|from 25 to 36 million  or 38 million  or 50 milion |
|Regions with significant populations|
|Morocco||from ≈ 13 million  to ≈ 20 million  or 27,078,593 |
|Algeria||from 9 to ≈ 13 million or 32,320,000|
|France||more than 2 million|
|Tunisia||110,000  or >6,589,652 |
|Egypt||34,000 or 1,826,580 |
|Berber languages (Tamazight); written with Tifinagh alphabet|
|Predominantly Islam (Sunni, Shia, Ibadi)
Minority Irreligion, Christianity
|Related ethnic groups|
|other Afro-Asiatic peoples|
The Berbers or Amazighen (Berber: ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ Imaziɣen, singular: ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ Amaziɣ/Amazigh) are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. They are distributed in an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. Historically, they spoke Berber languages, which together form the Berber branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, a large number of Berbers inhabiting the Maghreb have acquired different degrees of knowledge of varieties of the languages of North Africa. After the colonization of North Africa by France, "the French government succeeded in integrating the French language in Algeria by making French the official national language and requiring all education to take place in French." Foreign languages, mainly French and to some degree Spanish, inherited from former European colonial powers, are used by most educated Berbers in Algeria and Morocco in some formal contexts, such as higher education or business.
Today, most Berber people live in Northern African countries, mainly in Algeria and Morocco; a small Berber population is also found in Niger, Mali, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Egypt, as well as large immigrant communities living in France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and other countries of Europe.
The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of phenotypes, societies and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.
There are some twenty-five to thirty million Berber speakers in North Africa. The number of ethnic Berbers (including non-Berber speakers) is far greater, as a large part of the Berbers have acquired other languages over the course of many decades or centuries, and no longer speak Berber today. The majority of North Africa's population is believed to be Berber in origin, although due to Arabization most ethnic Berbers identify as Arabized Berbers.
Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en (singular: a-Mazigh), possibly meaning "free people" or "noble men". The name likely had its ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for Berbers, "Mazices". Some of the best known of the ancient Berbers are the Numidian king Masinissa, king Jugurtha, the Berber-Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the Berber-Roman general Lusius Quietus, who was instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117. Dihya or Kahina was a female Berber religious and military leader who led a fierce Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in North-West Africa. Kusaila was a seventh-century male and leader of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and King of the Sanhadja confederation.
Famous Berbers throughout history include Yusuf ibn Tashfin, king of the Berber Almoravid empire; Tariq ibn Ziyad the general who conquered Hispania; Abbas Ibn Firnas, a prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation; Ibn Battuta, a medieval explorer who traveled the longest known distances of his time.
- 1 Name
- 2 Prehistory
- 3 History
- 4 Contemporary demographics
- 5 Diaspora
- 6 Languages
- 7 Main groups
- 8 Religions and beliefs
- 9 Architecture
- 10 Culture
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The name Berber derives from the Latin barbarus and from Greek bàrbaros, βάρβαρος. A history by a Roman consul in Africa made the first reference of the term "barbarian" to describe Numidia. The use of the term Berber spread in the period following the arrival of the Vandals during their major invasions. Muslim historians, some time after, also mentioned the Berbers.[clarification needed]
The English term was introduced in the 19th century, replacing the earlier Barbary. The Berbers are the Mauri cited by the Chronicle of 754 during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, to become since the 11th century the catch-all term Moros (in Spanish; Moors in English) on the charters and chronicles of the expanding Christian Iberian kingdoms to refer to the Andalusi, the north Africans, and the Muslims overall.
For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo the name Amazigh could be derived from the name of the ancestor Mezeg which is the translation of biblical ancestor Dedan son of Sheba in the Targum. According to Leo Africanus, Amazigh meant "free man", though this has been disputed, because there is no root of M-Z-Gh meaning "free" in modern Berber languages. This dispute, however, is based on a lack of understanding of the Tamazight language[neutrality is disputed] as "Am-" is a prefix meaning "a man/one who is-." Therefore, the root required to verify this endonym would be "(a)zigh", free, this however is also missing from Tamazight's lexicon, but may be related to the well attested "aze" strong, "Tizzit" bravery, or "jeghegh" to be brave/courageous.[original research?]
Further, it also has a cognate in the Tuareg word "Amajegh", meaning "noble". This term is common in Morocco, especially among Central Atlas, Rifian and Shilah speakers in 1980, but elsewhere within the Berber homeland sometimes a local, more particular term, such as Kabyle or Chaoui, is more often used instead in Algeria.
The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) in the areas where Berbers were later found. Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are probably still related to the modern Amazigh. The Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field. Scholars believe it would be the same tribe called a few centuries afterwards in Greek as Mazyes by Hektaios and as Maxyes by Herodotus, while it was called after that "Mazaces" and "Mazax" in Latin sources, and related to the later Massylii and Masaesyli. All those names are similar and perhaps foreign renditions of the name used by the Berbers in general for themselves, Imazighen.
The Maghreb or western North Africa on the whole is believed to have been inhabited by Berbers from at least 10,000 BC. Northern African cave paintings, dating back twelve millennia, have been found in the Tassili n'Ajjer region of southern Algeria. Others were found in Tadrart Acacus in the Libyan desert. A Neolithic society, marked by domestication and subsistence agriculture, developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean region (the Maghreb) of northern Africa between 6000 and 2000 BC. This type of life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer cave paintings of south-eastern Algeria, predominated in the Maghreb until the classical period. Prehistorical Tifinagh scripts were also found in the Oran region. During the pre-Roman era, several successive independent states (Massylii) existed before the king Masinissa unified the people of Numidia.
In historical times, the Berbers expanded south into the Sahara (displacing earlier populations such as the Azer and Bafour). However much of Berber culture is still celebrated among the cultural elite in Morocco, and Algeria.
The areas of North Africa that have retained the Berber language and traditions best have been, in general, Morocco and the highlands of Algeria (Kabylie, Aurès et cetera), most of which in Roman and Ottoman times remained largely independent. The Ottomans did penetrate the Kabylie area; Turkish influence can be seen in food, clothes and music, and to places the Phoenicians never penetrated, far beyond the coast. These areas have been affected by some of the many invasions of North Africa, most recently that of the French.
Around 5000 BC, the populations of North Africa were primarily descended from the makers of the Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures, with a more recent intrusion associated with the Neolithic revolution. The proto-Berber tribes evolved from these prehistoric communities during the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age.
Uniparental DNA analysis has established ties between Berbers and other Afro-Asiatic speakers in Africa. Most of these populations belong to the E1b1b paternal haplogroup, with Berber speakers having among the highest frequencies of this lineage. Additionally, genomic analysis has found that Berber and other Maghreb communities are defined by a shared ancestral component. This Maghrebi element peaks among Tunisian Berbers. It is related to the Coptic/Ethio-Somali, having diverged from these and other West Eurasian-affiliated components prior to the Holocene.
