Africa has been considered the second largest continent in the world and ranks second as the most populated. It comprises of more than 50 countries due to division of lands and territorial acquisition. Africa is greatly known for its abundant wildlife, from the tiniest ants to the gigantic elephant. It is here where you will find the Sahara Desert, the biggest desert in the world. At sea, marine life also flourishes including different corals and fishes big and small.
Algeria vs. Sudan
There has been a debate as to what is the largest county in Africa. Sudan which is the largest country in Africa by area has a land mass of 2,505,813 km2. It was until June 2011, that South Sudan declared independence from North Sudan giving the title to Algeria as the largest country in Africa with a land mass of 2,381,740 km2. So it is now official that Algeria is the biggest country in Africa.
History of Algeria
Algeria derived its name from the Arab word Al Jazair, which means «small islands near the harbor». The capital of Algeria is Algiers. Their national anthem is Kassaman which means We Pledge. Their national flag has two equal vertical wide stripes which is green on one side and white on the other. In the middle is a red crescent that envelops a star.
It is said that this is where the first human called Homo erectus settled as evidences are proved by different excavations. Phoenician traders lived on Numidia, and Algiers became a colony of the Romans and became a part of Mauretania Caesariensis. It was then conquered by the Vandals in the A.D’s and the inhabitants became barbarians. Arabs took over about A.D. 650 and the region was named Al-Maghrib al-Awsat, or the Middle West where the Berbers agreed to be converted to Muslim but kept their social, traditional and political institutions. The country was invaded by the Ottoman Empire and became the headquarters of Barbarian pirates on 1536. Their help was sought after by Algerians to drive away the Spaniards. The name of the Turkish pirate was Aruj also known as Barbarossa. French settled in Algeria in 1830 to end the brutality and cruelty of the barbaric pirates making the country a part of France.
Uprisings for independence began in 1954 until war developed. By that time French president Charles de Gaulle established peace negotiation and Algeria got its freedom. An election was held and Ahmed Ben Bella was proclaimed president but was ousted through a military coup led by Col. Houari Boumedienne for the restoration and stabilization of the country’s economy.
It is located in the northwest part of Africa on the coast of Mediterranean. It is bordered by Morocco and Western Sahara on the western part and by Libya and Tunisia on the eastern part. On its north is the Mediterranean Sea and on the southern part is bordered by Mali, Niger and Mauritania. The northern part of the country is primarily of valleys, mountains and plateaus that are put wisely between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert.
Much of its territory is 85 % covered by the Sahara Desert which inhabits few animals. For the animals to survive the hot and humid weather and food scarcity, they gather in oases situated in the middle of the desert to cool down, drink water and munch on some succulents. Mt. Tahat with a height of 9,850 feet is the highest point in the Sahara region and is found in the Ahaggar Range.
Because Algeria has massive and different geographical features, it was divided according to its unique characteristics. Here are some of the important and well known physical features of Algeria.
High Plateaus and Saharan Atlas
The zone of High Plateaus together with the Saharan Atlas extends from the border of Morocco and expands its area of up to 600 kilometers. The place consists of grasslands and some few trees situated between Saharan Atlas and Tell ranges. Average plateaus have an extent that ranges from 1,100 to 1,300 meters. It has three mountain chains: Ksour mountain range is located near the border of Morocco and at the south are Amour and Oulad Nail. Even though the area is mostly of desert, there is still an ample supply of water for the animals in the form of oases found in the northern part. These are the Laghouat, Bechar and Biskra.
Algeria’s eastern part is mainly of basins, plains and mountains. Here is where you will find the Aures Mountains extensive ridges and the Petite Kabylie Mountains which is separated from the Grande Kabylie range. Fishing industry became rapid in the port cities of Skikda, Annaba and Bejaia. Setif and Constantine’s broad high plains serve as grazing grounds for cattle, goats and sheep as well as farmland.
The Sahara derived its name from the Arabic words sa’hra al-Kubra which means the «Great Desert». It is the hottest desert in the world and places as the third largest after Arctic and the Antarctica. It stretches as far as the Saharan Atlas southern region. It has an area of 1,500 km staring from Niger up to the Mali borderland. The sky above it is always clear and the temperature is often exceedingly high but low in humidity.
Forestry, Plants and Wildlife
The northern part of Algeria is abundant in olive trees and cork oak. Its mountain regions host huge evergreen forests of juniper, evergreen oak and Aleppo pine trees and some other deciduous trees that lose its leaves on a certain season. In the warmer areas of the region, different kinds of palm trees flourish together with figs, agave and eucalyptus trees. On the semi-arid regions plants like drinn, esparto grass and alfa spring up while on the coastal plains vine grapes grow profusely. Forest inhabitants are mainly boars, jackals, elephants and other wild animals.
Plant life on the Sahara Desert is limited and mostly of cactus. There are various animals as well but are scant. Rabbits, jackals and jerboas can endure the high temperature along with other poisonous animals like snakes, scorpion and other insects like spiders and beetles.
Forest land area is about 1.6% and the mountains have great dense forests. Algeria is one of the main producers of cork. Products generated from the forest include firewood, charcoal and other woods.
French forces facilitate the reforestation on the dry regions and covers 12,100 hectares of land. About 25 million trees got their roots on the ground including Eucalyptus in clay soil and Aleppo pines and olive trees in soil rich in lime and calcium. Green wall or trees planted side by side is also one of reforestation project to prevent the Sahara desert sands covering more fertile lands.
The Algeria Industries
Algeria has many industries that generate the country’s gross national product. It includes agriculture, poultry and livestock. They also have some products to export to other countries.
A small percentage of Algerians involve themselves in agriculture including farming because only a few percent of the land can be cultivated. Due to poor soil quality, soil erosion and scarce water supply, a fourth of Northern Algeria produces nothing.
Most farms are mostly owned by Muslims and these are primarily located on mountain slopes and interior plains. Vegetables and grains planted include barley, wheat, grapes, potatoes and tomatoes. Fruit trees include figs, olives and citrus. They mostly import grains, milk and other agricultural products but export natural gas, petroleum and petroleum products.
Poultry and Livestock
They also have pastures for grazing animals like donkeys, mules, goats, donkeys, camels and horses. They can provide their own poultry meat however they need to import chicks, eggs to hatch and veterinary supplies. They also need to import meat and milk due to shortage as they cannot provide much of these due to feed and water scarcity.
Fishing is one of the main sources of income in Algeria but is not fully developed. They lack modern facilities to catch fishes. A variety of fishes are caught in the open seas which include mackerel, anchovies, sardines, shellfish, bogue and tuna.
Great Things to See and Do in Algeria
There are many wonderful places that you can visit in Algeria where you could spend much of your time and enjoy your stay.
These are mountain mass of rugged peaks that stretches across the southern Sahara towards Libya. It is wholly enveloped by desert sands and has volcanic rock plateaus with eroded cliffs and granite needles that form captivating basalt of blue, black or pink. This is a great place to go for more adventurous people like you who preferred rock climbing.
At the center of Hoggar Mountains is where you’ll find Tamanrasset. It is called Tam most often by tourists who stay here for a while who wants to tour the mountains or go hiking in the desert accompanied by camel drivers carrying their luggage. It has regular visits from the blue-robed Touaregs. These are the camel caravans of ancient nomadic people of the said region.
If you want to relax and unwind, you can visit and stay on one of the finest resorts here. Zeralda is one of them depicting a nomad village and a holiday village as well. The Turquoise Coast have great rocky coves and beaches with easy access to the city’s store and center for sports, cruise and essential watersport gears.