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Ancient World /
Ancient Algeria

Rock art from Tassili'n'Ajjer, deep into today's Algerian Sahara.

Excavations show that human beings have inhabited Algeria for tens of thousands of years.
Algeria is the North African country that enters world history the latest, at least in terms of available ruins. Phoenicians established trade posts along the coast here in the late 2nd, early 1st millennium BCE, as they did all the way to Morocco, but the Algerian ones were small, in particular compared to those of Tunisia. The two main Algerian colonies were Icosium, corresponding to modern Algiers, and Hippo, corresponding to modern Annaba, close to the border to Tunisia.
Parallel to the Phoenician colonies, effective and powerful kingdoms in hte mountains and inland developed. These did little in terms of building structures surviving into modern times, but with the Roman expansion into North Africa from the 3rd century BCE, we see that these powers emerge as attractive allies against Carthage and feared potential enemies. A continued Roman presence would soon force local kings to become Roman subjects, creating the Mauretania Caesariensis in the period 25 BCE-40 CE.

By Tore Kjeilen