Situated north of the Sahara desert. Algeria shares a common border with Libya, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, and Morocco. Algeria has access to the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Sahara Desert. Algiers is the capital and main port of Algeria. This city which has become the political, economic, and cultural centre of the country. It was chosen by the French to be the capital, after they colonized it in 1830. The city name is Arabic; 'al-Jazair' and literally means "the islands". This in reference to four islands formerly off the coast but joined to the mainland in 1525.
Algerian History spans; thousands of Years some of it being under the rule of foreign powers namely: 'the Roman Empire; Byzantine, Germanic vandal societies and the Turkish Ottoman Empire'. Around 8 A.D., when Algeria was part of the Ottoman Empire, the indigenous Berber population converted to Islam. Then in 1830's, the crumbling Ottoman Rule, gave way when the French monarchy invaded and occupied Algeria. In 1834, France annexed this country. Then in 1848, in a move unprecedented amongst French colonial possessions, it was made another French department (or province) different from most of its colonies. In the 1950's, the 'Front De Liberation Nationale', (FNL) led a guerrilla war against French rule. This ended victoriously in 1962, when Algeria became an independent republic. This was after a 132 Years of French rule. An exodus of one million French settlers then occurred. Since independence Algeria has experienced political and economic crisis, attended by the spread of militant Islam and the start of a low intensity civil war between the government and the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), which won the annulled election of 1992.