18-Feb-2004 -- On our way from Gibraltar to La Goulette (Tunisia) today we are passing the Algerian coast. Already at sunset, in excellent visibility, we saw the high "Tell Atlas" Mountains well over the horizon, and so we knew that a few Confluences were be likely to be bagged.
Algeria is the second largest country of the continent of Africa, however,
four fifths of its territory is desert. The country is traversed by two
ranges of the Atlas Mountains: By the "Tell Atlas" in the North, which in
places approaches close to the coast, and by the "Sahara Atlas" farther
South. The Tell Atlas is the most fertile part of the country.
The Berbers are Algeria's original population. The Arabs came to rule the
country later in the seventh century, but in the sixteenth century the
country came under Ottoman Turkish control. France attacked Algiers in 1830
and by 1848 the whole country was under French rule. In 1954 the "Front de
Libération Nationale" (FLN), representing the Muslim majority, declared open
warfare on the French administration, resulting in Algeria becoming an
independent Republic in 1962. In 1965 the Government was overthrown by a
junta of army officers, who established a revolutionary council under
Colonel Houari Boumédienne. In 1976 Boumédienne was elected president
unopposed. When Boumédienne died in 1978, the Revolutionary Council again
took over the government. In 1988 a new constitution was agreed moving
Algeria towards pluralism. However the 1991 elections were abandoned in
anticipation of the "Islamic Salvation Front" (FIS) opposition being
successful. FIS was banned in March 1992, after which a campaign of
terrorism was launched by Muslim fundamentalists, which continues to the
The official language spoken in Algeria is Arabic, but nearly all Algerians
speak French very well, too.
37N 1E is the first Confluence we visited. It is far offshore, but due to the height of the mountains and the clear atmosphere the coast is well visibile. To the SE, towards the sun, we see Cap Ténès, towards the South and the SW the Tell Atlas mountains can be well seen.
Information about Algeria obtained partly from Nautical Publication Nr. 45,
Mediterranean Pilot, Vol I, 11th
ed. 2002, published by the Hydrographer of the Navy, Taunton, England)