In 2013, Iberomaurusian skeletons from the prehistoric sites of Taforalt and Afalou in the Maghreb were also analyzed for ancient DNA. All of the specimens belonged to maternal clades associated with either North Africa or the northern and southern Mediterranean littoral, indicating gene flow between these areas since the Epipaleolithic. The ancient Taforalt individuals carried the mtDNA haplogroups U6, H, JT and V, which points to population continuity in the region dating from the Iberomaurusian period.
The grand tribal identities of 'Berber antiquity' (then often known as Libyans) were said to be three (roughly, from west to east): the Mauri, the Numidians near Carthage, and the Gaetulians. The Mauri inhabited the far west (ancient Mauritania, now Morocco and central Algeria). The Numidians were located in the regions between the Mauri and the city-state of Carthage. Both the Numidians and the Mauri had significant sedentary populations living in villages, and their peoples both tilled the land and tended herds. The Gaetulians were less settled, with predominantly pastoral elements, and lived in the near south on the margins of the Sahara. For their part, the Phoenicians came from the perhaps most advanced multicultural sphere then existing, the Fertile Crescent. Accordingly, the material culture of Phoenicia was likely more functional and efficient, and their knowledge more explanatory, than that of the early Berbers. Hence, the interactions between Berber and Phoenician were often asymmetrical. The Phoenicians worked to keep their cultural cohesion and ethnic solidarity, and continuously refreshed their close connection with Tyre, the mother city.
The earliest Phoenician landing stations located on the coasts were probably meant merely to resupply and service ships bound for the lucrative metals trade with the Iberian peninsula. Perhaps these newly arrived sea traders were not at first particularly interested in doing much business with the Berbers, for reason of the little profit regarding the goods the Berbers had to offer. The Phoenicians established strategic colonial cities in many Berber areas, including sites outside of present-day Tunisia, e.g., the settlements at Volubilis, Chellah and Mogador (now in Morocco). As in Tunisia these centres were trading hubs, and later offered support for resource development such as olive oil at Volubilis and Tyrian purple dye at Mogador. For their part, most Berbers maintained their independence as farmers or semi-pastorals although, due to the exemplar of Carthage, their organized politics increased in scope and acquired sophistication.
In fact for a time their numerical and military superiority (the best horse riders of that time) enabled some Berber kingdoms to impose a tribute payable by Carthage, a condition that continued into the 5th century BC. Also, due to the Berbero-Libyan Meshwesh dynasty's rule of Egypt (945-715 BC), the Berbers near Carthage commanded significant respect (yet probably appearing more rustic than elegant Libyan pharaohs on the Nile). Correspondingly, in early Carthage careful attention was given to securing the most favorable treaties with the Berber chieftains, "which included intermarriage between them and the Punic aristocracy." In this regard, perhaps the legend about Dido, the foundress of Carthage (see above), as related by Trogus is apposite. Her refusal to wed the Mauritani chieftain Hiarbus might be indicative of the complexity of the politics involved.
Eventually the Phoenician trading stations would evolve into permanent settlements, and later into small towns, which would presumably require a wide variety of goods as well as sources of food, which could be satisfied in trade with the Berbers. Yet here too, the Phoenicians probably would be drawn into organizing and directing such local trade, and also into managing agricultural production. In the 5th century BC, Carthage expanded its territory, acquiring Cape Bon and the fertile Wadi Majardah, later establishing its control over productive farm lands within several hundred kilometers. Appropriation of such wealth in land by the Phoenicians would surely inspire some resistance by the Berbers, although in warfare, too, the technical training, social organization, and weaponry of the Phoenicians would seem to work against the tribal Berbers. This social-cultural interaction in early Carthage has been summarily described:
Lack of contemporary written records make the drawing of conclusions here uncertain, which can only be based on inference and reasonable conjecture about matters of social nuance. Yet it appears that the Phoenicians generally did not interact with the Berbers as economic equals, but employed their agricultural labor, and their household services, whether by hire or indenture; many became sharecroppers. For a period the Berbers were in constant revolt. In 396 there was a great uprising. "Thousands of rebels streamed down from the mountains and invaded Punic territory, carrying the serfs of the countryside along with them. The Carthaginians were obliged to withdraw within their walls and were besieged." Yet the Berbers lacked cohesion, and although 200,000 strong at one point they succumbed to hunger; their leaders were offered bribes; "they gradually broke up and returned to their homes." Thereafter, "a series of revolts took place among the Libyans [Berbers] from the fourth century onwards."
The Berbers had become involutary 'hosts' to the settlers from the east, and obliged to accept the Punic dominance of Carthage for many centuries. The Berbers belonged to the lower social class when in Punic society. Nonetheless, therein they persisted largely unassimilated, as a separate, submerged entity, as a culture of mostly passive urban and rural poor within the civil structures created by Punic rule. In addition, and most importantly, the Berber peoples also formed quasi-independent satellite societies along the steppes of the frontier and beyond, where a minority continued as free 'tribal republics'. While benefitting from Punic material culture and political-military institutions, these peripheral Berbers (also called Libyans) maintained their own identity, culture and traditions, continued to develop their own agricultural and village skills, while living with the newcomers from the east in an asymmetric symbiosis.
As the centuries passed there naturally grew a Punic society of Phoenician-descent but born in Africa, called Libyphoenicians. This term later came to be applied also to Berbers acculturated to urban Phoenician culture. Yet the whole notion of a Berber apprenticeship to the Punic civilization has been called an exaggeration sustained by a point of view fundamentally foreign to the Berbers. There evolved a population of mixed ancestry, Berber and Punic. There would develop recognized niches in which Berbers had proven their utility. For example, the Punic state began to field Berber Numidian cavalry under their commanders on a regular basis. The Berbers eventually were required to provide soldiers (at first "unlikely" paid "except in booty"), which by the fourth century BC became "the largest single element in the Carthaginian army".
Yet in times of stress at Carthage, when a foreign force might be pushing against the city-state, some Berbers would see it as an opportunity to advance their interests, given their otherwise low status in Punic society. Thus, when the Greeks under Agathocles (361-289 BC) of Sicily landed at Cape Bon and threatened Carthage (in 310 BC), there were Berbers under Ailymas who went over to the invading Greeks. Also, during the long Second Punic War (218-201 BC) with Rome (see below), the Berber King Masinissa (c. 240-148 BC) joined with the invading Roman general Scipio, resulting to the war-ending defeat of Carthage at Zama, despite the presence of their renown general Hannibal; on the other hand, the Berber King Syphax (d. 202 BC) had supported Carthage. The Romans too read these cues, so that they cultivated their Berber alliances and, subsequently, favored the Berbers who advanced their interests following the Roman victory.
