Port of Bejaia
Review and History

The Port of Bejaia is a Mediterranean seaport in northeastern Algeria. Lying at the mouth of the Wadi Soummam, the Port of Bejaia is about 180 kilometers east of the Port of Algiers and a little over 100 kilometers east-southeast of the Port of Dellys. Surrounded by a fertile plain, the town descents from the slope of Mount Gouraya to the shores of Cape Carbon. In 2004, over 173 thousand people lived in the Port of Bejaia.

The Port of Bejaia is a busy market town serving the Kabylie area, exporting minerals, wines, figs, plums, and cork. After 1959, it became an important seaport for exporting oil from the Sahara region.

Port History

Archaeological evidence suggests that humans were active in the Port of Bejaia area for as long as ten thousand years. The first ships using the natural harbor were piloted by Phoenicians.

The Port of Bejaia was called Saldae by the Roman colonists who first settled the town. Founded by Emperor Vespasian, it was an important port in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis. Bejaia native Gaius Cornelius Peregrinus was a military commander of the Roman legions stationed in northern Britain.

During the 5th Century AD, the Port of Bejaia was the capital of a brief Germanic Vandal kingdom in Africa. In the middle 6th Century, the Vandals were expelled by the Byzantines who established the Exarchate of Carthage in northern Africa. By the 7th Century, the village had disappeared.

The Port of Bejaia was re-founded as a settlement that became an important fortified capital of the Berber Hammadid Dynasty in 1067. During this time, it became an important cultural center and seaport. The Port of Bejaia flourished under the name En Nassria, after the Hammadid leader Emir En Nasser.

The Hammadid Empire fell in 1152 with the invasion of Abd el Moumen, the Almohad ruler from Morocco. It was in the Port of Bejaia that Fibonacci of Pisa learned about Arabic numerals and introduced them, along with modern mathematics, to Europe's feudal elite.

During the 13th Century, the Port of Bejaia fell under the control of the Hafsid Empire when they conquered Tunis. Trading with European ports like Marseilles, Genoa, and Naples, the Port of Bejaia introduced the wax candle (in French, "bougie").

Known as Bougie during the Middle Ages, the Port of Bejaia was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates and a serious problem for many European powers.

Spain occupied the Port of Bejaia from 1510 until 1555 until the Turks captured the city. Under Turkish rule, the Port of Bejaia was a relatively unimportant port dominated by Algiers to the west.

In 1833, the French occupied the Port of Bejaia, and they improved its harbor in the early 20th Century.

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