It was founded by the French in the early 19th century 1868 as a colonial district "Commune". It was given the name of Randon after the French Army general Jacques Louis Randon, but the local population used to call the area "Besbes" which was given to the city as a formal name after Algeria's independence in 1962. Besbes is located in the west of El Tarf Province, 24 km to the south of Annaba. The city is surrounded by agricultural land (Annaba plain). During the French rule, the new village was inhabited by rich Pied-Noir families who own most of the surrounding farms.
Nowadays, Besbes is a city of more than 60,000 inhabitants.