country in N Africa, on the Mediterranean: 919,595 sq mi (2,381,740 sq km); cap. Algiers
A country of northwest Africa bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. The region was settled c. 2000 BC by Berber-speaking people and later formed a part of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. Arab invaders in the seventh and eighth centuries introduced Islam and the Arabic language and culture. A French territory from 1848, Algeria gained its independence in 1962 after more than seven years of fighting. Algiers is the capital and the largest city.
- A country in Northern Africa. Official name: People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
OriginSee also: Algéria
From Arabic الجزائر (al-jazā’ir, “the islands”), plural of جزيرة (jazīra, “island”), referring to the several small islands that once existed in the Bay of Algiers.