Algeria, a North African country, was conquered by France in the 1830s and was formally annexed in 1842. French immigration was encouraged and the Arab population had virtually no political rights. In 1919 a small group of Arabs were allowed to become French citizens and given the vote in return for abandoning their Islamic traditions.
During the Second World War Algeria remained under the control of the Vichy government. On 8th November 1942, the US Army, under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, invaded Algeria as part of Operation Torch. After brief resistance from Vichy forces the country was captured by the Allies.
!n 1949 Ahmed Ben Bella became the leader of Organisation Speciale, the paramilitary wing of the Party of the Algerian People. Ben Bella was captured in 1952 but he escaped to Egypt where he founded the National Liberation Front (FLN). Under the leadership of Ben Bella the FLN fought a long war of independence from France.
In 1962 Algeria gained its independence and Ahmed Ben Bellabecame the country's first prime minister and in 1963 was elected president. However Ben Bella was deposed in 1965 in a military coup led by General Houari Boumedienne and was kept under house arrest until 1979. He spent the next ten years in exile but in 1990 he returned to live in Algeria.
In 1962 Algeria gained its independence and Ahmed Ben Bella became the country's first prime minister and in 1963 was elected president. Ben Bella attempted to establish a system similar to the one led by Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt.
However in 1965 General Houari Boumedienne led a military coup against Ahmed Ben Bella in 1965. He established a Islamic socialist government and presided over the Council of Revolution. Over the next ten years he kept good relations with both sides of in the Cold War. Under his leadership Algeria experienced rapid economic growth. In his final years Boumedienne was unsuccessful in trying to establish a North African Socialist Federation.