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Minorities: The Amazigh people remain abused by North African regimes

Ethnic group indigenous to North Africa

Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ

Berber flag.svg
Complete inhabitants
+20–30 million[1][2][3] – +50 million[4]
Areas with important populations
 Morocco from ~18 million[5][6] to ~20 million[2][7]
 Algeria from 9[2] to ~13 million[6][8]
 Libya ~3,850,000[4]
 Tunisia 117,783[9]
 France greater than 2 million[10]
 Mauritania 2,883,000 (2,768,000[11] & 115,000[12])
 Niger 1,620,000[13]
 Mali 850,000[14]
 Belgium 500,000 (together with descendants)[15]
 Netherlands 367,455 (together with descendants)[citation needed]
 Burkina Faso 50,000[16]
 Egypt 23,000[17] or 1,826,580[4]
 Canada 37,060 (together with these of blended ancestry)[18]
 Israel 3,500[19]
 United States 1,327[20]
(Tamazight), historically written with Tifinagh alphabet, additionally Berber Latin alphabet;
Maghrebi Arabic dialects (amongst Arabized Berbers)
Predominantly Sunni Islam.
Minorities adhere to different Islamic denominations (Shia, Ibadi), Christianity (mainly Catholicism),[21][22]Judaism, and traditional faith
Associated ethnic teams
other Afro-Asiatic peoples[23][24][25][26][27][28]

Imazighen, (Berber languages: ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ, romanized: Imaziɣen; singular: Amaziɣ, ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ ⵎⵣⵗ) are an ethnic group of North Africa and West Africa, particularly Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, northern Mali, and northern Niger. Smaller Imazighen populations are additionally present in Burkina Faso and Egypt’s Siwa Oasis.[29]

Traditionally, Imazighen nations spoke the Tamazight languages, that are a department of the Afroasiatic language family.[3] Nearly all of North Africa’s inhabitants west of Egypt is believed to be Imazighen in ethnic origin, though resulting from Arabization and Islamization some ethnic Imazighen determine as Arabized Berbers.[30] Giant immigrant Imazighen communities reside in France, Spain, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, and different nations of Europe.[31][32]


Essential article:

The time period Berber originates from the Greek: βάρβαρος (barbaros pl. βάρβαροι barbaroi) which means ‘barbarian‘, and is now not acceptable speech as a result of destructive connotations.[33] Earlier, it was utilized by the Romans particularly to their northern hostile neighbours from Germania (trendy Germany) and Celts, Iberians, Gauls, Goths, and Thracians. Amongst its oldest written attestations, Berber seems as an ethnonym within the 1st century AD Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.[34]

Regardless of these early manuscripts, sure trendy students have argued that the time period solely emerged round 900 AD within the writings of Arab genealogists,[35] with Maurice Lenoir positing an Eighth- or Ninth-century date of look.[36] Ramzi Rouighi argues that the utilization of Berber in reference to the Imazighen individuals of North Africa appeared solely after the Muslim conquests of the Seventh century. Latin and Greek sources describe Moors, Africans, and even barbarians, however by no means Berbers (al-Barbar).[37] The English time period was launched within the 19th century, changing the sooner Barbary.

The Imazighen are the Mauri cited by the Chronicle of 754 in the course of the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, to turn out to be for the reason that 11th century the catch-all time period Spanish: Moros (‘Moors’) on paperwork of the Christian Iberian kingdoms to consult with the Andalusi, the north Africans, and the Muslims general.

For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo,[38] the identify Amazigh might be derived from the identify of the ancestor Mezeg, which is the interpretation of biblical ancestor Dedan, son of Sheba within the Targum. Based on Leo Africanus, Amazigh meant ‘free man’; some argued that there isn’t any root of M-Z-Ɣ which means ‘free’ in trendy Tamazight languages. Nonetheless, mmuzeɣ (‘to be noble, beneficiant’) exists among the many Imazighen of Central Morocco and tmuzeɣ (‘to free oneself, revolt’) exists among the many Kabyles of Ouadhia.[39] This dispute, nevertheless, is predicated on a lack of know-how of the Tamazight language, as “Am-” is a prefix which means ‘a person, one who’s […]’. Subsequently, the basis required to confirm this endonym can be (a)zigh (‘free’), which, nevertheless, can also be lacking from Tamazight‘s lexicon however could also be associated to the well-attested aze (‘robust’), Tizzit (‘bravery’), or jeghegh (‘to be courageous, to be brave’).[40][original research?]

Additional, it additionally has a cognate within the Tuareg phrase Amajegh, which means ‘noble’.[41][42] This time period is frequent in Morocco, particularly amongst Central Atlas,[definition needed]Rifian, and Shilah[definition needed] audio system in 1980,[43] however elsewhere inside the Imazighen homeland generally a neighborhood, extra specific time period, equivalent to Kabyle or Chaoui, is extra typically used as an alternative in Algeria.[44]

The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines talked about numerous tribes with comparable names residing in Higher “Libya” (North Africa) within the areas the place Imazighen have been later discovered. Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, however are in all probability nonetheless associated to the fashionable Amazigh. The Meshwesh tribe amongst them represents the primary thus recognized from the sector. Students imagine it will be the identical tribe referred to as a couple of centuries afterwards in Greek as Mazyes by Hektaios and as Maxyes by Herodotus, whereas it was referred to as after that Mazaces and Mazax in Latin sources, and associated to the later Massylii and Masaesyli. Late antiquity Roman and Coptic language sources additionally point out that Mazices (Coptic: ⲙⲁⲥⲓⲅⲝ)[45] performed a number of raids in opposition to Egypt.[46] all these names are comparable and maybe overseas renditions of the identify utilized by the Imazighen typically for themselves, Imazighen or i-Mazigh-en (singular: a-Mazigh).[31]

The identify in all probability had its historical parallel within the Roman and Greek names for Imazighen equivalent to Mazices.[47] Based on Ibn Khaldun, the identify Mazîgh is derived from one of many early ancestors of the Imazighen , based mostly on one opinion.[48]


An Egyptian statuette representing a Libyan Libu Amazigh from the reign of Rameses II (19th Dynasty) in 1279–1213 BCE. (Louvre Museum, Paris)

The Maghreb area in northwestern Africa is believed to have been inhabited by Imazighen from at the least 10,000 BC.[49] Native cave paintings, which have been dated to 12 millennia earlier than current, have been discovered within the Tassili n’Ajjer area of southern Algeria. Different rock art has been noticed in Tadrart Acacus within the Libyan desert. A Neolithic society, marked by domestication and subsistence agriculture, developed within the Saharan and Mediterranean area (the Maghreb) of northern Africa between 6000 and 2000 BC. This kind of life, richly depicted within the Tassili n’Ajjer cave work of southeastern Algeria, predominated within the Maghreb till the classical interval.

Prehistoric Tifinagh scripts have been additionally discovered within the Oran area.[50] In the course of the pre-Roman period, a number of successive impartial states (Massylii) existed earlier than the king Masinissa unified the individuals of Numidia.[51][52][53][full citation needed]

Historical past

In historic instances, the Imazighen expanded south into the Sahara (displacing earlier populations such because the Azer and Bafour). A lot of Berber culture remains to be celebrated among the many cultural elite in Morocco and Algeria.

The areas of North Africa which have retained the Tamazight language and traditions greatest have been, typically, Morocco and the Hautes Plaines of Algeria (Kabylie, Aurès and so on.), most of which in Roman and Ottoman instances had remained largely impartial. The Ottomans did penetrate the Kabylie space, and reached locations the Phoenicians by no means penetrated, equivalent to far past the coast, the place Ottoman affect may be seen in meals, garments and music. These areas have been affected by a number of the many invasions of North Africa, most lately that of the French.


A faience tile from the throne of Pharaoh Ramesses III depicting a tattooed historical Libyan chief c. 1184 to 1153 BC

Round 5000 BC, the populations of North Africa have been primarily descended from the makers of the Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures, with a newer intrusion related to the Neolithic Revolution.[54] The proto-Imazighen tribes advanced from these prehistoric communities in the course of the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age.[55]

Uniparental DNA evaluation has established ties between Imazighen and different Afroasiatic audio system in Africa. Most of those populations belong to the E1b1b paternal haplogroup, with Imazighen audio system having among the many highest frequencies of this lineage.[56] Moreover, genomic evaluation has discovered that Imazighen and different Maghreb communities are outlined by a shared ancestral part that originated within the Close to East. This Maghrebi ingredient peaks amongst Tunisian Imazighen.[57] It’s associated to the Coptic/Ethio-Somali, having diverged from these and different West Eurasian-affiliated parts earlier than the Holocene.[58]

In 2013, Iberomaurusian skeletons from the prehistoric websites of Taforalt and Afalou within the Maghreb have been additionally analyzed for ancient DNA. The entire specimens belonged to maternal clades related to both North Africa or the northern and southern Mediterranean littoral, indicating gene move between these areas for the reason that Epipaleolithic.[59] The traditional Taforalt people carried the mtDNA haplogroups U6, H, JT and V, which factors to inhabitants continuity within the area relationship from the Iberomaurusian interval.[60]

Human fossils excavated on the Ifri n’Amr or Moussa web site in Morocco have been radiocarbon dated to the Early Neolithic interval, c. 5,000 BC. Historic DNA evaluation of those specimens signifies that they carried paternal haplotypes associated to the E1b1b1b1a (E-M81) subclade and the maternal haplogroups U6a and M1, all of that are frequent amongst present-day communities within the Maghreb. These historical people additionally bore an autochthonous Maghrebi genomic part that peaks amongst trendy Imazighen, indicating that they have been ancestral to populations within the space. Moreover, fossils excavated on the Kelif el Boroud web site close to Rabat have been discovered to hold the broadly-distributed paternal haplogroup T-M184 in addition to the maternal haplogroups K1, T2 and X2, the latter of which have been frequent mtDNA lineages in Neolithic Europe and Anatolia. These historical people likewise bore the Imazighen-associated Maghrebi genomic part. This altogether signifies that the Late Neolithic Kelif el Boroud inhabitants have been ancestral to up to date populations within the space, but in addition possible skilled gene move from Europe.[61]

Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406), mentioning the oral traditions prevalent in his day, brings down two fashionable opinions as to the origin of the Imazighen. Based on one opinion, they’re descended from Ham, the son of Noah, and have for ancestors Imazighen, son of Temla, son of Mazîgh, son of Canaan, son of Ham.[48] Nonetheless, Abou-Bekr Mohammed es-Souli (947 CE) holds that they’re descended from Imazighen, the son of Keloudjm (Casluhim), the son of Mesraim, the son of Ham.[48]


The grand tribal identities of Imazighen antiquity (then typically often known as historical Libyans)[62][a] have been stated to be three (roughly, from west to east): the Mauri, the Numidians close to Carthage, and the Gaetulians. The Mauri inhabited the far west (historical Mauretania, now Morocco and central Algeria). The Numidians occupied the areas between the Mauri and the city-state of Carthage. Each the Numidians and the Mauri had important sedentary populations residing in villages, and their peoples each tilled the land and tended herds. The Gaetulians have been much less settled, with predominantly pastoral parts, and lived within the close to south on the margins of the Sahara.[63][64][41]:41f

For his or her half, the Phoenicians (Canaanites) got here from the maybe most superior multicultural sphere then present, the western coast of the Fertile Crescent. Accordingly, the fabric tradition of Phoenicia was possible extra practical and environment friendly, and their information extra explanatory, than that of the early Imazighen. Therefore, the interactions between Imazighen and Phoenicians have been typically asymmetrical. The Phoenicians labored to maintain their cultural cohesion and ethnic solidarity, and repeatedly refreshed their shut reference to Tyre, the mom metropolis.[62]:37

The earliest Phoenician touchdown stations positioned on the coasts have been in all probability meant merely to resupply and repair ships certain for the profitable metals commerce with the Iberians on the Iberian peninsula.[65] Maybe these newly arrived sea merchants weren’t at first notably keen on doing a lot enterprise with the Imazighen, for the explanation of the little revenue concerning the products the Imazighen needed to provide.[66] The Phoenicians established strategic colonial cities in lots of Imazighen areas, together with websites outdoors of present-day Tunisia, e.g., the settlements at Oea, Leptis Magna, Sabratha (in Libya), and Volubilis, Chellah and Mogador (now in Morocco). As in Tunisia, these centres have been buying and selling hubs, and later supplied help for useful resource growth equivalent to olive oil at Volubilis and Tyrian purple dye at Mogador. For his or her half, most Imazighen maintained their independence as farmers or semi-pastorals though, as a result of exemplar of Carthage, their organized politics elevated in scope and purchased sophistication.[41]:24f

Berber Kingdoms in Numidia, c. 220 BC (inexperienced: Masaesyli underneath Syphax; gold: Massyli underneath Gala, father of Masinissa; additional east: city-state of Carthage).

