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BOUGIE, a seaport of Algeria, chief town of an arrondissement in the department of Constantine, 120 m. E. of Algiers. The town, which is defended by a wall built since the French occupation, and by detached forts, is beautifully situated on the slope of Mount Guraya. Behind it are the heights of Mounts Babor and Tababort, rising some 6400 ft. and crowned with forests of pinsapo fir and cedar. The most interesting buildings in the town are the ancient forts, Borj-el-Ahmer and Abd-el-Kader, and the kasbah or citadel, rectangular in form, flanked by bastions and towers, and bearing inscriptions stating that it was built by the Spaniards in 1545. Parts of the Roman wall exist, and considerable portions of that built by the Hammadites in the 11th century. The streets are very steep, and many are ascended by stairs. The harbour, sheltered from the east by a breakwater, was enlarged in 1897-1902. It covers 63 acres and has a depth of water of 23 to 30 ft. Bougie is the natural port of Kabylia, and under the French rule its commerce - chiefly in oils, wools, hides and minerals - has greatly developed; a branch railway runs to Beni Mansur on the main line from Constantine to Oran. Pop. (1906) of the town, 10,419; of the commune, 17,540; of the arrondissement, which includes eight communes, 37,711.

Bougie, if it be correctly identified with the Saldae of the Romans, is a town of great antiquity, and probably owes its origin to the Carthaginians. Early in the 5th century Genseric the Vandal surrounded it with walls and for some time made it his capital. En-Nasr (1062-1088), the most powerful of the Berber dynasty of Hammad, made Bougie the seat of his government, and it became the greatest commercial centre of the North African coast, attaining a high degree of civilization. From an old MS. it appears that as early as 1068 the heliograph was in common use, special towers, with mirrors properly arranged, being built for the purpose of signalling. The Italian merchants of the 12th and 13th centuries owned numerous buildings in the city, such as warehouses, baths and churches. At the end of the 13th century Bougie passed under the dominion of the Hafsides, and in the 15th century it became one of the strongholds of the Barbary pirates. It enjoyed partial independence under amirs of Hafside origin, but in January 1510 was captured by the Spaniards under Pedro Navarro. The Spaniards strongly fortified the place and held it against two attacks by the corsairs Barbarossa. In 1555, however, Bougie was taken by Salah Rais, the pasha of Algiers. Leo Africanus, in his Africae descriptio, speaks of the "magnificence" of the temples, palaces and other buildings of the city in his day (c.1525), but it appears to have fallen into decay not long afterwards. When the French took the town from the Algerians in 1833 it consisted of little more than a few fortifications and ruins. It is said that the French word for a candle is derived from the name of the town, candles being first made of wax imported from Bougie.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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