Originally a French province, it was departmentalised on 9 December 1848. Its principal town, Oran, was made the prefecture of the département. There were three French départements in Algeria: Oran in the west, Alger in the center, and Constantine in the east. Oran covered 67,262 km², encompassing five sub-prefectures of Mascara, Mostaganem, Sidi Bel Abbès, Tiaret and Tlemcen.
It was only in the 1950s that the Sahara was annexed into departmentalised Algeria, which explains why the département of Oran limited itself to what is the northwest of Algeria today. However, prior to departmentalisation, the two eastern territories of the south were managed by the department of Oran.
In 1956 an administrative reform aimed at taking into account the strong demographic growth in Algeria split the province into four parts, Oran, Mostaganem, Tiaret and Tlemcen, taking place on 20 May 1957.
- "Département d'Oran." Wikipedia, l'encyclopédie libre. 30 July 2006, 21:08 UTC. 18 October 2005
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