Banu Hilal

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The Banu Hilal (Arabic: بنو هلال) was a confederation of Arab tribes. In the 11th century they migrated from Upper Egypt into what is now Tunisia and eastern Algeria.[1] They defeated the Berbers.[2]


Oral tradition says that the tribe would have left Arabia to go to Egypt.[3] According to their legend they rebelled against the Caliph of Baghdad in the second half of the 10th century.[4] In 1049, when the Zirid ruler of Tunisia rebelled against Egypt, nomads were sent to punish them.[4] Ibn Khaldun, an early Tunisian historian, said they were like "a cloud of locusts" when they invaded Tunisia.[4] The Arab poets told of their many conquests as they moved west. They were defeated in a series of battles during the 12th century by the Moroccan dynasty.[5] They did come from the Najd in Arabia.[5] And the Banu Hilal did control much of North Africa for over a century.[5] The Banu Hilal were installed between Tangier and Marrakesh by the Almohads in the 12th century.[6]

Further reading[edit]

  • Almsaodi, Abdulaziz. Modern history of Yemen


  1. ^ Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, eds. Anthony Appiah; Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Second Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 360
  2. ^ Allen James Fromherz, Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ©2010), p. 142
  3. ^ Medieval Islamic Civilization; an Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, eds. Josef W. Meri; Jere L. Bacharach (New York; Oxford: Routledge, 2006), p. 231
  4. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Volume 1, eds. Julie Scott Meisami; Paul Starkey (London; New York: Routledge, 2003), p. 133
  5. ^ a b c Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World, The Poetics of Community, eds. Margaret Beissinger; Jane Tylus; Susanne Wofford (Berkeley; Los Angeles; Oxford: The University of California Press, 1999), p. 156
  6. ^ Ibn Khaldoun, p. 242

Other websites[edit]