Rugged mountainous region east of Algiers, adjacent to the Mediterranean, in Algeria. One of North Africa's most densely populated areas, it is culturally and linguistically unique. Ancient Berber culture, languages, customary laws, social organization, and traditions predominate. Fiercely independent, Kabyles maintained their own political and administrative institutions under the Ottomans (ca. 1525 – 1830 ) and were the last stronghold against French colonization (conquered ca. 1847 – 57 ). A Kabylian political party that advocates minority rights, a secular state, and a pluralistic society (Socialist Forces Front, or FFS) placed second only to the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the 1992 elections. A 1996 law mandating Arabic as the Algerian national language was met with violent uprisings in Kabylia.