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Girba

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A titular see in the province of African Tripoli. It is an island, in ancient times called Meninx, and included three principal cities, Meninx, Tipasa and Girba, whence its present name. At least two bishops of Girba are known, Monnulus and Vincent, who assisted at the Councils, of Carthage in 255 and 525 (Toulotte, Géographie de l'Afrique chrétienne Proconsulaire, Paris, 1892, pp. 353 and 380). In the seventh century it is again found under the name of Terepiton, a corrupt form for Gergiton or Gerbiton (Byzant. Zeitschrift, II, 1893, 26, 31). During the Middle Ages the Christians of Sicily and Aragon disputed its possession with the Arabs, and the Spaniards seized upon it several times during the sixteenth century, notably in 1510 and 1535. In 1560 the Corsair Dragut surprised the Spanish fleet, which lost thirty vessels and five thousand men. The garrison was put to death and with the bones of the slain the Turks built a pyramid called Bordj-er-Rious, the fortress of the skulls which existed until the middle of the nineteenth century, when the bones were removed to the Christian cemetery of Hount-Souk. Today the island of Djerba numbers forty thousand souls, several hundreds of whom are Maltese Catholics who earn a livelihood as sponge-fishers. The climate is mild and the soil well cultivated. The island belongs to the regency of Tunis, which is under French protectorate.


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