By Sherry Zhang
Located in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is the largest country in the African continent, and the 10th largest country in the world. Neighboring countries of Algeria include Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Tunisia. A beautiful nation, Algeria has a rich history and culture, and shares ties to some of the greatest empires in world history. Here are some fun facts about Algeria!
- Since the 16th century, Algeria was an autonomous province of the mighty Ottoman empire until France seized Algiers, Algeria’s capital, in 1830. Algeria lived under French colonialism until 1962, after winning the Algerian War and gaining independence.
- Arabic, Berber, and French are major languages spoken in Algeria, with Arabic being the country’s official language.
- The official religion of Algeria is Sunni Islam.
- Having a total area of 919,595 square miles, more than 80% of Algeria’s territory consists of the barren Sahara desert. Because of this, around 90% of the Algerian population lives on the coast.
- Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and the French colonial empire. Because of her rich history of prehistoric cultures, Algeria is home to seven wondrous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most well known of which is Timgad, an ancient Roman city in the Aurès Mountains.
- Despite bordering the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, fishing is not Algeria’s main source of economic activity. Rather, the country’s main source of export is fossil fuels: natural gas and petroleum.
- The currency in Algeria is called dinar. One US dollar equates to around 129 Algerian dinars.
- In terms of agriculture, Algeria grows wheat, barley, oats, grapes, and raises sheep.
- In 2019, Algeria became the second country in Africa to be recognized as malaria-free.
- Algeria’s national dish is couscous, which is often topped with meat, vegetables, and a variety of flavorful spices.