In terms of land area, what's the largest country in Africa?

And the answer is: Algeria.

Located in North Africa with shores on the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria is the largest country in Africa, and the 10th largest in the world. Most Algerians live in the northern part, near the Mediterranean, since four-fifths of the country is filled with the Sahara Desert.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Beyond the intense heat of the Sahara Desert, Algeria holds within its borders a significant portion of the Arab and Muslim world. The region has long since been ruled by competing colonial powers such as Romans, Byzantines, Germanic tribes, Spaniards, Turks, and, most recently, the French, but its borders hold steadfast to religious tradition and cultural history. In fact, Islam in the nation dates back to the 7th century, when Muslim Arabs captured inhabitants of Algeria.

Algeria is home to not one, not two, but seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Remnants from its colonial past can be found alongside indigenous architecture, which can be found alongside contemporary mosques – most of which is internationally protected. Additionally, the grand Sahara sweeps over 90% of the region, so only 12% of the land in Algeria is inhabited. Most of the country's population is on the coast, where the Mediterranean climate is more habitable.

Photo credit: US Department of State. 

A large percentage of the country's wealth comes from its exportation of hydrocarbons. Algeria is the sixth-largest exporter of natural gas and has the 10 largest natural gas reserve in the world, making the fossil fuel industry an incredibly profitable one in the nation.

Did You Know?

Algeria's national animal is the adorable fennec fox. With huge ears and sand-colored fur, these creatures are so beloved in Algeria that they’re not only the national animal, but also a nickname for the national football team Les Fennecs.

Photo credit: yvonne n from willowick, usa, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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