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    Algeria Under Carthaginian Rule

    Algeria Under Carthaginian Rule

    Phoenician traders arrived on the North African coast around 900 B.C. and established Carthage around 800 B.C in present-day Tunisia. 

    By the sixth century B.C., a Phoenician presence existed at Tipaza (east of Cherchell in Algeria). From their principal centre of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements called emporia in Greek, along the North African coast; these settlements eventually served as market towns as well as anchorages. Hippo Regius, modern Annaba, Rusicade, modern Skikda and Icosim, modern Algiers are among the towns of Carthaginian origin on the coast of present-day Algeria. 

    As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilisation was already at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and political organisation supported several states. 

    Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew, but territorial expansion also resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others. 

    By the early fourth century B.C., Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 B.C. after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War. They succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, and they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa. The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars; in 146 B.C. the city of Carthage was destroyed. 

    As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the second century B.C., several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established in Numidia, behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Melouiya River in Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean. 

    The high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium later, was reached during the reign of Masinissa in the second century B.C. After Masinissa's death in 148 B.C., the Berber kingdoms were divided and reunited several times until they were annexed to the Roman Empire.

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    Item Reviewed: Algeria Under Carthaginian Rule Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Algeria Gate
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