Actually, for a time their numerical and navy superiority (the most effective horse riders of that point) enabled some Berber kingdoms to impose a tribute payable by Carthage, a situation that continued into the fifth century BC.[65]:64–65 Additionally, as a result of Imazighen-Libyan Meshwesh dynasty’s rule of Egypt (945–715 BC),[67] the Imazighen close to Carthage commanded important respect (but in all probability showing extra rustic than elegant Libyan pharaohs on the Nile). Correspondingly, in early Carthage, cautious consideration was given to securing probably the most beneficial treaties with the Imazighen chieftains, “which included intermarriage between them and the Punic aristocracy”.[68] On this regard, maybe the legend about Dido, the foundress of Carthage, as associated by Trogus is apposite. Her refusal to wed the Mauritani chieftain Hiarbus could be indicative of the complexity of the politics concerned.[69]

Finally, the Phoenician buying and selling stations would evolve into everlasting settlements, and later into small cities, which might presumably require all kinds of products in addition to sources of meals, which might be glad in commerce with the Imazighen . But right here too, the Phoenicians in all probability can be drawn into organizing and directing such native commerce, and in addition into managing agricultural manufacturing. Within the fifth century BC, Carthage expanded its territory, buying Cape Bon and the fertile Wadi Majardah,[70] later establishing its management over productive farmlands inside a number of hundred kilometres.[71] Appropriation of such wealth in land by the Phoenicians would certainly encourage some resistance by the Imazighen , though in warfare, too, the technical coaching, social group, and weaponry of the Phoenicians would appear to work in opposition to the tribal Imazighen . This social-cultural interplay in early Carthage has been summarily described:

Lack of latest written data makes the drawing of conclusions right here unsure, which might solely be based mostly on inference and affordable conjecture about issues of social nuance. But it seems that the Phoenicians typically didn’t work together with the Imazighen as financial equals, however employed their agricultural labour, and their family companies, whether or not by rent or indenture; many turned sharecroppers.

[62]:86 For a interval, the Imazighen have been in fixed revolt, and in 396 there was an excellent rebellion.

“1000’s of rebels streamed down from the mountains and invaded Punic territory, carrying the serfs of the countryside together with them. The Carthaginians have been obliged to withdraw inside their partitions and have been besieged.”

But the Imazighen lacked cohesion, and though 200,000 robust at one level, they succumbed to starvation, their leaders have been supplied bribes, and “they regularly broke up and returned to their houses”.[65]:125, 172 Thereafter, “a collection of revolts happened among the many Libyans [Imazighen] from the fourth century onwards”.[62]:81

The Imazighen had turn out to be involuntary ‘hosts’ to the settlers from the east, and obliged to simply accept the Punic dominance of Carthage for a lot of centuries. The Imazighen belonged to the decrease social class when in Punic society[citation needed]. Nonetheless, therein they persevered largely unassimilated[citation needed], as a separate, submerged entity, as a tradition of largely passive city and rural poor inside the civil buildings created by Punic rule.[72] As well as, and most significantly, the Imazighen peoples additionally shaped quasi-independent satellite tv for pc societies alongside the steppes of the frontier and past, the place a minority continued as free ‘tribal republics’. Whereas benefiting from Punic materials tradition and political-military establishments, these peripheral Imazighen (additionally referred to as Libyans) maintained their very own id, tradition and traditions, continued to develop their very own agricultural and village expertise, whereas residing with the newcomers from the east in an uneven symbiosis.[b][74]

Because the centuries handed, there naturally grew a Punic society of Phoenician-descent however born in Africa, referred to as Libyphoenicians. This time period later got here to be utilized additionally to Imazighen acculturated to city Phoenician tradition.[62]:65, 84–86 But the entire notion of a Imazighen apprenticeship to the Punic civilization has been referred to as an exaggeration sustained by a standpoint basically overseas to the Imazighen.[64]:52, 58 There advanced a inhabitants of blended ancestry, Imazighen and Punic. There would develop acknowledged niches by which Imazighen had confirmed their utility. For instance, the Punic state started to area Imazighen Numidian cavalry underneath their commanders frequently. The Imazighen ultimately have been required to supply troopers (at first “unlikely” paid “besides in booty”), which by the fourth century BC turned “the most important single ingredient within the Carthaginian military”.[62]:86

But in instances of stress at Carthage, when a overseas power could be pushing in opposition to the city-state, some Imazighen would see it as a chance to advance their pursuits, given their in any other case low standing in Punic society.[citation needed] Thus, when the Greeks underneath Agathocles (361–289 BC) of Sicily landed at Cape Bon and threatened Carthage (in 310 BC), there have been Imazighen underneath Ailymas who went over to the invading Greeks.[65]:172[c] Additionally, in the course of the lengthy Second Punic War (218–201 BC) with Rome (see under), the Berber King Masinissa (c. 240 – c. 148 BC) joined with the invading Roman common Scipio, ensuing to the war-ending defeat of Carthage at Zama, regardless of the presence of their famend common Hannibal; then again, the Imazighen King Syphax (d. 202 BC) had supported Carthage. The Romans too learn these cues, in order that they cultivated their Imazighen alliances and, subsequently, favored the Imazighen who superior their pursuits following the Roman victory.[75]

Carthage was faulted by her historical rivals for the “harsh therapy of her topics” in addition to for “greed and cruelty”.[62]:83[d][76] Her Libyan Imazighen sharecroppers, for instance, have been required to pay half of their crops as tribute to the city-state in the course of the emergency of the First Punic War. The traditional exaction taken by Carthage was possible “a particularly burdonsome” one-quarter.[62]:80 Carthage as soon as famously tried to scale back the variety of its Libyan and overseas troopers, resulting in the Mercenary War (240–237 BC).[65]:203–209[77][78] The town-state additionally appeared to reward these leaders identified to deal ruthlessly with its topic peoples, therefore the frequent Imazighen insurrections. Moderns fault Carthage for failure “to bind her topics to herself, as Rome did [her Italians]”, but Rome and the Italians held much more in frequent maybe than did Carthage and the Imazighen. Nonetheless, a contemporary criticism tells us that the Carthaginians “did themselves a disservice” by failing to advertise the frequent, shared high quality of “life in a correctly organized metropolis” that evokes loyalty, notably with regard to the Imazighen.[62]:86–87 Once more, the tribute demanded by Carthage was onerous.[79]

The Punic relationship with the bulk Berbers continued all through the lifetime of Carthage. The unequal growth of fabric tradition and social group maybe fated the connection to be an uneasy one. An extended-term reason for Punic instability, there was no melding of the peoples. It remained a supply of stress and a degree of weak spot for Carthage. But there have been levels of convergence on a number of particulars, discoveries of mutual benefit, events of friendship, and household.[80]

The Imazighen enter historicity regularly in the course of the Roman era. Byzantine authors point out the Mazikes (Amazigh) as tribal individuals raiding the monasteries of Cyrenaica. Garamantia was a notable Imazighen kingdom that flourished within the Fezzan space of modern-day Libya within the Sahara desert between 400 BC and 600 AD.

Roman period Cyrenaica turned a middle of early Christianity. Some pre-Islamic Imazighen have been Christians[81] (there’s a robust correlation between membership of the Donatist doctrine and being Berber, ascribed to its matching their tradition in addition to their alienation from the dominant Roman tradition of the Catholic church),[82] some maybe
Jewish, and a few adhered to their conventional polytheist religion. The Roman period authors Apuleius and St. Augustine have been born in Numidia, as have been three popes: Pope Victor I served in the course of the reign of Roman emperor Septimius Severus, who was a North African of Roman/Punic ancestry (maybe with some Imazighen blood).[83]


Numidia (202 – 46 BC) was an historical Imazighen kingdom in trendy Algeria and a part of Tunisia. It later alternated between being a Roman province and being a Roman client state. The polity was positioned on the jap border of recent Algeria, bordered by the Roman province of Mauretania (in trendy Algeria and Morocco) to the west, the Roman province of Africa (trendy Tunisia) to the east, the Mediterranean to the north, and the Sahara Desert to the south. Its individuals have been the Numidians.

The identify Numidia was first utilized by Polybius and different historians in the course of the third century BC to point the territory west of Carthage, together with your entire north of Algeria so far as the river Mulucha (Muluya), about 160 kilometres (100 mi) west of Oran. The Numidians have been conceived of as two nice teams: the Massylii in jap Numidia, and the Masaesyli within the west.
In the course of the first a part of the Second Punic War, the jap Massylii, underneath their king Gala, have been allied with Carthage, whereas the western Masaesyli underneath king Syphax have been allied with Rome.

In 206 BC, the brand new king of the jap Massylii, Masinissa, allied himself with Rome, and Syphax of the Masaesyli switched his allegiance to the Carthaginian aspect. On the finish of the battle, the victorious Romans gave all of Numidia to Masinissa of the Massylii. On the time of his loss of life in 148 BC, Masinissa’s territory prolonged from Mauretania to the boundary of the Carthaginian territory, and in addition south-east so far as Cyrenaica, in order that Numidia fully surrounded Carthage (Appian, Punica, 106) besides in direction of the ocean.

Masinissa was succeeded by his son Micipsa. When Micipsa died in 118 BC, he was succeeded collectively by his two sons Hiempsal I and Adherbal and Masinissa’s illegitimate grandson, Jugurtha, of Imazighen origin, who was highly regarded among the many Numidians. Hiempsal and Jugurtha quarreled instantly after the loss of life of Micipsa. Jugurtha had Hiempsal killed, which led to open battle with Adherbal.

After Jugurtha defeated him in open battle, Adherbal fled to Rome for assist. The Roman officers, allegedly resulting from bribes however maybe extra possible due to a need to rapidly finish battle in a worthwhile shopper kingdom, settled the battle by dividing Numidia into two elements. Jugurtha was assigned the western half. Nonetheless, quickly after battle broke out once more, resulting in the Jugurthine War between Rome and Numidia.


