Ankara known as Ancyra and Angora, is the capital of Turkey. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban center and 5,150,072 in its province, it is Turkey's second largest city after Istanbul, having outranked İzmir in the 20th century. On 23 April 1920 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established in Ankara, which became the headquarters of Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement during the Turkish War of Independence. Ankara became the new Turkish capital upon the establishment of the Republic on 29 October 1923, succeeding in this role the former Turkish capital Istanbul following the fall of the Ottoman Empire; the government is a prominent employer, but Ankara is an important commercial and industrial city, located at the center of Turkey's road and railway networks. The city gave its name to the Angora wool shorn from Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat, the Angora cat; the area is known for its pears and muscat grapes. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, at 72 square metres per head.
Ankara is a old city with various Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman archaeological sites. The historical center of town is a rocky hill rising 150 m over the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya River, the classical Sangarius; the hill remains crowned by the ruins of the old citadel. Although few of its outworks have survived, there are well-preserved examples of Roman and Ottoman architecture throughout the city, the most remarkable being the 20 BC Temple of Augustus and Rome that boasts the Monumentum Ancyranum, the inscription recording the Res Gestae Divi Augusti; the orthography of the name Ankara has varied over the ages. It has been identified with the Hittite cult center Ankuwaš, although this remains a matter of debate. In classical antiquity and during the medieval period, the city was known as Ánkyra in Greek and Ancyra in Latin. Following its annexation by the Seljuk Turks in 1073, the city became known in many European languages as Angora; the form "Angora" is preserved in the names of breeds of many different kinds of animals, in the names of several locations in the US.
Ankara has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate which borders a hot summer Mediterranean continental climate. Under the Trewartha climate classification, Ankara has a middle latitude steppe climate. Due to its elevation and inland location, Ankara has cold, somewhat snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Rainfall occurs during the spring and autumn. Ankara lies in USDA Hardiness zone 7b, its annual average precipitation is low at 400 millimeters precipitation can be observed throughout the year. Monthly mean temperatures range from 0.3 °C in January to 23.5 °C in July, with an annual mean of 12.02 °C. Ankara had a population of 75,000 in 1927. In 2013, Ankara Province had a population of 5,045,083; when Ankara became the capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, it was designated as a planned city for 500,000 future inhabitants. During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the city grew in a planned and orderly pace. However, from the 1950s onward, the city grew much faster than envisioned, because unemployment and poverty forced people to migrate from the countryside into the city in order to seek a better standard of living.
As a result, many illegal houses called gecekondu were built around the city, causing the unplanned and uncontrolled urban landscape of Ankara, as not enough planned housing could be built fast enough. Although precariously built, the vast majority of them have electricity, running water and modern household amenities. Many of these gecekondus have been replaced by huge public housing projects in the form of tower blocks such as Elvankent, Eryaman and Güzelkent. Although many gecekondus still remain, they too are being replaced by mass housing compounds, as empty land plots in the city of Ankara for new construction projects are becoming impossible to find; the region's history can be traced back to the Bronze Age Hattic civilization, succeeded in the 2nd millennium BC by the Hittites, in the 10th century BC by the Phrygians, by the Lydians, Greeks, Romans and Turks. The oldest settlements in and around the city center of Ankara belonged to the Hattic civilization which existed during the Bronze Age and was absorbed c.
