The state of Algeria with its present borders first existed in the 20th century, as a result of French colonialism. Prior to this, Arab invasion and indirect Ottoman rule had helped create what later became the modern state formation. Algeria became independent in 1962.
From ancient times, parts of present-day Algeria were part of several different kingdoms, and different states were established – both by immigrant and conquering people, and by the indigenous population; berbere (amazigh).
Algeria’s history until the 16th century is integrated with developments in northern Africa, and in particular the Maghreb area; today’s Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The western part of modern Algeria is particularly closely linked to Morocco’s history; the eastern part of Tunisia. The coastal areas gained early contact with both Phoenicians from the interior of the Mediterranean and several European cultures, including Greek and Roman.
Algeria as a state came under Ottoman and French rule. The Ottomans ruled parts of today’s Algeria, essentially the coastal strip, through local, independent rulers from the mid-1500s until the French conquest in 1830. During this period, Algeria, and especially Alger, became the main player in the piracy in the Mediterranean.
Danish and Norwegian ships were also hijacked, and in 1770 Denmark-Norway went to a failed war against Algiers.
France conquered parts of Algeria in 1830, then defeated local resistance and expanded its territory within what has become today’s borders. Algeria became a French settler colony, with extensive European immigration and settlement. Contradictions developed between the European and Muslim population of Algeria and between the French people group in Algeria and France.
Algeria’s claim to independence was rejected, and from 1954 the Muslim population went to armed liberation war, which in 1962 led to Algerian independence. Then Algeria became a radical state that supported liberation forces elsewhere in the world. After a political liberalization, Algeria was again thrown into war in the 1990s; a civil war between the current regime dominated by the military leadership and radical Islamists.