In antiquity, Mauretania (third century BC – 44 BC) was an historical Mauri Imazighen kingdom in trendy Morocco and a part of Algeria. It turned a shopper state of the Roman empire in 33 BC, then a full Roman province after the loss of life of its final king Ptolemy of Mauretania in AD, a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Center Ages

Earlier than the eleventh century, most of North-West Africa was a Imazighen-speaking Muslim space. The method of Arabization solely turned a significant factor with the arrival of the Banu Hilal, a tribe despatched by the Fatimids of Egypt to punish the Imazighen Zirid dynasty for having deserted Shiism. The Banu Hilal diminished the Zirids to some coastal cities and took over a lot of the plains; their inflow was a significant factor within the Arabization of the area and within the unfold of nomadism in areas the place agriculture had beforehand been dominant.

After the Muslim conquest, the Imazighen tribes of coastal North Africa turned virtually totally Islamized. Moreover the Arabian affect, North African inhabitants additionally noticed an inflow by way of the Barbary Slave Trade of European peoples, with some estimates inserting the variety of European slaves dropped at North Africa in the course of the Ottoman interval as excessive as 1.25 million.[84] Interactions with neighboring Sudanic empires, merchants, and nomads from different elements of Africa additionally left impressions upon the Imazighen individuals.

Based on historians of the Center Ages, the Imazighen have been divided into two branches, Butr and Baranis (identified additionally as Botr and Barnès), descended from Mazigh ancestors, who have been themselves divided into tribes and subtribes. Every area of the Maghreb contained a number of tribes (e.g., Sanhaja, Houaras, Zenata, Masmuda, Kutama, Awraba, Barghawata, and so on.). All these tribes had independence and territorial hegemony.[85][full citation needed][86] Based on Al-Fiḥrist (E-book I, pp. 35–36), the Imazighen comprised considered one of seven principal races in Africa. Medieval Arab historian Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) brings down two opinions as to the Imazighen’s origin, writing that some say that the Imazighen have been descended from Canaan, son of Ham. Citing Abu Bakr bin Yahya al-Suli, Ibn Khaldun wrote that they’re descended from Casluhim, the son of Mizraïm.[48]

A number of Imazighen dynasties emerged in the course of the Center Ages within the Maghreb and al-Andalus. Probably the most notable are the Zirids (Ifriqiya, 973–1148), the Hammadids (Western Ifriqiya, 1014–1152), the Almoravid dynasty (Morocco and al-Andalus, 1040–1147), the Almohads (Morocco and al-Andalus, 1147–1248), the Hafsids (Ifriqiya, 1229–1574), the Zianids (Tlemcen, 1235–1556), the Marinids (Morocco, 1248–1465) and the Wattasids (Morocco, 1471–1554).

They belong to a strong, formidable, courageous and quite a few individuals; a real individuals like so many others the world has seen – just like the Arabs, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. The lads who belong to this household of peoples have inhabited the Maghreb for the reason that starting.

— Ibn Khaldun, 14th century Tunisian historian[82]

Islamic conquest

Not like the conquests of earlier religions and cultures, the approaching of Islam, which was unfold by Arabs, was to have intensive and long-lasting results on the Maghreb. The brand new religion, in its numerous types, would penetrate almost all segments of Imazighen society, bringing with it armies, realized males, and fervent mystics, and largely changing tribal practices and loyalties with new social norms and political idioms.

Nonetheless, the Islamization and Arabization of the area was an advanced and prolonged course of. Whereas nomadic Imazighen have been fast to transform and help the Arab conquerors, it was not till the twelfth century, underneath the Almohad Dynasty, that the Christian, Jewish, and animist communities of the Maghreb turned marginalized.

Jews persevered inside Northern Africa as dhimmis, protected peoples, underneath Islamic regulation. They continued to occupy distinguished financial and political roles inside the Maghreb.[87] Certainly, some students imagine that Jewish retailers might have crossed the Sahara, though others dispute this declare.[citation needed] Indigenous Christian communities inside the Maghreb all however disappeared underneath Islamic rule, though Christian communities from Europe should still be discovered within the Maghreb to at the present time.[citation needed] The indigenous Christian population in some Nefzaoua villages persevered till the 14th century.[88]

The primary Arabian navy expeditions into the Maghreb, between 642 and 669, resulted within the unfold of Islam. These early forays from a base in Egypt occurred underneath native initiative relatively than underneath orders from the central caliphate. However when the seat of the caliphate moved from Medina to Damascus, the Umayyads (a Muslim dynasty ruling from 661 to 750) acknowledged that the strategic necessity of dominating the Mediterranean dictated a concerted navy effort on the North African entrance. In 670, due to this fact, an Arab military underneath Uqba ibn Nafi established the city of Qayrawan about 160 kilometres south of recent Tunis and used it as a base for additional operations.

A statue of Kahina, a seventh-century feminine Amazigh spiritual and navy chief

Abu al-Muhajir Dinar, Uqba’s successor, pushed westward into Algeria and ultimately labored out a modus vivendi with Kusaila, the ruler of an in depth confederation of Christian Imazighen. Kusaila, who had been based mostly in Tlemcen, turned a Muslim and moved his headquarters to Takirwan, close to Al Qayrawan. This concord was short-lived; Arabian and Imazighen forces managed the area in flip till 697. Umayyad forces conquered Carthage in 698, expelling the Byzantines, and in 703 decisively defeated Kahina’s Imazighen coalition on the Battle of Tabarka. By 711, Umayyad forces helped by Imazighen converts to Islam had conquered all of North Africa. Governors appointed by the Umayyad caliphs dominated from Kairouan, capital of the brand new wilaya (province) of Ifriqiya, which coated Tripolitania (the western a part of trendy Libya), Tunisia, and jap Algeria.

The unfold of Islam among the many Imazighen didn’t assure their help for the Arab-dominated caliphate as a result of discriminatory angle of the Arabs. The ruling Arabs alienated the Imazighen by taxing them closely, treating converts as second-class Muslims, and, worst of all, by enslaving them. Because of this, widespread opposition took the type of open revolt in 739–740 underneath the banner of Ibadin Islam. The Ibadin had been combating Umayyad rule within the East, and lots of Imazighen have been attracted by the sect’s seemingly egalitarian precepts.

After the revolt, Ibadin established quite a lot of theocratic tribal kingdoms, most of which had quick and troubled histories. However others, like Sijilmasa and Tlemcen, which straddled the principal commerce routes, proved extra viable and prospered. In 750, the Abbasids, who succeeded the Umayyads as Muslim rulers, moved the caliphate to Baghdad and reestablished caliphal authority in Ifriqiya, appointing Ibrahim ibn al Aghlab as governor in Kairouan. Although nominally serving on the caliph’s pleasure, Al Aghlab and his successors, the Aghlabids, dominated independently till 909, presiding over a courtroom that turned a middle for studying and tradition.

Simply to the west of Aghlabid lands, Abd ar Rahman ibn Rustam dominated many of the central Maghreb from Tahert, south-west of Algiers. The rulers of the Rustamid imamate (761–909), every an Ibadi imam, have been elected by main residents. The imams gained a fame for honesty, piety, and justice. The courtroom at Tahert was famous for its help of scholarship in arithmetic, astronomy, astrology, theology, and regulation. The Rustamid imams failed, by alternative or by neglect, to prepare a dependable standing military. This necessary issue, accompanied by the dynasty’s eventual collapse into decadence, opened the best way for Tahert’s demise underneath the assault of the Fatimids.
The Muslim Mahdia was based by the Fatimids underneath the Caliph Abdallah al-Mahdi in 921 and made the capital metropolis of Ifriqiya, by caliph Abdallah El Fatimi.[89] It was chosen because the capital due to its proximity to the ocean, and the promontory on which an necessary navy settlement had been for the reason that time of the Phoenicians.[90]

The Fatimids established the Tunisian metropolis of Mahdia and made it their capital metropolis earlier than conquering Egypt and constructing town of Cairo in 969.

In al-Andalus underneath the Umayyad governors

The Muslims who invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 have been primarily Imazighen, and have been led by an Amazigh, Tariq ibn Ziyad, although underneath the suzerainty of the Arab Caliph of Damascus Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and his North African Viceroy, Musa ibn Nusayr.[91] On account of subsequent antagonism between Arabs and Imazighen, and to the truth that many of the histories of al-Andalus have been written from an Arab perspective, the Imazighen function is discreet within the obtainable sources.[91] The biographical dictionary of Ibn Khallikan preserves the file of the Imazighen predominance within the invasion of 711, within the entry on Tariq ibn Ziyad.[91] A second blended military of Arabs and Imazighen got here in 712 underneath Ibn Nusayr himself. They supposedly helped the Umayyad caliph Abd ar-Rahman I in al-Andalus, as a result of his mom was a Amazigh.

Roger Collins means that if the forces that invaded the Iberian peninsula have been predominantly Imazighen, it’s as a result of there have been inadequate Arab forces in Africa to take care of management of Africa and assault Iberia on the similar time.[91]:98 Thus, though north Africa had solely been conquered a couple of dozen years beforehand, the Arabs already employed forces of the defeated Imazighen to hold out their subsequent invasion.[91]:98 This may clarify the predominance of Imazighen over Arabs within the preliminary invasion. As well as, Collins argues that Imazighen social group made it potential for the Arabs to recruit complete tribal items into their armies, making the defeated Imazighen glorious navy auxiliaries.[91]:99 The Imazighen forces within the invasion of Iberia got here from Ifriqiya or as far-off as Tripolitania.[92]

Governor As-Samh distributed land to the conquering forces, apparently by tribe, although it’s tough to find out from the few historic sources obtainable.[91]:48–49 It was at the moment that the positions of Arabs and Imazighen was regularized throughout the Iberian peninsula. Imazighen have been positioned in lots of the most mountainous areas of Spain, such because the mountains of Granada, the Pyrenees, and the mountains of Cantabria and Galicia. Roger Collins suggests this can be as a result of some Imazighen have been aware of mountain terrain, whereas the Arabs weren’t.[91]:49–50 By the late 710s, there was an Amazigh governor in Leon or Gijon.[91]:149 When Pelagius revolted in Asturias, it was in opposition to an Amazigh governor. This revolt challenged As-Samh’s plans to settle Imazighen within the Galician and Cantabrian mountains, and by the center of the eighth century it appears there was no extra Imazighen presence in Galicia.[91]:49–50 The expulsion of the Imazighen garrisons from central Asturias following the battle of Covadonga contributed to the eventual formation of the impartial Asturian kingdom.[92]:63

Many Imazighen have been settled in what have been then the frontier lands close to Toledo, Talavera, and Mérida.[91]:195Mérida turned a significant Imazighen stronghold within the eighth century.[91]:201 The Imazighen garrison in Talavera would later be commanded by Amrus ibn Yusuf and concerned in navy operations in opposition to rebels in Toledo within the late 700s and early 800s.[91]:210 Imazighen have been additionally initially settled within the jap Pyrenees and Catalonia.[91]:88–89, 195 Imazighen weren’t settled within the main cities of the south, and have been typically saved within the frontier zones away from Cordoba.[91]:207

Roger Collins cites the work of Pierre Guichard to argue that Imazighen teams in Iberia retained their very own distinctive social group.[91]:90[93][94] Based on this conventional view of Arab and Imazighen tradition within the Iberian peninsula, Imazighen society was extremely impermeable to outdoors influences, whereas Arabs turned assimilated and Hispanized.[91]:90 Some help for the view that Imazighen assimilated much less comes from an excavation of an Islamic cemetery in northern Spain, which reveals that the Imazighen accompanying the preliminary invasion introduced their households with them from north Africa.[92][95]