2000–1700 BC by the Indo-European Hittites. The city grew in size and importance under the Phrygians starting around 1000 BC, experienced a large expansion following the mass migration from Gordion, after an earthquake which damaged that city around that time. In Phrygian tradition, King Midas was venerated as the founder of Ancyra, but Pausanias mentions that the city was far older, which accords with present archaeological knowledge. Phrygian rule was succeeded first by Lydian and by Persian rule, though the Phrygian character of the peasantry remained, as evidenced by the gravestones of the much Roman period. Persian sovereignty lasted until the Persians' defeat at the
Asmara or Asmera is the capital and most populous city of Eritrea, in the country's Central Region. It sits at an elevation of 2,325 metres, making it the sixth highest capital in the world by altitude; the city is located at the tip of an escarpment, both the northwestern edge of the Eritrean highlands and the Great Rift Valley in neighbouring Ethiopia. In 2017, the city was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved modernist architecture. Asmara was first settled in 800 BC with a population ranging from 100 to 1000; the city was founded in the 12th century CE after four separate villages unified to live together peacefully after long periods of conflict. According to Eritrean Tigrinya oral traditional history, there were four clans living in the Asmara area on the Kebessa Plateau: the Gheza Gurtom, the Gheza Shelele, the Gheza Serenser and Gheza Asmae; these towns were attacked by clans from the low land and from the rulers of "seger mereb melash", until the women of each clan decided that to defeat their common enemy and preserve peace the four clans must unite.
The men accepted, hence the name "Arbate Asmera". Arbate Asmara means, in the Tigrinya language, "the four made them unite". Arbate was dropped and it has been called Asmara which means "they made them unite". There is still a district called Arbaete Asmara in the Administrations of Asmara, it is now called the Italianized version of the word Asmara. The westernized version of the name is used by a majority of non-Eritreans, while the multilingual inhabitants of Eritrea and neighboring peoples remain loyal to the original pronunciation, Asmera; the missionary Remedius Prutky passed through Asmara in 1751, described in his memoirs that a church built there by Jesuit priests 130 years before was still intact. Asmara, a small village in the nineteenth century, started to grow when it was occupied by Italy in 1889. Governor Ferdinando Martini made it the capital city of Italian Eritrea in 1897, in preference to the Red Sea port of Massawa, since the city experienced a continuous growth. In the early 20th century, the Eritrean Railway was built to the coast, passing through the town of Ghinda, under the direction of Carlo Cavanna.
In both 1913 and 1915 the city suffered only slight damage in large earthquakes. A large Italian community developed. According to the 1939 census, Asmara had a population of 98,000. Only 75,000 Italians lived in all of Eritrea; the capital acquired an Italian architectural look. Europeans used Asmara "to experiment with radical new designs". By the late 1930s, Asmara was called Piccola Roma. Nowadays more than 400 buildings are of Italian origin, many shops still have Italian names; the Kingdom of Italy invested in the industrial development of Asmara, but the beginning of World War II stopped this. The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organisation made Asmara a World Heritage Site in July 2017, saying “It is an exceptional example of early modernist urbanism at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in an African context”. In 1952, the United Nations resolved to federate the former colony under Ethiopian rule. During the Federation, Asmara was no longer the capital city; the capital was now Addis Ababa, over 1,000 kilometres to the south.
The national language of the city was therefore replaced from Tigrinya language to the Ethiopian Amharic language. In 1961, Emperor Haile Selassie I ended the "federal" arrangement and declared the territory to be the 14th province of the Ethiopian Empire. Ethiopia's biggest ally was the United States; the city was home to the US Army's Kagnew Station installation from 1943 until 1977. The Eritrean War of Independence began in 1961 and ended in 1991, resulting in the independence of Eritrea. Asmara was left undamaged throughout the war, as were the majority of highland regions. After independence, Asmara again became the capital of Eritrea. Four big landmarks of the city are the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Kidane Mehret Cathedral of the Catholic faith, the Enda Mariam Cathedral of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Al Khulafa Al Rashiudin Mosque of the Islamic faith. Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully together in Asmara for centuries; the religious majority in Asmara are Orthodox Christians.
