Bejaïa (bĕjĪˈə) [key], formerly Bougie bōzhēˈ, city (1998 pop. 147,076), N Algeria, a port on the Gulf of Bejaïa (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea). The northern terminus of the Hassi Messaoud oil pipeline from the Sahara, Bejaïa 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, Bejaïa 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, Bejaïa 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Algerian Political Geography