With an estimated population of half a million inhabitants. Oujda was founded in the 10th century, and was the capital of a tribe called Zenata. The city was rebuilt in 13th century by sultan Abou Youssef. The French twice occupied it (in 1844 and again in 1859). Also to the west is Isly witch saw a major Franco-Moroccan battle in 1844. Once Morocco was occupied by the French, Oujda was used as a military base to control eastern Morocco. The city grew up along the roads built by and owes much of present form to the French.