The Algerian war for independence broke out in 1954, when the National Liberation Army (ALN)—the military arm of the National Liberation Front (FLN)—staged guerrilla attacks on French military and communication posts and called on all Muslims to join their struggle. In 1959 De Gaulle, who was now president of France, issued a promise of independence to the colony, but the next year proceeded to send troops to restore order.Over the next four years the French sent almost half a million troops to Algeria. In 1961 leaders of the FLN met with the French government, and the following year, Algeria finally won its independence. He was head of the government and of the FLN, the country's sole political party.

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The star, crescent, and the color green are all symbolic of the Islamic religion. The Berbers were the original inhabitants of the region.

The first invaders were the Phoenicians, whose empire covered the area that is today Lebanon.

The climate is desert like, although the coast does receive rain in the winter.

Only 3 percent of the land is arable, this along the Mediterranean.

Beyond the plateau are the Saharan Atlas Mountains, which form the boundary of the Algerian Sahara desert.

Despite efforts by the government to contain the desert by planting rows of pine trees, it continues to expand northward. The largest of these are the Kabyles, who live in the Kabylia Mountains east of Algiers.

Arabic and Berber are the languages most spoken in day-to-day life.

French is being phased out, but it remains an important language in business and some scientific and technical fields, and it is taught as a second language in the schools. The flag is green and white, with a red star and crescent.

Four years later they declared Algeria a colony, beginning a 132-year reign.

In 1840 Abd al-Qadir, an Algerian freedom fighter, led the Arabs in an insurgence against their colonizers, which ended in defeat in 1847.

The name Algeria is derived from the name of the country's oldest continuous settlement and modern capital, Algiers, a strategically located port city with access to both Europe and the Middle East.