An extract on #oran
The name "Wahran" (Oran in Arabic) is derived from the Berber word "uharan" that means "two lions".
A legend says that in 900 AD, lions still lived in the area. The last two lions were hunted on a mountain near Oran and are elsewhere referred to as "mountain lions".
The word derives from the Berber root hr, meaning lion (see also Tahert and Souk Ahras). The name is attested in multiple Berber languages, for instance as uharu and ahra. A locally popular legend tells that in the period around 900 BC, there were sightings of lions in the area. The two last lions were killed on a mountain near Oran, and it became known as La montagne des lions ("The Mountain of Lions"). Two giant lion statues stand in front of Oran's city hall, symbolizing the city.
During the Roman empire, a small settlement called Unica Colonia existed in the area of current Oran, but this settlement disappeared after the Arab conquest of the Maghreb.
Present-day Oran was founded in 903 by Moorish Andalusi traders. It was captured by the Castilians under Cardinal Cisneros in 1509, and Spanish sovereignty lasted until 1708, when the city was conquered by the Ottomans. Spain recaptured the city in 1732. However, its value as a trading post had decreased greatly, so King Charles IV sold the city to the Turks in 1792. Ottoman rule lasted until 1831, when it fell to the French.
During French rule over Algeria during the 19th and 20th centuries, Oran was the capital of a dpartement of the same name (number 92). In July 1940, the British navy shelled French warships in the port after they refused a British ultimatum to surrender; this action was taken to ensure the fleet would not fall into German hands, as the Nazis had defeated France and occupied Paris. The action increased the hatred of the Vichy regime for Britain but convinced the world that the British would fight on alone against Nazi Germany and its allies. The Vichy government held Oran during World War II until its capture by the Allies in late 1942, during Operation Torch.
Also, during French rule, Jews were encouraged to modernize and take on jobs they had not before including agriculture. Jews In the city were allowed to join the French Army starting October 24, 1870 when Algerian Jews were granted citizenship. French Jews would soon be targeted after not choosing to side with the Algerian Muslims who fought for independence against France.
Before the Algerian War, 19541962, Oran had one of the highest proportions of Europeans of any city in North Africa. In July 1962, after a ceasefire and accords with France, the FLN entered Oran and were shot at by a European. A mob attacked pied-noir neighborhoods and massacred thousands of Europeans in Oran; 453 have been said to have "disappeared." This triggered a larger exodus of Europeans to France, which was already underway. Shortly after the end of the war, most of the Europeans and Algerian Jews living in Oran fled to France. In less than three months, Oran lost about half its population. This population lost is similar to the Jews as many fled after siding with France in the Algerian War for Independence. As the war progressed, those who supported independence in Algeria threatened those who sided with Europe causing these people to flee.