the population of Algeria are the 11.9 million Algerians, who constitute 98.4 percent of the total (according to the 1966 census). The Algerians comprise Arabs and Berbers, who are linguistically and culturally very closely related.

The majority of Algeria’s indigenous population (9.7 million, or 81.5 percent) speaks an Algerian dialect of Arabic. The Berber dialects spoken by 2.2 million people (17.9 percent) have survived mainly among the Berber population of the mountainous regions and of several oases in the Algerian Sahara (Kabylie, Shawia, and the Touaregs). French is also widespread among the population of the big cities; it is spoken by 78,000 people, or 0.4 percent of the population. The Arabs and Berbers are Sunnite Muslims.

According to the census of 1966, more than 4 percent of the population (483,000 people) resides abroad, mainly in France and Belgium. After 1962, as a result of the mass exodus of Frenchmen (or French citizens) from Algeria, their number in the country declined from one million in 1960 to 68,400 in 1966.

The general size of the economically active population (by the data of the 1966 census) is 4.1 million people, of whom 2.5 million (60 percent) are engaged in agriculture. The nonagricultural branches employ 1.6 million people (industrial, office, and professional workers, small tradesmen, artisans, and free professionals), including 316,300 (12.3 percent) in industry and construction.

The population is dispersed extremely unevenly in Algeria. More than 95 percent of the entire population of the country resides in northern Algeria, and the bulk of this group is concentrated in a narrow coastal strip. The most thickly settled area is the Kabylie, where population density reaches 230/sq km, compared with the average density for the country of 5/sq km. In the Algerian Sahara, the density is less than 1/sq km. Rural inhabitants, who constitute the majority of the country’s population, lead a settled, semisettled, or nomadic form of life. The settled population predominates in the western and central parts of Northern Algeria and is engaged mainly in the cultivation of field crops. The seminomadic and nomadic livestock breeders inhabit the so-called High Plateaus, the Saharan Atlas, and the Sahara. The settled population of the desert consists of inhabitants of oases and mining centers. The proportion of the urban population increased from about one-fourth to one-third during 1954–66. The large cities have grown especially rapidly. Their populations, according to the 1966 census, are Algiers, 943,100 with suburbs; Oran, 328,300 with suburbs; Constan-tine, 253,600; Annaba (previously Bone), 168,800; Blida, 99,200; Sétif, 98,300; and Sidi-bel-Abbès, 91,500.


Algeria in ancient times Stone implements from the Lower and Middle Paleolithic eras found on the territory of Algeria testify to the life of primitive people there 300–400,000 years ago. The first Phoenician colonies appeared on the territory of Algeria in the 12th century B.C. The Phoenicians clashed with the indigenous population, the ancient Libyan tribes, who spoke in dialects of the Libyan language (the forerunner of present-day Berber languages). These tribes engaged in hunting, cattle-breeding, and primitive agriculture. They defended their independence in battle against the expansion of powerful Carthage.

Two intertribal alliances—the Massiles and the Masesiles—arose on the territory of Algeria in the third century B.C. Massinissa, the agellid (leader) of the Massiles, united the two alliances into a single state, Numidia, at the end of the third century. Under Massinissa, numerous cities were built, including the Numidian capital of Cirta (the modern Constantine), and the level of agriculture rose. Great successes were achieved in the struggle with Carthage. However, the Numidian king Jugurtha (c. 116–105 B.C.) failed to repulse the onslaught of the Romans. His defeat gradually led to the complete enslavement of Numidia, which was turned into a Roman province (46 B.C.). Some of the local inhabitants became slaves, and Roman latifundia arose on the lands that were taken away from them. The indigenous population frequently rebelled. The largest rebellions were those of Takfarinata in 17–24 A.D. and of the Getulski tribes in 138. A significant portion of the Nu-midians, not wishing to submit to alien rule, departed for the Sahara, where they returned to a nomadic form of life. During the period of Roman rule, Latin spread in the cities of Algeria and, in the second century, Christianity. In the fourth and fifth centuries, Donatism, a popular movement that took the form of a Christian heresy, developed there.

In the fifth century, the coastal portion of North Africa (including the territory of Algeria) was conquered by the Vandals and, in the sixth century, by the Byzantines. In this period, feudal relations began to arise in Algeria. However, the primitive communal structure prevailed in the internal areas, which were little affected by alien influence.

Algeria from the seventh to the early 19th centuries. The development of feudal relations In the seventh century, the territory of modern Algeria was conquered by the Arabs and incorporated into the Arab caliphate. The conquest led to the expulsion of the Byzantines and the mass conversion of the Berber tribes to Islam. The country underwent a process of further development of feudal relations, alongside the preservation of the primitive communal and slaveholding structures. In the eighth century, the territory of Algeria, like the other parts of the so-called Arab West (Maghreb), was divided among various feudal-theocratic principalities that had in effect broken away from the caliphate. The strongest of them was the Kharijite imamate of Tahert (eighth-tenth centuries); its subsequent successors were the medieval state of M’Zab in the Algerian Sahara, which was established by fugitives from Tahert, and the commune of Mzabites, which has survived up to the present time. Tahert fell under the blows of the Fatimids. After the Fatimids departed for Egypt (969), the Ziyarids (973–1148) became their successors. From the early 11th through the middle of the 12th centuries, the dynasty of the Hammadids, which had broken away from the Ziyarids, ruled over a considerable portion of the territory of Algeria.

The invasion of Algerian territory in the 11th century by two numerous Arab tribes—the Beni Hiláis and Beni Soleims—accelerated the process of Arabization. The western part of the country was seized by the Almorávides, who were soon replaced by the Almohades, who extended their power throughout North Africa. The fall of the Almohades in the 13th century led to an intensification of feudal fragmentation on the territory of Algeria. The Ziyanid (Abd-al-Wadites) state (1236–1554) with its capital in the city of Tlemcen, was the strongest state. From time to time, this state was subjected to capture by the more powerful rulers of Tunisia and Morocco.

At the start of the 16th century, the Spaniards seized the coastal cities of Algeria. Algerian feudal lords turned to two corsairs, the brothers Barbarossa, with an appeal for help. Khair-al-Din Barbarossa (ruled 1519–46) established a regime of military despotism in the country and acknowledged himself as the vassal of the Turkish sultan, from whom he received the title of beglerbeg. This action led to the subordination of the territory of Algeria to the Turkish sultan. Under the successors of K. Barbarossa, the modern boundaries of Algeria were fixed for the first time. In the second half of the 16th century, Algeria became the pashalic (province) of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). But soon the local leaders obtained a limitation of the power of the Turkish pasha: a leader (dey) chosen by them began to share power with the pasha appointed by Istanbul. In 1711 the dey Baba Ali drove out the last Turkish pasha and stopped paying tribute to the sultan. The European states recognized the de facto independence of Algeria and began concluding agreements with it. (England concluded the first agreement with Algeria as early as 1662.) At the end of the 18th century, the state of the deys fell into decay; the deys governing the provinces and the rulers of individual regions and tribes ceased to submit to the central government, and the profits from privateering, which had constituted an important source of enrichment for the ruling oligarchy, declined sharply. The military and naval expeditions of the European powers against Algeria undermined the ability of the state of the deys to resist.

Algeria under the rule of the French colonialists (1830–1954). The birth and development of capitalist relations. The national liberation struggle (1830–1917). Algeria became the first victim of French expansion in North Africa. In June 1830, the French army, landing in Algeria, routed the army of the dey. On July 5, it captured Algiers, the capital of the country. However, tribes within Algeria, under the leadership of Emir Abd al-Kadir, stubbornly resisted the aggressors. After the defeat of the emir in 1847, the struggle lasted right up to the conquest of mountainous Kabylie by French troops during 1851–57 and their suppression of the uprising of more than 200 tribes led by Muhammad Mukrani in 1871 and of the uprising of the tribes of the Ouled-Sidi-Chiek in 1881.

Striving for the economic assimilation of Algeria and its immediate transformation into an agrarian-raw-material appendage of France, the French government encouraged the colonization of Algeria, not only by Frenchmen, but also by Spaniards, Italians, and other Europeans. The colonists seized the best lands and engaged in capitalist farming with the use of hired labor. The Algerian peasants, who were driven off onto infertile lands in mountainous and desert areas, were ruined; the feudal lords, who reconciled themselves with the colonialists, preserved their lands and privileges. Here and there (especially from the early 20th century), they began to shift to capitalist methods of farming. Along with the growth of European agriculture, the size of the European population also increased (344,000 in 1876, 752,000 in 1911). Side by side with the colonists, officials, and bourgeoisie, a stratum of European industrial, office, and professional workers and intelligentsia arose. Democratic European elements participated during 1870–71 in the movement for the establishment of the Algerian Commune and, somewhat later, in the establishment of the first socialist organizations in Algeria. The bulwark of colonialist reaction was the most prosperous European element, the so-called hundred seigneurs.

From 1881 on, the indigenous population, completely without rights, was subjected to the so-called native code, that is, the arbitrary rule of the colonial administration, which had the right to subject Algerians to any kind of repression without trial. Algerians were barred from joining together in political parties and trade unions and even from entering organizations established by Europeans. Campaigns of passive disobedience and the Young Algerians Movement that arose at the start of the 20th century, basically to seek the concession to Algerians of the political rights of French citizens, did not change the situation.

