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North Africa

Unlike Egypt and the Lebanon, [[North Africa]] had no remnants of ancient churches to keep alive some semblance of Christian testimony. When Islam swept across the area in the early seventh century, the church of Augustine and many early martyrs (see Africa, Roman) was swept away and Christianity for centuries was repressed, apart from the Roman Catholic presence in some Moroccan coastal stations and neighboring islands. It was not until the 1860s that Roman Catholic missionaries were concerned with much more than ministering to the European population, and not until 1908 was the mission raised to the status of a vicariate apostolic. Meanwhile, in Algeria and Tunisia during that same century there was extensive immigration from France, Spain, and Italy, and this predominantly Roman Catholic population helped also the work of missions (there had been sporadic work in Algiers and Tunis from the mid-seventeenth century). By 1866 the archbishopric of Algiers claimed to have 187 parishes