Algeria is huge: it’s the 10th largest country in the world. It’s larger than Mexico or Indonesia. However 80% of the land is occupied by the Sahara desert. Despite this, Algeria is relatively prosperous and stable, and has managed to become a regional power, dominating the politics in the region.
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In this brief video you can find seven little known facts about Algeria.
1. Algeria is the largest country by area in Africa. Before 2011, when South Sudan became independent, Sudan was the largest. Just how big is it? It’s the 10th largest country in the world, bigger than Mexico or Indonesia, and almost 4 times larger than France!
2. The Sahara Desert covers 80 per cent of Algeria. The coastal areas, where 90% of Algerians live, are shielded from the harsh desert mostly by mountains, thus having a nice Mediterranean climate. The Saharan quarter has very high average temperatures of 38 up to 47C. The ground temperatures can easily reach 80C.
3. Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Idrisid, Aghlabid, Rustamid, Fatimids, Zirid, Hammadids, Almoravids, Almohads, Ottomans and the French colonial empire. Berbers are generally considered to be the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Following the Arab conquest of North Africa, most indigenous inhabitants were Arabized.
4. Unlike in other Islamic nations, women in Algeria have gained more prominent status in the society. Women make up 60% of Algeria’s judges, 70% of the lawyers, and 60% of the student population. What’s more, they have a bigger household income contribution than men.
5. Algeria’s Tassili n’Ajjer National Park is also called “Plateau of the Rivers”. It is a large open sky museum where there are many prehistoric rock art drawings and other archaeological sites from the Neolithic era. 15,000 engravings have been identified to date.
6. The capital city of Algeria gave the country’s name: Algiers. The city name is derived from the Arabic name al-Jazā’ir, which translates as “The Islands”, referring to the four islands which lay off the city’s coast until becoming part of the mainland in 1525. Today it’s a modern city of 3.5 million people.
7. Between 1830 and 1962 Algeria was a colony of France. During the late 19th and early 20th century the European share was almost a 5th of the population. The French government aimed at making Algeria an assimilated part of France, and this included substantial educational investments especially after 1900.
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