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Wargla

WARGLA, a town in the Algerian Sahara, 175 m. S.W. of Biskra on the caravan route to the Niger countries, and a starting- point for the exploration of the southern part of the Sahara. Pop. (1906) 3570, the majority of mixed Berber and negro blood. The town is walled and is entered by six gateways, which are fortified. The French fort, barracks, hospital and other buildings are south of the native town. Wargla lies in an oasis containing many palm trees. It claims to be the oldest town in the Sahara, and was for a long time self-governing, but eventually placed itself under the protection of the sultan of Morocco. The sultan, however, had ceased to have any power in the town some time previous to the French occupation. Wargla was first occupied for the French in 1853 by native allies, but it was not until 1872 that the authority of France was definitely established. The importance of the town as a trans-Saharan trade centre has greatly declined since the suppression of slave-trading by the French. The oasis in which Wargla is situated contains two or three other small fortified ksurs or villages, the largest and most picturesque being Ruissat. The total population of the oasis is about 12,000.

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

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