The state in North Africa, named after its capital Algiers, is (after the division of Sudan) the largest of the continent and lies on the Mediterranean Sea. As in many other Mediterranean countries, Phoenicians and Greeks laid the foundations for Algerian viticulture. In the middle of the 7th century the Arabs conquered North Africa. With the now valid ban on alcohol, viticulture came to a standstill. From 1830 the French began to conquer the country. As a result, numerous French settlers flocked to the country and also brought vines with them. This led to a resumption of the wine trade, which turned out to be an important part of the Algerian economy. The largest expansion of the vineyard area was reached in 1938 with 400,000 hectares. Mainly this was simple mass wine for blending purposes in France. After the independence gained in 1962, an export stop to France was imposed. Large areas of vineyards were rededicated to the cultivation of grain and the production of table grapes was forced. Most of the vineyards became the property of cooperatives. Agriculture is only possible on a narrow strip in the north, about 85% of the land area is in the Algerian Sahara.