It contains the kubba of a celebrated marabout, Sidi Embarek, who lived in the 7th century.
In the Sud Oranais an insurrection, fomented by a marabout named Bu-Amama, broke out in 1881, and the insurgents massacred the European labourers engaged in the collection of alfa (or esparto) grass.
The town, founded by the French, derives its name from the kubba (tomb) of a marabout named Sidi-bel-Abbes, near which a redoubt was constructed by General Bedeau in 1843.
The birds include the ostrich, marabout, vultures, kites, hawks, ground hornbill, great bustard, guinea fowl, partridge, lesser bustard, quail, snipe, duck, widgeon, teal, geese of various kinds, paraquets, doves, blue, bronze and green pigeons, and many others.
They are possessed of certain privileges, such as exemption from the chief taxes and the duty of bearing arms. They, however, often take a foremost part in tribal administration, and are frequently called upon to perform the office of arbitrators in questions of disputed policy, &c. In the Jemda, too, the Marabout at times takes the place of honour and keeps order.
Birds are very numerous; they include various eagles, several kinds of heron, the egret, the marabout, the crane and the pelican; turacos or plantain-eaters, are common, as are other brilliantly plumaged birds.
Among the birds prized for their plumage are the marabout, crane, heron, blackbird, parrot, jay and humming-birds of extraordinary brilliance.
In the vicinity are the villages of Joinville and Montpensier, which owe their origin to military camps established by Marshal Valee in 1838; and on the road to Medea are the tombs of the marabout Mahommed-el-Kebir, who died in 1580, and his two sons.