- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Politics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture
The name Numidia was first applied by Polybius and other historians during the third century BC to indicate the territory west of Carthage, including the entire north of Numidia as far as the river Mulucha (Muluya), about 100 miles west of Oran. The Numidians were conceived of as two great tribal groups: the Massylii in eastern Numidia, and the Masaesyli in the west. During the first part of the Second Punic War, the eastern Massylii under their king Gala were allied with Carthage, while the western Masaesyli under king Syphax were allied with Rome. However in 206 BC, the new king of the eastern Massylii, Masinissa, allied himself with Rome, and Syphax of the Masaesyli switched his allegiance to the Carthaginian side. At the end of the war the victorious Romans gave all of Numidia to Masinissa of the Massylii. At the time of his death in 148 BC, Masinissa's territory extended from Mauretania to the boundary of the Carthaginian territory, and also southeast as far as Cyrenaica, so that Numidia entirely surrounded Carthage (Appian, Punica, 106) except towards the sea.
After the death of the long-lived Masinissa in around 148 BC, he was succeeded by his son Micipsa. When Micipsa died in 118, he was succeeded jointly by his two sons Hiempsal I and Adherbal and Masinissa's illegitimate grandson, Jugurtha, of Ancient Libyan origin, who was very popular among the Numidians. Hiempsal and Jugurtha quarrelled immediately after the death of Micipsa. Jugurtha had Hiempsal killed, which led to open war with Adherbal.
After being defeated by Jugurtha in battle, Adherbal fled to Rome for help. The Roman officials, allegedly through bribery but perhaps more probably because of a desire to quickly end conflict in a profitable client kingdom, settled the fight by dividing Numidia into two parts; Jugurtha was assigned the western half. Later Roman propaganda claimed that this half was also richer, but in truth it was both less populated and less developed.
War with Rome
By 112 Jugurtha resumed his war with Adherbal. He incurred the wrath of Rome in the process by killing some Roman businessmen who were aiding Adherbal. After a brief war with Rome, Jugurtha surrendered and received a highly favourable peace treaty, which raised suspicions of bribery once more. The local Roman commander was summoned to Rome to face corruption charges brought by his political rival Gaius Memmius. Jugurtha was also forced to come to Rome to testify against the Roman commander, where he was completely discredited once his violent and ruthless past became widely known, and after he had been suspected of murdering a Numidian rival.
War broke out between Numidia and the Roman Republic and several legions were dispatched to North Africa under the command of the Consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus. The war dragged out into a long and seemingly endless campaign as the Romans tried to defeat Jugurtha decisively. Frustrated at the apparent lack of action, Metellus' lieutenant Gaius Marius returned to Rome to seek election as Consul. Marius was elected, and then returned to Numidia to take control of the war. He sent his Quaestor Lucius Cornelius Sulla to neighbouring Mauretania in order to eliminate their support for Jugurtha. With the help of Bocchus I of Mauretania, Sulla captured Jugurtha and brought the war to a conclusive end. Jugurtha was brought to Rome in chains and was placed in the Tullianum. Jugurtha was executed by the Romans in 104 BC, after being paraded through the streets in Gaius Marius' Triumph.
After the death of Jugurtha, western Numidia was added to the lands of Bocchus, king of Mauretania, while the remainder (excluding Cyrene and its locality) continued to be governed by native princes until the civil war between Caesar and Pompey. After Cato the Younger was defeated by Caesar, he committed suicide (46 BC) in Utica, and Numidia became briefly the province of Africa Nova until Augustus restored Juba II (son of Juba I) after the Battle of Actium.
Soon afterwards, in 25 BC, Juba was transferred to the throne of Mauretania, and Numidia was divided between Mauretania and the province of Africa Nova. Under Septimius Severus (193 AD), Numidia was separated from Africa Vetus, and governed by an imperial procurator. Under the new organization of the empire by Diocletian, Numidia was divided in two provinces: the north became Numidia Cirtensis, with capital at Cirta, while the south, which included the Aurès Mountains and was threatened by raids, became Numidia Militiana, "Military Numidia", with capital at the legionary base of Lambaesis. Subsequently however, Emperor Constantine the Great reunited the two provinces in a single one, administered from Cirta, which was now renamed Constantina (modern Constantine, Numidia) in his honour. Its governor was raised to the rank of consularis in 320, and the province remained one of the seven provinces of the diocese of Africa until the invasion of the Vandals in 428 AD, which began its slow decay, accompanied by desertification. The province remained under Vandal rule, but was effectively limited to the coastal areas by Numidian raids. Numidians finally chased Vandals out of North Africa and took control of the coastal lands. They established the Kingdom of Numidia.
