Sétif (Arabic: سطيف; formerly Sitifis Colonia) is a town in northeastern Algeria. It is the capital of Sétif Province and it has a population of 239,195 inhabitants as of the 1998 census. Setif is located to the east of Algiers and is the second most important Wilaya after the country's capital. It is 1,096 meters above sea level, making it the second highest capital of a Wilaya in Algeria. The streets are tree-lined with a fountain and theater, giving the town a French feel.
Sétif is connected by rail as well as the main national highway. It is a university town located approximately 190 miles east of Algiers on the highway to Constantine.
Sétif was at first Namibian: it was a part of the kingdom of Massaesyles and in the year 225 BC, it was the capital of the kingdom, a title which it lost when Juba switched it to Cherchell.
It is near Sétif that Jugurtha campaigned and lost against Marius in 105 BC. Overcome by Marius, he was taken to Rome where was executed in the prison of Tullianum.
Sitifis was founded by the Romans, during the reign of Nerva, as a colony for veterans. The ruins of this are still visible. A Roman mausoleum may be found in the outskirts of the city as well as Byzantine ruins.
As the town grew, around 297 AD, the province of Mauretania Sitifensis was established, with Sitifis as the central city.
In 647 AD (the year 27 of the Hegira), the first Muslim expedition to Africa took place. By 700 AD, the area had been conquered and converted to the Islamic fath. During the triumph of the Shiite doctrine, missionaries left the East worked on there in the area of Sétif to win proselytes to their cause which aspired to the imamat, that is to the inheritance of the temporal and spiritual authority of the Prophet from whom they claimed to descend.
Between 700 AD and the French conquest of Algeria, there is little recorded history. In 1838, a French garrison, or military post was established.
Main article: Sétif massacre
On 8 May 1945, one day after the formal end of World War II in Europe, a uprising against the occupying French forces in Sétif and the nearby towns Guelma and Kherrata resulted in the deaths of 104 pied-noirs. The uprising was suppressed through what is now known as the Sétif massacre. Estimates of Algerian casualties vary widely from 2,000 to 40,000 (see Setif massacre for details).
The local economy deals both with trade and industries. The trade is mainly in grain and livestock from the surrounding region. Locally produced wheat is processed by local factories to produce semolina, couscous and noodles. Other industries are woodworking, manufacture of carpets and metal handicrafts. Zinc is extracted from nearby deposits and there are hydroelectric development to the north. It has become the commercial center of a region where textiles are made, phosphates are mined and cereals grown. A large amusement park is located in the center of the city where the city Zoo can be found. The center of the park has a man made lake where visitors can enjoy pedal boats.
Because of Sétif's location on the High Plateaus at an elevation of 1,096 metres, it is one of the coldest regions during winter in Algeria. The Wilaya frequently sees an annual snowfall of up to 40 centimeters. Flash floods are rare but have recently occurred around the spring and fall seasons. The summer is fairly hot where extreme heat waves are common around the month of July where temperatures can sometimes even reach 40°C.
The ES Sétif Soccer Team is one of Algeria's most prestigious top division clubs.