By Daniel E Harmon

The North African state of Algeria grew to become self sustaining in 1962 after a brutal eight-year-long warfare opposed to France. In 1991 a emerging Islamist stream within the nation ended in a civil struggle that lasted for greater than a decade. this day the scuffling with is over and Algerians try to place the tragedies of the previous at the back of them and rebuild their nation.

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The fourth Berber group is the Mzab (Mozabites). These people traditionally have occupied the northern fringe of the Sahara Desert, relying on the oases found there for water. Like the Tuareg, the Mzab once were noted guides and traders in the Sahara. In recent generations they have turned to other livelihoods. Some Mzab have even relocated to the northern cities. Since independence some Algerian educators and artists have focused on renewing the ancient Berber traditions. All but a tiny fraction of Berbers are Muslims today, and yet most still maintain a few religious and social practices that are native to the Maghreb and older than Islam.

The Moroccan government was not pleased when Algeria announced its support of the Polisario independence movement. Although interaction between Morocco and Algeria remains icy, with each country accusing the other of harboring militant activity and smuggling arms, a positive development occurred in 2004 when Morocco lifted visa requirements on Algerian citizens. Just as illegal aliens from poorer countries enter the United States, illegal aliens from the Maghreb have sought better lives in the Mediterranean port cities of Spain and Italy.

Musicians use any instruments they can acquire in their performances and blend traditional Arabic sounds with Western influences. 59 Algeria is home to many historical cities. (Opposite) This picture shows the port of Algiers, one of the major economic centers in Algeria. (Right) The minaret of the mosque in Ghardaïa towers above the rest of the city. 6 Cities and Communities IN AGES PAST Algerian farmers and herders lived in far-flung villages across the coastal zone, in the mountains, and around desert oases.

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