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Coordinates: 35°51′N 0°19′W / 35.85°N 0.317°W / 35.85; -0.317

Commune of Arzew
بلدية أرزيو
Inhabitants of Arzeu.jpg
Arzew inhabitants meet U.S. troops during Operation Torch (november 1942)
Map of Algeria highlighting Oran Province
Map of Oran Province highlighting Arzew Municipality
ONS code 3106
Postal code 31200
Province Oran
District Arzew (seat)
PMA Seats 15
Area 64 km² (25 sq mi)
Altitude 71.90 m (27.76 ft)
Population 91400 (2006)
Density 1 712/km² (3 292.5/sq mi)
Time Zone Central European Time (UTC+1)
Coat of arms of Arzew.svg
Coat of arms of Arzew

Arzew or Arzeu (Arabic: أرزيو) is a port city in Algeria, 22 miles (35 km) from Oran. It is the capital of Arzew District, Oran Province.





The site of modern-day Arzew was originally inhabited by the Berber, coming from the nearby town of Bethioua coming from the Rif mountains in current Morocco and the semi-nomadic Hamian tribe.

It was named Arsenaria, or Portus Magnus (Great Harbour) under the Roman Empire (the latter name is the one that can be seen in its former coat of arms). It has several Roman remains, mosaics, and artworks, which were deplaced to the museum of nearby Oran. During Roman times, Arzew's exports used to be grain and salt. The Vandals destroyed Portus Magnus in 429/430.

Since the Muslim conquests, it regained some importance, as it was noted by the geographer El Bekri , during his description of North Africa (1068) where he described the Roman ruins as Arzao, an abandoned Roman port. The Almohads refounded the port in 1162. Under the Ziyanids, the port, located near the Ziyanid Tlemcen was renamed to Marsa Ben Zian (i.e. the port of the Zian tribe).

French Algeria

U.S. Rangers train on the terrain of the 8 November 1942 assault at Arzew

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 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 (see Operation Torch).

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 exporting LNG (liquified natural gas), as well as a fleet of small fishing boats to work the local waters.


Historical population
Year Population[1]
1901 5,600
1954 10,500
1966 11,500
1987 35,800
1998 56,200


During the French colonial era, the settlers introduced a Roman Catholic celebration on August 15 -Assumption of Mary day- known as the "Procession of the Virgin" (la Procession de la Vierge)[2].


This article incorporates information from the revision as of January 13, 2008 of the equivalent article on the French Wikipedia.*(French) Algeria - Arzew (GeneaWiki)

External links


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