Algeria Early History

By | September 2, 2021


The archaic nature of the human presence in Algeria is attested by the Ain Hanech deposit with tools on pebbles attributed to the lower Paleolithic and by the discovery, in Ternifine, of fossil remains (with a probable age of around 700,000 years) referable to Homo erectus, which have made possible the reconstruction of a human type known with the name of Atlantropo, and of Acheulean industries, also found in other sites such as Chetma and Abukir. As in all of North Africa, also in Algeria there is abundant evidence of the Aterian cultures of the Middle Palaeolithic and Capsian of the upper Paleolithic, even in the innermost areas, which at that time must have had more favorable environmental conditions than the current ones for human settlement. Finally, even more abundant are the traces of Neolithic cultures and of subsequent times, with lithic industry, ceramics, ornaments.


The first historical information relating to Algeria refers to the foundation of some Phoenician colonies on the coastal area, while the interior was inhabited by Numidians, Mauri and Getuli. At the end of the century. III a. C. acquired pre-eminence among the local kings Massinissa, king of the massiles, who, allied with the Romans, enlarged his domain at the expense of Carthage. A century later the war of Jugurtha against the Romans marked the beginning of the decline of the Numidian kingdom; with the victory of Caesar over Pompey, ally of King Juba I, Numidia was united to the province of Africa with the name of Africa Nova (46 BC). The territory of present-day Algeria received various orders under Augustus and Caligulaand finally constituted, in 42 d. C., Mauritania Cesariense, a province governed by administrative officials dependent on the emperor. Around 430 Algeria came under the dominion of the Vandals, who conquered North Africa and only a century later were repulsed by Justinian’s army (533). However, the region remained under the control of Byzantium for only a little over a century; in 670 the Arabs, who had made a first raid in 647, began the actual conquest of Algeria overcoming the resistance of the Byzantine garrisons and that, extremely bitter, of the Berber tribes, who obtained momentary successes. The proselytizing force of the new religion and the political skill of the Arabs succeeded in facilitating the integration between the two lineages. Starting from the sec. VIII, when the unity of the Arab Empire disintegrated, autonomous local dynasties also asserted themselves in Algeria; so followed the Rustemids, overwhelmed by the Fatimites, and the Hammadids. After the arrival of the Banū Hilāl and Banū Sulaym tribes (11th century), western Algeria became part of the dominion of the Almoravids, who were succeeded by the Almohads who also occupied central-eastern Algeria. At the disintegration of the Almohad caliphate, most of Algeria came under the dominion of the Abdalwadites (1239-1554); the weakness of the dynasty and the continuous attacks of neighboring states facilitated the Turkish penetration and the conquest by the Spaniards of important coastal bases (Mers-el-Kébir in 1505, Oran in 1509). Passed under the Turkish rule in the century. XVI, according to simplyyellowpages, Algeria was ruled at the end of that century by a pasha appointed by the Turks and residing in Algiers, the seat of the regency. The progressive lack of interest of the governor appointed by the Ottomans favored the affirmation of the power of the corsairs that already in 1516 ca. they had made Algiers the main center of their activity in the Mediterranean and that, from the middle of the century. XVII, assumed, alternatively with the Janissaries, the right to appoint the governor of the regency (see Barbary States). Thus Algeria acquired a certain autonomy towards the Turkish Empire, mitigated by the acceptance of a bond of vassalage towards the empire. Between the century XVI and XIX the events of the internal evolution of Algiers, the vital center of the region, are intertwined with those of the relations with the European states from one or the other of which the city suffered, on different dates, naval attacks alternating with the stipulation of friendship and trade treaties that should have prevented the exercise of privateering. In July 1830 the French government, for reasons of internal politics and following a crisis in relations with the dey of Algiers, he decided to conquer the city. Once the occupation was carried out easily, it was then difficult for the French to penetrate inland; some Algerian tribes in fact, led by the skilled Emir ʽAbd al-Qādir that only in 1847 was defeated by France, they put up a vigorous resistance. Between 1849 and 1857 Kabilia was subdued; a certain ferment that nevertheless remained in the country, now entirely conquered, exploded in the insurrection of 1871 which was vigorously repressed. In the meantime, having abandoned the principle of restricted occupation, the effective colonization of the country had begun, marked by the progressive subtraction of the cultivable areas from the indigenous people and by the increase of European settlers (28,000 in 1840, 272,000 in 1872, 642,000 in 1901, 829,000 in 1921) which gave impetus to the agricultural, urban, commercial and industrial development of the country.

Algeria Early History