Algeria is a large country with a fascinating past and a troubled present. The nation was devastated by years of fighting between government forces and Islamic extremists. The unrest that began in 1991 left tens of thousands dead and forced many others to flee their homes. Fighting has also broken out between the country's Arab and Berber populations. In addition, although this large North African nation has great resources, including a large share of the world's oil and natural gas reserves, today its people are quite poor by Western standards.In recent years the violence has slowed, and the Algerian government has attempted to improve the lives of its people. However, it remains to be seen whether the country will have a peaceful and productive future, or whether the internal divisions within Algeria will ultimately fragment the nation beyond repair.