In 731, the jap Pyrenees have been underneath the management of Imazighen forces garrisoned within the main cities underneath the command of Munnuza. Munnuza tried to steer a Imazighen rebellion in opposition to the Arabs in Spain, citing mistreatment of Imazighen by Arabic judges in north Africa. Munnuza made an alliance with Duke Eudo of Aquitaine. Nonetheless, governor Abd ar-Rahman attacked Munnuza earlier than he was prepared, and besieging him, defeated him at Cerdanya. Due to the alliance with Munnuza, Abd ar-Rahman wished to punish Eudo, and his punitive expedition ended within the Arab defeat at Poitiers.[91]:88–90

By the point of the governor Uqba, and presumably as early as 714, town of Pamplona was occupied by a Imazighen garrison.[91]:205–206 An eighth century cemetery has been found with 190 burials all in accordance with Islamic customized, testifying to the presence of this garrison.[91]:205–206[96] In 798, nevertheless, Pamplona is recorded as being underneath a Banu Qasi governor, Mutarrif ibn Musa. Ibn Musa misplaced management of Pamplona to a preferred rebellion. In 806 Pamplona gave allegiance to the Franks, and in 824 turned an impartial Kingdom of Pamplona. These occasions put an finish to the Imazighen garrison in Pamplona.[91]:206–208

Al-Hakam wrote that there was a significant Berber revolt in north Africa in 740–741, led by Masayra. The Chronicle of 754 calls these rebels Arures, which Collins interprets as ‘heretics’, arguing it’s a reference to the Imazighen rebels’ Ibadi or Khariji sympathies.[91]:107 After Charles Martel attacked Arab ally Maurontus at Marseille in 739, governor Uqba deliberate a punitive assault in opposition to the Franks, however information of a Imazighen revolt in north Africa made him flip again when he reached Zaragoza.[91]:92 As a substitute, in accordance with the Chronicle of 754, Uqba carried out an assault in opposition to Imazighen fortresses in Africa. Initially these assaults have been unsuccessful, however then Uqba destroyed the rebels, secured all of the crossing factors to Spain, after which returned to his governorship.[91]:105–106

Though Masayra was killed by his personal followers, the revolt unfold and the Imazighen rebels defeated three Arab armies.[91]:106–108 After the defeat of the third military, which included elite items of Syrians commanded by Kulthum and Balj, the Imazighen revolt unfold additional. At the moment, the Imazighen navy colonies in Spain revolted.[91]:108 On the similar time, Uqba died and was changed by Ibn Qatan. By this time, the Imazighen managed many of the north of the Iberian peninsula, aside from the Ebro valley, and have been menacing Toledo. Ibn Qatan invited Balj and his Syrian troops, who have been at the moment in Ceuta, to cross to the Iberian peninsula to battle in opposition to the Imazighen.[91]:109–110

The Imazighen marched south in three columns, concurrently attacking Toledo, Cordoba, and the ports on the Gibraltar Straits. Nonetheless, Ibn Qatan’s sons defeated the military of Toledo, the governor’s forces defeated the assault on Cordoba, and Balj defeated the assault on the straits. After this, Balj seized energy by marching on Cordoba and executing Ibn Qatan.[91]:108 Collins factors out that Balj’s troops have been away from Syria simply when the Abbasid revolt in opposition to the Umayyads broke out, and this may increasingly have contributed to the autumn of the Umayyad regime.[91]:121

In Africa, the Imazighen acted underneath divided management. Their assault on Kairouan was defeated, and a brand new governor of Africa, Hanzala ibn Safwan, proceeded to defeat the rebels in Africa after which to impose peace between Balj’s troops and the prevailing Andalusi Arabs.[91]:110–111

Roger Collins argues that the Nice Imazighen revolt facilitated the institution of the Kingdom of Asturias and altered the demographics of the Imazighen inhabitants within the Iberian peninsula, particularly contributing to the Imazighen departure from the northwest of the peninsula.[91]:150–151 When the Arabs first invaded the peninsula, Imazighen teams have been located within the northwest. Nonetheless, as a result of Imazighen revolt the Umayyad governors have been pressured to guard their southern flank and have been unable to mount offenses in opposition to the Asturians. Some presence of Imazighen within the northwest might have been maintained at first, however after the 740s there isn’t any extra point out of the northwestern Imazighen within the sources.[91]:150–151, 153–154

In al-Andalus in the course of the Umayyad emirate

When the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown in 750, a grandson of Caliph Hisham, Abd ar-Rahman, escaped to north Africa.[91]:115 Abd ar-Rahman hid among the many Imazighen of north Africa for 5 years. A persistent custom states that it is because his mom was Amazigh.[91]:117–118 Abd ar-Rahman first took refuge with the Nafsa Imazighen , his mom’s individuals. Because the governor Ibn Habib was searching for him, he then fled to the extra highly effective Zenata Imazighen confederacy, who have been enemies of Ibn Habib. For the reason that Zenata had been a part of the preliminary invasion power of al-Andalus, and have been nonetheless current within the Iberian peninsula, this gave Abd ar-Rahman a base of help in al-Andalus.[91]:119 Nonetheless, Abd ar-Rahman appears to have drawn most of his help from parts of Balj’s military that have been nonetheless loyal to the Umayyads.[91]:122–123[92]:8

After Abd ar-Rahman crossed to Spain in 756, he declared himself the official Umayyad ruler of al-Andalus. The governor, Yusuf, refused to submit. After dropping an preliminary battle close to Cordoba,[91]:124–125 Yusuf fled to Mérida, the place he raised a big Imazighen military. With this military, Yusuf marched on Seville, however was defeated by forces loyal to Abd ar-Rahman. Yusuf fled to Toledo, and was both killed on the best way or after reaching Toledo.[91]:132 Nonetheless, Yusuf’s cousin Hisham ibn Urwa continued to withstand Abd ar-Rahman from Toledo till 764[91]:133 and the sons of Yusuf revolted once more in 785. All these members of the family of Yusuf, members of the Fihri tribe, have been very efficient at acquiring help from Imazighen of their revolts in opposition to the Umayyad regime.[91]:134

As emir of al-Andalus, Abd ar-Rahman I confronted persistent opposition from Imazighen teams, together with the Zenata. Imazighen supplied a lot of Yusuf‘s help in combating in opposition to Abd ar-Rahman. In 774, Zenata Imazighen have been concerned in a Yemeni revolt within the space of Seville.[91]:168 Andalusi Imazighen Salih ibn Tarif declared himself a prophet and dominated the Bargawata in Morocco within the 770s.[91]:169

In 768, a Miknasa Amazigh named Shaqya ibn Abd al-Walid declared himself a Fatimid imam, claiming descent from Fatimah and Ali.[91]:168 He’s primarily identified from the work of Ibn al-Athir.[91]:170
Based on Ibn al-Athir, Shaqya’s revolt originated within the space of recent Cuenca, an space of Spain that’s extremely mountainous and difficult to traverse. Shaqya first killed the Umayyad governor of the fortress of Santaver (close to Roman Ercavica), and subsequently ravaged the encompassing district of Coria. Abd ar-Rahman despatched out armies to battle him in 769, 770, and 771, however Shaqya prevented them by transferring into the mountains. In 772, Shaqya defeated an Umayyad power and killed the governor of the fortress of Medellin by a ruse. He was besieged by Umayyads in 774, however the revolt close to Seville pressured the besieging troops to withdraw. In 775 an Imazighen garrison in Coria declared allegiance to Shaqya, however Abd ar-Rahman retook the city and chased the Imazighen into the mountains. In 776 Shaqya resisted sieges to his two essential fortresses at Santaver and Shebat’ran (close to Toledo). In 777 Shaqya was betrayed and killed by his personal followers, who despatched his head to Abd ar-Rahman.[91]:170–171

Roger Collins notes that each trendy historians and historical Arab authors have had a bent to painting Shaqya as a fanatic adopted by credulous fanatics, and to argue that he was both self-deluded or fraudulent in his declare of Fatimid descent.[91]:169 Nonetheless, Collins considers him an instance of the messianic leaders that weren’t unusual amongst Imazighen at the moment and earlier. He compares Shaqya to Idris I, a descendant of Ali accepted by the Zenata Imazighen, who based the Idrisid dynasty in 788, and to Salih ibn Tarif, who dominated the Bargawata Imazighen within the 770s. He additionally compares these leaders to pre-Islamic leaders Kahina and Kosayla.[91]:169–170

In 788, Hisham succeeded Abd ar-Rahman as emir, however his brother Sulayman revolted. Sulayman fled to the Berber garrison of Valencia, the place he held out for 2 years. Lastly he got here to phrases with Hisham and went into exile in 790, along with different brothers of his who had rebelled with him.[91]:203, 208 In north Africa, Sulayman and his brothers cast alliances with native Berbers, particularly the Kharijite ruler of Tahert. After the loss of life of Hisham I and the accession of Al-Hakam, the brothers challenged Al-Hakam for the succession. Abd Allah crossed over to Valencia first in 796, calling on the allegiance of the identical Berber garrison that sheltered Sulayman years earlier.[92]:30 Crossing to al-Andalus in 798, Sulayman based mostly himself in Elvira (now Granada), Ecija, and Jaen, apparently drawing help from the Berbers in these mountainous southern areas. Sulayman was defeated in battle in 800 and fled to the Berber stronghold in Mérida, however was captured earlier than reaching it and executed in Cordoba.[91]:208

In 797, the Berbers of Talavera performed a significant half in defeating a revolt in opposition to Al-Hakam I in Toledo.[92]:32 A sure Ubayd Allah ibn Hamir rebelled in Toledo in opposition to Al-Hakam. Al-Hakam order Amrus ibn Yusuf to destroy the rebel. Amrus was the commander of the Berbers in Talavera. Amrus negotiated in secret with the Banu Mahsa faction in Toledo, promising them the governorship in the event that they betrayed ibn Hamir. The Banu Mahsa introduced Ibn Hamir’s head to Amrus in Talavera. Nonetheless, there was a feud between the Banu Mahsa and the Berbers of Talavera. The Berbers of Talavera killed all of the Banu Mahsa. Amrus despatched the heads of the Banu Mahsa together with that of Ibn Hamir to Al-Hakam in Cordoba. The Toledo rebel was sufficiently weakened that Amrus was in a position to enter Toledo and persuade its inhabitants to submit.[92]:32–33

Roger Collins argues that unassimilated Berber garrisons in al-Andalus engaged in native vendettas and feuds, such because the battle with the Banu Mahsa.[92]:33 This was as a result of restricted energy of the Umayyad emir’s central authority. Collins states that “the Berbers, regardless of being fellow Muslims, have been despised by those that claimed Arab descent”.[92]:33–34 In addition to having feuds with Arab factions, the Berbers generally had main conflicts with the native communities the place they have been stationed. In 794, the Berber garrison of Tarragona massacred the inhabitants of town. Tarragona was uninhabited for seven years till the Frankish conquest of Barcelona led to its reoccupation.[92]:34

In 829, one of many leaders of the Toledo rebel of 797, Hashim al-Darrab, who had been saved underneath arrest in Cordoba, escaped, returned to Toledo, and began one other rebel.[92]:40 From Toledo, Hashim attacked the Berber garrisons of Santaver and Talavera, exactly those who had been concerned in suppressing the Toledo rebel a era earlier. Hashim gained management of Calatrava la Vieja, then a significant fortress city, till 834. Hashim was killed in battle in 831, however his followers maintained the rebel, and Berbers from Calatrava besieged Toledo in 835 and 836. The rebel was lastly led to 837, when the emir’s brother al-Walid turned governor of Toledo.[92]:40