During World War I (1914–18), 173,000 Algerians (25,000 of whom died) were mobilized into the French army, and 120,000 were sent to France for defense work. In a number of areas—Banu-Suhgran (1914) and Aurés, (1916)—tribes displayed armed resistance to mobilization. The curtailment of imports from the mother country provided some stimulus for the development of local trade and manufacturing industries. The working class grew. The positions of the national bourgeoisie in commerce, trades, and agriculture were strengthened. The majority of the feudal lords and the bourgeoisie supported the French during the war years, but certain groups of the bourgeoisie and Muslim intelligentsia counted on achieving independence with the aid of Germany and Turkey.

The upsurge of the national liberation struggle: 1918–54 The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, which had an enormous influence on the world revolutionary process, promoted the emergence of new forms of the Algerian people’s national liberation struggle. From 1919 on, peasant disturbances began to flare, and there was an upsurge in the workers’ movement. In 1920 the majority of socialist sections of Algeria joined the French Communist Party (FCP). New Algerian sections of the FCP were created. The number of Algerian workers involved in the struggle of the progressive trade unions grew. An influx of Algerians into the Algerian sections of the FCP began at the end of the 1920’s. (Previously, the Communist Party had been supported mainly by European workers.)

In 1919, under pressure from the liberation movement, the colonial regime was forced to grant concessions: some groups of Algerians (the bourgeoisie, officials, and landowners) received the right to vote in elections to organs of self-government. But this concession did not halt the further development of the anticolonial struggle. In 1920, Emir Halid (a grandson of Abd al-Kadir) led a movement for protection of the rights of Algerians. The Nationalist-Reformist Federation of Native Representatives, which arose in 1927, took up the traditions of this movement.

In 1926, Algerian workers in France founded the nationalist revolutionary organization Star of North Africa, which was banned in 1929 for conducting propaganda for Algerian independence but continued its activity illegally in Paris (and from 1936 in Algeria as well). In 1931 the Association of Algerian Ulama (Muslim theologists) arose. The association spoke in favor of the development of culture and education in Arabic and the end of intervention by the colonial authorities in matters concerning Muslim worship; it opposed the Marabouts (spiritual feudal lords), the servants of colonialists, and defended the distinctiveness of the Algerian nation.

With the victory of the Popular Front (1936) in France, the basic articles of the native code in Algeria were abolished, and Algerians were granted certain democratic freedoms, in particular, the right to form political parties and trade unions. A movement to rally democratic forces unfolded in Algeria. The Algerian Communist Party (ACP), which took organizational shape in October 1936, joined with other parties and organizations (while preserving its organizational independence) in the Muslim Congress, created in June 1936 to seek a peaceful road to the democratization of Algeria.

However, reaction intensified in the country with the start of World War II (1939–45). In September 1939, the ACP and the Algerian People’s Party (creasted in 1937 as the successor to the Star of North Africa) were banned. After the capitulation of the French government of Marshal Pé-tain to Hitler’s Germany (June 1940), the transformation of Algeria into a source of raw material and foodstuffs for Germany and Italy began.

In November 1942, Anglo-American troops landed in Algeria. In the struggle against the fascist armies (which had consolidated their hold in Tunisia), French forces, to a considerable degree staffed by Algerians, Moroccans, and inhabitants of other French colonies in Africa, participated on the side of the Allies.

In June 1943, the French Committee for National Liberation was formed on Algerian territory. The committee eliminated from power the most compromised administrators, the Vichyists. The committee, however, paid no attention to the demands of Algerian patriots set forth in the Manifesto of the Algerian People and the Project for Reform (adopted in 1943): the abolition of the privileges of the European minority, the participation of Algerians in the governing of the country, and the convocation of an Algerian constituent assembly after the conclusion of the war. The spontaneous anticolonial uprising which erupted in May 1945 was drowned in blood.

After a protracted struggle in the French parliament, the Organic Statute of 1947 was imposed on Algeria. To all intents and purposes, the statute maintained the sovereignty of the French colonial administration. Moreover, despite the formal “guarantees of the rights” of Algerians proclaimed in the statute, all democratic freedoms were violated, just as before, elections were falsified, and fighters for independence were subjected to cruel reprisals. National oppression was bound up with economic oppression: two-thirds of the peasants were deprived of land, unemployment reached massive proportions in the cities, and Algerians were subjected to discrimination in hiring and in pay for work equal to that done by Europeans. Universal discontent with the colonial regime broadened and assumed the form of a general national protest. In 1947 partisan bands began to develop in the mountain regions of Algeria. In March 1954, the patriots created the Revolutionary Committee of Unity and Action, whose self-proclaimed goal was to overthrow the colonial yoke by means of armed struggle. A few months later this committee was reorganized into the Front for National Liberation (FLN), which proceeded to prepare for armed revolt.

The national-democratic revolution and the development of the country after the achievement of independence On the night of Nov. 1, 1954, the anti-imperialist uprising began. The French authorities adopted a series of measures for the immediate suppression of the uprising. Large units of the French army were transferred to Algeria (in July 1955, the number of French troops in Algeria was brought to 400,000 men). French troops dealt cruelly with the peaceful population, destroying villages and carrying out mass deportations of the inhabitants in an attempt to isolate them from the rebels. But despite the superior forces that the colonialists threw into battle with the rebels, the uprising gradually spread over all of Algeria. The urban petite bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the students followed the poor peasants of the mountain regions in supporting it. Solidarity with the moujahedes (the fighters of the Army of National Liberation—ALN—established in 1954) assumed various forms: mass anticolonial strikes, the collection of money, clothes, and medicine for the insurgents, and boycott campaigns against the colonial authorities. Urban underground workers (the fedayeen) and auxiliary fighters (the mousabili) operated actively, carrying out anticolonial terror and acts of sabotage against the aggressor’s rear guard. During 1955–56 almost all the nationalist parties dissolved themselves and joined the FLN. The trade unions, created in the mid-1950’s, and mass national organizations of students, merchants, and other groups rendered broad support to the FLN. The uprising gradually developed into an anticolonial national-democratic revolution.

The ACP, banned by the colonial authorities in September 1955, created its own fighting groups underground. By agreement with the leadership of the FLN in July 1956, these fighting groups joined the ranks of the ALN. However, the ACP, while actively continuing to aid the FLN militarily and politically, maintained its ideological and organizational independence.

The political work of the FLN among the masses and the effectiveness of the actions of the ALN increased after the FLN congress in Soummama (August 1956), at which the FLN’s supreme organ, the National Council of the Algerian Revolution (CNRA), was chosen; the structure of the ALN was defined, military ranks were introduced, and the first program of the FLN was adopted. The program provided for the attainment of national independence, the implementation of agrarian reform, the nationalization of “large-scale means of production,” and equal rights for Algerians and Europeans. Conferences of the leaders of the FLN of Algeria with the ruling parties of Morocco and Tunisia were held in Tangier and Tunis in 1958. In accordance with the decisions of these conferences, the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) was formed. The GPRA called for the resolution of the Algerian question by means of negotiations with the French government. The GPRA was recognized by many Asian and African countries. The USSR accorded de facto recognition to the GPRA in October 1960 and de jure recognition in March 1962.

The Soviet Union called incessantly for the recognition of the legal demands of the Algerian patriots. Along with many socialist countries and a host of other countries (including those of Africa), the USSR demanded in the UN that Algeria’s right to independence be recognized and that all-round moral, political, and material aid, as well as arms, be rendered to the friendly Algerian people.

Heavy losses (1.5 million men killed, 2 million thrown into prison and concentration camps, 9,000 villages burned) did not subdue the Algerians. Convinced of the failure of the military suppression of the national liberation movement in Algeria, the French government in September 1959 recognized the rights of the Algerian people to self-determination. However, the war continued because of the pressure of colonialist reaction in Algeria and France that organized ultracolonialist mutinies in Algeria (the revolt of the European “seigneurs” in January 1960 and the mutiny of profascist military leaders in April 1961). Only after the suppression of these rebellions did negotiations begin between the government of France and the GPRA. They concluded with the signing of an agreement at Evian on Mar. 18, 1962, providing for a cease-fire, the self-determination of Algeria by means of a referendum, and future economic and cultural collaboration between Algeria and France. France pledged to withdraw its troops from Algeria within three years (they were withdrawn in 1964) and to evacuate its military bases in the Sahara within five years (they were evacuated by July 1, 1967); within 15 years, France’s military and naval base at Marsa-al-Kabir was to be evacuated. (In February 1968, nine years ahead of schedule, evacuation of this military base was completed.)

Attempts by the military-fascist organization OAS—in French, Organisation de l’Armée Secrete—(created in 1961 by ultracolonialists who had gone underground) to thwart the implementation of the agreements by means of mass terror in the cities were not successful. During the referendum of July 1, 1962, which was carried out in accordance with the Evian Agreements, the overwhelming majority of Algerians voted for independence, which was immediately acknowledged by the French government.

At a session of the CNRA in Tripoli (Libya) in June 1962, a new program for the FLN was adopted. It provided for “conscientious creation on the basis of socialist principles and popular sovereignty,” the implementation of agrarian reform according to the principle of “land to those who work it,” and the nationalization of the country’s natural resources, transportation, and banks. It supported the realization of the social demands of the masses: the restriction of the local bourgeoisie and the strengthening of ties already established with socialist countries.

