Arzew or Arzeu is a port city in Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, 22 miles (35.4 km) from Oran
Oran is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country.It is the capital of the Oran Province . The city has a population of 759,645 , while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest...

. It is the capital of Arzew District
Arzew District
Arzew is a district in Oran Province, Algeria, on the Mediterranean Sea. It was named after its capital, Arzew.-Municipalities:The district is further divided into 2 municipalities:*Arzew*Sidi Ben Yebka...

, Oran Province
Oran Province
Oran is a province in Algeria whose seat is the city of the same name.-Geography:It is located in the northwestern part of the country. Its population is 1,584,607 and it covers a total area of 2,114 km²...



Like the rest of North Africa, the site of modern-day Arzew was originally inhabited by the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

s. Arzew's original Berber population came mainly from the nearby town of Bethioua
Bethioua is a town in the wilaya of Oran in the west of the Algeria. It has a gas port, petrochemical facilities and desalination plant....

 and from the Rif
The Rif or Riff is a mainly mountainous region of northern Morocco, with some fertile plains, stretching from Cape Spartel and Tangier in the west to Ras Kebdana and the Melwiyya River in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the river of Wergha in the south.It is part of the...

Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

s in current Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 and some semi-nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic Hamian.

It was named Arsenaria, or Portus Magnus (Great Harbour) under the Roman Empire
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 (the latter name is the one that can be seen in its former coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

). It has several Roman remains, mosaics, and artworks, which were deplaced to the museum of nearby Oran
Oran is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country.It is the capital of the Oran Province . The city has a population of 759,645 , while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest...

. During Roman times, Arzew's exports used to be grain
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

 and salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

. The Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 destroyed Portus Magnus in 429/430.

Since the Muslim conquests
Medieval Muslim Algeria
Medieval Muslim Algeria was a period of Muslim dominance in Algeria during the Middle Ages, roughly spanning the millennium from the 7th century to the 17th century. Unlike the invasions of previous religions and cultures, the coming of Islam, which was spread by Arabs, was to have pervasive and...

, it regained some importance, as it was noted by the geographer El Bekri, during his description of North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 (1068) where he described the Roman ruins as Arzao, an abandoned Roman port. The Almohads refounded the port in 1162. Under the Ziyanid
Ziyanid was a North African Dynasty that ruled over Western Algeria from 1236-1555. They were Zenata Berber.Here is a list of Ziyanid rulers:*Yaghmurâsan Ibn Ziyân 1236-1283*Uthmân I 1283-1304*Muhammad I 1304-1308...

s, the port, located near the Ziyanid Tlemcen
Tlemcen is a town in Northwestern Algeria, and the capital of the province of the same name. It is located inland in the center of a region known for its olive plantations and vineyards...

 was renamed to Marsa Ben Zian (i.e. the port of the Zian tribe).

French Algeria

In 10 July 1833, the French forces coming from Oran go further east and occupy the locality, which has then been simply called Marsa (i.e. port). After years of war (ended by the Treaty of Desmichels) Arzew became a legal possession of France, transliterated in Arabic as Arziou (Arziw) and in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 as Arzowe.

King Louis-Philippe orders the creation of the settlement of Arzew Le Port in 12 August 1845, which encourages people from Europe to settle the area. It becomes a fully functional commune in 31 December 1856. It was an important war site during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (see Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....


During the Algerian War the city hosted one of the two SDECE French intelligence service CIPCGs ("counter-guerrilla and pacification instruction centre").

Algerian republic

After the independence of Algeria in 1962, Arzew became an important port and industrial area, home to a refinery
A refinery is a production facility composed of a group of chemical engineering unit processes and unit operations refining certain materials or converting raw material into products of value.-Types of refineries:Different types of refineries are as follows:...

 exporting LNG (liquified natural gas), as well as a fleet of small fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

s to work the local waters.



During the French colonial era, the settlers introduced a Roman Catholic celebration on August 15 -Assumption of Mary
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

 day- known as the "Procession
A procession is an organized body of people advancing in a formal or ceremonial manner.-Procession elements:...

 of the Virgin" (la Procession de la Vierge).

External links

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