All through the ninth century, the Berber garrisons have been one of many essential navy helps of the Umayyad regime.[92]:37 Though they’d induced quite a few issues for Abd ar-Rahman I, Collins means that by the reign of Al-Hakam, the Berber conflicts with Arabs and native Iberians meant that Berbers might solely look to the Umayyad regime for help and patronage, creating stable ties of loyalty to the emirs. Nonetheless, they have been additionally tough to manage, and by the top of the ninth century the Berber frontier garrisons disappear from the sources. Collins says this could be as a result of they migrated again to north Africa or regularly assimilated.[92]:37

A Berber chief named H’abiba led a rebel round Algeciras in 850. Little is thought of this rebel apart from its prevalence, and that it might have had a spiritual inspiration.[92]:42–43

Berber teams have been concerned within the rebel of Umar ibn Hafsun from 880 to 915.[92]:121–122 Ibn Hafsun rebelled in 880, was captured, then escaped in 883 to his base in Bobastro. There he shaped an alliance with the Banu Rifa’ tribe of Berbers, who had a stronghold in Alhama.[92]:122 He then shaped alliances with different native Berber clans, taking the cities of Osuna, Estepa, and Ecija in 889. He captured Jaen in 892.[92]:122 He was solely defeated in 915 by Abd ar-Rahman III.[92]:125

In al-Andalus in the course of the Umayyad caliphate

Previous fortress at Calatrava la Vieja. The location was used in the course of the Muslim interval from about 785 till the autumn of the Caliphate of Cordova.

New waves of Berber settlers arrived in al-Andalus within the 10th century, introduced in as mercenaries by Abd ar-Rahman III to assist him in his campaigns to get well Umayyad authority in areas that had thrown off allegiance to the Umayyads in the course of the reigns of the earlier emirs.[92]:103, 131, 168 These new Berbers “lacked any familiarity with the sample of relationships” that had existed in al-Andalus within the 700s and 800s;[92]:103 thus they weren’t concerned in the identical internet of conventional conflicts and loyalties as the prevailing Berber garrisons.[92]:168

New frontier settlements have been constructed for the Berber mercenaries who arrived within the 900s. Written sources state that a few of Abd ar-Rahman’s new Berber mercenaries have been positioned in Calatrava, which was refortified.[92]:168 One other Berber settlement referred to as Vascos, west of Toledo, is just not talked about within the historic sources, however has been excavated archaeologically. It was a fortified city, had partitions, and a separate fortress or alcazar. Two cemeteries have been found additionally. It was established within the 900s as a frontier city for Berbers, in all probability of the Nafza tribe. It was deserted quickly after the Castilian occupation of Toledo in 1085. The Berber inhabitants took all their possessions with them.[92]:169[97]

Within the 900s, the Umayyad caliphate confronted a problem from the Fatimids in North Africa. The Fatimid caliphate was based by Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah after his disciples gained a big following among the many Kutama Berbers in what’s at present jap Algeria and western Tunisia. After taking town of Kairouan and overthrowing the Aghlabids in 909, the Mahdi Ubayd Allah declared himself caliph, which represented a direct problem to the Umayyad’s personal declare to the caliphate.[92]:169 The Fatimids gained overlordship over the Idrisids, then launched a conquest of the Maghreb. To counter the risk, the Umayyads crossed the straits to take over Ceuta in 931,[92]:171 and actively shaped alliances with Berber confederacies such because the Zenata and the Awraba. Quite than combating one another immediately, the competitors of Fatimids and Umayyads performed out as a contest for Berber allegiances. In flip, this supplied a motivation for the additional Islamic conversion of Berbers, a lot of whom, notably farther south away from the Mediterranean, have been nonetheless Christian and pagan.[92]:169–170 In flip, this might contribute to the event of Almoravids and Almohads, which might have a significant affect on al-Andalus and contribute to the top of the Umayyad caliphate.[92]:170

With the assistance of his new mercenary forces, which have been primarily composed of latest Berber arrivals, Abd ar-Rahman launched a collection of assaults on elements of the Iberian peninsula that had fallen away from Umayyad allegiance. Within the 920s he campaigned in opposition to the areas that rebelled underneath Umar ibn Hafsun and nonetheless refused to submit. These he submitted within the 920s. He conquered Mérida in 928–929, Ceuta in 931, and Toledo in 932.[92]:171–172 In 934 Abd ar-Rahman III started a marketing campaign within the north in opposition to Ramiro II of Leon and Muhammad ibn Hashim al-Tujibi, the governor of Zaragoza. Based on Ibn Hayyan, after inconclusively confronting al-Tujibi on the Ebro, Abd ar-Rahman briefly pressured the Kingdom of Pamplona into submission, ravaged Castile and Alava, and met Ramiro II in an inconclusive battle.[92]:171–172 From 935 to 937, Abd ar-Rahman confronted the Tujibids, defeating them in 937. In 939, Ramiro II defeated the mixed Umayyad and Tujibid armies within the Battle of Simancas.[92]:146–147

Umayyad affect in western North Africa unfold via diplomacy relatively than conquest.[92]:172 The Umayyads sought out alliances with numerous Berber confederacies. These would declare loyalty to the Umayyad caliphate in opposition to the Fatimids. The Umayyads would ship items together with embroidered silk ceremonial cloaks. Throughout this time, mints in cities on the Moroccan coast (Fes, Sijilmasa, Sfax, and al-Nakur) sometimes issued cash with the names of Umayyad caliphs, displaying the extent of Umayyad diplomatic affect.[92]:172 The textual content of a letter of friendship from a Berber chief to the Umayyad caliph has been preserved within the work of ‘Isa al-Razi.[98]

In the course of the reign of Abd ar-Rahman III tensions elevated between the three distinct parts of the Muslim group in al-Andalus: Berbers, Saqaliba, and people of Arab or blended Arab and Gothic descent.[92]:175 Following Abd ar-Rahman’s proclamation of the brand new Umayyad caliphate in Cordoba, the Umayyads positioned an excellent emphasis on the Umayyad membership of the Quraysh tribe.[92]:180 This led to a vogue in Cordoba for claiming pure Arab ancestry versus descent from freed slaves.[92]:181 Claims of descent from Visigothic noble households additionally turned frequent.[92]:181–182 Nonetheless, an “instantly detrimental consequence of this acute consciousness of ancestry was the revival of ethnic disparagement, directed particularly in opposition to the Berbers and the Saqaliba”.[92]:182

When the Fatimids moved their capital to Egypt in 969, they left north Africa in command of viceroys from the Zirid clan of Sanhaja Berbers, who have been Fatimid loyalists and enemies of the Zenata.[92]:170 The Zirids in flip divided their territories, assigning some to the Hammadid department of the household to control. The Hammadids turned impartial in 1014, with their capital at Qal’at Beni-Hammad. With the withdrawal of the Fatimids to Egypt, nevertheless, the rivalry with the Umayyads decreased.[92]:170

Al-Hakam II despatched Muhammad Ibn Abī ‘Āmir to north Africa in 973–974 to behave as qadi al qudat to the Berber teams that had accepted Umayyad authority. Ibn Abī ‘Āmir was treasurer of the family of the caliph’s spouse and youngsters, director of the mint at , commander of the Cordoba police, and qadi of the frontier. Throughout his time as qadi in north Africa, Ibn Abi Amir developed shut ties with the North African Berbers.[92]:186

On the loss of life of Al-Hakam II, the inheritor Hisham II was underage, and the place of hajib was occupied by a Berber named al-Mushafi. Nonetheless, common Ghālib ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān and Muhammad Ibn Abī ‘Āmir shaped an alliance, and in 978 they overthrew al-Mushafi and his sons and different members of the family, who had obtained workplaces. Al-Mushafi was imprisoned for 5 years earlier than being killed, and his household was stripped of property and titles.[92]:187
In 980, Ibn Abī ‘Āmir fell out together with his ally Ghalib, and a civil battle started.[92]:187–188 Ibn Abi Amir referred to as on the Berbers he had lived with in 973–974 to return assist him.[92]:188 His Berber ally Jafar ibn Hamdun crossed the straits together with his military, whereas Ghalib allied with the Kingdom of Navarre. These armies fought a number of battles, within the final considered one of which Ghalib was killed, bringing the civil battle to an finish. Ibn Abī ‘Āmir then took on the identify al-Mansur (Almanzor) (‘the victorious’), by which he’s extra generally identified.[92]:188

Having received the battle, al-Mansur now not wanted his Berber ally Ibn Hamdun, who as an alternative turned a risk resulting from his substantial military. Ibn Hamdun was murdered in 983, having been made drunk at a feast held in his honor, then murdered as he departed.[92]:188 Based on Ibn Idhari, his head and one hand have been then offered in secret to al-Mansur.[92]:188

Using giant numbers of Berber and Saqaliba mercenaries, al-Mansur initiated a collection of extremely profitable assaults on the Christian parts of the peninsula.[92]:191 Among the many most memorable campaigns have been the sack of Barcelona in 985, the destruction of Leon in 988, the seize of Depend Garcia Fernandez of Castile in 995, and the sack of Santiago in 997.[92]:191–192 Al-Mansur died in 1002. He was succeeded as hajib by his son, Abd al-Malik. In 1008, Abd al-Malik died and was succeeded as hajib by his half-brother, Abd ar-Rahman, often known as Sanchuelo as a result of his mom was Navarrese.[92]:196 In the meantime, Hisham II remained caliph, although this had turn out to be a ceremonial place.

Appreciable resentment arose in Cordoba in opposition to the growing numbers of Berbers introduced from north Africa by al-Mansur and his kids Abd al-Malik and Sanchuelo.[92]:198 It was stated that Sanchuelo ordered anybody attending his courtroom to put on Berber turbans, which Roger Collins suggests might not have been true, however reveals that hostile anti-Berber propaganda was getting used to discredit the sons of al-Mansur. In 1009, Sanchuelo had himself proclaimed Hisham II’s successor, after which went on navy marketing campaign. Nonetheless, whereas he was away a revolt happened. Sanchuelo’s palace was sacked and his help fell away. As he marched again to Cordoba his personal Berber mercenaries deserted him.[92]:197–198 Figuring out the energy of sick feeling in opposition to them in Cordoba, they thought Sanchuelo can be unable to guard them and they also went elsewhere so as to survive and safe their very own pursuits.[92]:198 Sanchuelo was left with only some followers, and was captured and killed in 1009. Hisham II abdicated and was changed by Muhammad II al-Mahdi.