During the first months of independence, political differences within the FLN sharpened, and its leaders split into supporters of the GPRA (most of whose leaders had opposed the Tripoli program) and supporters of the Politburo of the FLN, which was created in July 1962 in Tlemcen and stood for the continuation of the revolution. The Politburo of the FLN triumphed with the support of the bulk of the ALN, headed by Colonel H. Boumedienne, chief of the General Staff. On Sept. 20, 1962, the Politburo conducted elections for the Constituent Assembly, which proclaimed the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria. A. Ben Bella, a member of the Politburo of the FLN, headed the first government of the republic. The government proclaimed as its goal the liquidation of the painful legacy of colonialism and many years of war (destruction, hunger, unemployment, and anarchy at the local level) and the construction of an independent Algeria in accordance with the Tripoli program.

The state apparatus, which to a considerable extent had been renovated or created anew through the enlistment of FLN cadres and former ALN officers, was set to work by the government of the republic. The reestablishment of villages and city buildings and structures destroyed during the war years was begun. Work was resumed at many enterprises and farms abandoned by European colonists and capitalists who fled the country. Committees of self-management were set up at these enterprises and farms on the initiative of the workers, farm laborers, and peasants. Their activity was regulated by decrees adopted in October and November 1962. The movement for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ self-management, which had begun spontaneously by the spring of 1962, assumed ever-larger dimensions. In March 1963, all property abandoned or not fully utilized by its owner was transferred to committees of self-management, which by law became the managers of the enterprises and received the right to distribute surplus profit (after the payment of appropriate deductions to the government) among the workers. The committees were to be renewed by one-third annually. By the fall of 1963, after the nationalization of all estates and farms belonging to European colonists and also of property illegally acquired by Algerian capitalists, 2.7 million ha of the best Algerian land, which provided 60 percent of all marketable agricultural produce, and more than 1,000 industrial, commercial, and other enterprises were in the hands of committees of self-management. The first congress of peasants of the self-management sector was held in October 1963, and the first congress of workers of the industrial self-management sector was in March 1964. A number of former FLN leaders who were connected with the bourgeoisie and oriented toward certain imperialist powers or who were simply pursuing personal goals headed the opposition to the course of the government and the Politburo of the FLN. This opposition became particularly active after the Constituent Assembly’s approval in August 1963 of the constitution, which proclaimed the country’s goal to be the construction of socialism and which established a presidential regime and one-party system, with the appointment of FLN candidates to all elected posts in the state. After the constitution was approved (by the referendum of Sept. 8, 1963) and Ben Bella chosen president of the republic, the reaction organized an armed revolt in Kabylie, which continued, with interruptions, right up to the summer of 1965.

A constituent congress of the party of the FLN, held in April 1964, adopted a new program document, the Charter of Algeria, which proclaimed self-management as the basic form of the “development of the national popular revolution into the socialist revolution.” Exploitation of hired labor was declared incompatible with continuing membership in the FLN. After this FLN congress, Algerian Communists joined with FLN activists in building a single party. In June 1964, the ACP adopted a resolution on the entry of its members into the FLN. (After June 1965, Algerian Communists announced the creation of a party which, in 1968, received the name Socialist Vanguard Party of Algeria.)

The delay in carrying out agrarian reform, the continuation of considerable unemployment, and the lack or inadequacy of practical measures backing up Ben Bella’s socialist slogans produced discontent among the masses. To some extent, this discontent was reflected at the second Congress of Algerian Trade Unions (March 1965), which chose a new leadership staff and gave considerable attention to the country’s economic situation. In the Charter of Trade Unions adopted by the congress, many theses of the Charter of Algeria were developed.

On June 19, 1965, the army removed Ben Bella from power. Power passed into the hands of the Revolutionary Council headed by Defense Minister Colonel Houari Boumedienne. In July 1965, a new government headed by Boumedienne was formed.

In accordance with the declaration of the Revolutionary Council that it would be guided by the “theses of the Tripoli program, confirmed by the Charter of Algeria,” mines and insurance companies were nationalized in May 1966. In the summer of 1967, the property of American oil trusts was placed under state control, and in May-June 1968, 11 out of 12 French banks previously operating in Algeria were nationalized. During May-July 1968, 74 foreign (mainly French) industrial companies were nationalized.

In February 1967, the first elections in independent Algeria were held for the popular communal assemblies and, in May 1969, for the popular departmental assemblies. These assemblies control the local administration, cooperatives, and the self-managed farms and enterprises that were reorganized starting in 1965.

Algeria is a member of the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity. The Algerian government has repeatedly condemned all forms of imperialism and neocolonialism and has supported the strengthening of friendship with socialist countries.

In December 1963, Algeria and the USSR signed an agreement on economic and technical collaboration, by which the Soviet Union pledged to render assistance in the restoration and construction of industrial enterprises in Algeria, the development of agriculture, the carrying out of geological surveys, the preparation of cadres, and so on. The Soviet Union granted Algeria 90 million rubles in long-term credit. In May 1964, an agreement was signed by which the USSR consented to offer technical assistance to Algeria in the construction of a metallurgical plant in An-naba. A new long-term credit of 115 million rubles was allocated for this project. In December 1965 and June-July 1967, H. Boumedienne, the head of the Algerian government, made official visits to the Soviet Union. At the end of March and the beginning of April 1969, N. V. Podgorny, chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, was in Algeria on an official visit. Algeria also maintains close economic and other ties with Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania, and other socialist countries. Algeria came out in defense of the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people against the imperialism of the USA.

The government of Algeria rendered support of every kind to the UAR, Syria, and Jordan, which were attacked by Israel in June 1967. Algeria decisively supports the national liberation struggle of the peoples of Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa, giving material aid to the patriots of these countries. It supports the transformation of the Mediterranean Sea into a zone of peace.

In July 1969, the first Pan-African Festival of Culture was held in Algeria. People active in the culture and arts of more than 30 African countries participated.


Engels, F. “Alzhir.” In K. Marx, and F. Engels, Soch., vol. 14. 2nd ed.
Noveishaia istoriia arabskikh stran. 1917–1968. Moscow, 1968.
Noveishaia istoriia Afriki. Moscow, 1968.
Lutskii, V. B. Novaia istoriia arabskikh stran. Moscow, 1966.
Landa, R.G. Natsional’no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie ν Alzhire (1939–1962 gg.). Moscow, 1962.
Potemkin, Iu. Alzhirskii narod ν bor’be za nezavisimost’. Moscow, 1962.
Julien, C.-A. Istoriia Severnoi Afriki, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from French.)
Jeanson, C, and F. Alzhir vne zakona. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from French.)
Égretaug, M. Alzhirskaia natsiia sushchestvuet. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from French.)
Csell, S., G. Marçais, and G. Iver. Histoire d’Algérie. Paris, 1927.
Garrot, H. Histoire générale de l’Algérie. Algiers, 1910.
Julien, C.-A. L’Afrique du Nord en marche. Paris, [1952].
Lacoste, I., A. Nouschi, and A. Prenant. L’Algérie passé et present. Paris, [1960].
Larnaude, M. Algérie. Paris, 1950.
Favrod, C.-H. La révolution algérienne. Paris, 1959.
Nouschi, A. La naissance du nationalisme algérien. [Paris, 1962].


The Party of the National Liberation Front (FLN) was created in 1964 on the basis of the FLN, which arose in 1954 as the political organization to lead the people’s armed struggle for national independence and which united the representatives of almost all Algerian social strata that participated in the national liberation struggle. The party congress of the FLN in April 1964 determined that the party of the FLN should consist primarily of peasants and workers. Since 1962 it has been the ruling party of the country.

The Socialist Vanguard Party of Algeria (PASA) has been known by this name since 1968. In the announcement of the party’s creation, it was said that the PASA is a Marxist-Leninist party of the Algerian workers.

The General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) was founded in 1956. It is a member of the Pan-African Trade Union Alliance. (Until August 1963, it belonged to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.) In 1969 it had approximately 600,000 members.

Other organizations include the Youth Organization of the FLN, founded in 1963; the National Union of Algerian Students, founded in 1955; and the National Union of Algerian Women, created in 1963.

Also in Algeria are the Committee of Defenders of Peace, the Committee of Afro-Asian Solidarity, the National Union of Writers, the National Union of Journalists, the National Union of Veterans of the Liberation War, and other organizations.


General character of the economy Algeria is an agrarian country with a relatively developed industrial sector, especially in mining and extractive branches. Among the countries of Africa, Algeria is in first place in output of natural gas and in harvest of grapes and production of wine; it is second in output of oil and production of wheat, barley, and olive oil; and it holds third place in its harvest of citrus fruits. The structure of the Algerian economy took shape under the protracted influence of French monopolistic capital in the colonial period. Local, so-called traditional, production—basically seminatural and small-scale agriculture and handicrafts industries—in which four-fifths of the entire economically active population was engaged, contributed less than one-fourth of the gross national product during the last years of French rule. The European capitalist sector occupied the dominant position in such branches of the economy as energy, mineral extraction, and transport, as well as in a number of branches of commodity agriculture and manufacturing. In agriculture, 22,000 European farms, occupying 27 percent of all cultivated land, yielded about two-thirds of total agricultural produce, while the remainder was shared by 631,000 Algerian farms. During 1954–58 agriculture employed 75 percent of the economically active population and accounted for 21 percent of the gross product, while the corresponding shares for industry were 7 percent and 18 percent.

