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Algeria

coast, french, atlas, exports, tell, country and sahara

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ALGERIA, a French colony in north Africa, situated between lat. and N. and long. 2° 10' W. and 50' E., having on the north the Mediterranean, on the east Tunis, on the west Morocco and on the south (where the boundary is ill-defined) the Desert of Sahara; area 184,474 square miles, or including the Al gerian Sahara, 343,500. The country has been organized in two great divisions : Northern Al geria, consisting of the three departments-. Algiers, Oran and Constantine, containing 17 arrondissements and 269 communes, 74 of which are mixed; and Southern Algeria, consisting of the four territories of Ain Sefra, Ghardaia, Touggout and the Saharan Oases, organized under decree of 14 Aug. 1905. They con tain five mixed and seven native communes. The coast line is about 550 miles in length, steep and rocky, and though the indenta tions are numerous the harbors are much exposed to the north wind. The country is traversed by the Atlas Mountains, two chains of which— the Great Atlas, border ing on the Sahara, and the Little, or Maritime, Atlas between it and the sea — run parallel to the coast, the former attaining in Mount Shelia, its loftiest peak, a height of 7,611 feet. The intervals are filled with lower ranges, and numerous traverse ranges connect die prin cipal ones and run from them to the coast, forming elevated table lands and enclosed val leys. The rivers are numerous, but many of them are mere torrents rising in the mountains near the coast. The Shelif is much the largest. Some of the rivers are largely used for irrigation, and artesian wells have been sunk in some places for the same purpose. There are, both on the coast and in the interior, extensive salt lakes or marshes (shotts) which dry up to a great extent in sum mer. The country bordering on the coast, called the Tell, is generally hilly, with fertile valleys; in some places a flat and fertile plain extends between the hills and the sea. In the east there are shotts that sink below the sea level, and into these it has been proposed to in troduce the waters of the Mediterranean. The climate varies considerably according to eleva tion and local peculiarities. There are three seasons; winter from November to February, spring from March to June and summer from July to October. Rain falls plentifully from

December to March. The summer is vety hot and dry and the sirocco, or hot desert wind, often blows. In many parts of the coast the temperature is moderate and the climate so healthy that Algeria is now a winter resort for invalids. Agriculture is carried on chiefly in the small but fertile area near the coast, known as the Tell, mainly owned by the Europeans, and artificially irrigated.

Products.—The chief products are wheat, barley and oats, tobacco, cotton, wine, silk and dates. Early vegetables, especially potatoes, asparagus and peas, are exported to France and England. A fibre called alfa, a variety of Esparto, which grows wild on the high plateaus, is exported in large quantities. The forest area is estimated at 6,559,490 acres, belonging prin cipally to the state and the communes. Much of it is brushwood, but in the Tell Atlas grow various sorts of pines and oaks, ash, cedar, myrtle, pistachio nut and the cork-oak, cover ing 645,000 acres and furnishing large quanti ties of cork for exporting. Portions of the area are also leased for tillage and for pastur age for cattle, sheep, horses and pigs intro duced by the French. Wild animals-are not nu merous, the lion and ostrich having been ex terminated, but hyenas and jadcals, a species of ape and occasionally camels are to be found. Algeria possesses valuable minerals, including iron, copper, lead, sulphur, zinc, antimony, mar ble (white and red), phosphate, petroleum and mercury.

Trade.— The trade of Algeria has greatly increased under French rule, Franoe, Spain, England and Germany being the countries with which it is principally carried on, and three fourths of the whole being with France. In 1909 the exports amounted to $64,845,000, the imports to $90,950,000; in 1913 exports had in creased to $102,100,000 and imports to $133,500, 000. The exports, besides those mentioned above, are wine, olive oil, raw hides, wood, wool, tobacco, oranges and other fruits, etc.; the im ports are manufactured goods, cottons, woolens, machinery, clothing, coal, coffee, etc. French money, weights and measures are generally used. The chief towns are Algiers, Oran, Con stantine, Bone, Philippeville and Tlemcen.

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