Having deserted Sanchuelo, the Berbers who had shaped his military turned to a different formidable Umayyad, Sulayman, whom they supported. They obtained logistical help from Depend Sancho Garcia of Castile. Marching on Cordoba, they defeated Saqaliba common Wadih and compelled Muhammad II al-Mahdi to flee to Toledo. They then put in Sulayman as caliph, and based mostly themselves within the Madinat al-Zahra to keep away from friction with the native inhabitants.[92]:198–199 Wadih and al-Mahdi shaped an alliance with the Counts of Barcelona and Urgell and marched again on Cordoba. They defeated Sulayman and the Berber forces in a battle near Cordoba in 1010. To keep away from being destroyed, the Berbers left Cordoba and fled in direction of Algeciras.[92]:199

Al-Mahdi swore to exterminate the Berbers and pursued them. Nonetheless, he was defeated in battle close to Marbella. With Wadih, he fled again to Cordoba whereas his Catalan allies went dwelling. The Berbers rotated and besieged Cordoba. Deciding that he was about to lose, Wadih overthrew al-Mahdi and despatched his head to the Berbers, changing him with Hisham II.[92]:199 Nonetheless, the Berbers didn’t finish the siege. They methodically destroyed Cordoba’s suburbs, pinning the inhabitants contained in the outdated Roman partitions and destroying the Madinat al-Zahra. Wadih’s allies killed him, and the Cordoba garrison surrendered with the expectation of amnesty. Nonetheless, “a bloodbath ensued by which the Berbers took revenge for a lot of private and collective accidents and completely settled a number of feuds within the course of”.[92]:200 The Berbers made Sulayman caliph as soon as once more. Ibn Idhari stated that the set up of Sulayman in 1013 was the second when “the rule of the Berbers started in Cordoba and that of the Umayyads ended, after it had existed for 2 hundred and sixty eight years and forty-three days”.[92]:200[99]

In al-Andalus within the Taifa interval

In the course of the Taifa period, the petty kings got here from quite a lot of ethnic teams; some—as an example the Zirid kings of Granada—have been of Berber origin. The Taifa interval ended when a Berber dynasty—the Moroccan Almoravids—took over al-Andalus; they have been succeeded by the Almohad dynasty of Morocco, throughout which period al-Andalus flourished.

After the autumn of Cordoba in 1013, the Saqaliba fled from town to safe their very own fiefdoms. One group of Saqaliba seized Orihuela from its Berber garrison and took management of its complete area.[92]:201

Among the many Berbers who have been dropped at al-Andalus by al-Mansur have been the Zirid household of Sanhaja Berbers. After the autumn of Cordoba, the Zirids took over Granada in 1013, forming the Zirid kingdom of Granada. The Saqaliba Khayran, together with his personal Umayyad figurehead Abd ar-Rahman IV al-Murtada, tried to grab Granada from the Zirids in 1018 however failed. Khayran then executed Abd ar-Rahman IV. Khayran’s son, Zuhayr, additionally made battle on the Zirid kingdom of Granada, however was killed in 1038.[92]:202

In Cordoba, conflicts continued between the Berber rulers and people of the citizenry who noticed themselves as Arab.[92]:202 After being put in as caliph with Berber help, Sulayman was pressured into distributing southern provinces to his Berber allies. The Sanhaja departed from Cordoba at the moment. The Zenata Berber Hammudids obtained the necessary districts of Ceuta and Algeciras. The Hammudids claimed a household relation to the Idrisids, and thus traced their ancestry to the caliph Ali. In 1016 they rebelled in Ceuta, claiming to be supporting the restoration of Hisham II. They took management of Málaga, then marched on Cordoba, taking it and executing Sulayman and his household. Ali ibn Hammud al-Nasir declared himself caliph, a place he held for 2 years.[92]:203

For some years, Hammudids and Umayyads fought each other and the caliphate handed between them a number of instances. Hammudids additionally fought amongst themselves. The final Hammudid caliph reigned till 1027. The Hammudids have been then expelled from Cordoba, the place there was nonetheless a substantial amount of anti-Berber sentiment. The Hammudids remained in Malaga till expelled by the Zirids in 1056.[92]:203 The Zirids of Granada managed Malaga till 1073, after which separate Zirid kings retained management over the taifas of Granada and Malaga till the Almoravid conquest.[100]

In the course of the taifa interval, the Aftasid dynasty based mostly in Badajoz managed a big territory centered on the Guadiana River valley.[100] The realm of Aftasid management was very giant, stretching from the Sierra Morena and the taifas of Mertola and Silves to the south, to the Campo de Calatrava within the west and the Montes de Toledo within the northwest and almost so far as Oporto within the northeast.[100]

Based on Bernard Reilly,[100]:13 in the course of the taifa interval family tree continued to be an obsession of the higher lessons in al-Andalus. Most wished to hint their lineage again to the Syrian and Yemeni Arabs who accompanied the invasion. In distinction, tracing descent from the Berbers who got here with the identical invasion “was to be stigmatized as of inferior delivery”.[100]:13 Reilly notes, nevertheless, that in observe the 2 teams had by the 11th century turn out to be virtually indistinguishable: “each teams regularly ceased to be distinguishable elements of the Muslim inhabitants, besides when considered one of them really dominated a taifa, by which case his origins have been effectively publicized by his rivals. Nonetheless, distinctions between Arab, Berber, and slave weren’t the stuff of great politics both inside or between the taifas. It was the person household that was the unit of political exercise.”[100]:13 The Berber that arrived in direction of the top of the caliphate as mercenary forces, says Reilly, amounted to solely about 20 thousand individuals in a complete al-Andalusi inhabitants of six million. Their excessive visibility was resulting from their basis of taifa dynasties relatively than giant numbers.[100]:13

Within the energy hierarchy, Berbers have been located between the Arabic aristocracy and the Muladi populace. Ethnic rivalry was one of the vital necessary components driving Andalusi politics. Berbers made up as a lot as 20% of the inhabitants of the occupied territory.[101] After the autumn of the Caliphate, the Taifa kingdoms of Toledo, Badajoz, Málaga and Granada had Berber rulers.[citation needed] In the course of the Reconquista, Berbers within the areas which turned Christian kingdoms have been acculturated and misplaced their ethnic id, their descendants being amongst trendy Spanish and Portuguese peoples.[citation needed]

In al-Andalus underneath the Almoravids

The Almoravid realm at its biggest extent, c. 1120

In the course of the taifa interval, the Almoravid empire developed in northwest Africa. The core of the Almoravid empire was shaped by the Lamtuna department of the Sanhaja Berber.[100]:99 Within the mid 11th century, they allied with the Guddala and Massufa Berber. At the moment, the Almoravid chief Yahya ibn Ibrahim went on a hajj. On his approach again he met Malikite preachers in Kairouan, and invited them to his land. Malikite disciple Abd Allah ibn Yasin accepted the invitation. Touring to Morocco, he established a navy monastery or ribat the place he educated a extremely motivated and disciplined combating power. In 1054 and 1055, using these specifically educated forces, Almoravid chief Yahya ibn Umar defeated the Kingdom of Ghana and the Zenata Berber. After Yahya ibn Umar died, his brother Abu Bakr ibn Umar pursued the growth of the Almoravids. Compelled to resolve a Sanhaja civil battle, he left management of the Moroccan conquests to his brother, Yusuf ibn Tashufin. Yusuf continued to overcome territory, and following Abu Bakr’s loss of life in 1087, Yusuf turned the Almoravid chief.[100]:100–101

After their lack of Cordoba, the Hammudids had occupied Algeciras and Ceuta. Within the mid-11th century, the Hammudids misplaced management of their Iberian possessions, however retained a small taifa kingdom based mostly in Ceuta. In 1083, Yusuf ibn Tashufin conquered Ceuta. In the identical yr, al-Mutamid, king of the Taifa of Seville, traveled to Morocco to attraction to Yusuf for assist in opposition to King Alfonso VI of Castile. Earlier, in 1079, the king of Badajoz, al-Mutawakkil, had appealed to Yusuf for assist in opposition to Alfonso. After the autumn of Toledo to Alfonso VI in 1085, al-Mutamid appealed once more to Yusuf. This time, financed by the taifa kings of Iberia, Yusuf crossed to al-Andalus, taking direct private management of Algeciras in 1086.[100]:102–103

Trendy historical past

See additionally:

Berber village within the High Atlas mountains of Morocco

The Kabylians have been impartial of out of doors management in the course of the interval of Ottoman Empire rule in North Africa. They lived primarily in three states or confederations: the Kingdom of Ait Abbas, Kingdom of Kuku, and the principality of Aït Jubar.[102]
The Kingdom of Ait Abbas was a Berber state of North Africa, controlling Lesser Kabylie and its environment from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. It’s referred to within the Spanish historiography as reino de Labes;[103] generally extra generally referred to by its ruling household, the Mokrani, in Berber At Muqran (Arabic: أولاد مقرانOuled Moqrane). Its capital was the Kalâa of Ait Abbas, an impregnable citadel within the Biban mountain vary.

Probably the most critical native revolt in opposition to French colonial energy in Algeria for the reason that time of Abd al-Qadir broke out in 1871 within the Kabylie and unfold via a lot of Algeria. By April 1871, 250 tribes had risen, or almost a 3rd of Algeria’s inhabitants.[104] In 1902, the French penetrated the Hoggar Mountains and defeated Ahaggar Tuareg within the battle of Tit.

In 1912, Morocco was divided between the French and Spanish.[105] The Rif Berbers rebelled, led by Abd el-Krim, a former officer for the Spanish administration. In July 1921, the Spanish military in north-eastern Morocco underneath Manuel Silvestre collapsed when defeated by the forces of Abd el-Krim, in what turned identified in Spain because the disaster of Annual. The Spaniards might have misplaced as much as 22,000 troopers at Annual and in subsequent combating.[106]

In the course of the Algerian War (1954–1962), the FLN and ALN‘s reorganisation of the nation created, for the primary time, a unified Kabyle administrative territory, wilaya III, being because it was on the centre of the anti-colonial wrestle.[107] From the second of Algerian independence, tensions had developed between Kabyle leaders and the central authorities.[108]

There may be an identity-related debate in regards to the persecution of Berbers by the Arab-dominated regimes of North Africa. By each exclusivities of Pan-Arabism and Islamism,[109] their concern of id is as a result of pan-Arabist ideology of the previous Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Some activists have claimed that “[i]t is time—gone overdue—to confront the racist arabization of the Amazigh lands.”[110]

Quickly after independence in the course of the 20th century, the nations of North Africa established Arabic as their official language, changing French, Spanish and Italian; though the shift from European colonial languages to Arabic for official functions continues even to at the present time. Because of this, most Berbers needed to research and know Arabic, and had no alternatives till the twenty-first century to make use of their mother tongue in school or college. This will likely have accelerated the prevailing means of Arabization of Berbers, particularly in already bilingual areas, equivalent to among the many Chaouis of Algeria. Tamazight is now taught in Aures for the reason that march led by in 2004, which has began to the educating of Tamazight within the faculties in Aures.

Whereas Berberism had its roots earlier than the independence of those nations, it was restricted to the Berber elite. It solely started to realize success among the many higher populace when North African states changed their European colonial languages with Arabic and recognized completely as Arabian nations, downplaying or ignoring the existence and the social specificity of Berbers. Nonetheless, its distribution stays extremely uneven. In response to its calls for, Morocco and Algeria have each modified their insurance policies, with Algeria redefining itself constitutionally as an “Arab, Berber, Muslim nation”.

In Morocco, after the constitutional reforms of 2011, Berber has turn out to be an official language, and is now taught as a obligatory language in all faculties whatever the space or the ethnicity. In 2016, Algeria adopted go well with and altered the standing of Berber from “nationwide language” to an official language.

Berbers have reached excessive positions within the social hierarchy throughout the Maghreb; good examples are the previous president of Algeria, Liamine Zeroual, and the previous prime minister of Morocco, Driss Jettou.

Nonetheless, Berberists who brazenly present their political orientations hardly ever attain excessive hierarchical positions. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions; for instance, Khalida Toumi, a feminist and Berberist militant, has been nominated as head of the Ministry of Communication in Algeria.