Carthage was faulted by her ancient rivals for the "harsh treatment of her subjects" as well as for "greed and cruelty". Her Libyan Berber sharecroppers, for example, were required to pay one-half of their crops as tribute to the city-state during the emergency of the First Punic War. The normal exaction taken by Carthage was likely "an extremely burdonsome" one-quarter. Carthage once famously attempted to short its Libyan and foreign soldiers, leading to the Mercenary revolt (240-237 BC). Also the city-state seemed to reward those leaders known to deal ruthlessly with its subject peoples. Hence the frequent Berber insurrections. Moderns fault Carthage for failure "to bind her subjects to herself, as Rome did" her Italians. Yet Rome and the Italians held far more in common perhaps than did Carthage and the Berbers. Nonetheless, a modern criticism tells us that the Carthaginians "did themselves a disservice" by failing to promote the common, shared quality of "life in a properly organized city" that inspires loyalty, particularly with regard to the Berbers. Again, the tribute demanded by Carthage was onerous.
The Punic relationship with the majority Berbers continued throughout the life of Carthage. The unequal development of material culture and social organization perhaps fated the relationship to be an uneasy one. A long-term cause of Punic instability, there was no melding of the peoples. It remained a source of stress and a point of weakness for Carthage. Yet there were degrees of convergence on several particulars, discoveries of mutual advantage, occasions of friendship, and family.
The Berbers enter historicity gradually during the Roman era.
Roman era Cyrenaica became a center of Early Christianity. Some pre-Islamic Berbers were Christians (there is a strong correlation between membership of the Donatist doctrine and being Berber, ascribed to its matching their culture as well as their alienation from the dominant Roman culture of the Catholic church), some perhaps Jewish, and some adhered to their traditional polytheist religion. The Roman era authors Apuleius and St. Augustine were born in the Roman province of Africa; claims that they had Berber ancestry are unproven. As is true of three popes from the province: Pope Victor I served during the reign of Roman emperor Septimius Severus, who was a North African of Roman/Punic ancestry (perhaps with some Berber blood).
Numidia (202 – 46 BC) was an ancient Berber kingdom in modern Algeria and part of Tunisia that later alternated between being a Roman province and being a Roman client state. It was located on the eastern border of modern Algeria, bordered by the Roman province of Mauretania (in modern Algeria and Morocco) to the west, the Roman province of Africa (modern Tunisia) to the east, the Mediterranean to the north, and the Sahara Desert to the south. Its people were the Numidians.
The name Numidia was first applied by Polybius and other historians during the third century BC to indicate the territory west of Carthage, including the entire north of Algeria as far as the river Mulucha (Muluya), about 160 kilometres (100 mi) west of Oran. The Numidians were conceived of as two great groups: the Massylii in eastern Numidia, and the Masaesyli in the west. During the first part of the Second Punic War, the eastern Massylii under their king Gala were allied with Carthage, while the western Masaesyli under king Syphax were allied with Rome.
In 206 BC, the new king of the eastern Massylii, Masinissa, allied himself with Rome, and Syphax of the Masaesyli switched his allegiance to the Carthaginian side. At the end of the war, the victorious Romans gave all of Numidia to Masinissa of the Massylii. At the time of his death in 148 BC, Masinissa's territory extended from Mauretania to the boundary of the Carthaginian territory, and also south-east as far as Cyrenaica, so that Numidia entirely surrounded Carthage (Appian, Punica, 106) except towards the sea.
Masinissa was succeeded by his son Micipsa. When Micipsa died in 118 BC, he was succeeded jointly by his two sons Hiempsal I and Adherbal and Masinissa's illegitimate grandson, Jugurtha, of Berber origin, who was very popular among the Numidians. Hiempsal and Jugurtha quarreled immediately after the death of Micipsa. Jugurtha had Hiempsal killed, which led to open war with Adherbal.
After Jugurtha defeated him in open battle, Adherbal fled to Rome for help. The Roman officials, allegedly due to bribes but perhaps more likely because of a desire to quickly end conflict in a profitable client kingdom, settled the fight by dividing Numidia into two parts. Jugurtha was assigned the western half. However, soon after conflict broke out again, leading to the Jugurthine War between Rome and Numidia.
In antiquity, Mauretania was an independent Berber kingdom under King Bocchus I (110-80 BC). It was situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, in modern western Algeria and northern Morocco.
Before the eleventh century, most of North-West Africa was a Berber-speaking Muslim area. The process of Arabization only became a major factor with the arrival of the Banu Hilal, a tribe sent by the Fatimids of Egypt to punish the Berber Zirid dynasty for having abandoned Shiism. The Banu Hilal reduced the Zirids to a few coastal towns and took over much of the plains; their influx was a major factor in the Arabization of the region and in the spread of nomadism in areas where agriculture had previously been dominant.
After the Muslim conquest, the Berber tribes of coastal North Africa became almost fully Islamized. Besides the Arabian influence, North African population also saw an influx via the Barbary Slave Trade of European peoples, with some estimates placing the number of European slaves brought to North Africa during the Ottoman period as high as 1.25 million. Interactions with neighboring Sudanic empires, traders, and nomads from other parts of Africa also left impressions upon the Berber people.
According to historians of the Middle Ages, the Berbers were divided into two branches, Botr and Barnès, descended from Mazigh ancestors, who were themselves divided into tribes and subtribes. Each region of the Maghreb contained several tribes (e.g. Sanhadja, Houaras, Zenata, Masmouda, Kutama, Awarba, Berghwata, et cetera). All these tribes had independence and territorial hegemony.
Several Berber dynasties emerged during the Middle Ages in the Maghreb and Al-Andalus. The most notable are the Zirids (Ifriqiya, 973-1148), the Hammadids (Western Ifriqiya, 1014–1152), the Almoravids (Morocco and Al-Andalus, 1050–1147), the Almohads (Morocco and Al-Andalus, 1147–1248), the Hafsids (Ifriqiya, 1229–1574), the Zianids (Tlemcen, 1235–1556), the Marinids (Morocco, 1248–1465) and the Wattasids (Morocco, 1471–1554).
They belong to a powerful, formidable, brave and numerous people; a true people like so many others the world has seen - like the Arabs, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. The men who belong to this family of peoples have inhabited the Maghreb since the beginning.— Ibn Khaldun, 14th century Tunisian historian
Berbers and the Islamic conquest
Unlike the conquests of previous religions and cultures, the coming of Islam, which was spread by Arabs, was to have extensive and long-lasting effects on the Maghreb. The new faith, in its various forms, would penetrate nearly all segments of Berber society, bringing with it armies, learned men, and fervent mystics, and in large part replacing tribal practices and loyalties with new social norms and political idioms.