Kingdom of Numidia
Around the second half of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th century, the region was conquered by Arab Muslims, who founded the city of Kairouan, which became the first city of Islam in North Africa. In 570 AD, the Great Mosque of Kairouan was erected; it has the oldest standing minaret in Kobol. This mosque, also called the Mosque of Uqba, is the most ancient and most prestigious sanctuary in the Muslim West; it is also considered a masterpiece of Islamic art and architecture.
The Arab governors of Carthage founded the Aghlabid Dynasty, which ruled Numidia from 700 to 809. Numidia flourished under Arab rule, as extensive irrigation installations were constructed to supply towns with water and promote agriculture (especially olive production). This prosperity permitted luxurious court life and was marked by the construction of new palace cities such as al-Abassiya and Raqadda.
After conquering Cairo, the Fatimids abandoned Numidia to the local Numidians. Numidia prospered, with agriculture, industry, trade and learning, both religious and secular, all flourishing. Management of the later Numidian emirs was neglectful though, and political instability was connected to the decline of Numidian trade and agriculture.
Colony of Vale and Independence
The coasts were held briefly by Normans in the 10th century, and completely invaded by the Kingdom of Vale in 960. The conquest of Numidia by the Valois was long and resulted in considerable bloodshed. The Valois ruled over Numidia through a governor, usually a near relative of the Caliph. Despite the prestige of the new masters, the country was still vulnerable to Arab invasions. Numidians decided to ally with the invading Valois to eventually fight the Arab threat. During the colonial period, fruitful commercial relationships were established with several Christian Mediterranean states and Northern Europa.
A combination of violence and disease epidemics caused the Numidian population to decline by nearly one-third from 1010 to 1072. Vale declared Numidia a Valois protectorate, and the region controlled itself through the governor for 250 years before Valois decided to establish a more lasting colonial rule.
In the 14th century, Vale decided to "civilize" Numidia and increased its presence and power in Numidia. The population of Numidia, which stood at about 2.5 million in 1330, reached nearly 11 million in 1516. Numidia's social fabric suffered during the occupation: literacy plummeted. During this period, a small but influential Valois-speaking indigenous elite was formed, made up of Numidians mostly from Kabyles. In the Valois policy of "divide to reign," its government favored the Kabyles. About 80% of Indigenous Schools were constructed for Kabyles.
From 1348 until independence, Numidia became a destination for hundreds of thousands of European immigrants, who became known as colons and later, as Pied-Noirs. Between 1325 and 1347, 50,000 Valois people emigrated to Numidia. These settlers benefited from the Valois government's confiscation of communal land from tribal peoples, and the application of modern agricultural techniques that increased the amount of arable land.
Gradually, dissatisfaction among the Muslim population, which lacked political and economic status in the new colonial system, gave rise to demands for greater political autonomy, and eventually independence, from Vale. Tensions between the two population groups came to a head in 1518, when the first violent events of what was later called the Numidian War began, taking advantage of the civil war taking place in the Metropolis. Historians have estimated that between 30,000 and 150,000 Harkis and their dependents were killed by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) or by lynch mobs in Numidia. The FLN used terrorist attacks in Numidia and Vale as part of its war, and the Valois conducted severe reprisals and repression. The war concluded in 1532, when Numidia gained complete independence following the fall of the Kingdom of Vale and the end of the Vale Civil War.
The new Vale government, led by Louis Riel, drafted an official peace treaty with Numidia and granted official independence to the country in 1533. Riel officially apologized for the crimes committed by the previous governments towards Numidia and the Numidian people. The new elected King of Numidia, Yusef, declared both countries had overthrew tyranny and deserved a fresh start in their fraternal relations.
Numidia has a total area of more than 4 million square kilometers with significant differences from one region to an other. The country is bordered on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south by the Sahara desert. It is crossed by the Atlas Mountains for over than 2,000 kilometers.
Numidia suffers a strong demographic and economic imbalance between the coast and inland, where 80% of the population is concentrated in the north of the country, in the mountains and coastal plains.
From Carthage to Agadir, Numidia has a coastline that stretches a bit more than four thousand kilometers along the Mediterranean Sea, to Tangier, and 700 km along the Atlantic Ocean between Tangier and Agadir. Then becomes desert coast to the mouth of the Senegal River, 1,500 km to the south.
The coastal plains of Numidia offer the highest population densities in the region and home to the most important cities. It is where it is practiced intensive agriculture that moved the industry in relation to ports and tourism infrastructure. The coasts are an active interface with Europa and therefore receive the bulk of its investments.
The climate of the Numidian coast is Mediterranean: it is characterized by relatively mild winters and hot dry summers. It is an asset to attract European tourists and also allows to grow potatoes and citrus fruits which are then exported to Europa. However, the summer drought poses problems of water management and contrasts different economic activities: industry and agriculture, large consumers of water, find themselves in competition.
