Algeria: 20 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know

In case you did not know, Algeria is a country in Northern Africa. This Arab country is bordered by 7 countries: Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara and Morocco. There’s a lot more to this country (which gained independence from France in 1962). Today my aim is to inform you about it a little more.

Here 20 Interesting Facts You Might Not Have Known About Algeria

1. Algeria is largest country in Africa and in the Arab World. It covers an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 square miles) – that’s 10 times the size of the United Kingdom , almost double the size of South Africa and one quarter of the size of the USA.

2. Nearly 90 percent of Algeria is covered by the Sahara desert. Only 12% of the land is occupied by humans. The country has a population of 43 million (according to 2019 estimates).

Sahara Desert - Algeria

3. Unlike in most Islamic nations, women’s status and position in Algeria is much better. Women make up 60% of Algeria’s judges, 70% of the lawyers, and 60% of the student population. They have a bigger household income contribution than men.

4. Algeria is a Muslim country, though a pretty liberal one, so can you not find alcohol everywhere. You will have to know where to find it. High-end restaurants and hotels sell it.

5. Algeria has participated in every Olympics since 1964.  They have won 5 gold medals in this period, out of which 4 came for the 1500 metres race (two won by men, two won by women).

6. From the 16th century, Algeria was an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire until France seized Algiers in 1830. Before that the region was ruled by Byzantines, the Turks, the Spanish, the Romans and even Germanic tribes.  The inhabitants of Algeria converted to Islam when Muslim Arabs captured Algeria in the 7th century.

7. The Algerian war for independence (1954 to 1962) claimed a lot of lives. French historians estimate that around 400,000 Algerians were killed, while the Algerian government claims that more than one million people died.

8. Algeria’s national animal is the fennec fox. The fennec is the world’s smallest fox but has large ears measuring up to 6 inches (15.24cm).

9. Algeria is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous of which is Timgad, a Roman city dating back to around AD 100.

Timgad - Algeria

10. In 2019, Algeria became only the second African country to be officially recognized as malaria-free, following Mauritius in 1973.

11. The Djamaa El Djazair mosque in Algeria has the world’s tallest minaret. The mosque with its 265m-high minaret was completed in 2019.

Djamaa El Djazair mosque - Algeria

12. The French Foreign Legion used to be based in Algeria at the North African headquarters near Oran. In 1962 the legion headquarters was transferred to Aubagne in France.

13. Around 99% of Algerians are Muslim – predominantly Sunni.

14. The country’s capital and largest city, Algiers, is known as ‘Alger la Blanche’ (Algiers the White) because of its whitewashed buildings. Algiers has an estimated population of 3.9 million.

Algiers, Algeria

15. Algeria owes no money to other countries; it has no external debt. Unfortunately, one in every four of its citizens lives on less than a dollar a day. Many Algerians are poor. The national currency is the Algerian Dinar.

16. Algeria’s modern flag was designed to symbolize very specific points. The colors are green, red and white. The green, believed to be the Prophet Muhammad’s (P.B.U.H) favorite color, represents Islam and paradise (nature). Red symbolizes the deaths and sacrifice of all those who fought for Algeria’s independence, and for liberty. White symbolizes purity and peace. To be acceptable for the flag, the exact wavelength that each color must absorb is specified officially, which is highly unusual for an African country’s flag.

Algeria Flag

17. Algeria has a total of 58 provinces. The provinces are divided into 1541 baladiyahs (municipalities, in French: commune)

18.  Homosexuality and trying to convert Muslims to another religion is illegal in Algeria.

19. Arabic and Berber are the two official languages in the country. But French is also spoken by literally everyone.

20. Oran is the second biggest city in Algeria (with an estimated population of 750,000).

Well, there you have it, 20 interesting facts that you might not have known about Algeria. If I’ve left out something important, feel free to comment below.

Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

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