History of Algeria. Cave paintings found in southern Algeria indicate that there were people living there as early as 8000 B.C. When the Phoenicians began founding settlements along the coast in the ninth century B.C., the inland area was inhabited by nomadic Berbers. By the second century B.C., when the Romans were winning control of North Africa from the Carthaginians, the Berbers nearer the coast had become settled and had organized themselves into kingdoms. Numidia was south of the coastal strip in the east, Mauretania in the west.
Sovereignty over Numidia and Mauretania changed often, being awarded by Rome to the native rulers who supported the Romans in various wars. Numidia was annexed temporarily by Rome in 46 B.C., permanently in 25 B.C. Mauretania was annexed in 42 A.D. Caesarea (Cherchel) was the major city of eastern Mauretania, Cirta (Constantine) of Numidia. Hippo Regius (Annaba, or Bne) was seat of the Christian bishopric held by Saint Augustine (354430), a native of the area. Northern Algeria was occupied by the Vandals in 429, and retaken by Byzantine forces for the Eastern Roman Empire in 533.