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Amenokal is an autochthonous title for the highest Tuareg traditional chiefs.


Before the colonization by the French of the North African and Sahel countries in which they dwell, the nomadic Tuareg federations chose a chief among the wise men of the tribes to rule the loose union of closely related groups. ¨

  • In what is now Algeria, an amenokal was at the head of the Kel Ahaggar Tuareg confederation since its establishment (circa 1750). It was maintained under colonial French suzerainty since 1903 but no longer regognized after the Algerian independence. It was finally abolished in 1977.
  • In the northern mountains of what is now Niger, in the early 15th century, a state called Aïr was founded by the Tuareg confederation there, under an amenokal, who was also designated by the Arabic Muslim title Sultan, hence it is also called a Berber sultanate.

The first Tuareg chief, according to a tradition, was a woman, Tin Hinan, the founder of the Ahaggar community.

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