The Hassane is a name for the traditionally dominant warrior tribes of the Saharan-Moorish areas of present-day Mauritania, southern Morocco and Western Sahara. Although lines were blurred by intermarriage and tribal re-affiliation, the Hassane were considered descendants of the Arab Maqil tribe Beni Hassan (hence the name), and held power over Sanhadja Berber-descended zawiya (religious) and znaga (servant) tribes, extracting from these the horma tax in exchange for armed protection. Occasionally, such as in the case of the important Reguibat tribe, Zaouiya Berber groups would rise to Hassane status by growing in power and prestige and taking up armed raiding; they would then often Arabize culturally to fit the prevailing image of Hassane tribes as "original" Arabs.
A good example of a Hassane tribe is the Río de Oro-centered Oulad Delim, which is considered as among the purest descendants of the Beni Hassan.
Tribal castes and terms:
- John Mercer (1976), Spanish Sahara, George Allen & Unwid Ltd (ISBN 0-04-966013-6)
- Anthony G. Pazzanita (2006), Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara, Scarecrow Press
- Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff (1980), The Western Saharans. Background to Conflict, Barnes & Noble Books (ISBN 0-389-20148-0)