Nonetheless, the Islamization and Arabization of the region was a complicated and lengthy process. Whereas nomadic Berbers were quick to convert and assist the Arab conquerors, it was not until the twelfth century, under the Almohad Dynasty, that the Christian, Jewish, and animist communities of the Maghreb became marginalized.
Jews persisted within Northern Africa as dhimmis, protected peoples, under Islamic law. They continued to occupy prominent economic and political roles within the Maghreb. Indeed, some scholars believe that Jewish merchants may have crossed the Sahara, although others dispute this claim. Indigenous Christian communities within the Maghreb all but disappeared under Islamic rule, although Christian communities from Europe may still be found in the Maghreb to this day.
The first Arabian military expeditions into the Maghreb, between 642 and 669, resulted in the spread of Islam. These early forays from a base in Egypt occurred under local initiative rather than under orders from the central caliphate. But when the seat of the caliphate moved from Medina to Damascus, the Umayyads (a Muslim dynasty ruling from 661 to 750) recognized that the strategic necessity of dominating the Mediterranean dictated a concerted military effort on the North African front. In 670, therefore, an Arab army under Uqba ibn Nafi established the town of Qayrawan about 160 kilometres south of modern Tunis and used it as a base for further operations.
Abu al-Muhajir Dinar, Uqba's successor, pushed westward into Algeria and eventually worked out a modus vivendi with Kusaila, the ruler of an extensive confederation of Christian Berbers. Kusaila, who had been based in Tlemcen, became a Muslim and moved his headquarters to Takirwan, near Al Qayrawan. This harmony was short-lived; Arabian and Berber forces controlled the region in turn until 697. By 711, Umayyad forces helped by Berber converts to Islam had conquered all of North Africa. Governors appointed by the Umayyad caliphs ruled from Kairouan, capital of the new wilaya (province) of Ifriqiya, which covered Tripolitania (the western part of modern Libya), Tunisia, and eastern Algeria.
The spread of Islam among the Berbers did not guarantee their support for the Arab-dominated caliphate due to the discriminatory attitude of the Arabs. The ruling Arabs alienated the Berbers by taxing them heavily; treating converts as second-class Muslims; and, worst of all, by enslaving them. As a result, widespread opposition took the form of open revolt in 739-40 under the banner of Ibadin Islam. The Ibadin had been fighting Umayyad rule in the East, and many Berbers were attracted by the sect's seemingly egalitarian precepts.
After the revolt, Ibadin established a number of theocratic tribal kingdoms, most of which had short and troubled histories. But others, like Sijilmasa and Tlemcen, which straddled the principal trade routes, proved more viable and prospered. In 750, the Abbasids, who succeeded the Umayyads as Muslim rulers, moved the caliphate to Baghdad and reestablished caliphal authority in Ifriqiya, appointing Ibrahim ibn al Aghlab as governor in Kairouan. Though nominally serving at the caliph's pleasure, Al Aghlab and his successors, the Aghlabids, ruled independently until 909, presiding over a court that became a center for learning and culture.
Just to the west of Aghlabid lands, Abd ar Rahman ibn Rustam ruled most of the central Maghreb from Tahert, south-west of Algiers. The rulers of the Rustamid imamate (761-909), each an Ibadi imam, were elected by leading citizens. The imams gained a reputation for honesty, piety, and justice. The court at Tahert was noted for its support of scholarship in mathematics, astronomy, astrology, theology, and law. The Rustamid imams failed, by choice or by neglect, to organize a reliable standing army. This important factor, accompanied by the dynasty's eventual collapse into decadence, opened the way for Tahert's demise under the assault of the Fatimids. The Muslim Mahdia was founded by the Fatimids under the Caliph Abdallah al-Mahdi in 921 and made the capital city of Ifriqiya, by caliph Abdallah El Fatimi. It was chosen as the capital because of its proximity to the sea, and the promontory on which an important military settlement had been since the time of the Phoenicians.
Berbers in Al-Andalus
The Muslims who invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 were mainly Berbers, and were led by a Berber, Tariq ibn Ziyad, though under the suzerainty of the Arab Caliph of Damascus Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan and his North African Viceroy, Musa ibn Nusayr. A second mixed army of Arabs and Berbers came in 712 under Ibn Nusayr himself. They supposedly helped the Umayyad caliph Abd ar-Rahman I in Al-Andalus, because his mother was a Berber.
During the Taifa era, the petty kings came from a variety of ethnic groups; some—for instance the Zirid kings of Granada—were of Berber origin. The Taifa period ended when a Berber dynasty—the Moroccan Almoravids—took over Al-Andalus; they were succeeded by the Almohad dynasty of Morocco, during which time al-Andalus flourished.
In the power hierarchy, Berbers were situated between the Arabic aristocracy and the Muladi populace. Ethnic rivalry was one of the most important factors driving Andalusi politics. Berbers made up as much as 20% of the population of the occupied territory. After the fall of the Caliphate, the Taifa kingdoms of Toledo, Badajoz, Málaga and Granada had Berber rulers. During the Reconquista, Berbers in the areas which became Christian kingdoms were acculturated and lost their ethnic identity, their descendants being among modern Spanish and Portuguese peoples.
There is an identity-related debate about the persecution of Berbers by the Arab-dominated regimes of North Africa. Through both exclusivities of Pan-Arabism and Islamism, their issue of identity is due to the pan-Arabist ideology of the former Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser. Some activists have claimed that "It is time—long past overdue—to confront the racist arabization of the Amazigh lands."
Soon after independence in the middle of the twentieth century, the countries of North Africa established Arabic as their official language, replacing French, Spanish and Italian; although the shift from European colonial languages to Arabic for official purposes continues even to this day. As a result, most Berbers had to study and know Arabic, and had no opportunities until the twenty-first century to use their mother tongue at school or university. This may have accelerated the existing process of Arabization of Berbers, especially in already bilingual areas, such as among the Chaouis of Algeria. Tamazight is now taught in Aures since the march led by Mr. Salim Yezza in 2004, which has started to the teaching of Tamazight in the schools in Aures.
While Berberism had its roots before the independence of these countries, it was limited to the Berber elite. It only began to gain success among the greater populace when North African states replaced their European colonial languages with Arabic and identified exclusively as Arabian nations, downplaying or ignoring the existence and the social specificity of Berbers. However, its distribution remains highly uneven. In response to its demands, Morocco and Algeria have both modified their policies, with Algeria redefining itself constitutionally as an "Arab, Berber, Muslim nation".