After the achievement of independence, the government of Algeria set out to overcome the consequences of the seven-year war (1954–62) and to transform the colonial economy into a national one. During 1962–65 the expropriation of foreign property in land and the nationalization of many industrial and commercial enterprises (the so-called ownerless property) and also of the main forms of transportation were carried out. In 1966 mineral-extractive enterprises (excluding oil and natural gas) were nationalized and, in 1967–68, a number of foreign companies that were engaged in manufacturing and distribution. This was the basis for the creation of self-managed farms and state enterprises, which together constituted the leading socialized sector. (In 1968 this sector accounted for 60 percent of the value of agricultural produce, 80 percent of industrial produce other than oil or natural gas, and 100 percent of internal freight transport.) Foreign capital, primarily French, basically maintained its position in the oil and natural gas industries and in certain branches of manufacturing. During 1963–66 the reorganization of the financial and banking system was carried out. (The new monetary unit was the dinar, which was equal to 100 old francs.) In 1968 all but one of the country’s banks came under state control. A new customs tariff was introduced, state control was established over foreign trade, and a national code on investment was confirmed. A program of industrializing and modernizing agriculture and developing backward regions was adopted. The first national seven-year plan was worked out, covering two periods: 1967–69 and 1970–73.

Agriculture. This is the branch in which the bulk of the Algerian population is engaged. Agricultural lands, including forests, occupy 44.2 million ha, or about one-fifth of the entire territory of all Algeria; out of this total, 7–10 million ha (depending on climatic conditions) constitute cultivated land (almost all of it in northern Algeria). During the first stage of the agrarian reform (1962–64), the lands of European colonists were expropriated, and collective farms directed by self-management committees were established on them. The self-management sector consisted in 1966 of 2,200 farms with a total area of 2.4 million ha, with 30 percent of the farms having more than 1,000–2,000 ha each. They are located on the most fertile lands, half of them on the plains of the northwest (the wilayas of Oran, Mostaganem, and Tiaret). The farms of this sector account for 24 percent of all arable lands, 65 percent of lands with fruit plantations, 60 percent of all plant-growing produce, 5 percent of livestock raising, and 85 percent of all tractors (17,000 machines). The old peasant sector includes 650,000 farms, of which 600,000 have less than 10 ha of land each, including 350,000 farms of less than 2 ha.

Farming provides about three-fourths of the total agricultural produce of Algeria. Grain crops occupy the bulk (more than four-fifths) of the sowing area (for the distribution of sowing areas and the yield of the main agricultural crops, see Table 2). Organic agriculture dominates in Algeria; irrigated lands do not exceed 250,000–300,000 ha. (In 1967 there were 20 large dams in operation.) With the aid of the USSR, the construction of more than 20 dams is underway on the wadis of northern Algeria.

Hard wheat is cultivated mainly in the internal regions of the Tell, soft wheat in the northwest. Except for rice the productivity of cereals on small farms on the average does not exceed 0.5 to 0.8 tons per hectare. Algeria has been forced to import grain systematically (230,000 tons in 1965). The farms of the collectivized sector yield approximately one-third of the total harvest of wheat, barley, and oats and about two-thirds of the maize, sorghum, and rice.

Livestock breeding is carried on extensively. It provides about one-fourth of the total agricultural produce, but in internal regions, on elevated plains and plateaus, especially in the Sahara, it often serves as the main and even the sole source of livelihood for the seminomadic and nomadic people. For the population of the mountainous and coastal regions of northern Algeria, the raising of distant-pasturable or mountain-pasturable cattle is characteristic. In 1966–67, Algeria had 7,000,000 sheep, 1,700,000 goats, 720,000 horned cattle, 90,000 horses, 175,000 mules, and 225,000 donkeys.

Forestry and fishing. Forests and shrubs (with a total area of 3 million ha) exist mainly in the mountains of the Tell Atlas. Economically most important are the tracts of cork oak (state procurement is 30,000–60,000 tons of raw cork a year—third highest yield in the world). Most of the raw material is processed in nine state enterprises and exported. In semidesert regions (the wilayas of Tiaret, Sai’da, and Médéa), the harvesting and initial processing of esparto grass (total area about 4 million ha) is important. Raw esparto (90,000–100,000 tons yearly—first in the world) goes mainly for the production of better grades of paper, cellulose, and wicker articles.

Fishing (primarily sardines, herring, and anchovies) is weakly developed (the average catch is about 20,000 tons per year). It is planned to raise the output of the marine industry sharply and to reconstruct fishing ports (Béni-Saf, Oran, Tenes, Cherchell, and others).

Table 2. Area and yield of main agricultural crops
Crop1952–56*Area (ha) 196419661952–56*Yield (tons) 19641966
* Yearly average
Citrus fruit..........314,000463,000341,000

Viticulture and wine-making are especially important, providing about one-third of the entire gross product and one-half (by value) of Algeria’s exports during the 1950’s. The main vineyards are located in northwestern Algeria (more than half of their total area is in the region of the city of Oran). Grapes primarily of the wine variety are cultivated, 92 percent of them on farms of the self-management sector. The production of wines, mainly for blending, was 10.1 million hectoliters per year on the average for 1963–67—fourth place in the world. A large part of the wine is exported to France. After 1962, France markedly curtailed its purchases of Algerian wine, a fact that was sharply reflected in the condition of viticulture in the country. The production of citrus fruit (mainly oranges, on the Mitidja plain and in the Cheliff valley), the bulk of which is exported to the European countries, also plays an important role. Olive trees have long been cultivated, especially in Kabylie (about two fifths of the total harvest of olives); olive oil (on the average about 20,000 tons per year) is consumed mainly within Algeria. Date palms are cultivated in the oases of the Sahara. In the coastal areas near the large cities, the cultivation of early vegetables (about 600,000 tons annually—tomatoes, artichokes, carrots, and also potatoes) has been developed for sale on European markets. The collectivized sector accounts for approximately 92 percent of the total harvest of citrus fruits, 34 percent of olives, 8 percent of dates, and 45 percent of vegetables. Among industrial crops, tobacco is cultivated, mainly in Mitidja and Kabylie; it goes chiefly for export (about 10,000 tons).

Industry. The leading role in industry belongs to the state sector. After 1962 nationalized industrial companies and individual large enterprises (mineral extractive, metallurgical, metal working, and others), as well as mixed companies and enterprises (those involving foreign and state capital), such as oil and gas refining and automobile assembling, were transferred to the management of the state sector. Foreign capital (governmental and private) in Algeria is represented mainly by French oil companies. Algerian private capital has maintained a secondary position in a number of branches of the manufacturing industry. (The dynamics of industrial production are shown in Table 3.)

Mineral extraction and energy production account for more than one-third of the country’s gross industrial product. Oil and gas extraction holds the leading place among these branches. The main Algerian deposits of oil and natural gas discovered in the northern and eastern regions of the Sahara after World War II are of international importance (the supplies of oil are estimated at approximately one billion tons, and of gas about 3 trillion cu m). The output of oil in the northern Sahara oil basin (the deposits at Hassi-Messaoud, al-Agreb, Gassi-Tuil, Gurd al-Bagel, etc.) was twice that of the eastern Sahara basin (the deposits at Zarzaitin, Edjeleh, al-Adeb Larash, Tin-Fue, etc.) in 1966. More than 80 percent of the crude oil is extracted by two French and one mixed Algerian company, S. N. Repal (51 percent of its capital belongs to the Algerian government). Through pipelines the oil reaches Mediterranean ports, where it is exported, mainly to France (70 percent of all the oil). About 2.5 million tons go to oil refineries in Algiers and el-Harrache, and approximately half of the petroleum products are exported.

The output of natural gas (3.29 trillion eu m in 1968) has also acquired importance. Three deposits are being exploited: at Hassi R’mel (which provides about nine-tenths of the total output of gas), at In-Amenas, and at Hassi Messaoud (along USSR and other countries, a metallurgical plant has been built in Annaba. (In 1968 the first line of the plant, with a capacity of 400,000 tons of steel a year, was put into service.) The chemical industry is developing: in the cities of Algiers, Oran, and Annaba, there are plants for the production of superphosphates, sulfuric acid, blue vitriol, cellulose, etc. A

Table 3. Basic industrial production
1 By content of the metal
216 percent oxides of phosphorous P2O5
4For 1967
Coal (thou tons)......................1531195346450.4
Oil (million tons).....................0.48.620.526.233.342.5
Natural gas (million cu m).............73538092,0463,288
Electric energy (billion kW-hr)..........1,1231,3251,1561,0991,1191,308
Iron ore1 (million tons)................1,2041,7881,0721,4249161,570
Lead concentrate1 (thou tons)..........1010.599.74.96.2
Zinc concentrate1 (thou tons)..........33404237.413.119.4
Phosphorites (thou tons)..............5615633907380295.5
Cement (thou tons)...................8421,062872785657866.1
Superphosphate2 (thou tons)...........10189478974154.24
Motor vehicles3 ......................1,2003,3005,2008,3009,500
Including trucks ...................1,2001,2002,1003,3003.300

with oil). Methane is transported by gas pipelines to the coast, where the bulk of it is liquefied at the factory in Arzev and exported, mainly to England and France. The use of natural gas within the country has expanded; there are gas installations in Algiers, Oran, Mostaganem, and elsewhere. Since 1966 the role of the Algerian state company SONATRACH, which represents state interests in mixed companies (S. N. Repal, SONELGAZ, and others), has grown in the fields of prospecting, extraction, transportation, and processing of oil and gas, as well as in the distribution of petroleum products.