The Black Spring was a collection of violent disturbances and political demonstrations by Kabyle activists within the Kabylie area of Algeria in 2001. Within the 2011 Libyan civil war, Berbers within the Nafusa Mountains have been fast to revolt in opposition to the Gaddafi regime. The mountains turned a stronghold of the insurgent motion, and have been a focus of the battle, with a lot fighting occurring between rebels and loyalists for management of the area.[3] The Tuareg Rebellion of 2012 was waged in opposition to the Malian authorities by rebels with the purpose of accomplishing independence for the northern area of Mali, often known as Azawad.[111] Since late 2016, massive riots have unfold throughout Moroccan Berber communities within the Rif area. One other escalation happened in Could 2017.[112]

Modern demographics

The Maghreb at present is dwelling to giant Berber (Amazigh) populations, who kind the principal indigenous ancestry within the area (see Origins).[113][114][115][116][117][118][119][120][121][122] The Semitic ethnic presence within the area is especially as a result of Phoenicians, Jews and Arab Bedouin Hilallians migratory actions (third century BC and eleventh century, respectively) which blended in. Nonetheless, nearly all of Arabized Berbers, notably in Morocco and Algeria, declare an Arabian heritage; this can be a consequence of the Arab nationalism of the early twentieth century.

The remaining populations that talk a Berber language within the Maghreb comprise 50%[3] to 60%[7][6] of the Moroccan inhabitants and from[30] 15% to 35%[6] of the Algerian inhabitants, with smaller communities in Libya and Tunisia and really small teams in Egypt and Mauritania.

Outdoors the Maghreb, the Tuareg in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso quantity some 850,000,[14] 1,620,000[13] and 50,000 respectively though Tuaregs are Berber people with a historically nomadic pastoralist way of life. They’re the principal inhabitants of the huge Sahara Desert.[123][124]

Distinguished Berber teams embrace the Kabyles from Kabylia, a historic autonomous area of northern Algeria, who quantity about six million and have saved, to a big diploma, their unique language and society; and the Shilha or Chleuh (French, from Arabic Shalh and Shilha ašəlḥi) in Excessive and Anti-Atlas and Souss Valley of Morocco, numbering about eight million. Different teams embrace the Riffians of northern Morocco, the Chaoui people of jap Algeria, the Chenouas in western Algeria, the Berbers of Tripolitania and the Tuaregs of the Sahara scattered via a number of nations.

Although stereotyped in Europe and North America as nomads, most Berbers have been in actual fact historically farmers,[citation needed] residing in mountains comparatively near the Mediterranean coast, or oasis dwellers, such because the Siwa of Egypt; however the Tuareg and Zenaga of the southern Sahara have been virtually wholly nomadic. Some teams, such because the Chaouis, practiced transhumance.

Political tensions have arisen between some Berber teams (particularly the Kabyle, and Riffians) and North African governments over the previous few a long time, partly over linguistic and social points; as an example, in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, giving kids Berber names was banned.[citation needed] The regime of Muammar Gaddafi (paradoxically an Arabized Berber by ancestry) in Libya additionally banned the educating of Berber languages, and the chief warned Berber leaders in a 2008 diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks: “You’ll be able to name yourselves no matter you need inside your houses – Berbers, Kids of Devil, no matter – however you might be solely Libyans whenever you go away your houses.”[125] On account of the persecution suffered underneath Gaddafi’s rule, many Berbers joined the Libyan opposition within the 2011 Libyan civil war.[126]


Berbers arrange communities In Mauritania[127] close to the Malian imperial capital of Timbuktu.[128] Based on an estimate from 2004, there have been about 2.2 million Berber immigrants in Europe, particularly the Riffians in Belgium, the Netherlands and France and Algerians of Kabyles and Chaouis heritage in France.[129]


Areas in North Africa the place Berber languages are spoken

The Berber languages kind a department of the Afroasiatic language family. They thus descend from the proto-Afroasiatic language. It’s nonetheless disputed which branches of Afroasiatic diverged most lately from Berber, however most linguists settle for both Egyptian[29][dubious ] or Chadic (see Afro-Asiatic languages).

Berber languages are spoken by round thirty to forty million individuals in Africa (see population estimation). These Berber audio system are primarily concentrated in Morocco and Algeria, adopted by Mali, Niger and Libya. Smaller Berber-speaking communities are additionally discovered as far east as Egypt, with a southwestern restrict at present at Burkina Faso.

Tamazight is a generic identify for all the Berber languages, which encompass many intently associated varieties and dialects. Amongst these Berber languages are Riff, Kabyle, Shilha, Siwi, Zenaga, Sanhaja, Tazayit (Central Atlas Tamazight), Tumẓabt (Mozabite), Nafusi, and Tamasheq, in addition to the traditional Guanche language.


Though most Maghrebis are of Berber ancestry, just some scattered ethnicities succeeded in preserving Berber languages into trendy instances.


The Berber id is wider than language, faith, and ethnicity and encompasses your entire historical past and geography of North Africa. Berbers are usually not a wholly homogeneous ethnicity, and so they embrace a variety of societies, ancestries and existence. The unifying forces for the Berber individuals could also be their shared language or a collective identification with Berber heritage and historical past.

As a legacy of the unfold of Islam, the Berbers at the moment are largely Muslim. The Mozabite Berbers of the Saharan Mozabite Valley and Libyan berbers in Nafusis and Zuwara are primarily adherents of the Ibadi Muslim denomination.

In antiquity, the Berber individuals adhered to the traditional Berber religion earlier than the arrival of Abrahamic faiths into North Africa. This conventional faith closely emphasised ancestor veneration, polytheism and animism. Many historical Berber beliefs have been developed regionally, whereas others have been influenced over time via contact with different traditional African religions (such because the Ancient Egyptian religion), or borrowed throughout antiquity from the Punic religion, Judaism, Iberian mythology, and the Hellenistic religion. The newest affect got here from Islam and pre-Islamic Arab religion in the course of the medieval interval. A few of the historical Berber beliefs nonetheless exist at present subtly inside the Berber fashionable tradition and custom.

Till the 1960s, there was additionally a big Jewish Berber minority in Morocco,[130] however emigration (largely to Israel and France) dramatically diminished their quantity to only some hundred people.

Following Christian missions, the Kabyle group in Algeria has a lately constituted Christian minority, each Protestant and Roman Catholic, and a 2015 research estimates 380,000 Muslim Algerians transformed to Christianity in Algeria.[21] Whereas among the many 8,000[131]–40,000[132]Moroccans who’ve transformed to Christianity within the final a long time a number of Berbers are discovered; a few of them clarify their conversion as an try to return to their “Christian sources”.[133] Worldwide Spiritual Freedom Report for 2007 estimates hundreds of Tunisian Berber Muslims have converted to Christianity.[134][135]

Notable Berbers

A few of the greatest identified of the traditional Berbers are the Numidian king Masinissa, king Jugurtha, the Berber-Roman writer Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the Berber-Roman common Lusius Quietus, who was instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117 in historical Israel. The Berber queen Dihya, or Kahina, was a spiritual and political chief who led a navy Berber resistance in opposition to the Arab-Muslim growth in Northwest Africa. Kusaila was a Seventh-century chief of the Berber Awerba tribe and King of the Iẓnagen confederation and resisted the Arab-Muslim invasion. Yusuf ibn Tashfin was a Muslim king of the Berber Almoravid dynasty. Abbas ibn Firnas was a Berber-Andalusian prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation. Ibn Battuta was a medieval Berber explorer who departed from Tanja, Morocco and travelled the longest identified distances of his time and chronicled his impressions of a whole bunch of countries and cultures.

In Christian historical past

Earlier than the arrival of Islam into the area, most Berber teams have been both Christian, Jewish or Animist, and quite a lot of Berber theologians have been necessary figures within the growth of western Christianity. Particularly, the Berber Donatus Magnus was the founding father of a Christian group often known as the Donatists. The 4th-century Catholic Church seen the donatists as heretics and the dispute led to a schism within the Church dividing North African Christians.[136] They’re immediately associated to Circumcellions, a sect that labored on disseminating the doctrine in North Africa by the power of the sword.

Augustine of Hippo (Hippo being the fashionable Algerian metropolis of Annaba), Students typically agree that Augustine and his household have been Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa,[137][full citation needed][138][139][140][page needed] however that they have been closely Romanized, talking solely Latin at dwelling as a matter of satisfaction and dignity. He’s acknowledged as a saint and a Doctor of the Church by Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion and revered by the Reformed; he was an outspoken opponent of Donatism.[141]

Of all of the fathers of the church, St. Augustine was probably the most admired and probably the most influential in the course of the Center Ages … Augustine was an outsider—a local North African whose household was not Roman however Berber … He was a genius—an mental big.[142]

Many imagine that Arius, one other early Christian theologian who was deemed a heretic by the Christian Church, was of Libyan Berber descent. One other Berber cleric, Saint Adrian of Canterbury, traveled to England and performed a big function in its early medieval spiritual historical past.

Lusius Quietus, was the son of a Christian tribal lord from unconquered Mauretania (trendy Morocco). Lusius’ father and his warriors had supported the Roman legions of their try to subdue Mauretania Tingitana (northern trendy Morocco) throughout Aedemon’s revolt in 40.

Masuna (fl. 508) was a Romano-Moorish Christian king in Mauretania Caesariensis (western Algeria) who is claimed to have inspired the Byzantine common Solomon, the Prefect of Africa, to launch an invasion of the Moorish kingdom of Numidia.[143][full citation needed]

Dihya was a Berber Christian spiritual and navy chief who led indigenous resistance to Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, the area then often known as Numidia, often known as the Algeria at present. She was born within the early seventh century and died across the finish of the seventh century in trendy Algeria. Based on she was stated to have been accompanied in her travels by what the Arabs referred to as an “idol”, presumably an icon of the Virgin or one of many Christian saints.[144]

Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (c. 155 – c. 240 AD), often known as Tertullian (/tərˈtʌliən/), was a prolific early Christian writer from Carthage within the Roman province of Africa and was the primary Christian writer to supply an in depth corpus of Latin Christian literature. He additionally was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist in opposition to heresy, together with up to date Christian Gnosticism. Tertullian has been referred to as “the daddy of Latin Christianity” and “the founding father of Western theology”.[citation needed]

Sabellius, who was a third-century priest and theologian who probably taught in Rome, might have been of African Berber descent. Basil and others name him a Libyan from Pentapolis, however this appears to relaxation on the truth that Pentapolis was a spot the place the teachings of Sabellius thrived, in accordance with Dionysius of Alexandria, c. 260. What is thought of Sabellius is drawn largely from the polemical writings of his opponents.

Fadhma Aït Mansour, born in Tizi Hibel, Algeria, is the mom of writers Jean Amrouche and Taos Amrouche. Fadhma, the illegitimate daughter of a widow, was born in a Kabylie village. Later, when she was with the Sisters at Aït Manguellet hospital, she transformed to Roman Catholicism. She met one other Kabyle Catholic convert, Antoine-Belkacem Amrouche, whom she married in 1898.

Ahmed es-Sikeli, born in Djerba to a Berber household of the Sadwikish tribe was baptized a Christian underneath the identify Peter, was a eunuch and kaid of the Diwan of the Kingdom of Sicily in the course of the reign of William I. His story was recorded by his Christian contemporaries, Romuald Guarna and Hugo Falcandus from Sicily, and the Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun.[145][full citation needed]

Brother Rachid, a Moroccan Christian convert from Islam whose father is a widely known revered Imam. He is without doubt one of the most outspoken converts on the earth, he hosts a weekly stay call-in present on Al-Hayat channel the place he compares Islam and Christianity in addition to debating with Islamic students.

