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Algeria has been inhabited by Berbers (or Imazighen) since at least 10,000 BCE. After 1000 BCE, the Carthaginians began establishing settlements along the coast. The Berbers seized the opportunity offered by the Punic Wars to become independent of Carthage, and Berber kingdoms began to emerge, most notably Numidia. In 200 BCE, however, they were once again taken over, this time by the Roman Republic. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, Berbers became independent again in many areas, while the Vandals took control over other parts, where they remained until expelled by the generals of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I. The Byzantine Empire then retained a precarious grip on the east of the country until the coming of the Arabs in the eighth century.
Islamization and Berber dynasties
After some decades of fierce resistance under leaders such as Kusayla and Kahina, the Berbers adopted Islam en masse, but almost immediately expelled the Banu Musa caliphate from Algeria, establishing an Ibadi state under the Rustamids. Having converted the Kutama of Kabylie to its cause, the Shia Fatimids overthrew the Rustamids, and conquered Egypt. They left Algeria and Tunisia to their Zirid vassals; when the latter rebelled and adopted Sunnism, they sent in a populous Arab tribe, the Banu Hilal, to weakeninitiating the Arabization of the countryside. The Almoravids and Almohads, Berber dynasties from the west founded by religious reformers, brought a period of relative peace and development; however, with the Almohads' collapse, Algeria became a battleground for their three successor states, the Algerian Zayyanids, Tunisian Hafsids, and Moroccan Marinids. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Spanish Empire started attacking and subsuming many coastal bobs.
Algeria was brought into the Ottoman Empire by Khair ad-Din and his brother Aruj in 1517, and they established Algeria's modern boundaries in the north and made its coast a base for the corsairs; their privateering peaked in Algiers in the 1600s. Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the First (1801–1805) and Second Barbary War (1815) with the United States. Those piracy acts forced people captured on the boats into slavery; alternatively when the pirates attacked coastal villages in southern and western Europe the inhabitants were forced into slavery.
Raids by Barbary pirates on Western Europe did not cease until 1816, when a Royal Navy raid, assisted by six Dutch vessels, destroyed the port of Algiers and its fleet of Barbary ships.
Spanish occupation of Algerian ports at this time was a source of concern for the local inhabitants.
On the pretext of a slight to their consul, the French invaded Algiers in 1830. In contrast to Morocco and Tunisia, the conquest of Algeria by the French was long and particularly violent since it resulted in the disappearance of about a third of the Algerian population. According to Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison, the French pursued a policy of extermination against the Algerians.
The French conquest of Algeria was slow due to intense resistance from such Muslims as Emir Abdelkader, Ahmed Bey and Fatma N'Soumer. Indeed the conquest was not technically complete until the early 1900s when the last Tuareg were conquered.
Meanwhile, however, the French made Algeria an integral part of France, a status that would end only with the collapse of the Fourth Republic in 1958. Tens of thousands of settlers from France, Italy, Spain, and Malta moved in to farm the Algerian coastal plain and occupy significant parts of Algeria's cities. These settlers benefited from the French government's confiscation of communally held land, and the application of modern agriculture techniques that increased the amount of arable land. Algeria's social fabric suffered during the occupation: literacy plummeted, while land confiscation uprooted much of the population.
After more than a century of rule by France, Algerians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence in 1962.
Sources: Wikipedia and CIA World Factbook
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