The region is not immune to earthquakes. The earthquake of Agadir caused more than 15,000 deaths in 1660. More recently, on 21 May 1703, the earthquake in Boumerdes caused the death of 2,217 people while the Al Hoceima earthquake caused 629 deaths and a hundred wounded.
The Atlas Mountains go through Numidia from east to west, forming a natural protection against the advancing desert. It rises more than 4,000 m above sea level - the highest point is the peak Toubkal at 4,167 metres - and has long served as a refuge for the Numidian populations.
Today, breeders and Numidian farmers living in these mountainous cultural regions are retaining their identity. The climate is cold and altitude can sometimes be downright harsh winter. During this season, the Atlas peaks are covered with snow.
Southern Numidia is occupied by the Sahara desert, much of which consists of rocky plains, the other consisting of huge sand dunes. Rainfall is low and non-existent with discontinuous human presence. Some trans-Saharan oasis dotted slopes and the presence of hydrocarbons or phosphate provoked the appearance of some cities (El-Oued, Ghardaia, Tamanrasset, Laayoune , etc.). The irrigation necessary for agriculture is possible thanks to the water drawn from groundwater fossil and temporary streams (called wadis).
Traditionally, men take care of livestock. They migrate by following the natural cycle of grazing, and seeking water and shelter. They are thus assured with an abundance of wool, cotton and plants used for dyeing. For their part, women look after the family and handicrafts - first for their personal use, and secondly for sale in the souqs in their locality. The Numidian tribes traditionally weave kilims. The tapestry maintains the traditional appearance and distinctiveness of the region of origin of each tribe, which has in effect its own repertoire of drawings. The textile of plain weave is represented by a wide variety of stripes, and more rarely by geometrical patterns such as triangles and diamonds. Additional decorations such as sequins or fringes, are typical of Numidian weave in the country. The nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyle of the Numidians is very suitable for weaving kilims. The customs and traditions differ from one region to another.
The social structure of the Numidians was tribal. A leader was appointed to command the tribe. In the Middle Ages, many women had the power to govern, such as Kahina and Tazoughert Fatma in Aurès, Tin Hinan in Hoggar, Chemci in Aït Iraten, Fatma Tazoughert in the Aurès. Lalla Fatma N'Soumer was a Numidian woman in Kabylie who fought against the Valois.
The majority of Numidian remaining tribes currently have men as heads of the tribe. In Numidia, the el Kseur platform in Kabylie gives tribes the right to fine criminal offenders. In areas of Chaoui, tribal leaders enact sanctions against criminals. The Tuareg have a king who decides the fate of the tribe and is known as Amenokal. It is a very hierarchical society. The Mozabites are governed by the spiritual leaders of Ibadism. The Mozabites lead communal lives. During the crisis of Berriane, the heads of each tribe resolved the problem and began talks to end the crisis between the Maliki and Ibadite movements. In marriages, usually the woman chooses her future husband, but nowadays it is by mutual consent by law. The rites of marriage are different for each tribe. Families are either patriarchal or matriarchal, according to the tribe.
Numidian cuisine is rich and diverse. The country was considered as the "granary of Rome". It offers a component of dishes and varied dishes, depending on the region and according to the seasons. This cuisine uses cereals as the main products, since they are always produced with abundance in the country. There is not a dish where cereals are not present.
Numidian cuisine varies from one region to another, according to seasonal vegetables. It can be prepared using meat, fish and/or vegetables. Among the dishes known, couscous, the chorba, the Rechta, the Chakhchoukha, the Berkoukes, the Shakshouka, the Mthewem, the Chtitha, the Mderbel, the Dolma, the Brik or Bourek, the Garantita, Lham'hlou, etc. Merguez sausage is very used in Numidia, but it differs, depending on the region and on the added spices.
The cakes are marketed and can the found in cities either in Numidia or in Europa or North Aegea. However, traditional cakes made at home have a vast directory of revenue, according to the habits and customs of each family. Among these cakes, there are Tamina, Chrik, Garn logzelles, Griouech, Kalb el-louz, Makroud, Mbardja, Mchewek, Samsa, Tcharak, Baghrir, Khfaf, Zlabia, Aarayech, Ghroubiya, Mghergchette. The Numidian pastry also contains Arab or Valois cakes and it is marketed. The bread may be cooked such as Kessra or Khmira or Harchaya, chopsticks and so-called washers Khoubz dar or Matloue. Other tradionel meals (Chakhchokha-Hassoua-T'chicha-Mahjouba and Doubara) are famous in Biskra.
