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Cherchell (older Cherchel, Arabic: شرشال) is a seaport town in the Province of Tipaza, Algeria, 55 miles West of Algiers. It is the district seat of Cherchell District.
Ancient History

The town was originally an ancient Egyptian settlement dating back to 1500 BC. In the town archaeologists have found a lower half of a seated Egyptian divinity in black basalt, bearing a cartouche of the Pharaoh of Egypt Thutmose I.

The Phoenicians of Carthage settled there in the 4th century BC and named the town Iol or Jol. The town became a part of the kingdom of Numidia under Jugurtha, who died in 104 BC. The town became very significant to the Berber monarchy and generals of Numidia. The Berber Kings Bocchus I and Bocchus II, lived there and as did occasionally other Kings of Numidia. Iol was situated in an area called Mauretania, which was apart of the Numidian kingdom.

The last Numidian king Juba II and his wife, the Greek Ptolemaic princess Cleopatra Selene II were forced to flee the other part of Numidian kingdom because the local population disapproved of their king being too Romanized, which caused civil unrest between 26 BC-20 BC. Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus had intervened into the situation and divided the Numidian Kingdom into two. One half of the kingdom became a part of the Roman province of Africa Nova. Western Numidia and Mauretania (the second half of the kingdom) became one kingdom. Iol was renamed Caesaria or Caesarea, in honor of the emperor. Caesaria would become the capital of the Roman client kingdom of Mauretania. The kingdom of Mauretania became one of the important client kingdoms in the Roman Empire, and their monarchs were one of the most loyal client monarchs that served Rome.

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