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Arab-Berber (Arabic: العرب والبربر‎; French: Arabo-berbères) is a term to denote an inhabitant of the North African Maghreb who is of mixed Arab and Berber origin and whose native language is a dialect of Arabic and who also has an Arab ethnic identity.[1] The Arab-Berber identity came into being as a direct result of the Arab conquest of North Africa, and the subsequent colonization and intermarriage between the Arabian people who immigrated to those regions and local mainly Berber people; in addition, Bedouin tribes originating in the Arabian Peninsula colonized the region and intermarried with the local mainly Berber populations. Examples of these Arab Bedouin tribes that migrated into North Africa in the 11th century and were a major factor in the linguistic, cultural and ethnic Arabization of the Maghreb are Banu Hilal[2] an Arab tribe that had lived in Yemen and migrated via Upper Egypt,[3] Banu Sulaym (an Arab tribe that had lived in Hejaz and Nejd) and also Beni Hassan (an Arab tribe that had lived in Yemen). The offspring of these intermarriages created the Arab-Berber tribal groups who speak Arabic as a first language and have an Arab ethnic identity and moreover are representing nowadays the majority of the population in the countries in North Africa, which include Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

The Arab-Berber group has to be distinguished from the Arabized Berber groups, who have very little Arab ethnic background, or from the pure Arab Bedouin tribes in the Maghreb region. The Arabized Berber groups' genetic properties have dominantly Berber characteristics and little Arab characteristics, and could be found in Algeria and Morocco[4] but the vernacular language has dominantly Arabic linguistic characteristics and is one of the many dialects of the Arabic language currently spoken within the Arab world.

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  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Weiss, Bernard G. and Green, Arnold H.(1987) A Survey of Arab History American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, p. 129, ISBN 977-424-180-0
  3. ^ Ballais, Jean-Louis (2000) "Chapter 7: Conquests and land degradation in the eastern Maghreb" p. 133
  4. ^ Bekada A, Fregel R, Cabrera VM, Larruga JM, Pestano J, et al. (2013) Introducing the Algerian Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Profiles into the North African Landscape. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56775. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056775