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Beni Ḥassān (Arabic: بني حسان "sons of Ḥassān") were a nomadic group of Arabian origin, one of the four sub-tribes of the Maqil Arabian tribes who emigrated in the 11th century to the Maghreb with the Bani Hilal and Banu Sulaym Arabs. They originally lived with their Maqil relatives in the area between Tadla, Moulouiya River. The Sous Almohad governor called upon them for help against a rebellion in the Sous and they resettled to in and around that region.
The Beni Hassan and other warrior Arab tribes managed to establish their dominance over the Sanhaja Berber tribes of the area, and after the Char Bouba war of the 17th century. As a result, Arab culture and language came to dominate, and the Berber tribes were more or less arabized. The Bani Hassan's dialect of Arabic thus became the tongue of the region, and is still spoken in the form of Hassaniya Arabic.
Beni Hassan were descendents of the Maqil, an Arabian tribe whose exact origin in unknown and subject to debate, but they likely were originally from Yemen. Beni Hassan included:
- The descendents of Hasan ben Mokhtar ben Mohamed son of the forefather of the Maqils.
- The Shebanat: descendents of Shebana, brother of Hassan, and son of Mokhtar ben Mohamed
- The Reguitat: descendents of Jallal, Salem and Uthman, brothers of Mokhtar and sons of Mohamed.
Several other Arabian tribes joined the Maqils and became part of the Beni Hassan tribe.
Many descendants of the Beni Hassan tribes today still adhere to the supremacist ideology of their ancestors. This ideology has led to oppression, discrimination and even enslavement of other groups in Mauritania.
- Almsaodi, Abdulaziz. Modern History of Yemen
- Power and Interest News Report
- Ahmed Annaçéri's Handwritten "Talaàt Al Mouchtari" (died in 1717)
- *AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 7 November 2002, MAURITANIA, "A future free from slavery?" The formal abolition of slavery in 1981 has not led to real and effective abolition for various reasons, including a lack of legislation to ensure its implementation. http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engAFR380032002!Open
- http://www.afrol.com/articles/17518 : "The practice of slavery in Mauritania is most dominant within the traditional upper class of the Moors. For centuries, the so-called Haratin lower class, mostly poor black Africans living in rural areas, have been considered natural slaves by these Moors. Social attitudes have changed among most urban Moors, but in rural areas, the ancient divide is still very alive.
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