Cities in Algeria: Bijaya

Cities in Algeria: Bijaya Last updated on Monday 19th April 2010

A centre of Algeria's recently-developed petrochemical industry, Bijaya is an important regional town located on the sea at the base of Gouraya mountain.

The site of Bijaya was first settled as a trading post by Phoenicians and was later controlled by the Romans. In the 11th century the chief of the Hammamids established the town of En-Nassria on the site which became an important city and subsequently the Hammamid capital. The town flourished during this period as a boat-building centre.

In 1151 the town was seized by the Almoahad emir Abdul Mou'min and later was captured by the Hafsids, after which the city fell into decline. By the 16th century the inhabitants of En-Nassria resorted to piracy which caused the Spanish to seize the city and occupy it for a half-century before it fell under Ottoman domination.

The city was renamed Bougie (in reference to its candle manufacturing industry) by the French who occupied the city in 1833. By the end of the 19th century Bijaya, as the Algerians called it, had diminished in size to less than 2,000 inhabitants.

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