The population in the Central Region is 5 percent Muslim. The city lies at an elevation of 2,325 metres above sea level, it lies on north-south trending highlands known as the Eritrean Highlands, an extension of the Ethiopian Highlands. The temperate central portion, where Asmara lies, is situated on a rocky highland plateau, which separates the western lowlands from the eastern coastal plains; the lands that surround Asmara are fertile those to the south towards the Debub Region of Eritrea. The highlands that Asmara is located in fall away to reveal the eastern lowlands, characterized by the searing heat and humidity of the Eritrean salt pans, lapped by the Red Sea. To the west of the plateau stretches a vast semi-arid hilly terrain continuing all the way towards the border with Sudan through the Gash-Barka Region. Asmara features a somewhat rare version of a steppe climate, with warm, but not hot summ
Lagos is a city in the Nigerian state of Lagos. The city, with its adjoining conurbation, is the most populous in Nigeria and on the African continent, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and one of the most populous urban agglomerations. Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa. Lagos emerged as a port city that originated on a collection of islands, which are contained in the present day Local Government Areas of Lagos Island, Eti-Osa, Amuwo-Odofin and Apapa. Due to rapid urbanization, the city expanded to the west of the lagoon to include areas in the present day Lagos Mainland, Ajeromi-Ifelodun and Surulere; this led to the classification of Lagos into two main areas: the Island, the initial city of Lagos, before it expanded into the area known as the Mainland. This city area was governed directly by the Federal Government through the Lagos City Council, until the creation of Lagos State in 1967, which led to the splitting of Lagos city into the present day seven Local Government Areas, an addition of other towns from the Western Region, to form the state.
Lagos, the capital of Nigeria since its amalgamation in 1914, went on to become the capital of Lagos State after its creation. However, the state capital was moved to Ikeja in 1976, the federal capital moved to Abuja in 1991. Though Lagos is still referred to as a city, the present day Lagos known as "Metropolitan Lagos", as "Lagos Metropolitan Area" is an urban agglomeration or conurbation, consisting of 20 LGAs, 32 LCDAs including Ikeja, the state capital of Lagos State; this conurbation makes up 37% of Lagos State's total land area, but houses about 85% of the state's total population. The exact population of Metropolitan Lagos is disputed. In the 2006 federal census data, the conurbation had a population of about 8 million people. However, the figure was disputed by the Lagos State Government, which released its own population data, putting the population of Lagos Metropolitan Area at 16 million; as at 2015, unofficial figures put the population of "Greater Metropolitan Lagos", which includes Lagos and its surrounding metro area, extending as far as into Ogun State, at 21 million.
Lagos was inhabited by the Awori subgroup of the Yoruba people in the 15th century. Under the leadership of the Oloye Olofin, the Awori moved to an island now called Iddo and to the larger Lagos Island. In the 16th century, the Awori settlement was conquered by the Benin Empire and the island became a Benin war-camp called "Eko" under Oba Orhogbua, the Oba of Benin at the time. Eko is still the native name for Lagos. Lagos, which means "lakes", was a name given to the settlement by the Portuguese; the present-day Lagos state has a high percentage of Awori clan, who migrated to the area from Isheri along the Ogun river. Throughout history, it was home to a number of warring ethnic groups. Following its early settlement by the Awori nobility, its conquest by the Bini warlords of Benin, the state first came to the attention of the Portuguese in the 15th century. Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo. Another explanation is that Lagos was named for Lagos, Portugal—a maritime town that, at the time, was the main centre of Portuguese expeditions down the African coast.
In Britain's early 19th century fight against the transatlantic slave trade, its West Africa Squadron or Preventative Squadron as it was known, continued to pursue Portuguese, American and Cuban slave ships and to impose anti-slavery treaties with West African coastal chiefs with so much doggedness that they created a strong presence along the West African coast from Sierra Leone all the way to the Niger Delta and as far south as Congo. In 1849, Britain appointed John Beecroft Consul of the Bights of Benin and Biafra, a position he held until his death in 1854. John Duncan was located at Wydah. At the time of Beecroft's appointment, the Kingdom of Lagos was in the western part of the Consulate of the Bights of Benin and Biafra and was a key slave trading port. In 1851 and with pressure from liberated slaves who now wielded political and business influence, Britain intervened in Lagos in what is now known as the Bombardment of Lagos or Capture of Lagos resulting in the installation of Oba Akitoye and the ouster of Oba Kosoko.