The exploitation of mineral ores is concentrated in northern Algeria. The mining of iron ore, which goes mainly for export, holds first place. The chief mines are located in the northeast: at Ouenza (more than 50 percent of all extraction), and Bou Kadra. The extraction of lead and zinc ores is important. They are mined in the northwest (the deposits at Oued Zou and Oued Abed) and also in small quantities in the northeast (Sede-Kamber) and in the central part of the country (Ouar-senic). The output of phosphorites in connection with the exhaustion of the El-Kouif deposits has declined. A large new deposit at Djebel Onk has been put into service. Small-scale exploitation of coal (in the city of Kenadsa, in the northwestern Algerian Sahara), copper ore (in Ain Barbar, near the city of Annaba—4,600 tons per year), and also of pyrites, barites, antimony, and kieselguhr is carried on. The largest deposits of iron ore in the Maghreb have been located at Gara Djebilet, near Tindouf, and there is a large deposit of mercury in northern Algeria.

The production of electric power in 1967 was 1.2 billion kW-hr, including 781 million kW-hr at thermoelectric power plants, the most important of which are in Algiers, Annaba, Oran, and Béchar.

The main branches of manufacturing industry are food processing (which accounts for about one-half of the total produce of manufacturing), metalworking, textiles and sewing, oil refining, chemicals, leather and footwear, and cement production; small and to some extent middle-sized enterprises predominate. Distilling and canning plants, tobacco factories, and enterprises for the processing of grain and the production of olive oil are located in almost all the cities of northern Algeria. The textile industry, including handicraft production of carpets, is located in the cities of Algiers, Oran, Annaba, and Tlemcen. The metalworking industry is represented by small machine and repair shops, car-building plants, pipe-rolling mills, and so on. Its main center is Algiers, which has assembly plants for cars and freight vehicles; there are tractor assembly plants in el-Harrache. With the aid of the large factory for the production of nitrogen fertilizers and ammonia was built in 1969 in the city of Arzev. There are cement factories (with a total capacity of about one million tons annually) in Algiers and Oran. Under the four-year plan (1970–73), the establishment of new enterprises for ferrous metals and petroleum chemistry is planned, as is the development of metalworking and light industries.

In the construction of its national industry, Algeria receives various forms of economic, scientific, and technical aid from the USSR, which has granted large credits and supplied modern equipment for enterprises under construction. An oil and gas institute organized and operating in the city of Boumerdes (near the capital) was given as a gift to the people of Algeria, along with a technical school.

Transportation Railroads whose total length is 4,200 km (including 2,600 of standard gauge and 240 electrified km as of 1966), play an important role. The main rail line between the cities of Oujda (Morocco) and Gardimaou (western Tunisia) and going through Oran, Algiers, and Constantine ties together the most important economic centers of northern Algeria. Lines branch out from the main line to the north—to the seaports—and to the south—to the mining operations and oases of the Sahara. The total freight turnover in 1965 was 968 million tons per km.

The length of the highway network was 18,200 km in 1966. Along the coast runs the main auto route, from which macadam roads branch off to the north and south. Since 1962 highways have been built from Adrar to Béchar (720 km) and from Béchar to Tindouf (900 km); a road was under construction between In Amenas andGadames in 1969. In 1967 there were 98,000 automobiles and 80,200 trucks in Algeria.

A system of pipelines has been developed: the total length of oil pipelines is about 2,760 km and of gas pipelines about 800 km. Large oil pipelines are in operation: from In Amenas to La Skhirra (Tunisia), from Hassi Messaoud to Bejaïa and Hassi Messaoud to Arzew (the last mentioned belonging to the state), as well as a gas pipeline from Hassi R’Mel to Arzew. Under construction in 1969 were oil pipelines from Béni Mansur to Algiers (130 km) and from Mesdar to Skikda (700 km) and the gas pipeline from Hassi R’Mel to Skikda.

Water routes provide almost all the country’s transport for foreign trade. In the size of freight turnover (1966), the following ports stand out: Bejaia, 15,288,000 tons; Arzew, 9,100,000 tons; Algiers, 4,362,000 tons; Annaba, 1,920,000 tons; and Oran, 1,750,000 tons.

Air transport is developing rapidly. There are 65 airfields in the country, 20 of them civilian. There are internationally important airports near Algiers (Dar-al-Beida), Annaba, and Oran (La Senia).

Foreign economic ties. Until 1962 the total volume of foreign trade turnover was more than half of the gross national product of Algeria. After the establishment of political independence, Algeria set about overcoming its one-sided dependence on foreign markets and capital and strengthening the state monopoly on foreign ties. In 1967 the state controlled 90 percent of exports and 75 percent of imports. France, England, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Morocco, and Tunisia accounted for 90 percent of all Algeria’s foreign trade turnover until 1962; France alone accounted for 80 percent. In the 1960’s this share was reduced as a result of the increase in commercial relations with socialist and developing countries. In 1965, France accounted for 70 percent of Algeria’s imports and 76 percent of its exports. The main export items to the countries enumerated above are oil (about two-thirds of the total value of Algeria’s exports), wine (15 percent), fruits and vegetables (12 percent), iron ore (3 percent), tobacco, and paper. Algeria imports industrial equipment, food products (especially grain, milk, and meat), and also products of light industry (synthetic fabrics, textile articles) and metals (the import of the last mentioned was placed under strict control in 1967). Algeria has concluded agreements on economic collaboration, including financial aid, with the USSR, the People’s Republic of China, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the UAR, and Kuwait. Algeria has agreements with France, England, the USA, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Fund for Development. Commodity turnover between Algeria and the USSR increased fourfold between 1962–67, and it continues to grow rapidly. Algeria imports industrial equipment, transportation conveyances, and food products (sugar, vegetable oil, etc.) from the USSR; it exports oranges, wine, cork, and other food and industrial goods to the USSR.

The monetary unit of Algeria is the dinar. By the exchange rate of the State Bank of USSR, 100 dinars = 18 rubles 23 kopeks (as of Jan. 1, 1969).

Economic-geographical regions. The process of formation of economic regions in Algeria has not been completed. Sizable territories of the country have not yet been assimilated economically or drawn into commodity production. The following large developing economic regions stand out: the northwest (including roughly the wilayas of Mostaganem, Oran, Saida, Tiaret, and Tlemcen); the north-central region (Algiers, Médéa, Tizi-Ouzou, and al-Asnam); the northeast (Annaba, Constantine, Aurés, and Sétif), and also the territory of the Algerian Sahara. The main indexes by regions are given in Table 4.

Table 4. Main indexes by regions (1966)
Regions and territoryArea (sq km)PercentPopulationPercentDensity (per sq km)Main economic center
Northwest ...........118,10052,780,4002323Oran
North-central .........82,60034,138,8003450Algiers
Northeast ............98,90044,466,1003745Annaba, Constantne
Algerian Sahara .........2,082,10088717,1006less than 1
Total ...............2,381,70010012,102,4001005 

The northwest, with its fertile lands, has become the main region for commodity agriculture (soft wheat and especially wine grapes). The northeast, with large deposits of iron ore, phosphorites, and other minerals, has become known as the region of mining specialization combined with backward forms of agricultural production. The north-central region has begun to take shape as a region of the most varied types of agriculture (grain farming, subtropical horticulture, and early vegetable production, in combination with distant-pasture cattle breeding), with Algiers as its chief center of manufacturing industry. After the discovery of extremely large resources of oil and gas in the Algerian Sahara, various mineral extractive centers, junctions, and mineral-raw-material regions have begun to form.


Gornung, M. B. Alzhiriia. Moscow, 1958.
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Utkin,G. N. Alzhir (ekonomicheskaia karta. Masshtab 13,500,000), 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
Perroux, F. Problémes de L’Algérie indépendante . Paris, 1963.
Industrialisation au Maghreb . Paris, 1963.
Essais sur l’économie de l’Algérie nouvelle . Paris, 1965.
Despois, J., and R. Raynal, Géographie de L’Afrique du Nord-Ouest. Paris, 1967.


Algeria’s armed forces consist of a national popular army and a military gendarme corps. The organs of highest military administration are the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff. The chairman of the Revolutionary Council is the supreme commander in chief of the country’s armed forces. The national popular army consists of land troops, an air force, and a navy. The number of armed forces in 1966 was 65,000 men, including 54,000 land troops, 2,500 men in the air force, about 1,500 in the navy, and 7,000 military gendarmes. The land forces include three brigades, up to 40 individual infantry battalions, up to five battalions of medium tanks, up to 13 artillery battalions (including two to three battalions of self-propelled artillery), some antiaircraft battalions and also units and subunits of communications troops, engineers, and rear and technical support elements. The ordnance of the air force consists of about 150 fighters, bombers, and military transport craft. The navy includes a number of torpedo boats and mine-sweepers.

With respect to military administration, the territory of Algeria is divided into five military districts, with their centers in Blida, Oran, Béchar, Ouargla, and Constantine.

