Algeria: key historical events

Page last modified 24/3/2020


For events in North Africa, e.g. Libya, Algeria, relating to the Islamic World and Arab Spring see also Islam & Middle East

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1/4/2019, Algerian President Bouteflika, who had been in poor health, and faced by protests against his rule, announced that he would step down before his term ended on 28/4/2019.

16/2/2019, Protests against President Bouteflika began in small Algerian towns. By 22/3/2019 these protests had spread to the capital, Algiers.

22/2/2011, Arab Spring protests in Algeria.

2004, President Bouteflika was re-elected.

2002, The Berber language, Tamazight, was recognised as a national, but not official, language.

2001, Berber protests, hundreds killed.

1999, Bouteflika was re-elected, however the poll was boycotted by the opposition.

1995, Democratic Presidential elections were won by Liamine Zerouai.

9/12/1993. Foreigners began leaving Algeria after death threats by Islamic militants.

7/2/1993. Algeria announced that the state of emergency imposed a year ago because of Islamic fundamentalism would continue indefinitely.

14/12/1992. In Algeria, Muslim extremists ambushed and killed five policemen.

2/7/1992, Ali Kafi became the new President of Algeria.

29/6/1992, The 73 year old President of Algeria, Mohammed Boudiaf, was assassinated whilst making a speech at a political rally.

4/3/1992, The Supreme Court of Algeria declared the Islamic Salvation Front illegal. It was poised to win control of the Parliament of Algeria in runoff elections.

1987, Algeria signed a co-operation agreement with the USSR.

4/7/1979, Algerian leader Ben Bella was released after 14 years in jail.

1971, The Algerian oil industry was nationalised.

29/7/1965, The governments of Algeria and France signed an agreement which allowed French petroleum companies to retain their concessions for the right to drill for oil in Algeria, but required also that they cooperate with Algeria's government-owned oil and gas consortium.

20/6/1965, Police in Algiers broke up demonstrations by people who had taken to the streets chanting slogans in support of deposed President Ben Bella.

19/6/1965, The President of Algeria, Ben Bella, (born 1918) was overthrown in a military coup by his Minister of Defence, Colonel Houari Boumedienne. Ben Bella  was imprisoned, and released in 1979.

8/9/1963, A new Constitution in Algeria established Ben Bella  as President.

26/9/1962, Ahmed ben Bella was elected Prime Minister of Algeria.

22/8/1962, President De Gaulle of France escaped an assassination attempt by the OAS, a terrorist organisation of White Algerian settlers opposed to De Gaulle’s policies there.

3/7/1962, France recognised Algerian independence, after a referendum; this also entailed the departure of Algeria from the EU.. The referendum result was 2,605,293 in favour of independence and a tiny 6,732 to stay with France. In many voting districts not a single non-independence vote was cast. Algeria had been under French rule for 132 years. French property was taken over by Algerians.  Ben Bella was the first Prime Minister of Algeria.  De Gaulle had begun peace talks with the FLN on 30/3/1961 and peace was concluded mostly on the FLN’s terms on 18/3/1962.

1/7/1962. Referendum on independence in Algeria. The result was decisive; 5,993,754 voted for independence, and 16,748 opposed it. Most Europeans opposed to independence did not vote. Initially both Muslim Algerians and Europeans celebrated, but within a few days there was violence between fundamentalist Muslims and resentful Europeans in Oran.

26/3/1962. The French Army launched an offensive to crush an armed uprising in Algeria. See 3/7/1962.

8/1/1961, France held a national referendum on whether Algeria should be granted independence. The result was in favour of independence.

24/1/1960. Revolt against French rule broke out in Algeria, after General de Gaulle dismissed the pieds noir hero General Massau. French settlers felt they lacked protection against FLN terrorists and those who had supported De Gaulle 2 years earlier now demonstrated against him. De Gaulle ordered in paratroops who debated whether to open fire on fellow Frenchmen. The order was never given and by February 1960 the revolt had collapsed and many insurgents arrested.

13/12/1959. The UN decided not to intervene in Algeria.

16/9/1959, Charles de Gaulle, French President, offered Algeria a referendum on independence.

4/6/1958, To the dismay of those who wanted the FLN crushed, Charles de Gaulle appeared to offer the prospect of reconciliation in Algeria.

2/6/1958, French President Charles de Gaulle was granted emergency powers for three months in respect to the Algeria crisis.

13/5/1958. Rioting by French settlers in Algeria led to the French army seizing power.

15/6/1956, Oil was first struck in Algeria.

