Algeria has been conquered by many empires throughout its history. In ancient times, it was part of the Numidia kingdom and its people were called Numidian.
Author Terrence McKenna hypothesized that the fabled Garden of Eden lied within Algeria, and is therefore the birthplace of humanity.
Ancient paintings also indicate a Shamanistic religion based on the use of psychedelic mushrooms, another reason why McKenna proposed the region was the cradle of culture and civilization.
Mushroom-induced visions give a powerful impulse towards art, painting, and the sense of contact with the supernatural that is the basis of religious belief.
Berber people controlled the region during much of the Middle Ages, with Muslim Arabs arriving in the mid-seventh century. Spanish conquest was next, followed by the Ottoman Empire, with the French taking control in 1830. Algeria finally gained its independence on July 5, 1962.
Modern Algerian literature is split between Arabic and French, a language that is still spoken in many parts of the country. Over 99 percent of the citizens are also Muslim, exhibiting the post-colonial influence of Algeria’s past.