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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.

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 AD, there were sightings of lions in the area.

Thus began the first organized incursions against the city which, at the time, numbered 25,000 inhabitants and counted 6,000 fueros.

Count Pedro Navarro, on the orders of Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, finally captured the city on May 17, 1509.

There was a decrease in the Jewish population as Muslims were the only group granted citizenship protection in 1963, one year after Algerian independence.

Presence of the Zianides of Tlemcen and then the Marinid dynasty of Fes.

Under French rule during the 19th and 20th centuries, Oran was the capital of a département 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.

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. However, its value as a trading post had decreased greatly, so King Charles IV sold the city to the Turks in 1792.

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