The Roman province of Africa Proconsularis was established after the Romans defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. It roughly comprised the territory of present-day northern Tunisia, the northeast of modern-day Algeria, and the small Mediterranean Sea coast of modern-day western Libya along the Syrtis Minor.
It was the richest province in the western part of the empire. The Arabs later named roughly the same region as the original province Ifriqiya, a rendering of Africa, from the Latin language.
The African provinces were amongst the wealthiest regions in the Empire (rivaled only by Egypt, Syria and Italy itself) and as a consequence people from all over the Empire migrated into the Roman Africa Province, most importantly veterans in early retirement who settled in Africa on farming plots promised for their military service. Historian Theodore Mommsen estimated that under Hadrian nearly 1/3 of the eastern Numidia population (roughly modern Tunisia) was descended from Roman veterans.
Even so, the Roman military presence of North Africa was relatively small, consisting of about 28,000 troops and auxiliaries in Numidia and the two Mauretanian provinces. Starting in the 2nd century AD, these garrisons were manned mostly by local inhabitants. A sizable Latin speaking population developed that was multinational in background, sharing the north African region with those speaking Punic and Berber languages. Imperial security forces began to be drawn from the local population, including the Berbers