|French name: Algérie 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)|
Republic in northwest Africa, bordered to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the east by Tunisia and Libya, to the south by Niger and Mali, and to the west by Mauritania and Morocco. Its capital and largest city is Algiers.
Note: Colonized by France in the nineteenth century, Algeria was involved in a long and bloody battle for independence, gaining full autonomy in the early 1960s.