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Bejaa

Bejaa b?j?? [key], formerly Bougiebo?ozh? [key], city (1998 pop. 147,076), N Algeria, a port on the Gulf of Bejaa (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea). The northern terminus of the Hassi Messaoud oil pipeline from the Sahara, Bejaa is the principal oil port of the W Mediterranean. Exports, aside from crude petroleum, include iron, phosphates, wines, dried figs, and plums. The city also has textile and cork industries. A minor port in Carthaginian and Roman times, Bejaa was the Roman Saldae. It became the capital of the Vandals in the 5th cent. It later disappeared but was refounded by the Berbers in the 11th cent. and became an important port and cultural center. After Spanish occupation (1510?55), the city was taken by the Ottoman Turks. Until it was captured by the French in 1833, Bejaa was a stronghold of the Barbary pirates (see Barbary States). City landmarks include a 16th-century mosque and a casbah (fortress) built by the Spanish in 1545.

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