Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Algiers (Fr. Alger; Arab. Al Gezair, The Isles), the capital of the province of that name and of the whole French colony of Algeria, is situated on the Mediterranean, being built in the form of an amphitheatre on the slope of a mountain facing the sea, from which the tiers of white houses offer a bright and striking picture. Founded by the Arabs about A.D. 935, perhaps on the site of the ancient Icosium, Algiers under its Deys was for nine centuries a nest of pirates, who preyed with impartiality on the vessels of all nations trading with the Mediterranean. Many attempts were made to suppress this abomination. The Spaniards held the place from 1510 to 1516. Charles V., Louis XIV., Cromwell, by the vigorous hand of Blake, all essayed with incomplete success this difficult task. In 1816 an English fleet, under Lord Exmouth, bombarded the town, and put an end to the enslavement of Christians, but not to the insolent misdeeds of the corsairs. In 1830, to avenge an alleged breach of international courtesy, Charles X. of France sent an expedition which captured the place, and the subjugation of the whole country was slowly effected. Under the French Algiers has greatly improved. The upper town and the suburb of Mustapha contain several handsome streets, such as the Boulevard de la Republique, and fine squares, chief of which is the Place du Gouvernement. An Archbishopric has been established, and there are law courts of every grade, a university, a museum, schools, theatres, and all the other adjuncts of French civilisation. The harbour will now accommodate 300 merchant vessels and 30 ships of war. The fortifications have been immensely strengthened. Of late years Algiers with its suburbs has become a favourite winter resort for invalids from England and elsewhere, those to whom the climate of the coast is unfavourable seeking health at Hammam R'Irka, 80 miles distant, on the fringe of the desert. A railway connects Algiers with Tunis and Constantine on the one side and Oran on the other.