Now, Berber is a "national" language in Algeria and is taught in some Berber-speaking areas as a noncompulsory language. In Morocco, after the constitutional reforms of 2011, Berber has become an official language, and is now taught as a compulsory language in all schools regardless of the area or the ethnicity.
Berbers have reached high positions in the social hierarchy across the Maghreb; good examples are the former president of Algeria, Liamine Zeroual, and the former prime minister of Morocco, Driss Jettou.
Nevertheless, Berberists who openly show their political orientations rarely reach high hierarchical positions. But, there are some exceptions; for example, Khalida Toumi, a feminist and Berberist militant, has been nominated as head of the Ministry of Communication in Algeria.
"In Libya, the Berbers were a key part of the rebel force that overthrew Moammar Gadhafi." In the 2011 Libyan civil war, Berbers in the Nafusa Mountains were quick to revolt against the Gaddafi regime. The mountains became a stronghold of the rebel movement, and were a focal point of the conflict, with much fighting occurring between rebels and loyalists for control of the region. "In Mali, the Tuareg, another Berber people, have armed themselves and are declaring a homeland in large swatches of the north."
The Maghreb today is home to large Berber (Amazigh) populations, who form the principal indigenous ancestry in the region (see Origins). The Semitic ethnic presence in the region is mainly due to the Phoenicians, Jews and Arab Bedouin Hilallians migratory movements (third century BC and eleventh century, respectively) which mixed in. However, the majority of Arabized Berbers, particularly in Morocco and Algeria, claim an Arabian heritage; this is a consequence of the Arab nationalism of the early twentieth century.
Regarding the remaining populations that speak a Berber language in the Maghreb, they account from 50% to 60%  of the Moroccan population and from  to 15% to 35% of the Algerian population, besides smaller communities in Libya and Tunisia and very small groups in Egypt and Mauritania.
Outside the Maghreb, the Tuareg in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso number some 850,000, 1,620,000 and 50,000 respectively although Tuaregs are Berber people with a traditionally nomadic pastoralist lifestyle. They are the principal inhabitants of the vast Sahara Desert.
Prominent Berber groups include the Kabyles from Kabylia, a historical autonomous region of northern Algeria, who number about six million and have kept, to a large degree, their original language and society; and the Shilha or Chleuh (French, from Arabic Shalh and Shilha ašəlḥi) in High and Anti-Atlas and Souss Valley of Morocco, numbering about eight million. Other groups include the Riffians of northern Morocco, the Chaoui people of eastern Algeria, the Chenouas in western Algeria, the Berbers of Tripolitania and the Tuaregs of the Sahara scattered through several countries.
Though stereotyped in Europe and North America as nomads, most Berbers were in fact traditionally farmers, living in mountains relatively close to the Mediterranean coast, or oasis dwellers, such as the Siwa of Egypt; but the Tuareg and Zenaga of the southern Sahara were almost wholly nomadic. Some groups, such as the Chaouis, practiced transhumance.
Political tensions have arisen between some Berber groups (especially the Kabyle) and North African governments over the past few decades, partly over linguistic and social issues; for instance, in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, giving children Berber names was banned. The regime of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya also banned the teaching of Berber languages, and the leader warned Berber leaders in a 2008 diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks "You can call yourselves whatever you want inside your homes – Berbers, Children of Satan, whatever – but you are only Libyans when you leave your homes." As a result of the persecution suffered under Gaddafi's rule, many Berbers joined the Libyan opposition in the 2011 Libyan civil war.
|This section requires expansion. (October 2012)|
Berbers set up communities In Mauritania near the Malian imperial capital of Timbuktu. According to an estimate from 2004, there were about 2.2 million Berber immigrants in Europe, especially the Riffians in Belgium, the Netherlands and France and Algerians of Kabyles and Chaouis heritage in France.
The Berber languages form a branch of the Afro-Asiatic family, and thus descend from the proto-Afro-Asiatic language. It is still disputed which branches of Afro-Asiatic diverged most recently from Berber, but most linguists accept either Egyptian or Chadic (see Afro-Asiatic languages.)
Berber languages are spoken by around thirty to forty million people in Africa (see population estimation). These Berber speakers are mainly concentrated in Morocco and Algeria, followed by Mali, Niger and Libya. Smaller Berber-speaking communities are also found as far east as Egypt, with a southwestern limit at Burkina Faso.
The Berber languages comprise many closely related varieties. Among these idioms are Riff, Kabyle, Shilha, Siwa, Zenaga, Sanhaja, Tazayit (Central Atlas Tamazight), Tumẓabt (Mozabite), and Tamasheq, as well as the ancient Guanche language. Tamazight is a generic name for all of the Berber languages.
Although most Maghrebis are of Berber ancestry, only some scattered ethnicities succeeded in preserving Berber languages into modern times. This table summarizes those groups.
|Blida Berbers||Algeria||in Central Algeria.|
|Chaoui people||Algeria||Mainly located in Eastern Algeria.|
|Chenini & Douiret Berbers||Tunisia|
|Chenoui Berbers||Algeria||Ouarsenis and Mount Chenoua (Western Algeria).|
|Chleuhs||Morocco||the High Atlas, Anti-Atlas and the Sous valley.|
|Djerba Berbers||Tunisia||speakers of the Djerbi language.|
|Matmata Berbers||Tunisia||in Southern Tunisia.|
|Mozabites||Algeria||in the M'zab Valley (southern Algeria).|
|Nafusis||Libya||in western Libya.|
|Riffians||Morocco||Mostly in Northern Morocco with a minority in Algeria.|
|Sanhaja||Mauritania Morocco Senegal||in southwestern Mauritania, Middle Atlas mountains and eastern Morocco, and northern Senegal.|
|Siwi||Egypt||in the Siwa valley of Egypt.|
|Tlemcen Berbers||Algeria||Aït Snouss villages of western Algeria.|
|Tuareg||Algeria Libya Niger Mali Burkina Faso||Sahara (southern Algeria and north of the Sahel).|
|Zayanes||Morocco||Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco.|
|Zenatas||Algeria||in western-central Algeria.|
|Zuwaras||Libya||in northwestern Libya.|
Religions and beliefs
Prior to the infiltration of Abrahamic religions into North Africa, the Berber people adhered to the traditional Berber religion, which heavily emphasized ancestor veneration, polytheism and animism. As a legacy of the Arab conquest, today the Berbers are mostly Sunni Muslim, while the Mozabites of the Saharan Mozabite Valley are mostly Ibadi. Until the 1960s, there was also an important Jewish Berber community in Morocco, but emigration (mostly to Israel and France) reduced their number to only a few hundred individuals. Following Christian missions, the Kabyle community in Algeria has a decent-sized recently constituted Christian minority, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and a 2015 study estimates 380,000 Muslim Algerian converted to Christianity in Algeria. whereas among the 8,000-40,000. Moroccans who have converted to Christianity in the last decades several Berbers are found; some of them explain their conversion as an attempt to go back to their "Christian sources".