1956, The French Parliament – with the support of its Communist Party – granted General Jacques massu and his 10th Parachute Division absolute authority to do ‘whatever was necessary’ to crush the FLN.

31/12/1955, In response to mounting violence in Algeria, France had increased the number of its troops stationed there from 76,000 at the beginning of 1955 to 170,000 by the end of 1955.

20/8/1955, Algerian independence fighters (FLN, Front Liberation National) committed atrocities against Europeans in the Constantine area of Algeria. Simultaneous attacks in 25 towns were co-ordinated by former councillor Zirout Youssef; French military posts, police stations, and the homes of Europeans were hit. ^0 Europeans died in Philippeville. The French responded harshly, with villages suspected of harbouring rebels being razed and 500,000 French troops being sent to maintain order. Barbed wire was erected along the borders with Tunisia and Morocco because these two newly-independent states were aiding the rebels. The French mounted a retaliatory raid into Tunisia, sparking UN intervention.

23/12/1954, France sent 20,000 troops to Algeria.

1/11/1954. A nationalist uprising began against the French in their colony of Algeria. On 23/12/1954 France sent 20,000 troops to Algeria. By September 1955 there were about 120,000 French troops in Algeria, a number quadrupled by December 1956 with still no end to the troubles in sight.  The war continued until the Evian agreement of March 1962.

6/1954, Pierre Mendes-France became head of the French administration in Algeria.

8/5/1945, During French VE celebrations in Setif, Algerian nationalists again agitated for independence. An Algerian carried the forbidden Algerian green and white flag; he was shot dead by French police. The French aftermath was heavy handed, with mass arrests, and the deaths of several tens of thousands of Algerians; 103 Europeans also died.

1/5/1945, During May Day celebrations in Algiers, Algerian nationalist demonstrators staged an unauthorised march, with banners demanding independence from France. French attempts to halt the march led to the deaths of 10 Algerians and one Frenchman.

3/6/1943, Charles de Gaulle of France set up the Committee of National Liberation, through which he promised that Algerians would have a full say in how their country was run after World War Two. De Gaulle’s failure to honour thos promise after the War was a major factor in the hardening of Algerian desire for independence.

1924, Ferhat Abbas (1899-1985) founded the Muslim Student’s Association in Algeria. He served as a volunteer in the French Army from 1939 but after France was defeated, in 1942 he campaigned for Algerian independence, joining the FLN (Front de Liberation Nationale) in 1955. After Algerian independence was achieved in 1962 he became president of the National Constitutent Assembly. He subsequentlt fell out of favour with the Algerian Government, but was rehabilitated shortly before his death.

8/6/1903, The French bombarded the town of Figig, Algeria, in retaliation for indigenous attacks on French colonialists.

26/5/1883, Abd el Kader (born 1807), died. He led Arab resistance to the French occupation of Algeria. He also took steps to protect the Christian minority in Algeria, during an anti-Christian uprising in 1860.

1875, Between 1830 and 1875 French colonists had killed some 875,000 Algerians, around 30% of the population. Several hundred thousand more died in famines, exacerbated by European land seizures. Meanwhile by 1881 some 385,000 European settlers had arrived in Algeria.

1871, In the wake of France’s defeat by Prussia, Arabs in Algeria rebelled against the French colonists.

1848, The first French (Roman Catholic) settlers arrived in Algeria. They seized the best, coastal, lands.

5/12/1844. The French garrison at Biskra, Algeria, was massacred by the Arabs.

28/6/1835, The French were defeated at Makta, Algeria, by Abd al Qadir.

5/7/1830. Algiers capitulated to a French invasion force. France had maintained economic relations with the Algiers

coastal area (Barbary coast) since the 16th century. French coral fishermen had operated there, and wheat was bought from Algeria to send to France. In 1827 a dispute arose between the French and two Jews of Algiers, Bakri and Busnach. In the course of the negotiations in April 1827 the Dey of Algiers struck Deval, the French consul, with a fly whisk. This was used by the French as an excuse for armed intervention. A three-year blockade of Algiers followed, followed by 38,000 French troops landing at Sidi Ferruch on 5/7/1830. Algiers capitulated on 5/7/1830. However the French found that occupying Algiers by no means gave them control over the interior of the country and its indigenous Berber  population. Only by 1848 was the French conquest of Algeria complete.

1509, The Spanish occupied Oran, which had been founded in the 900s by Moors.

944, Foundation of the city of Algeirs.

683, Arab invasions brought Islam to Algeria.

429, Vandal invasions ended Roman rule.


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