Let’s dissect the flag! The flag of Algeria is pretty simple, just white, green, and a red crescent and star the white representing peace, the green representing Islam and the crescent and star not only representing Islam but the red of the crescent and star also representing the blood of those who fought for Algeria. By the way, full disclaimer: You’re going to start seeing a pattern going on of a lot of countries using red on their flags representing the blood of those spilled for/ who fought for something..Just a little heads up.
As of right now, Algeria is the largest country in all of Africa,that title used to belong to Sudan, however back in 2011, Sudan split up into two separate countries decreasing their landmass and giving that title over to Algeria. Algeria is located in the North African region known as the Maghreb, which is basically every North African country west of Egypt. Algeria is also surrounded by six other countries in the area, although the Sahrawi people will tell you that Western Sahara is totally a separate country, and it belongs to them, but we’ll discuss that a little bit later in this blog post. And lucky enough, in the north, Algeria borders the Mediterranean Sea, Which has played a hugely crucial role in its nationalistic development, and import-export economy. In fact, out of all the 48 provinces in Algeria, Over 90% of the entire population lives in the upper 37 provinces that border the Mediterranean Sea. The remaining 10 percent living in the lower provinces, which take up a landmass that is about 7 times the size of all the upper 37 provinces combined. Some of these provinces like Tindouf, and Illizi, although huge, barely even have 50,000 people inhabiting them. Now, why do so many people want to live in the north part of Algeria and not the south, We’re gonna answer that question in PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY!
If you look at a satellite map of Algeria, You’ll notice that pretty much the only green part, is in the north by the Tell Atlas Mountain Range. The reason being that, this is pretty much the only region of Algeria that has a somewhat mild and wetter climate. And even though this region only takes up a small slice of the entire territory of Algeria, It is so crucial to these people. Only about 3% of Algeria’s land is arable, that’s not enough for them to sustain themselves agriculturally, and to this day, about 45% of their food comes from imports. Pretty much everything south of the Tell Atlas Mountain Range is Saharan desert. If you really look at this region, You’ll notice communities and towns like Reggane, Adrar where They’re actually thriving and flourishing. The reason is that, like many other people groups in the Sahara, these people have mastered the art of desert agriculture. You might see these skid mark looking things right next to the towns, You might ask yourself: “What are these things?”Well, if you look a little closer, those actually date palm groves. And you’d be surprised. If you look in the right place, you might actually be able to find a lot of underground water sources, oases, or maybe even a lake or two in Sahara. It’s not completely devoid of water sources. Algeria has also completed the daunting task of building several trans-Saharan roadways that go throughout the entire Saharan desert into their southern neighbor countries such as Niger, Mali, and Mauritania. The people in this region can be very interesting.
we’re gonna talk about demographics! Algeria has about 37 million people or roughly a little bit more than the size of Canada. You know I think I’m probably gonna end up using Canada a lot in terms of population comparison in the series… but the vast majority of these people identify as ethnically Arab – BerberFor those of you who don’t know, the Berbers are a semi-Nomadic people group who have historically occupied the region of the Maghreb for thousands of years, prior to any empire or colonial occupation or modern-day country establishment. The Berbers are a fascinating people group that has their own culture, history, and language. And in fact to this day, about a third of Algerians speak the Berber language. In fact, Algeria is with the only two countries in the world that consider Berber a national language, not quite official, Moroccois the only one that makes it official, however, Algerians really do recognize it. However Berberis so prevalent in many regions of Algeria that you shouldn’t be surprised to seetrilingual signs posted up all over the place in Arabic, French, and Berber. In fact, some of the Berbers in Algeria are also Sahrawi. Now what does that mean? Sahrawis are basically people who believe that Western Sahara is theirs and it should belong to them and that it should become an independently recognized sovereign nation under their jurisdiction. See, after Spain left in 1975 the jurisdiction of Western Sahara pretty much went to the hands of Morocco and Mauritania. Unfortunately, there was a third party that was not too happy with that – the Sahrawis. Eventually, the Polisario Front was established or the Liberation movement for the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara. And they fought against both Mauritania and Morocco. Eventually, Mauritania backed down and Morocco somehow was able to take control of most of the major cities and resources and to this day it remains kind of under autonomous control under Morocco but the Sahrawis kind of take over the eastern part … it’s complicated. Where Algeria come into play? Well, Algeria kind of gives refuge to the whole Polisario Front, in the very western city of Tindouf. After all the drama with Morocco and Mauritania, the only place that the Sahrawis really had left to go was Algeria. You can imagine how that kind of probably made Morocco feels.
Which brings us to our next segment, the friend zone! Now when it comes to Algeria, they generally get along with all the other countries in the Maghreb region, but when it comes to the Polisario Front thing, it causes kinda a little bit of tension between them and Morocco. Algeria is a strong supporter of the Sahrawi independence movement and Morocco just is not. Now in terms of business, Greece has always been one of their top trade partners, it also has friendly relations with Cyprus as it supports the Cyprus side of the Cyprus reunification movement. Which doesn’t really jive too well with Turkey. Now when it comes to France, things get a little interesting. See in their early 1800s France occupied and settled Algeria and pretty much made it an overseas dependency. Over the next century of their occupation, France greatly influenced the culture, the architecture, the cuisine, and even the language. To this day, French is the “de facto” language of Algeria. However, as you can guess, like most countries in former European colonial empires, Algeria started to kind of fight back, however, after independence, the Algerians kinda realized that the French influence had really permeated their culture so much that they kinda didn’t exactly want to completely cut off the French altogether. And despite the drama and historical animosity Algerians and the French have a relatively well diplomatic relationship today. It’s almost kinda like the USA and England. Now in terms of their closest relationships, Algeria more or less might consider Tunisia and Libya their best friends considering that both countries support the Sahrawi independence movement, and historically they’ve had a very rich cultural similarity and resonance with each other. So in conclusion, Algeria isn’t just another north African country but it’s a country that stands for things and survives and builds roads across the desert. You gotta give it to them. Plus they really got good food there.
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