Hippo was a Tyrian colony on the west coast of the bay to which it gave its name: Hipponensis Sinus, first settled by the Phoenicians probably in the 12th century BC; the surname Regius 'of the King' was bestowed on it as one of the places where the Numidian kings resided.
A maritime city near the mouth of the river Ubus, it became a Roman colonia which prospered and became a major city in Roman Africa. It is perhaps most famous as the bishopric of Saint Augustine of Hippo in his later years. In the summer of 430 the Vandals were besieging the city of Hippo as the aged bishop lay dying within. Shortly after his death in August 28, 430, they captured the city under King Geiseric after an 18-month siege in 431 and made it the capital of the Vandal kingdom in Northern Africa between 431 and 439.
It returned to Roman rule in 534 until 698, when it fell to the Saracens; the Arabs rebuilt the town in the seventh century. The city's later history was under its modern name.
About two miles distant the Arabs in the eleventh century established the town of Beleb-el-Anab, which the Spaniards occupied for some years in the sixteenth century, as the French did later, in the reign of Louis XIV. France took this town again in 1832. It was renamed Bone or Bona, and became one of the government centres for the department of Constantine in Algeria. It had 37,000 inhabitants, of whom 15,700 were French, 10,500 foreigners, mostly Italians, 9,400 Muslims and 1400 naturalized Jews.