The average life-span of the population of Algeria is 50 years; the general death rate is 9.4 per 1,000 of population; infant mortality is 86.3; and the birthrate is 42.7 (1967). Infectious disease among the population is more prevalent than noninfectious disease. Disease of the digestive tract, connected with the high mineral content of the water, is widespread, as are catarrhal diseases caused by the harsh continental climate.

Three distinctive medical-geographical regions stand out in Algeria. In the Mediterranean Sea region, which is the most populous and has the most favorable climatic conditions, there are international health resorts. Cosmopolitan diseases are common there—intestinal infections, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and trachoma; as a result of the high level of pollution of the territory by the beach, there are incidents of typhoid fever and salmonellosis. Vestigial breeding grounds for malaria and intensive breeding grounds for genitourinary schistosomiasis and ancylostomiasis are fixed along the river valleys and irrigated agricultural lands of this region. For the region of the Atlas Mountains, where the people are engaged mainly in cattle-breeding, animal-borne diseases are characteristic: Q fever, echinococcus, taeniasis, and anthrax. There are stationary breeding grounds of typhus (Aurés, Kabylie) and ancylostomiasis. Endemic goiter affects 20–30 percent of the population of the northeastern part of this region. The harsh continental arid climate of the Sahara regions is difficult for humans to endure. Eye diseases (especially trachoma), diseases of the respiratory organs (pneumonia, tracheitis, angina), tuberculosis, intestinal infections, vitamin deficiences, venereal diseases, and dermatomycosis are typical of these regions. A high death rate during infantile infections is characteristic because of frequent complications by catarrhal diseases. Neurotoxicosis, which is frequently encountered, is connected with the constant disturbance of the water-salt interchange. Scorpion bites are regularly recorded.

Approximately 10 percent of the total state budget is appropriated annually for public health. Nearly 60 percent of the population enjoys free medical care. The commune pays for care for workers of the agricultural sector. By 1965 there were 146 state hospitals (with 42,700 beds) and 3,251 beds in homes for the aged—that is, on the average 3.9 beds per 1,000 of population. Outpatient care is provided by 159 departments attached to hospitals, 178 health centers (including 12 that render care for mothers and infants and 82 for schoolchildren), 977 dispensaries (including 27 for tuberculosis patients, nine for venereal disease, and seven for the battle against trachoma), and 13 mobile units. By 1966 there were 1,421 doctors (including 1,106 in state service), 127 stomatologists, 186 pharmacists, and about 1,800 middle-level and over 2,200 junior-level medical personnel.

Training for doctors is provided at the faculty of medicine and pharmacology of the University of Algiers and the medical faculties of its branches in Oran and Constantine. In 1965, 17 doctors, eight pharmacists, and 14 stomatologists were graduated.


“Osvrt na organizaciju i razvoj zdravstvene sluzbe u Alziru,” Narodno Zdravlje, 1966, vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 296–300.


Veterinary services. Infectious and invasionary diseases predominate in the pattern of disease among agricultural animals. Among the latter, piroplasmosis (Mediterranean tayleriosis) and helminthiases of sheep, goats, and camels are common. Among sheep, emphysemic carbuncle is often encountered (116 outbreaks in 1966); among diseases of solid-hoofed animals, African horse plague (134 outbreaks in 1966) inflicts the greatest damage. Among sheep and camels, parasitic diseases of the cutaneous integument are often encountered. Among the diseases dangerous for man are brucellosis (a stationary disease of sheep), rabies of agricultural animals (carried by jackals and rodents), anthrax (eight outbreaks in 1966), fasciolosis, and echinococcus; schistosomiasis of cattle and myiasis occur.

Peculiarities of pathology mark the region of the Tell, where cattle breeding of the pasturing type is predominant, predisposing the development of naturally enzootic breeding grounds for diseases (fasciolosis, schistosomiasis, piroplasmosis, and so on) that are carried by invertebrates, and also the development of breeding grounds for anthrax. In the region of the High Plateau, where there is nomadic and seminomadic cattle breeding, epizootics of cattle plague, brucellosis, echinococcus, and other diseases occur. In the Sahara, the severe natural conditions and the rarity of pastures account for the noninfectious character of diseases; there are diseases connected with light sensitivity (conjunctivitis, skin diseases, and avitaminosis). There are veterinary personnel in large centers and at slaughterhouses. There are about 50 veterinarians in the country.


During the period of French colonization, the majority of Algerian educational institutions that had existed prior to France’s seizure of Algeria (1830) were closed, and the remaining ones were placed under the control of the colonial administration. In the mid-1950’s, only 15–20 percent of the adult population was literate.

After the achievement of independence (1962), Algeria faced the task of liquidating the consequences of colonialism in the area of education. In 1963 the popular-democratic government declared education compulsory. Changes in the contents of instruction were introduced on the basis of the needs of the country and the national culture. Instruction began at six years of age in six-year elementary schools and was conducted in French and Arabic; a gradual transition to teaching in Arabic is being carried out. Middle schools are of two types: the lycée (a complete middle school with a seven-year course of study) and the general education school (an incomplete middle school with a four-year course of study). In 1966, Algeria adopted a long-term plan for the development and reorganization of the system of public education over ten years. Professional and technical education is given basically in special colleges (middle schools) or technical divisions of the lycées. Teachers for the elementary schools and colleges are trained in normal schools in two-year or four-year courses (depending on whether the student has received a complete or incomplete middle education); instructors for the lycées are trained in the university. In the academic year 1966–67 there were more than 1.36 million students in elementary schools, about 97,000 in middle schools, 35,000 in professional and technical educational institutions, and 4,000 in normal schools. Institutions of higher learning are the University of Algiers (founded in 1879 and reorganized in 1909), with its faculties of law and economics, philology and humanities, medicine and pharmacology, and natural science; the university’s branches in Constantine and Oran; the National Polytechnic School in Algiers (founded in 1925); and others. With the aid of the USSR, an institute and a technical school to prepare specialists in mining and other branches of heavy industry have been established in Annaba, an institute and a technical school for the oil and gas industry and a textile technical school in Boumerdes, and an upper veterinary school in el-Harrache. In the academic year 1966–67, more than 9,000 students were enrolled in institutions of higher education.

The country’s largest library is the National Library (650,000 volumes) in Algiers. The main museums are the National Museum of Algeria (founded in 1930), the National Museum of Antiquity (1897), and the Ethnographic Museum (1928)—all in Algiers and the Museum of the Revolution of 1954–62 in al-Biare.

In the period of colonial rule, scientific activity in Algeria was the monopoly of people of French origin. Until the revolution of 1954, scientific and pedagogical work in Algeria was concentrated in the University of Algiers. The Pasteur Institute began to conduct research work in Algiers in 1910. An archaeological society (founded in 1852) operated in Constantine.

Since the achievement of independence, some of the established scientific institutes have become autonomous divisions of the faculties of the University of Algeria, while another group of them is controlled by the ministries. Some institutes are operated by a joint organ, the Council for Scientific Collaboration between Algeria and France. The overwhelming majority of scientific institutions is concentrated in Algiers.

A complex of research operations in the areas of nuclear physics (separation of isotopes), electronics, and solid-state physics is carried out at the Institute for Nuclear Research (founded 1966). A special institute is devoted to problems of utilizing solar energy. Research on plankton, coastal currents, and products of the sea is conducted at the Oceano-graphic Institute. Astronomical, astrophysical, and meteorological observatories and the Institute of Biochemistry are in operation. The Pierre Curie and Marie Sklodowska Curie Cancer Research Center, the Pasteur Institute (parasitology and microbiology), and the institutes for the study of hygiene, trachoma and tropical ophthalmology, and stomatology are concerned with medical problems. The National Agronomy Institute in Algiers works on problems of veterinary science, the technology of wine-making, and the battle against the locust. A network of experimental selection stations has been established.

Investigations in the area of oil prospecting, extraction, and refining are planned in the Algiers Oil Institute and also in the oil and textile center in Boumerdes (this center includes an institute of oil and gas and an oil and textile technical school).

Scientific work in philology, psychology, sociology, and geography is conducted at the Faculty of Philology and Humanities of the University of Algiers; in institutes for Arabic research and Oriental research; in the Center for Anthropological, Archaeological, and Ethnographical Research (founded in 1957); in institutes for Saharan research, cartography, and botany; in the National Pedagogical Institute. A special laboratory attached to the Faculty of Law and Economy of the University of Algiers studies questions of the North African economy; since 1856 a scientific society for the study of Algerian history has existed under the auspices of the university. The Institute of Psychotechnics and Biometrics in Algiers carries out research on professional guidance and the training of psychotechnic specialists.

In developing scientific research and training personnel, the leading role belongs to the University of Algiers and its branches in Oran and Constantine. The institutes of political studies, organization of production, planning, and improvement of professional skill under the auspices of the University of Algiers are also engaged in training personnel.

The oil and textile center in Boumerdes turns out specialists with higher and middle education in the technology of petrochemical synthesis and oil and gas prospecting.

Specialists of various types are trained at the National Polytechnic School, the National School for Pedagogical Sciences, the Advanced School of Journalism, schools of commerce, arts, translation, public works engineering, the Upper Normal School, the School for Technical Education, and the school of administration—all located in Algiers.