Notable Berbers in Islamic history
Tariq ibn Ziyad (died 720), known in Spanish history and legend as Taric el Tuerto (Taric the one-eyed), was a Berber Muslim and Umayyad general who led the conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711. He is considered to be one of the most important military commanders in Spanish history. He was initially the deputy of Musa ibn Nusair in North Africa, and was sent by his superior to launch the first thrust of an invasion of the Iberian peninsula. Some claim that he was invited to intervene by the heirs of the Visigothic King, Wittiza, in the Visigothic civil war.
On April 29, 711, the armies of Tariq landed at Gibraltar (the name Gibraltar is derived from the Arabic name Jabal Tariq, which means mountain of Tariq, or the more obvious Gibr Al-Tariq, meaning rock of Tariq). Upon landing, Tariq is said to have burned his ships then made the following speech, well known in the Muslim world, to his soldiers:
O People ! There is nowhere to run away! The sea is behind you, and the enemy in front of you: There is nothing for you, by God, except only sincerity and patience.— as recounted by al-Maqqari
Ziri ibn Manad (died 971), founder of the Zirid dynasty in the Maghreb. Ziri ibn Manad was a clan leader of the Berber Sanhaja tribe who, as an ally of the Fatimids, defeated the rebellion of Abu Yazid (943-947). His reward was the governorship of the western provinces, an area that roughly corresponds with modern Algeria north of the Sahara.
Yusuf ibn Tashfin (c. 1061–1106) was the Berber Almoravid ruler in North Africa and Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia). He took the title of amir al-muslimin (commander of the Muslims) after visiting the Caliph of Baghdad 'amir al-moumineen" ("commander of the faithful") and officially receiving his support. He was either a cousin or nephew of Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar, the founder of the Almoravid dynasty. He united all of the Muslim dominions in the Iberian Peninsula (modern Portugal and Spain) to the Maghreb (c. 1090), after being called to the Al-Andalus by the Emir of Seville.
Alfonso VI was defeated on 23 October 1086, at the battle of Sagrajas, at the hands of Yusuf ibn Tashfin, and Abbad III al-Mu'tamid. Yusuf bin Tashfin is the founder of the famous Moroccan city Marrakech (in Berber Murakush, corrupted to Morocco in English). He himself chose the place where it was built in 1070 and later made it the capital of his Empire. Until then, the Almoravids had been desert nomads, but the new capital marked their settling into a more urban way of life.
Ibn Tumart (c. 1080 - c. 1130), was a Berber religious teacher and leader from the Masmuda tribe who spiritually founded the Almohad dynasty. He is also known as El-Mahdi (المهدي) in reference to his prophesied redeeming. In 1125, he began an open revolt against Almoravid rule. The name "Ibn Tumart" comes from the Berber language and means "son of the earth."
Abu Yaqub al-Mustansir Yusuf II Caliph of Maghreb from 1213 until his death. The son of the previous caliph, Muhammad an-Nasir, Yusuf assumed the throne following his father's death, at the age of only 16 years.
Ibn Battuta (born 1304; year of death uncertain, possibly 1368 or 1377) was a Berber Sunni Islamic scholar and jurisprudent from the Maliki Madhhab (a school of Fiqh, or Islamic law), and at times a Qadi or judge. However, he is best known as a traveler and explorer, whose account documents his travels and excursions over a period of almost thirty years, covering some 117,000 kilometres (73,000 mi). These journeys covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic realm, extending from modern West Africa to Pakistan, India, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, South-East Asia and China, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessor, near-contemporary Marco Polo.
Muhammad al-Jazuli - From the tribe of Jazulah which was settled in the Sous area of Maghreb between the Atlantic Ocean and the Atlas Mountains. He is most famous for compiling the Dala'il al-Khayrat, an extremely popular Muslim prayer book.
Muhammad Awzal was a religious Berber poet. He is considered the most important author of the Shilha literary tradition. He was born around 1670 in the village of al-Qasaba in the region of Sous, Maghreb and died in 1748/9 (1162 of the Egira).
Notable Berbers in Christian history
Before the arrival of Islam into the region, most Berber groups were either Christian, Jewish or Animist, and a number of Berber theologians were important figures in the development of western Christianity. In particular, the Berber Donatus Magnus was the founder of a Christian group known as the Donatists. The 4th-century Catholic Church viewed the donatists as heretics and the dispute led to a schism in the Church dividing North African Christians. They are directly related to Circumcellions, a sect that worked on disseminating the doctrine in North Africa by the force of the sword.
Augustine of Hippo (Hippo being the modern Algerian city of Annaba), may have been of Berber ancestry on his mother's side, although his father was a Roman colonist. He is recognized as a saint and a Doctor of the Church by Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion and revered by the Reformed; he was an outspoken opponent of Donatism.
Of all the fathers of the church, St. Augustine was the most admired and the most influential during the Middle Ages ... Augustine was an outsider—a native North African whose family was not Roman but Berber ... He was a genius—an intellectual giant.
Many believe that Arius, another early Christian theologian who was deemed a heretic by the Catholic Church, was of Libyan Berber descent. Another Berber cleric, Saint Adrian of Canterbury, traveled to England and played a significant role in its early medieval religious history.
Lusius Quietus, was the son of a Christian tribal lord from unconquered Mauretania (modern Morocco). Lusius' father and his warriors had supported the Roman legions in their attempt to subdue Mauretania Tingitana (northern modern Morocco) during Aedemon's revolt in 40.
Masuna (fl. 508) was a Romano-Moorish Christian king in Mauretania Caesariensis (western Algeria) who is said to have encouraged the Byzantine general Solomon, the Prefect of Africa, to launch an invasion of the Moorish kingdom of Numidia.
Kahina (Berber: Daya Ult Yenfaq Tajrawt) was a Berber Byzantine Christian religious and military leader who led indigenous resistance to Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, the region then known as Numidia, known as the Algeria today. She was born in the early seventh century and died around the end of the seventh century in modern Algeria. According to al-Mālikī she was said to have been accompanied in her travels by what the Arabs called an "idol", possibly an icon of the Virgin or one of the Christian saints.
Sabellius, who was a third-century priest and theologian who most likely taught in Rome, may have been of African Berber descent. Basil and others call him a Libyan from Pentapolis, but this seems to rest on the fact that Pentapolis was a place where the teachings of Sabellius thrived, according to Dionysius of Alexandria, c. 260. What is known of Sabellius is drawn mostly from the polemical writings of his opponents.