Malika Oufkir is a Moroccan author and former “disappeared” particular person. She is the daughter of Common Mohamed Oufkir and a cousin of fellow Moroccan author and actress Leila Shenna. She and her siblings are converts from Islam to Catholicism, and she or he writes in her guide, Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail: “we had rejected Islam, which had introduced us nothing good, and opted for Catholicism as an alternative”.[146]

In Islamic historical past

Tariq ibn Ziyad, Berber Muslim and Umayyad common who led the conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711

Tariq ibn Ziyad (died 720), identified in Spanish historical past and legend as Taric el Tuerto (‘Taric the one-eyed’), was a Berber Muslim and Umayyad common who led the conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711. He’s thought-about to be one of the vital necessary navy commanders in Spanish historical past. He was initially a servant of Musa ibn Nusair in North Africa, and was despatched by his superior to launch the primary thrust of an invasion of the Iberian peninsula. Some declare that he was invited to intervene by the heirs of the Visigothic King, Wittiza, within the Visigothic civil battle.

On April 29, 711, the armies of Tariq landed at Gibraltar (the identify Gibraltar is derived from the Arabic identify Jabal Tariq, which implies ‘mountain of Tariq’, or the extra apparent Gibr Al-Tariq, which means ‘rock of Tariq’). Upon touchdown, Tariq is claimed to have burned his ships then made the next speech, well-known within the Muslim world, to his troopers:

O Folks! There may be nowhere to run away! The ocean is behind you, and the enemy in entrance of you: There may be nothing for you, by God, besides solely sincerity and endurance.

Ziri ibn Manad (died 971), founding father of the Zirid dynasty within the Maghreb. Ziri ibn Manad was a clan chief of the Berber Sanhaja tribe who, as an ally of the Fatimids, defeated the rebel of Abu Yazid (943–947). His reward was the governorship of the western provinces, an space that roughly corresponds with trendy Algeria north of the Sahara.

Yusuf ibn Tashfin (c. 1061–1106) was the Berber Almoravid ruler in North Africa and Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia). He took the title of amir al-muslimin (‘commander of the Muslims’) after visiting the Caliph of Baghdad “amir al-Mu’minin” (‘commander of the trustworthy’) and formally receiving his help. He was both a cousin or nephew of Abu Bakr ibn Umar, the founding father of the Almoravid dynasty. He united all the Muslim dominions within the Iberian Peninsula (trendy Portugal and Spain) to the Maghreb (c. 1090), after being referred to as to the Al-Andalus by the Emir of Seville.

Alfonso VI was defeated on 23 October 1086, on the battle of Sagrajas, by the hands of Yusuf ibn Tashfin, and Abbad III al-Mu’tamid. Yusuf bin Tashfin is the founding father of the well-known Moroccan metropolis Marrakech. He himself selected the place the place it was in-built 1070 and later made it the capital of his Empire. Till then, the Almoravids had been desert nomads, however the brand new capital marked their settling right into a extra city lifestyle.

Ibn Tumart (c. 1080 – c. 1130), was a Berber spiritual instructor and chief from the Masmuda tribe who spiritually based the Almohad dynasty. He’s also called El-Mahdi in reference to his prophesied redeeming. In 1125, he started an open revolt in opposition to Almoravid rule. The identify Ibn Tumart comes from the Berber language and means ‘son of the earth’.[citation needed]

Over a interval of thirty years (1325–1354), Moroccan Berber traveller Ibn Battuta visited many of the identified Islamic world in addition to many non-Muslim lands.

Abu Ya’qub Yusuf (died on 29 July 1184) was the second Almohad caliph. He reigned from 1163 till 1184 and had the Giralda in Seville constructed.

Abu Yaqub al-Mustansir Yusuf II Caliph of Maghreb from 1213 till his loss of life. The son of the earlier caliph, Muhammad an-Nasir, Yusuf assumed the throne on the age of solely 16 years following his father’s loss of life.

Al-Busiri (1211–1294) was a Sanhaja Berber Sufi poet belonging to the Shadhiliyya order being direct disciple of Sheikh Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi.

Ibn Battuta (born 1304; yr of loss of life unsure, presumably 1368 or 1377) was a Berber Sunni Islamic scholar and jurisprudent from the Maliki Madhhab (a faculty of Fiqh, or Islamic regulation), and at instances a Qadi or decide.[147] Nonetheless, he’s greatest often known as a traveler and explorer, whose account paperwork his travels and excursions over a interval of just about thirty years, masking some 117,000 kilometres (73,000 mi). These journeys coated virtually the whole lot of the identified Islamic realm, extending from trendy West Africa to Pakistan, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, South-East Asia and China, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessor, near-contemporary Marco Polo.

Muhammad al-Jazuli – From the tribe of Jazulah which was settled within the Sous space of Maghreb between the Atlantic Ocean and the Atlas Mountains. He’s most well-known for compiling the Dala’il al-Khayrat, a particularly fashionable Muslim prayer guide.

Mohammed Awzal was a spiritual Berber poet. He’s thought-about a very powerful writer of the Shilha literary custom. He was born round 1670 within the village of al-Qasaba within the area of Sous, Maghreb and died in 1748 or 1749 (1162 of the Egira).

Averroes, a thinker within the medieval interval.

Ibn Firnas, an aviation pioneer within the medieval interval.



Historically, males maintain livestock. They migrate by following the pure cycle of grazing, and searching for water and shelter. They’re thus assured with an abundance of wool, cotton and crops used for dyeing. For his or her half, girls take care of the household and handicrafts – first for his or her private use, and secondly on the market within the souqs of their locality.

The Berber tribes historically weave kilims. The tapestry maintains the normal look and distinctiveness of the area of origin of every tribe, which has in impact its personal repertoire of drawings. The textile of plain weave is represented by all kinds of stripes, and extra hardly ever by geometrical patterns equivalent to triangles and diamonds. Extra decorations equivalent to sequins or fringes, are typical of Berber weave in Morocco. The nomadic and semi-nomadic way of life of the Berbers could be very appropriate for weaving kilims. The customs and traditions differ from one area to a different.[148]

The social construction of the Berbers is tribal. A frontrunner is appointed to command the tribe. Within the Center Ages, many ladies had the facility to control, equivalent to Kahina and within the Aurès Mountains, Tin Hinan within the Hoggar, in , within the Aurès. Lalla Fatma N’Soumer was a Berber lady in Kabylie who fought in opposition to the French.

Nearly all of Berber tribes presently have males as heads of the tribe. In Algeria, the el Kseur platform in Kabylie provides tribes the correct to tremendous felony offenders. In areas of Chaoui, tribal leaders enact sanctions in opposition to criminals.[149] The Tuareg have a king who decides the destiny of the tribe and is called Amenokal. It’s a very hierarchical society. The Mozabites are ruled by the non secular leaders of Ibadism and lead communal lives. In the course of the disaster of Berriane, the heads of every tribe resolved the issue and started talks to finish the disaster between the Maliki and Ibadite actions.[150][full citation needed]

In marriages, the person selects the girl, and relying on the tribe, the household typically makes the choice. Compared, within the Tuareg tradition, the girl chooses her future husband. The rites of marriage are completely different for every tribe. Households are both patriarchal or matriarchal, in accordance with the tribe.[citation needed]


Berber delicacies is a conventional delicacies which has advanced little over time. It differs from one space to a different inside and amongst Berber teams.

Principal Berber meals are:

  • Couscous, a semolina staple dish
  • Tajine, a stew made in numerous types
  • Pastilla, a meat pie historically made with squab (fledgling pigeon), at present typically made utilizing hen
  • Bread made with conventional yeast
  • Bouchiar, tremendous yeastless wafers soaked in butter and pure honey
  • Bourjeje, pancake containing flour, eggs, yeast and salt
  • Baghrir, gentle and spongy pancake made out of flour, yeast, and salt; served sizzling and soaked in butter and tment (‘honey’).
  • Tahricht, sheep offal (brains, tripe, lungs, and coronary heart) rolled up with the intestines on an oak stick and cooked on embers in specifically designed ovens. The meat is coated with butter to make it even tastier. This dish is served primarily at festivities.

Though they’re the unique inhabitants of North Africa, and regardless of quite a few incursions by Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and French, Berber teams lived in very contained communities. Having been topic to restricted exterior influences, these populations lived free from acculturating components.


The most typical conventional music devices

Berber music has all kinds of regional kinds. The most effective identified are the Moroccan music, the favored Gasba, Kabyle and Chawi music of Algeria, and the widespread Tuareg music of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali. Devices used embrace the bendir (giant drums) and the guembri (a lute).

Conventional Kabyle music consists of vocalists accompanied by a rhythm part, consisting of e’ṯbel (tambourine) and bendir, and a melody part, consisting of a ghaita (bagpipe) and ajouag (flute). Kabyle music has been fashionable in France for the reason that 1930s, when it was performed at cafés. Because it advanced, Western string devices and Arab musical conventions, like giant backing orchestras, have been added.

By the point raï, a method of Algerian fashionable music, turned fashionable in France and elsewhere in Europe, Kabyle artists started utilizing much less conventional devices and codecs. Hassen Zermani‘s all-electric Takfarinas (taking part in the Algerian mandole) and Abdelli‘s work with Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Records helped deliver Kabyle music to new audiences, whereas the homicide of Matoub Lounes impressed many Kabyles to rally round their fashionable musicians.

There are three forms of Berber folks music: village music, ritual music, and the music carried out by skilled musicians. Village music is carried out collectively for dancing, together with ahidus and ahouach dances. These dances start with a chanted prayer. Ritual music is carried out at common ceremonies to rejoice marriages and different necessary life occasions, and can also be used as safety in opposition to evil spirits. Skilled musicians (imdyazn) journey in teams of 4, led by a poet (amydaz). The amydaz performs improvised poems, typically accompanied by drums and rabab (a one-stringed fiddle), together with a bou oughanim who performs a double clarinet and acts as a clown for the group.

The fantasia competition, 19th-century illustration

The Chleuh Berbers have skilled musicians referred to as rwais who play in ensembles consisting of lutes, rababs and cymbals, with any variety of vocalist. The chief, or rayes, leads the choreography and music of the group. These performances start with an instrumental astara on rabab, which additionally provides the notes of the melody which follows. The following part is the amarg, or sung poetry, after which ammussu, a danced overture, tammust, an brisk tune, aberdag, a dance, and eventually the rhythmically swift tabbayt. There may be some variation within the presentation of the order, however the astara at all times begins, and the tabbayt at all times ends.

Conventional Berber festivals embrace Fantasia, Imilchil marriage competition and Udayn n Acur.

See additionally


  1. ^ Warmington makes use of “Libyans of Tunisia” (an anachronistic time period) on web page 46; examine with web page 61 (citing Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Polybius).
  2. ^ “Professional-Imazighen” view factors (opposite to prevailing “Punicophilia” literature) are offered by Abdullah Laroui in his L’Histoire du Maghreb: Un essai de synthèse.[73][64]:42–44
  3. ^ The Picards, nevertheless, comment that the ensuing Greek defeat confirmed “how robust was the maintain of Carthage over her African territory”.
  4. ^ Warmington web page 83, citing Plutarch (46–120 CE), Moralia 799D.


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