At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, newspapers and periodicals in Algeria were published by the colonial authorities and by organizations of the European minority. A progressive press began to appear in Algeria in the mid-1930’s. The newspaper Alger R é publicain was published from 1937 to 1955 and from 1962 to 1965; the newspaper Al-Moudjahid was published from 1956 to 1964.

Algeria’s contemporary press includes Al-Moudjahid (since 1965), a daily newspaper in French, the organ of the Algerian government with a circulation about 60,000 copies (1967); Al-Shaab, a daily newspaper of the central government in Arabic, circulation about 15,000 copies (1969); Al-Moudjahid, since 1963 a weekly newspaper in Arabic, organ of the party of the FLN, circulation about 10,000 copies (1967); Révolution africaine, since 1963, a weekly in French, organ of the party of the FLN, circulation about 60,000 copies (1967), published irregularly; Al-Djeich, since 1963, a monthly magazine in French (published also in Arabic), organ of the political administration of the National Popular Army of Algeria; Révolution et travail, a biweekly newspaper in French, organ of the High Council of Algerian Workers, published until 1963 under the name L’ouvrier algérien, published irregularly; Algérie-actualité , a Sunday newspaper in French, in effect an organ of the government; and Journal officiel de la République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire, since 1962, a bulletin of laws, decrees, and orders of the Algerian government.

The official information agency is Algérie Presse-Service (APS), created in 1962 and located in Algiers.

The state radio broadcasting and television company is Radio-Télévision Algérien (RTA), in operation since 1962. Radio broadcasting (the broadcasting centers are in Algiers and Constantine) is conducted on three channels—Arabic, Kabyle, and French. Television (the broadcasting center is in Algiers, and there is one channel) is in Arabic and French.


Algerian literature is the literature of the Algerian people in Arabic, Kabyle, and French.

Literature in Arabic and Kabyle. An original Algerian literature was born in the era of the struggles against Spanish expansion at the beginning of the 16th century and against Turkish rule in the 16—18th centuries. Wounded patriotic feeling is one of the main themes of the Algerian literature of this period (in the elegies of ibn-Asmsaib and in folk songs). In the 19th century, Algerian literature reflected the process, just beginning, of the formation of the Algerian nation, which had not yet broken away from the path of feudalism but had already fallen into the bondage of French colonialism. Popular oral creative work developed: fairy tales, historical legends, epic tales, songs, and improvisations. Close to folk songs in spirit were the patriotic poems of Abd al-Kadir, the elegies of Said Abdallah and al-Hadj Muhammad Bachir, and the poetry of the warrior meddakha Muhammad Balkair. Si Mohand, a Kabyle poet, combined lyric talents with the gift of a preacher. Kaddour ben Khlafa composed elegies and satires. The writers Muhammad ben Cheneb and Abd al-Halim ben Smaïa expressed indignation against colonialism.

In the 20th century, a number of enlightened writers emerged: Abu al-Yaqdân, Bachir Brahimi, Larbi al-Tbessi, Mouloud al-Hafidi, and Tayeb al-Uqbi. Muhammad al-Aid, Muhammad al-Laqqâni, Ahmad Kâtib, and Muhammad al-Said al-Zahiri developed patriotic lyrics. Satire directed against the French colonists arose. In 1928 the anthology Treasury of Popular Religious Poetry —in Arabic—was first published.

Instructive drama (Ali Charîf Tâîhar’s play Recovery After the Ordeal, performed in 1921) and patriotic drama (the anonymous play For the Homeland, performed in 1922) in the Arabic literary language brought no response from the audience. Success accompanied drama in the Algerian national dialects of spoken Arabic (Allalou’s and Dahmoun’s farce Djeha, performed in 1926). Caste prejudices and colonial oppression were exposed in the plays and farces of Rachid Ksentini and Bahtarzi Mahieddine and in the short stories of Ahmad Achour, Sharif al-Housseini, Zoukhour Vanis, Abd al-Madjid al-Chafi, and Abd al-Wahid Ibrahim. Ahmad Rida-Houhou’s novel The Girl From Mecca (1947) was written in defense of women. The main theme in the dramas of Mustapha al-Ashraf and Abdullah Nakli was the heroic struggle of a nation for its future. A requiem in honor of those who perished resounds in Abou al-Kassem Saadallah’s cycle of poems Victory to Algeria! (1957; Russian translation 1961). In the text of the national anthem, written by Mufdi Zakariya, religious fanaticism was originally (1936) expressed; the second version of the anthem (1957–58) is permeated by revolutionary enthusiasm.

Literature in French. On the path to artistic maturity and originality, the formative literature in French of the 1920’s did not bypass the portrayal of mores and manners—the novels Zohra by Hadj Hamou Abdalkader (1926) and Miriem by Muhammad Ould Cheikh (1926). There were philosophical and romantic strivings in the works of the 1930’s-J. Amrouche’s book of poems Ashes (1934) and his poem Secret Star (1937). A number of Algerian writers expressed the awakening of national self-consciousness on the eve of and after World War II: Jean Amrouche in his anthology Berber Songs of the Kabylie (1939) and his homily Immortal Jugurtha (1946); Ait Djafer in his poem Song of the Arab Beggars of the Casbah (1951); Mustapha Lacheraf in the collection of poems Departures (1952); and Marguerite Taos in the story “Black Hyacinth” (1947). Algerian literature reached a high level in Muhammad Dib’s realistic trilogy Algeria, in Mouloud Feraun’s two-volume work Land and Blood (1953; Russian translation, 1965), Hard Path (1957), and his Diary (1962) and in Mouloud Mammeri’s novels Forgotten Hill (1952; Russian translation 1966) and When Justice Sleeps (1955; Russian translation 1960). Jean Pelegri was the author of the novel The Olive Branches of Justice (1959); Yacine Kateb created the novels Nedjma (1956), Starry Firing Field (1966) and the dramatic tetralogy The Ring of Repression (1955–59); Henri Krea wrote the tragedy Earthquake (1958). Hocine Bouhazer wrote the drama You Can’t Put the Sun Behind Bars (1960). The spiritual and political enlightenment of Muslim women is central to the novels Thirst (1957), The Impatient Ones (1958), Children of the New World (1962), and Naive Larks (1967) by Assia Djebar. The dying away of religious faith is illuminated in Murad Bourbounne’s novel The Peak of the Genista (1962; Russian translation 1966) and in the works of Malek Haddad, a writer of verses and the novels Last Impression (1958; in Russian translation, Last Imprint, 1962) and The Quai des Fleurs Does Not Answer (1961). The poets M. Dib, Bachir Nadj Ali, Jean Sénac, Boualem Kalfa, Amrouche, and Krea expressed in their lyrics the spiritual power and rightness of the people in rebellion. The critic Sadek Hadjeres, the poet Moustafa Lacheraf, the prose writer Malek Ouary and the playwright Ahmed Djelloul have proven their worth in Algerian literature. Patriots’ testimonies about torture in French prisons during the national liberation war of the Algerian people against the French colonialists have flowed into the stream of literature. These are the books Gangrene (1959) and A η Algerian Is Speaking to You (1960) of Mezian Noureddine, and the books Interrogation Under Torture (1958; Russian translation 1958) and Fighters in Captivity (1961; Russian translation 1962) of Henri Alleg.

The achievement of independence in 1962 opened a new era in Algerian literature. The writers of free Algeria have interpreted the past period of struggle: Nordine Tidafi in the lyrical collection The Homeland Forever (1962), J. Sénac in the poetic hymn To the Pure Heroes (1962), Messaur Boulanouar in the lyrical chronicle Irresistible Force (1963), Anna Greki in the poetic confession The Capital of Algeria Is Algiers (1963), Krea in the poetic cycle Conspiracy of Equals (1964), Kaddour M’Hamsadji in the story “The Silence of the Dead” (1963), Dib in the cycle of short stories Talisman (1966) and in his novel The King’s Dance (1968), and Bouhazer in the novel Five Fingers of the Day (1967). In his novel Opium and the Bludgeon (1965; Russian translation 1967), Mammeri combined the genres of the heroic epic and the intellectual novel. A. Benzine published Field Diary (1965; Russian translation 1968), A. Greki published the book of verses Grim Times (1966), B. Hadj Ali wrote the cycle of poems Songs of September Nights (1966), D. Maknachi wrote the collection of poems Solar Dust (1967), Pelegri wrote the symbolic allegorical novel Monuments of the Deluge (1967), and Bourbounne wrote the novel Muezzin (1968). Taos translated the Berber legends, songs, and proverbs of the Kabyle in his book The Magic Seed (1966) into French. On Oct. 28, 1963, the Union of Writers of Algeria was founded. In May 1964 the first number of the literary journal Novembre (November) was published. The poetic anthology The Algerian Divan (1967; compiled by J. Levi-Valensi and J. E. Bencheik), the autobiographical narrative of F. A. M. Amrouche, The Story of My Life (written in 1946; published in 1968), and M. Feraun’s Letters to Friends (published in 1969, posthumously) have come out.


Kul’tura sovremennovo Alzhira. Moscow, 1961. (Collection of articles, translated from French.)
La poésie algérienne de 1830 à nos jours. Paris-The Hague, 1963.
Anthologie des écrivains maghrébins d’ expression française. Paris, [1965].
Khatibi, A. Le roman maghrébin. Paris, 1968.
Mammeri, M. Les isefras poèmes de Si Mohand. Paris, 1969.
Arnaud, J., A. Khatibi, J. Dejeux, A. Roth. Bibliographie de la littérature nord-africaine d’expression française, 1945–1962. Paris-The Hague, 1965.
In Russian translation:
Iz afrikanskoi liriki. (Translated by M. Kurgantsev.) Moscow, 1967.


