Oujda (Berber: Wejda, ?????; Arabic: ?) is a city located in North-East of Morocco with an estimated population of 450,000. It is located about 15 kilometres (9 miles) west of Algeria. Oujda is about 55 km (34 miles) south of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Oriental Region of Morocco.
There is some evidence of a settlement during the Roman occupation, which seems to have been under the control of Berbers rather than Romans.
Uqba ibn Nafi began the Umayyad-Arab conquest of the region, during the reign of the Umayyad Caliphate, a conquest which was completed in AD 705 by Musa bin Nusayr. The city was founded in 994 by Ziri ibn Atiyya, Berber king of the Zenata tribes. Further additions were made in 1048.
In the mid-11th century, Oujda acquired prominence through its strategic position on the road east from Sijilmasa. Throughout the history of the dynasties of the Muslim West, Oujda played an important strategic role among the Merinids, settled in Fes, in this case as a rear base in their conflict with the Abdalwadids of the Kingdom of Tlemcen.
The city was rebuilt in the 13th century by sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqub. The city experienced great difficulty in making peace with its neighbours to the east, and sometimes to the west, because of its position in respect to the clashes between the Saadi dynasty and Turks. It was torn between the rulers of Fes and the disputed Tlemcen, and from the 16th century, it was contested by the Alaouite dynasty of Morocco and the Turks in Algiers. In 1692, Sultan Ismail led in the Turks, who established their hegemony on Algeria. Oujda fell again under Turkish rule in the following century for few weeks.
The French occupied it in 1844 and again in 1859. To the west of the city is the site of the major Franco-Moroccan Battle of Isly in 1844. The French had to withdraw because of the strong Moroccan resistance. In 1907 and 1908 Oujda was reconquerred by general Bugeaud and marechal Lyautey and used as a French military base to control eastern Morocco. The modern city owes much of its present form to the French, it developed along the roads built at that time.
The 1948 Anti-Jewish Riots in Oujda and Jerada occurred in this city. The crowd, sparked off by a minor incident, poured into the Jewish quarter. In the three hours that passed before the army could control the mob, five people (including one Frenchman) had been killed, thirty had been severely injured, shops and homes had been sacked.
The Moroccan border with Algeria is just east of Oujda; on the other side of the border is the Algerian town of Maghnia. The state of the border crossing depends on relations between the two countries, which are often strained.
The city is located 60 km (37 mi) south of the Mediterranean sea and 15 km (9 mi) west of Algeria, with an estimated altitude of 450 metres (1,476 feet).
5 km (3 mi) south from city centre is located Jbel Hamra, a typical Mediterranean forests.
Into the east of this forest is located Sidi Maafa park.
Oujda has a strategic importance because of its location on the border. There are many economic and natural resources however, problems of overpopulation of the city and increase in unemployment rate up to 18% of the 11% on the national level. Migration to foreign countries was up to 28.3% of the national total.