When the French came, they attempted to get rid of native culture, and one of the ways they did this was to impose their language on the people.

At independence, Arabic was declared the official language.

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

Their tactics of bombing villages and torturing prisoners gained worldwide attention and was condemned by the United Nations and U. The extent of his power began to make people uncomfortable, and in 1965 a bloodless coup took him out and put Houari Boumedienne, the former defense minister, in his place.

Boumedienne continued but modified Ben Bella's socialist policies, concentrating his efforts on reducing unemployment and illiteracy, decentralizing the government, and taking control of the land back from the French colonizers.

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.

Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the French continued to expand their influence and land holdings, and by 1914 they had extended their domain to include large tracts of land that were formerly wilderness or the property of Berber tribes.

During World War I and again in World War II, Algerians were drafted to fight with the French.

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.

While the majority of the population who are Arab (or mixed Arab and Berber) identify with the common Algerian culture, the Berber tribes, particularly in the more isolated southern mountainous and desert regions, retain more of the indigenous Berber culture and identity. It covers a total of 919,595 square miles (2,381,751 square kilometers), making it the second largest country in Africa (after Sudan), and the eleventh largest in the world.