Algeria, the largest country in Africa, encompasses 2,381,741 sq. km. and is more than three times the size of Texas. It is located in Northern Africa and is situated along the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia, and Western Sahara. Algeria is formally known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. Algiers is the capital; other major cities include: Oran, Constantine, Batna, and Annaba. Based on a July 2012 estimate, Algeria’s total population is 37,367,226 million people.
Arab-Berber (99%) and European (less than 1%) are the major ethnic groups. Arabic is the official language; other languages spoken include Berber and French. Sunni Muslim is the state religion (99%), other religions include Christian and Jewish (1%).
The terrain is mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; and narrow, discontinuous coastal plains. The mountainous areas are subject to severe earthquakes and mudslides. Algeria’s climate is arid to semiarid. The coastline has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers; the high plateaus have drier, cold winters and hot summers. Hot, dry, dust-laden winds, known as sirocco winds, are especially common in the summer.
Algeria’s natural resources include: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, and zinc.
Algeria achieved independence from France on July 5, 1962. Algeria has a bicameral Parliament consisting of the Council of the Nation (upper house) with 144 seats and the National People's Assembly (lower house) with 462 seats. The country is comprised of 48 wilayas, or administrative provinces.
CIA World Factbook, 1/2013