It is part of the Tell Atlas and is located at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Kabylia covers several provinces of Algeria: the whole of Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia (Bgayet), most of Bouira (Tubirett) and parts of the wilayas of Bordj Bou Arreridj, Jijel, Boumerdes, and Setif. Gouraya National Park and Djurdjura National Park are also located in Kabylie.
The Fatimid dynasty of the 10th century originated in Lower Kabylie, where an Ismaili da'i found a receptive audience for his millennialist preaching, and ultimately led the Kutama tribe to conquer first Ifriqiya and then Egypt. After taking over Egypt, the Fatimids themselves lost interest in the Maghreb, which they left to their Berber deputies, the Zirids. The Zirid family soon split, with the Hammadid branch taking over Kabylie as well as much of Algeria, and the Zirids taking modern Tunisia. They had a lasting effect on not only Kabylie's but Algeria's development, refounding towns such as Bejaia (their capital after the abandonment of Qalaat Beni Hammad) and Algiers itself.
After the Hammadids' collapse, the coast of Kabylie changed hands regularly, while much of the interior was often effectively unruled. Under the Ottoman Turks, most of Kabylie was inaccessible to the deys, who had to content themselves with occasional incursions and military settlements in some valleys. In the early part of the Ottoman period, the Belkadi family ruled much of Grande Kabylie from their capital of Koukou, now a small village near Tizi-Ouzou; however, their power declined in the 17th century.
The area was gradually taken over by the French from 1857, despite vigorous local resistance by the local population led by leaders such as Lalla Fatma n Soumer, continuing as late as Cheikh Mokrani's rebellion in 1871. Much land was confiscated in this period from the more recalcitrant tribes and given to French pied-noirs. Many arrests and deportations were carried out by the French, mainly to New Caledonia. Colonization also resulted in an acceleration of the emigration into other areas of the country and outside of it.
Algerian immigrant workers in France organized the first party promoting independence in the 1920s. Messali Hadj, Imache Amar, Si Djilani, and Belkacem Radjef rapidly built a strong following throughout France and Algeria in the 1930s and actively developed militants that became vital to the future of both a fighting and an independent Algeria. During the war of independence (1954–1962), Kabylie was one of the areas that was most affected, because of the importance of the maquis (aided by the mountainous terrain) and French repression. The FLN recruited several of its historical leaders there, including Hocine Aït Ahmed, Abane Ramdane, and Krim Belkacem.
Tensions have arisen between Kabylia and the central government on several occasions, initially in 1963, when the FFS party of Hocine Aït Ahmed contested the authority of the single party (FLN). In 1980, several months of demonstrations demanding the officialization of the Berber language, known as the Berber Spring, took place in Kabylie.
The politics of identity intensified as the Arabization movement in Algeria gained steam in the 1990s. In 1994–1995, a school boycott occurred, termed the "strike of the school bag." In June and July of 1998, the area blazed up again after the assassination of singer Matoub Lounes and at the time that a law generalizing the use of the Arabic language in all fields went into effect. In the months following April 2001 (called the Black Spring), major riots — together with the emergence of the Arouch, neo-traditional local councils — followed the killing of a young Kabyle (Masinissa Guermah) by gendarmes, and gradually died down only after forcing some concessions from the President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Since 23 March 2007, the Military of Algeria has conducted extensive searches in the Kabylie region in search of members of the GSPC. Two major roads, between Béjaïa and Amizour and between El-Kseur and Bouira, have been partially closed. The bombings in Alger on 11 April 2007 rendered this search all the more urgent, as the GSPC has recently become the Maghrebin arm of the Al-Qaida Network.
Three large chains of mountains occupy most of the area:
The area is populated by the Kabyles, the second most populous Berber people after the Chleuhs in Morocco. Their name means "tribe" (from the Arabic "qabîlah" قبيلة). They speak the Kabyle variety of Berber. Since the Berber Spring in 1980, Kabyles have been at the forefront of the fight for the official recognition of the Berber language in Algeria (see Languages of Algeria).
The traditional economy of the area is based on arboriculture (orchards, olive trees) and on the craft industry (tapestry or pottery). The mountain and hill farming is gradually giving way to local industry (textile and agro-alimentary).
Algeria's Kabylie region craves secession, friendship with Israel. Exiled leader of provisional government sees similarities between Kabylian people and Jewish state
Jun 02, 2012; SHARON UDASIN; JAN KOSCINSKISHARON UDASIN and JAN KOSCINSKI Jerusalem Post 05-28-2012 Algeria's Kabylie region craves...