Oba Akitoye signed the Treaty between Great Britain and Lagos abolishing slavery. The signing of the 1852 treaty ushered in the Consular Period in Lagos' history wherein Britain provided military protection to Lagos. Following threats from Kosoko and the French who were positioned at Wydah, a decision was made by Lord Palmerston who noted in 1861, "the expediency of losing no time in assuming the formal Protectorate of Lagos". William McCoskry, the Acting Consul in Lagos with Commander Bedingfield convened a meeting with Oba Dosunmu on 30 July 1861 aboard HMS Prometheus where Britain's intent was explained and a response to the terms were required by August 1861. Dosunmu resisted the terms of the treaty but under the threat to unleash violence on Lagos by Commander Bedingfield, Dosunmu relented and signed the Lagos Treaty of Cession on 6 August 1861. Lagos was declared a colony on 5 Marc
British Overseas Territories
The British Overseas Territories or United Kingdom Overseas Territories are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories; these territories do not form part of the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the permanently inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. Three are inhabited only by a transitory population of scientific personnel, they all share the British monarch as head of state. As of April 2018 the Minister responsible for the Territories excluding the Falkland Islands and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, is the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN; the other three territories are the responsibility of the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. The fourteen British Overseas Territories are: The term "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981.
Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were referred to as British Crown Colonies. Although the Crown dependencies of Jersey and the Isle of Man are under the sovereignty of the British monarch, they are in a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom; the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are themselves distinct from the Commonwealth realms, a group of 16 independent countries each having Elizabeth II as their reigning monarch, from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 53 countries with historic links to the British Empire. With the exceptions of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Territories retain permanent civilian populations. Permanent residency for the 7,000 civilians living in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is limited to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. Collectively, the Territories encompass a population of about 250,000 people and a land area of about 1,727,570 square kilometres.
The vast majority of this land area, 1,700,000 square kilometres, constitutes the uninhabited British Antarctic Territory, while the largest territory by population, accounts for a quarter of the total BOT population. At the other end of the scale, three territories have no civilian population. Pitcairn Islands, settled by the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty, is the smallest settled territory with 49 inhabitants, while the smallest by land area is Gibraltar on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula; the United Kingdom participates in the Antarctic Treaty System and, as part of a mutual agreement, the British Antarctic Territory is recognised by four of the six other sovereign nations making claims to Antarctic territory. Early colonies, in the sense of English subjects residing in lands hitherto outside the control of the English government, were known as "Plantations"; the first, colony was Newfoundland, where English fishermen set up seasonal camps in the 16th century. It is now a province of Canada known as Labrador.
It retains strong cultural ties with Britain. English colonisation of North America began in 1607 with the settlement of Jamestown, the first successful permanent colony in Virginia, its offshoot, was settled inadvertently after the wrecking of the Virginia company's flagship there in 1609, with the Virginia Company's charter extended to include the archipelago in 1612. St. George's town, founded in Bermuda in that year, remains the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in the New World. Bermuda and Bermudians have played important, sometimes pivotal, but underestimated or unacknowledged roles in the shaping of the English and British trans-Atlantic Empires; these include maritime commerce, settlement of the continent and of the West Indies, the projection of naval power via the colony's privateers, among other areas. The growth of the British Empire in the 19th century, to its territorial peak in the 1920s, saw Britain acquire nearly one quarter of the world's land mass, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa.
From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, the larger settler colonies – in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa – first became self-governing colonies and achieved independence in all matters except foreign policy and trade. Separate self-governing colonies federated to become Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia; these and other large self-governing colonies had become known as Dominions by the 1920s. The Dominions achieved full independence with the Statute of Westminster. Through a process of decolonisation following the Second World War, most of the British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean gained independence; some colonies becam
The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is the seat of government of the Netherlands. With a metropolitan population of more than 1 million, it is the third-largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam; the Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area, with a population of 2.7 million, is the 13th-largest in the European Union and the most populous in the country. Located in the west of the Netherlands, The Hague is in the centre of the Haaglanden conurbation and lies at the southwest corner of the larger Randstad conurbation; the Hague is the seat of the Cabinet, the States General, the Supreme Court, the Council of State of the Netherlands, but the city is not the constitutional capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. King Willem-Alexander lives in Huis ten Bosch and works at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, together with Queen Máxima; the Hague is home to the world headquarters of Royal Dutch Shell and other Dutch companies.