Rock paintings of animals, people, hunting scenes, and ritual ceremonies that date from the Neolithic Age have been discovered on Algerian territory (in the Tassilin-Adher Mountains and other places). In the coastal areas, remains of cities from Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine times (Gip-pon, Cherchell, Kartenna, Tipasa, Timgad, Djemila, Constantine, etc.) have been preserved, along with ruins of temples, theaters, public baths, triumphal arches, aqueducts, houses, basilicas, and forts. Sculptures and mosaics with mythological and everyday scenes have been found.

The medieval cities of Algeria, with their narrow, twisting streets, were encircled by a palace wall and included a citadel (casbah), numerous mosques, madrasahs, baths, markets, and palaces (for example, the palace complex in Kala-Beni-Hammad; 11th century). Algiers was started in the tenth century, Tlemcen in the 12th-13th centuries (the mosques characteristic of North Africa—divided up by rows of horseshoe-shaped arches into transverse naves—and the minaret towers—square in section and crowned by merlons and small cupola-shaped pavilions—have been preserved). In design and decor, the buildings of Tlemcen are similar to the architecture of Morocco and Andalusia in southern Spain; buildings are decorated by fine ornamental carving in stucco (alabaster plaster), stalactites, and glazed tiles. Rich palaces and villas of the Turkish viceregents have been preserved from the 16th-18th centuries in Algiers and Constantine (they now accommodate museums, libraries, etc.). There are old townhouses, mostly of two and three stories, with flat roofs and secluded courtyards. In the narrow streets of Algiers, the upper floors of houses jut out and rest on wooden consoles. In the villages, houses are made of clay and adobe, most of them with flat roofs; in regions of Kabylie, tiled gable roofs predominate; in some Sanaran settlements (for example, al-Ouad), houses have arches and cupolas. Starting in the 1930’s, multistory residential, administrative, and commercial buildings and luxurious villas and private residences were constructed in Algiers, Oran, Annaba, Bejaia, and other cities by French architects (P. A. Emery, B. Zehrfuss, L. Miquel, P. Tournon, and others). After the liberation of Algeria, special attention was paid to housing and school construction (the architecture group of A. Coppa).

As in the Middle Ages, the applied art of Algeria in the 19th and 20th centuries consisted of metal articles (vessels with a chiseled and engraved design, jewelry), patterned cloth, carpets, embroidery, decorated ceramics, and leather articles. The folk art of the rural population retains traditional geometric motifs and coloration (red, blue, and black on carpets, yellow and red on ceramics); multicolored vegetable designs (coiled sprouts, flowers, leaves) predominate in the products of urban artisans, who experienced the influence of Turkish art.


Fine art in Algeria of the 19th and early 20th centuries consisted of the works of French artists. Algerian artists appeared in the 1920’s and 1930’s—the brothers Muhammad and Omar Rasim and Temam Ranem. In the 1960’s, about 60 artists, joined in the National Union of Algerian Artists, were working in Algeria. The masters of the realistic school, who express in their works the struggle for liberation and the life of the Algerian people, include the painters and graphic artists H. Benaboura, B. Yelles, M. Bouzid, M. Issiakhem, I. Samsom, and Baya and the sculptor M. Addan. Among the abstract painters are C. Mesli and M. Kadda.

The National School of Architecture and Fine Arts in Algiers (founded in 1881) trains architects, painters, graphic artists, sculptors, and masters of the applied arts.



Lot, A. V poiskakh fresok Tassili. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from French.)
Marçais, G. Algérie médiévale. Paris, [1957].
Leschi, L. Algérie antique. Paris, [1952].
Dans la lumière des cités africaines. Vol. 1 . Afrique du Nord. Paris, [1956].
Golvin, L. Les arts populaires d’Algérie, vols. 1–5. [Paris], 1949–55.
Yelles, B., and J. de Maisonseul. “Tendances de la peinture algérienne contemporaine.” Afrique, August 1964, no. 37, Paris.
“Les jeunes peintres algériens.” Révolution africaine, 1967, no. 207, Algiers.

Music. Since ancient times, musical folk art has existed among the nomadic and settled tribes of Algeria and has been handed down from generation to generation. Vocal folk music is predominantly monodic, based on seven-step scales, and is rhythmically diverse. Starting in the second century B.C.,this art experienced the influence of ancient Greek music and later that of Roman and medieval Christian music. From the time of Algeria’s conquest by the Arabs (seventh century), and especially from the tenth century, the musical culture of Moorish Andalusia was practiced on a large scale; Turkish military music spread after the 16th century. At the same time, local musical forms were created in Algeria in the Middle Ages. The most popular of them was the nuba, a suite in which sung (solo or by chorus in unison) and instrumental pieces alternate. Nubas differ in harmonies. Since ancient times, these nubas have been popular—sika, zidan, mezmum, mual, ramel —all of them performed both in chorus and solo. Many melodies demand great skill of the performer. Among Algerian musical instruments are the rebab (a bowed instrument), the ud (lute), the canun (a kind of zither), the gosba (flute), and the tbel and deff (percussion instruments). These instruments are included in the national orchestra.

As a result of the drawing together of traditional classical and folk genres in the 20th century, a genre of light music arose—al-djad —of which the performer and composer Hadj Muhammad al-Anka became an eminent representative.


Bachir Hadj Ali. “Muzyka.” In Kul’tura sovremennogo Alzhira. Moscow, 1961. (A collection of articles translated from French.)
Bachir Hadj Ali. “Vozrodif natsional’nye traditsii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1965, no. 1.
Rouanet, J. “La musique arabe dans le Maghreb.” In Encyclopédie de la musique.. . , part 1, vol. 5. (A. Lavignac, founder.) Paris, 1922. pp. 2,845–77.


Theater. French theater has spread to the extent that the French language has been disseminated in Algeria. The first theater troupe performing in Arabic arose in the 1920’s. Its founder was the actor, playwright, and producer R. Ksen-tini, who wrote more than 100 plays, among which the most popular are Bou-Borma, My Cousin From Istanbul, and Zed’Aleh. The reactionary vestiges and vices generated by colonial rule are exposed in these works. The heir to Ksen-tini was B. Mahieddine, who wrote the plays The Traitors, The Awakened, and others, which affirm the ideas of liberation. His play Tribe of Sycophants, which exposes to denunciation the colonists and their servants, had great political importance. Mahieddine’s troupe also performed the plays of A. Nakli, M. Ould Cheikh, and other dramatists, and the works of Moliere, Sophocles, and Ibsen in free Arabic translation.

With the start of the national democratic revolution (1954), many actors participated in the armed struggle. Subsequently, the majority of actors of Mahieddine’s troupes were forced to abandon their homeland; the Algerian Artistic Ensemble was created abroad (in Tunisia). This collective performed in various countries, acquainting foreign audiences with the work of Algerian playwrights and with the popular folklore of different areas of the country. After the proclamation of Algerian independence in 1962, the Algerian National Theater, headed by the actor and producer M. Kateb, was created on the base of this ensemble. Along with the dramatic works of Algerian and foreign authors (in 1963, Kateb translated and produced Molère’s Don Juan), musical and dance presentations were staged in the theater. Algeria’s most outstanding theater troupes participated in the first Pan-African Festival in Algiers (1969).

Motion pictures. Algeria’s national cinematography was born in the period of the national democratic revolution (1954–62), when a number of documentary and agitational films devoted to the Algerian people’s struggle for independence were created. After 1962, Algerian cinematographers significantly expanded the production of newsreel and documentary films and shot the first artistic films on folklore and ethnographic subjects and films dedicated to the events of the war of 1954–62. The nationalization of movie theaters and the creation in 1964 of the National Center for Cinematography had great importance for the formation of a national cinematography. Among the best films have been The Battle of Algiers (1966) and Wind From Aurès (1967).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

Capital city: Algiers

Internet country code: .dz

Flag description: 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)

National anthem: “Quassaman,” by Moufdi Zakaria

Geographical description: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia

Total area: 919,590 sq. mi. (2,381,740 sq. km.)

Climate: Arid to semiarid; mild, wet winters with hot, dry summers along coast; drier with cold winters and hot summers on high plateau; sirocco is a hot, dust/sand­laden wind especially common in summer

Nationality: noun: Algerian(s); adjective: Algerian

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

Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%

Languages spoken: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

Religions: Sunni Muslin (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%

Legal Holidays:

Anniversary of June 19Jun 19
Anniversary of the RevolutionNov 1
Independence DayJul 5
Labor DayMay 1
New Year's DayJan 1
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in NW Africa, on the Mediterranean: became independent in 1962, after more than a century of French rule; one-party constitution adopted in 1976; religious extremists led a campaign of violence from 1988 until 2000; consists chiefly of the N Sahara, with the Atlas Mountains in the north, and contains rich deposits of oil and natural gas. Official languages: Arabic and Berber; French also widely spoken. Religion: Muslim. Currency: dinar. Capital: Algiers. Pop.: 32 339 000 (2004 est.). Area: about 2 382 800 sq. km (920 000 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005