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SIDI-BEL-ABBES, chief town of an arrondissement in the department of Oran, Algeria, 48 m. by rail S. of Oran, 1552 ft. above the sea, on the right bank of the Mekerra. Pop. (1906) of the town, 24,494 (of whom three-fourths are French or Spaniards) ; of the commune, 29,088; of the arrondissement, which includes 17 communes, 98,309. The town, which occupies an important strategic position in the plain dominated by the escarpments of Mount Tessala, has barrack accommodation for 6000 troops, and is the headquarters of the i er regiment etranger, one of the two regiments known as the Foreign Legion. It is encircled by a crenellated and bastioned wall with a fosse, and has four gates, named after Oran, Daia, Mascara and Tlemcen respectively. Starting from the gates, two broad streets, shaded by plane trees, traverse the town east to west and north to south, the latter dividing the civil from the military quarters. There are numerous fountains fed by the Mekerra. Sidi-bel-Abbes is also an important agricultural centre, wheat, tobacco and alfa being the chief articles of trade. There are numerous vineyards and olive-groves in the vicinity. The town, founded by the French, derives its name from the kubba (tomb) of a marabout named Sidi-bel-Abbes, near which a redoubt was constructed by General Bedeau in 1843. The site of the town, formerly a swamp, has been thoroughly drained. The surrounding country is healthy, fertile and populous.

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

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