Most foreign embassies in the Netherlands and 200 international governmental organisations are located in the city, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, which makes The Hague one of the major cities hosting a United Nations institution along with New York City, Vienna and Nairobi. Because of this, The Hague is known as the home of international law and arbitration; the Hague was first mentioned as Die Haghe in 1242. In the 15th century, the name des Graven hage came into use "The Count's Wood", with connotations like "The Count's Hedge, Private Enclosure or Hunting Grounds". "'s Gravenhage" was used for the city from the 17th century onward. Today, this name is only used in some official documents like marriage certificates; the city itself uses "Den Haag" in all its communications. Little is known about the origin of The Hague. There are no contemporary documents describing it, sources are of dubious reliability. What is certain is that The Hague was founded by the last counts of the House of Holland.
Floris IV owned two residences in the area, but purchased a third court situated by the present-day Hofvijver in 1229 owned by a woman called Meilendis. Floris IV intended to rebuild the court into a large castle, but he died in a tournament in 1234, before anything was built, his son and successor William II lived in the court, after he was elected King of the Romans in 1248, he promptly returned to The Hague, had builders turn the court into a "royal palace", which would be called the Binnenhof. He died in 1256 before this palace was completed but parts of it were finished during the reign of his son Floris V, of which the Ridderzaal, still intact, is the most prominent, it is still used for political events, such as the annual speech from the throne by the Dutch monarch. From the 13th century onward, the counts of Holland used The Hague as their administrative center and residence when in Holland; the village that originated around the Binnenhof was first mentioned as Die Haghe in a charter dating from 1242.
It became the primary residence of the Counts of Holland in 1358, thus became the seat of many government institutions. This status allowed the village to grow. In its early years, the village was located in the ambacht, or rural district, of Monster, governed by the Lord of Monster. Seeking to exercise more direct control over the village, the Count split the village off and created a separate ambacht called Haagambacht, governed directly by the Counts of Holland; the territory of Haagambacht was expanded during the reign of Floris V. When the House of Burgundy inherited the counties of Holland and Zeeland in 1432, they appointed a stadtholder to rule in their stead with the States of Holland and West Friesland as an advisory council. Although their seat was located in The Hague, the city became subordinate to more important centres of government such as Brussels and Mechelen, from where the sovereigns ruled over the centralised Burgundian Netherlands. At the beginning of the Eighty Years' War, the absence of city walls proved disastrous, as it allowed Spanish troops to occupy the town.
In 1575, the States of Holland, temporarily based in Delft considered demolishing the city but this proposal was abandoned, after mediation by William the Silent. In 1588, The Hague became the permanent seat of the States of Holland as well as the States General of the Dutch Republic. In order for the administration to maintain control over city matters, The Hague never received official city status, although it did have many of the privileges granted only to cities. In modern administrative law, "city rights" have no place anymore. Only in 1806, when the Kingdom of Holland was a puppet state of the First French Empire, was the settlement granted city rights by Louis Bonaparte. After the Napoleonic Wars, modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands were combined in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands to form a buffer against France; as a compromise and Amsterdam alternated as capital every two years, with the government remaining in The Hague. After the separation of Belgium in 1830, Amsterdam remained the capital of the Netherlands, while the government was situated in The Hague.
When the government started to play a more prominent role in Dutch society after 1850, The Hague expanded. Many streets were built for the large number of civil se
Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. In 2011, the city's population was estimated to be around 3,500,000. An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 5,000,000. Algiers is located in the north-central portion of Algeria. Algiers is situated on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea; the modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore. The casbah and the two quays form a triangle; the city's name is derived via French and Catalan Alger from the Arabic name Al-Jazā’ir, "The Islands". This name refers to the four former islands which lay off the city's coast before becoming part of the mainland in 1525. Al-Jazā’ir is itself a truncated form of the city's older name Jaza'ir Bani Mazghana, "The Islands of the Sons of Mazghana", used by early medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi and Yaqut al-Hamawi. In antiquity, the Greeks knew the town as Ikosion, Latinized as Icosium under Roman rule; the Greeks explained the name as coming from their word for "twenty" because it had been founded by 20 companions of Hercules when he visited the Atlas Mountains during his labors.