Fadhma Aït Mansour, born in Tizi Hibel, Algeria, is the mother of writers Jean Amrouche and Taos Amrouche. Fadhma was born in a Kabylie village, the illegitimate daughter of a widow. Later, when she was with the Sisters at Aït Manguellet hospital, she converted to Roman Catholicism. She met another Kabyle Catholic convert, Antoine-Belkacem Amrouche, whom she married in 1898.
Ahmed es-Sikeli (Arabic: احمد السقيلي), born in Djerba to a Berber family of the Sadwikish tribe was baptized a Christian under the name Peter, was a eunuch and kaid of the Diwan of the Kingdom of Sicily during the reign of William I. His story was recorded by his Christian contemporaries Romuald Guarna and Hugo Falcandus from Sicily and the Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun.
Brother Rachid, a Moroccan Christian convert from Islam whose father is a well-known respected Imam. He is one of the most outspoken converts in the world, he hosts a weekly live call-in show on AL-Hayat channel where he compares Islam and Christianity as well as debating with Islamic scholars.
Muley Xeque (Arabic: مولاي الشيخ Mawlay al-Shaykh) was a Moroccan prince, born in Marrakech in 1566 and died in Vigevano (Lombardy, Italy) in 1621. Exiled in Spain, he was converted to Catholicism in Madrid and was known as Philip of Africa or Philip of Austria. On November 3, 1593 he was baptized in the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, sponsored by Philip II, after whom he was named. He was made a grandee of Spain and Commander of the Order of Santiago.
Malika Oufkir is a Moroccan writer and former "disappeared" person. She is the daughter of General Mohamed Oufkir and a cousin of fellow Moroccan writer and actress Leila Shenna. She and her siblings are converts from Islam to Catholicism, and she writes in her book, Stolen Lives: "we had rejected Islam, which had brought us nothing good, and opted for Catholicism instead."
The traditional Berber religion is the ancient and native set of beliefs and deities adhered to by the Berber autochthones of North Africa. Many ancient Berber beliefs were developed locally, whereas others were influenced over time through contact with other traditional African religions (such as the Ancient Egyptian religion), or borrowed during antiquity from the Punic religion, Judaism, Iberian mythology, and the Hellenistic religion. The most recent influence came from Islam and pre-Islamic Arab religion during the medieval period. Some of the ancient Berber beliefs still exist today subtly within the Berber popular culture and tradition.
Kasbah of the Udayas in Rabat
Bab Agnaou, Marrakech
Medersa Bouaniania of Meknès
Building interior in Algiers
Great mosque of Algiers
Traditional architecture of Ghardaïa, Algeria
Architecture of Bejaia, Algeria
Ifrenid mosquée of Kasba Tadla
Ksar Ouled Soltane, Tunisia
Ourika, Berber village, Morocco
Adrar buildings, Algeria
Siwa oasis in Egypt
Berber village, Atlas mountains
Cave homes Matmata, Tunisia
Mansourah mosque, Tlemcen
Hammadid Qalaa, Algeria
Zianid interior architecture
Hassan Tower, Morocco
House in Algiers
Modeling of Tin Hinan tomb in Algerian Sahara
Tomb of Masinissa
Alcazaba of Málaga in Málaga
Castillo de Almodóvar del Río in Córdoba
Giralda in Seville
Traditionally, men take care of livestock. They migrate by following the natural cycle of grazing, and seeking water and shelter. They are thus assured with an abundance of wool, cotton and plants used for dyeing. For their part, women look after the family and handicrafts - first for their personal use, and secondly for sale in the souqs in their locality.
The Berber tribes traditionally weave kilims. The tapestry maintains the traditional appearance and distinctiveness of the region of origin of each tribe, which has in effect its own repertoire of drawings. The textile of plain weave is represented by a wide variety of stripes, and more rarely by geometrical patterns such as triangles and diamonds. Additional decorations such as sequins or fringes, are typical of Berber weave in Morocco. The nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyle of the Berbers is very suitable for weaving kilims. The customs and traditions differ from one region to another.
The social structure of the Berbers is tribal. A leader is appointed to command the tribe. In the Middle Ages, many women had the power to govern, such as Kahina and Tazoughert Fatma in Aurès, Tin Hinan in Hoggar, Chemci in Aït Iraten, Fatma Tazoughert in the Aurès. Lalla Fatma N'Soumer was a Berber woman in Kabylie who fought against the French.
The majority of Berber tribes currently have men as heads of the tribe. In Algeria, the el Kseur platform in Kabylie gives tribes the right to fine criminal offenders. In areas of Chaoui, tribal leaders enact sanctions against criminals. The Tuareg have a king who decides the fate of the tribe and is known as Amenokal. It is a very hierarchical society. The Mozabites are governed by the spiritual leaders of Ibadism. The Mozabites lead communal lives. During the crisis of Berriane, the heads of each tribe resolved the problem and began talks to end the crisis between the Maliki and Ibadite movements.
In marriages, the man selects the woman, and depending on the tribe, the family often makes the decision. In comparison, in the Tuareg culture, the woman chooses her future husband. The rites of marriage are different for each tribe. Families are either patriarchal or matriarchal, according to the tribe.
Berber cuisine is a traditional cuisine which has evolved little over time. It differs from one area to another within and among Berber groups.
Principal Berber foods are:
- Couscous, a semolina staple dish
- Tajine, a stew made in various forms
- Pastilla, a meat pie traditionally made with squab (fledgling pigeon) often today using chicken
- Bread made with traditional yeast
- "Bouchiar" (fine yeastless wafers soaked in butter and natural honey)
- "Bourjeje" (pancake containing flour, eggs, yeast and salt)
- "Tahricht" (sheep offal: brains, tripe, lungs, and heart): these organ meats are rolled up with the intestines on an oak stick and cooked on embers in specially designed ovens. The meat is coated with butter to make it even tastier. This dish is served mainly at festivities.
- The baghrir,a light and spongy pancakes made from flour, yeast, salt, served hot and soaked in butter and tment (honey).
Although they are the original inhabitants of North Africa, and in spite of numerous incursions by Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines,Ottomans and French, Berber groups lived in very contained communities. Having been subject to limited external influences, these populations lived free from acculturating factors.
Berber music, the traditional music of North Africa, has a wide variety of regional styles. The best known are the Moroccan music, the popular Gasba, Kabyle and Chawi music of Algeria, and the widespread Tuareg music of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali. The instruments used are the bendir (large drums) and Gambra (a lute), which accompanying songs and dances.
