The vast North African country of Algeria became independent in 1962 after a brutal eight-year-long war against France. Unfortunately, Algeria has not had a stable history, as various leaders have seized power through military coups. In 1991 a rising Islamist movement in the country led to a civil war that lasted for more than a decade and resulted in over 150,000 deaths. Algerians are still attempting to put the tragedies of the past behind them and rebuild their country. Algeria is fortunate to control many important resources, including vast reserves of oil and national gas. However, since 2011 there have been numerous protests against the government, with people demanding more jobs, better housing, and a more open and transparent political system. Much work must be done to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for all Algerians.