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Algeria, officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers. With a total area of 2,381,741 square kilometres, 90% of which is desert, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and in the Mediterranean. The country is bordered in the northeast by Tunisia, in the east by Libya, in the west by Morocco, in the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, in the southeast by Niger, and in the north by the Mediterranean Sea.
In this region, midday desert temperatures can be hot year round. After sunset, however, the clear, dry air permits rapid loss of heat, and the nights are cool to chilly. Enormous daily ranges in temperature are recorded. The highest official temperature was 50.6 °C at In Salah.
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language. Algerian Arabic is the language used by the majority of the population. Colloquial Algerian Arabic is heavily infused with borrowings from French and Berber. Berber is spoken by one fourth of the population and has been recognized as a "national language" by the constitutional amendment since 8 May 2002.
The Berbers are the indigenous ethnic group of Algeria and are believed to be the ancestral stock on which elements from the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks as well as other ethnic groups have contributed to the ethnic makeup of Algeria. Descendants of Andalusian refugees are also present in the population of Algiers and other cities. Moreover, Spanish was spoken by these Aragonese and Castillian Morisco descendants deep into the 18th century, and even Catalan was spoken at the same time by Catalan Morisco descendants in the small town of Grish El-Oued.
Islam is the predominant religion with 99% of the population. There are about 150,000 Ibadis in the M'zab Valley in the region of Ghardaia.
In January 2013 Algeria's population was an estimated 37.9 million, who are mainly Arab-Berber ethnically. At the outset of the 20th century, its population was approximately four million. About 90% of Algerians live in the northern, coastal area; the inhabitants of the Sahara desert are mainly concentrated in oases, although some 1.5 million remain nomadic or partly nomadic. 28.1% of Algerians are under the age of 15.