In fact, the name transcribed the Punic name ʿWYKSM, "Seagull Island", again named after the site's former islands. Algiers is known as El-Behdja or "Algiers the White" for its whitewashed buildings, seen rising from the sea. A small Phoenician colony on Algiers's former islands was established and taken over by the Carthaginians sometime before the 3rd century BC. After the Punic Wars, the Romans took over administration of the town, which they called Icosium, its ruins now form part of the modern city's marine quarter, with the Rue de la Marine following a former Roman road. Roman cemeteries existed near Bab Azoun; the city was given Latin rights by the emperor Vespasian. The bishops of Icosium are mentioned as late as the 5th century, but the ancient town fell into obscurity during the Muslim conquest of North Africa; the present city was founded in 944 by Bologhine ibn Ziri, the founder of the Berber Zirid–Sanhaja dynasty. He had earlier built a Sanhaja center at Ashir, just south of Algiers.
Although his Zirid dynasty was overthrown by Roger II of Sicily in 1148, the Zirids had lost control of Algiers to their cousins the Hammadids in 1014. The city was wrested from the Hammadids by the Almohads in 1159, in the 13th century came under the dominion of the Ziyanid sultans of Tlemcen. Nominally part of the sultanate of Tlemcen, Algiers had a large measure of independence under amirs of its own due to Oran being the chief seaport of the Ziyanids; the Peñón of Algiers, an islet in front of Algiers harbour had been occupied by the Spaniards as early as 1302. Thereafter, a considerable amount of trade began to flow between Spain. However, Algiers continued to be of comparatively little importance until after the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, many of whom sought asylum in the city. In 1510, following their occupation of Oran and other towns on the coast of Africa, the Spaniards fortified the islet of Peñon and imposed a levy intended to suppress corsair activity. In 1516, the amir of Algiers, Selim b.
Teumi, invited the corsair brothers Aruj and Hayreddin Barbarossa to expel the Spaniards. Aruj came to Algiers, ordered the assassination of Selim, seized the town and ousted the Spanish in the Capture of Algiers. Hayreddin, succeeding Aruj after the latter was killed in battle against the Spaniards in the Fall of Tlemcen, was the founder of the pashaluk, which subsequently became the beylik, of Algeria. Barbarossa lost Algiers in 1524 but regained it with the Capture of Algiers, formally invited the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to accept sovereignty over the territory and to annex Algiers to the Ottoman Empire. Algiers from this time became the chief seat of the Barbary pirates. In October 1541 in the Algiers expedition, the King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V sought to capture the city, but a storm destroyed a great number of his ships, his army of some 30,000, chiefly made up of Spaniards, was defeated by the Algerians under their Pasha, Hassan. Formally part of the Ottoman Empire but free from Ottoman control, starting in the 16th century Algiers turned to piracy and ransoming.
Due to its location on the periphery of both the Ottoman and European economic spheres, depending for its existence on a Mediterranean, controlled by European shipping, backed by European navies, piracy became the primary economic activity. Repeated attempts were made by various nations to subdue the pirates that disturbed shipping in the western Mediterranean and engaged in slave raids as far north as Iceland; the United States fought two wars over Algiers' attacks on shipping. Among the notable people held for ransom was the future Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes, captive in Algiers five years, who wrote two plays set in Algiers of the period; the primary source for knowledge of Algiers of this period, since there are no contemporary local sources, is the Topografía e historia general de Argel, published by Diego de Haedo, but whose authorship is disputed. This work describes in detail the city, the behavior of its inhabitants, its military defenses, with the unsuccessful hope of facilitating an attack by Spain so as to end the piracy.