Carthage (Greek Karkhedon, Latin Carthago), ancient city of Africa, situated on a peninsula in the Gulf of Utica, about 20 km east of modern tunis. Founded from Tyre circa 700 BC, its real name was Kirjath-Hadeshath (New Town). By the mid-6th century BC Carthage was the center of a great Phoenician commercial empire whose numerous colonies were scattered throughout the Mediterranean area. At the height of its power, the city had a flourishing textile industry, while Sicily, Italy, and Greece alike welcomed its exports of Negro slaves, ivory, metals, precious stones and all the products of central Africa.
Carthage enters European history in 550 BC, when its soldiers conquered most of eastern Sicily. Fourteen years later the Carthaginians defeated the Phocaeans and Massaliotes on the coast of Corsica; c. 500 BC they subdued Sardinia and the Balearic islands. In 480 BC a Carthaginian army, intended for the final subjugation of all Sicily, was defeated before Himera by the combined forces of Himera and Acragas. The war, however, continued intermittently for 200 years
In 509 BC, Carthage had entered into a commercial treaty with Rome: but during the 220 years since that date Roman power had greatly increased, and conflict with the Carthaginian empire was inevitable. It proved to be one of the most remarkable and most decisive struggles of history (see punic wars), and ended with the defeat and destruction of Carthage in 146 BC, when all its territory became subject to Rome and was formed into the province of Africa.
The city remained virtually in ruins until rebuilt and made a colony (colonia Julia) by augustus. Carthage is described by Pomponius Mela, Strabo, and Herodian as one of the greatest and wealthiest cities of the Roman empire; it was also important in ecclesiastical history. The city was taken by the Vandals in 439, retaken by Belisarius in 533, and finally destroyed by the Arabs in 697.