The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a large North African country with a predominantly Muslim population. From the Mediterranean coast, Algeria spreads southward deep into the heart of the Sahara desert. No wonder the country is also known as “a dream of sand”!
Many kingdoms have left legacies here, from the ancient Roman ruins to structures dating back to French colonial rule. Are you intrigued? Want to learn a little more about this county and gain the advantage at the next pub quiz? Make a start with these 18 fun facts about Algeria!
1. Algeria under French rule
The French ruled Algeria from 1830-1962 – a long 132-year rule! The French in Algeria were called Colons (colonists) or pieds noirs (black feet) and they controlled both the government and most of the country’s wealth.
2. The creation of Algerian borders
The modern borders of Algeria were founded by the French during their colonization. The traditional Muslim rural communities remained separated, even though France controlled the entire country.
3. Blood was spilt for independence
From 1954 to 1962, Algeria was engaged in a long and bloody fight with France for their independence, seeing more than a million Algerian deaths in the process. The conflict saw many brutalities, including guerrilla warfare, terrorism, counter-terrorism, and torment. Finally, with a signed agreement in 1962, Algeria officially became an independent state.
4. Three colors-three meanings
Algeria’s modern flag with its colors, green, red, and white was intended to symbolize very specific points. In fact, it’s believed that green was Prophet Muhammad’s favourite color, representing Islam and nature, red depicting the deaths and sacrifice of all those who lost their lives for Algeria’s independence, and finally white symbolizing purity and peace.
Geographical stats about Algeria…
5. A gateway between two continents
Algeria is the gateway between Europe and Africa – it’s located in northwest Africa, on the Mediterranean coast, and also shares borders with Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Tunisia.
6.The definition of large in Algeria
Algeria is the largest country in Africa, with a total area of 919,595 square miles (2,381,740 square kilometers)…the Sahara desert covers more than four-fifths of this.
7. The Sahara is much more than sand!
8. Population and life expectancy
Even though the life expectancy in Algeria is a healthy 76.5 years (2017), it’s estimated that 35% of the population are below the age of 14 and just 4% are older than 65. In 2019 the population of Algeria was 43.05 million.
9. The capital city
Algiers is Algeria’s capital city with a population of 3.916 million (2011).
Useful facts about Algeria
10. What are Algerian wallets filled with?
The official currency is called the Algerian Dinar.
11. It’s easy to call Algeria
Want to call your friends or family in Algeria? You’ll need to use the international dialing code +213.
12. Shopping throughout Algeria
Whilst Algiers and Oran are home to lots of big shops like we see on our high streets, the majority of towns in Algeria have a poorly developed retail sector and you’ll only see small family-owned shops, farmer’s markets, and temporary roadside stands.
13. Algerian exports
Despite bordering the Mediterranean Sea, fishing is not Algeria’s main industry. It is actually oil and gas that are this country’s main export.
Algeria produces wheat, barley, oats, grapes, and rears sheep.
15. Algerian wine with a French note
For generations, French vintners transformed Algeria’s best land into grape cultivation and in doing so made their colony the world’s major wine exporter! Sounds perfect!
16. Ancient recipes and spices
Algerian cuisine has long been influenced by ancient cultures and various rulers. The Berbers brought wheat and were the first to create couscous, while the Romans brought barley and other grains. The exotic spices like cloves, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg were introduced by the Muslim Arabs, and olives and olive oil, as well as peaches, plums, and oranges, came with the Spanish. The French introduced their culture and cuisine to the Algerians, including sidewalk cafes, as well as their crusty long loaves of bread, eaten daily in the country even today.
17. Couscous – both delicious and healthy!
Algeria’s national dish is couscous, with vegetables stirred in – delicious and healthy!
18. A climate suited for growing fruit
Algeria is known as the country of cherries and dates. The mild climate in the north and the dry, hot one in the Saharan south are just perfect for them! No wonder, Algerian dates are known to be some of the best on Earth. In Algeria, it’s a tradition to greet visitors by offering dates and milk.
Do you know any fun facts about Algeria? Share them in the comments below!