They began establishing ports along the Mediterranean in 1200 .They built the cities of Constantine and Annaba in the east of present-day Algeria, but aside from teaching the Berbers how to raise crops, for the most part they kept their distance from them.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.Almost nine-tenths of this area is composed of the six Saharan provinces in the south of the country; however, 90 percent of the population, and most of the cities, are located along the fertile coastal area known as the Tell, or hill.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.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.
Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the French resistance against Germany during the war and the leader of France's provisional government after the war, agreed to grant French citizenship to certain select Muslims, an unsatisfactory response that resulted in rising tensions between Algerians and their colonizers.Inland from the coast is the High Plateau region, with an elevation of 1,300 to 4,300 feet (396 to 1,311 meters).This is mostly rocky and dry, dotted with vegetation on which cattle, sheep, and goats graze.The Romans began making inroads into North Africa, declaring a new kingdom called Numidia. The Arabs swept across North Africa in the seventh century (during the lifetime of Muhammad, who died in 632), and again in the eleventh century.The Berbers put up resistance, particularly to the edict that both religious and political leaders could only be Arabian.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.