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Ancient Africa: Ancient Carthage

The city of Ancient Carthage was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is today Tunisia. At its peak, Carthage ruled a significant portion of the Mediterranean coast including Northern Africa, Southern Spain, and the islands of Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily.

Carthage was a major power in the Mediterranean from 650 BCE to 146 BCE. It was first established in 814 BCE by the Phoenician Empire and gained its independence in 650 BCE. Carthage grew to become the most powerful city in the Mediterranean.

In 509 BCE, Carthage established a treaty with Rome. Carthage had control of most of the Western Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Carthage’s powerful navy kept Rome in check.

Between 480 BCE and 265 BCE Carthage fought the Greek-Punic Wars over the control of Sicily. Neither side ever gained full control over the island. Carthage controlled Western Sicily, while the Greeks maintained control of Eastern Sicily.

As the Roman Republic rose in power, conflict arose between Rome and Carthage. In 264 BCE, Carthage fought the First Punic War against Rome. Rome defeated Carthage and gained control of Sicily.

During the Second Punic War the famous Carthage leader, Hannibal, crossed the Alps to attack Rome in Italy. Hannibal brought 37 elephants with him, but many of them died before making it into Italy. Although Hannibal won several battles in Italy, Carthage began to weaken as the war waged on. Eventually, the Romans defeated Carthage and gained control of Spain and much of Northern Africa.

The Third Punic War occurred between 149 BCE and 146 BCE. Rome conquered the city of Carthage, ending the Empire of Carthage. The cities allied with Carthage became part of the Roman Republic.

Carthage was initially a monarchy ruled by a king. However, the government became a republic around the 4th century BCE. Similar to Rome, Carthage had a senate made up of 300 wealthy citizens to legislate laws. They also had two main leaders that were elected every year. They were called "Suffetes," which means judges.

Carthage was later rebuilt by Julius Caesar of Rome and became a major part of the Roman Empire.


Source: Ancient Africa: Ancient Carthage
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