by the King of Spain to the Bey
(provincial governor) of Algiers. During the Ottoman rule Algeria
became a great military power and assumed a reputation for piracy until
successfully invaded by France in 1830. Following this bloody invasion in which
many tens of thousands of Algerians died, there was a mass migration from France
to populate the cities there and firmly make it an integral part of France.
The native Algerian people never
accepted this French rule and in 1954 the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN)
launched the Algerian War of Independence which ended with a plebiscite called
by then French President Charles de Gaulle. There was an overwhelming vote for
full independence which was granted on 5th July 1962. The FLN has dominated
Algerian politics ever since.
During the 1990s
the Islamic Salvation Front challenged the FLN's dominance however army
intervention to crush the movement led to all out insurgency in which some
100,000 people died.
By the late 1990s the armed wing of the FIS, the Islamic
Slavation Army, was crushed and disbanded by government forces and subsequent
democratic elections saw Abdelaziz Bouteflika elected president on three
occasions, at least one of which is largely seen as 'rigged'.