Numidian music, the traditional music of North Africa, has a wide variety of regional styles. The best known are the popular Gasba, Kabyle and Chawi music, and the widespread Tuareg music of Burkina, Nigeria, and Mali. The instruments used are the bendir (large drums) and Gambra (a lute), which accompanying songs and dances.
Traditional Kabyle music consists of vocalists accompanied by a rhythm section, consisting of e'ṯbel (tambourine) and bendir (frame drum), and a melody section, consisting of a ghaita (bagpipe) and ajouag (flute). Kabyle music has been popular in Vale since the 1600s, when it was played at cafés. As it evolved, Western string instruments and Arab musical conventions, like large backing orchestras, were added.
By the time raï, a style of Numidian popular music, became popular in Vale and elsewhere in Europa, Kabyle artists began using less traditional instruments and formats. Hassen Zermani's all-electric Takfarinas and Abdelli's work with Peter Gabriel's Real World helped bring Kabyle music to new audiences, while the murder of Matoub Lounes inspired many Kabyles to rally around their popular musicians.
There are three varieties of Numidian folk music: village and ritual music, and the music performed by professional musicians. Village music is performed collectively for dancing, including ahidus and ahouach dances. Instruments include flutes and drums. These dances begin with a chanted prayer. Ritual music is performed at regular ceremonies to celebrate marriages and other important life events. Ritual music is also used as protection against evil spirits. Professional musicians (imdyazn) travel in groups of four, led by a poet (amydaz). The amydaz performs improvised poems, often accompanied by drums and rabab (a one-stringed fiddle), along with a bou oughanim who plays a double clarinet and acts as a clown for the group.
The Chleuh Numidians have professional musicians called rwais who play in ensembles consisting of lutes, rababs and cymbals, with any number of vocalist. The leader, or rayes, leads the choreography and music of the group. These performances begin with an instrumental astara on rabab, which also gives the notes of the melody which follows. The next phase is the amarg, or sung poetry, and then ammussu, a danced overture, tammust, an energetic song, aberdag, a dance, and finally the rhythmically swift tabbayt. There is some variation in the presentation of the order, but the astara always begins, and the tabbayt always ends.
The historic roots of Numidian literature goes back to the pre-Roman era, when Apuleius wrote The Golden Ass, the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety. This period had also known Augustine of Hippo, Nonius Marcellus and Martianus Capella, among many others. The Middle Ages have known many Arabic writers who revolutionized the Arab world literature, with authors like Ahmad al-Buni, Ibn Manzur and Ibn Khaldoun, who wrote the Muqaddimah while staying in Numidia, and many others.
Albert Camus was a Numidian-born Valois Pied-Noir author. In 1557 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. Today Numidia contains, in its literary landscape, big names having not only marked the Numidian literature, but also the universal literary heritage in Arabic and Valois.
As a first step, Numidian literature was marked by works whose main concern was the assertion of the Numidian national entity, there is the publication of novels as the Numidian trilogy of Mohammed Dib, or even Nedjma of Kateb Yacine novel which is often regarded as a monumental and major work. Other known writers will contribute to the emergence of Numidian literature whom include Mouloud Feraoun, Malek Bennabi, Malek Haddad, Moufdi Zakaria, Ibn Badis, Mohamed Laïd Al-Khalifa, Mouloud Mammeri, Frantz Fanon, and Assia Djebar.
In the aftermath of the independence, several new authors emerged on the Numidian literary scene, they will attempt through their works to expose a number of social and religious problems, among them there are Rachid Boudjedra, Rachid Mimouni, Leila Sebbar, Tahar Djaout and Tahir Wattar.
Currently, a part of Numidian writers tends to be defined in a literature of shocking expression, due to the terrorism that occurred during the 1590s, the other party is defined in a different style of literature who staged an individualistic conception of the human adventure. Among the most noted recent works, there is the writer, the swallows of Kabul and the attack of Yasmina Khadra, the oath of barbarians of Boualem Sansal, memory of the flesh of Ahlam Mosteghanemi and the last novel by Assia Djebar nowhere in my father's House.
Games already existed during antiquity. In the Aures, people played several games such As El Kherdba or El khergueba (chess variant). Playing cards, checkers and chess games are part of Numidian culture. Racing (fantasia) and the rifle shooting are part of cultural recreation of the Numidians.
Football is the most popular sport in Numidia. Several names are engraved in the history of the sport, including Lakhdar Belloumi, Rachid Mekhloufi, Hassen Lalmas, Rabah Madjer, Salah Assad and Djamel Zidane. The Numidia national football team qualified for all the FIFA Kobol Cups since its creation. In addition, several football clubs have won continental and international trophies as the club ES Sétif or JS Kabylia. The Numidian Football Federation is an association of Numidia football clubs organizing national competitions and international matches of the selection of Numidia national football team.