Traditional Kabyle music consists of vocalists accompanied by a rhythm section, consisting of e'ṯbel (tambourine) and bendir (frame drum), and a melody section, consisting of a ghaita (bagpipe) and ajouag (flute). Kabyle music has been popular in France since the 1930s, when it was played at cafés. As it evolved, Western string instruments and Arab musical conventions, like large backing orchestras, were added.
By the time raï, a style of Algerian popular music, became popular in France and elsewhere in Europe, Kabyle artists began using less traditional instruments and formats. Hassen Zermani's all-electric Takfarinas and Abdelli's work with Peter Gabriel's Real World helped bring Kabyle music to new audiences, while the murder of Matoub Lounes inspired many Kabyles to rally around their popular musicians.
There are three varieties of Berber folk music: village and ritual music, and the music performed by professional musicians. Village music is performed collectively for dancing, including ahidus and ahouach dances. Instruments include flutes and drums. These dances begin with a chanted prayer. Ritual music is performed at regular ceremonies to celebrate marriages and other important life events. Ritual music is also used as protection against evil spirits. Professional musicians (imdyazn) travel in groups of four, led by a poet (amydaz). The amydaz performs improvised poems, often accompanied by drums and rabab (a one-stringed fiddle), along with a bou oughanim who plays a double clarinet and acts as a clown for the group.
The Chleuh Berbers have professional musicians called rwais who play in ensembles consisting of lutes, rababs and cymbals, with any number of vocalist. The leader, or rayes, leads the choreography and music of the group. These performances begin with an instrumental astara on rabab, which also gives the notes of the melody which follows. The next phase is the amarg, or sung poetry, and then ammussu, a danced overture, tammust, an energetic song, aberdag, a dance, and finally the rhythmically swift tabbayt. There is some variation in the presentation of the order, but the astara always begins, and the tabbayt always ends.
- Arabized Berber
- Berber languages
- Berber mythology
- Berber pantheon
- Guanches, the indigenous Berber peoples of the Canary Islands.
- List of Imazighen
- "North Africa's Berbers get boost from Arab Spring". Fox News. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Steven, L. Danver, M.E. Sharpe/Mesa Verde Publishing, 2013, p.23
- Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie (2006). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 860. ISBN 0631227350. Retrieved 19 Jly 2016. Check date values in:
- "Berber - Minority Rights". Minority Rights.
- Morocco's Berbers Battle to Keep From Losing Their Culture / Arab minority forces majority to abandon native language.Peter Prengaman, Chronicle Foreign Service.March 16, 2001 
- "Les Berbères en Afrique du Nord".
- Teens in Morocco,Sandy Donovan,Compass point books,Minneapolis,United States,2008,p.42
- Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie (2006). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 860. ISBN 0631227350. Retrieved 19 July 2016.; 80% of population
- "Algeria reinstates term limit and recognises Berber language". BBC News.
- Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie (2006). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 860. ISBN 0631227350. Retrieved 16 July 2016.; 80% of population
- "The World Factbook".
- "The World Factbook".
- Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie (2006). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 860. ISBN 0631227350. Retrieved 16 July 2016.; >60% of population of 6,416,776
- Joshua Project. "Tuareg, Tamasheq in Mauritania".
- "The World Factbook".
- Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie (2006). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 860. ISBN 0631227350. Retrieved 16 July 2016.; >60% of population
- Joshua Project. "Tuareg, Tamasheq in Burkina Faso".
- Joshua Project. "Berber, Siwa in Egypt".
- Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie (2006). The Handbook of Bilingualism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 860. ISBN 0631227350. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
- Statistics Canada: 2011 National Household Survey: Data tables
- Shokeid, Moshe. The Dual Heritage: Immigrants from the Atlas Mountains in an Israeli Village.
- "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census | Duane A Miller Botero - Academia.edu". academia.edu. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
- *(French) Sadek Lekdja, Christianity in Kabylie, Radio France Internationale, 7 mai 2001
- Blench, Roger. Archaeology, Language, and the African Past. Rowman: Altamira, 2006 ISBN 9780759104662
- Diakonoff, Igor. The Earliest Semitic Society: Linguistic Data. Journal of Semitic Studies, Vol. 43 Iss. 2 (1998).
- Shirai, Noriyuki. The Archaeology of the First Farmer-Herders in Egypt: New Insights into the Fayum Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic. Leiden University Press, 2010. ISBN 9789087280796.
- Blench R (2006) Archaeology, Language, and the African Past, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 0-7591-0466-2, ISBN 978-0-7591-0466-2, books.google.be/books?id=esFy3Po57A8C
- Ehret C, Keita SOY, Newman P (2004) The Origins of Afroasiatic a response to Diamond and Bellwood (2003) in the Letters of SCIENCE 306, no. 5702, p. 1680 doi:10.1126/science.306.5702.1680c
- Bender ML (1997), Upside Down Afrasian, Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere 50, pp. 19-34
- Militarev A (2005) Once more about glottochronology and comparative method: the Omotic-Afrasian case, Аспекты компаративистики - 1 (Aspects of comparative linguistics - 1). FS S. Starostin. Orientalia et Classica II (Moscow), p. 339-408. http://starling.rinet.ru/Texts/fleming.pdf
- Briggs, Carina Lynn (2010). Language, Identity, and Literary Expression in Algeria. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Morocco's Berbers Battle to Keep From Losing Their Culture. San Francisco Chronicle. March 16, 2001.
- Berbers: The Proud Raiders. BBC World Service.
- "The World Factbook".
- Tore Kjeilen. "Berbers - LookLex Encyclopaedia".
- Lipiński, Edward (2001). Semitic Languages: Outline of a Comparative Grammar. Leuven: Peeters Publishers. ISBN 978-90-429-0815-4. page 38.
- Its ultimate etymological identity with barbarian is uncertain,, Byzantine Greek βαρβαρία "land of barbarians" since the Middle Ages.
- "Untitled Document". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Ibn Khaldoun, Histoire des Berbères et des dynasties musulmanes de l'Afrique septentrionale
- Abraham Isaac Laredo, Bereberos y Hebreos en Marruecos. Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Africanos. 1954.
- Alojali, Ghoubeid (1980). "Lexique Touareg-Francais" (in French): 83.
- Brett, M.; Fentress, E.W.B. (1996), The Berbers, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 5–6
- Maddy-weitzman, B. (2006), "Ethno-politics and globalisation in North Africa: The berber culture movement*" (PDF), The Journal of North African Studies 11 (1): 71–84, doi:10.1080/13629380500409917, retrieved 17 July 2007
- "INALCO report on Central Morocco Tamazight: maps, extension, dialectology, name" (in French). Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Mohand Akli Haddadou (2000). Le guide de la culture berbère. Paris Méditerranée. pp. 13–14.
- Hsain Ilahiane, Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen)(2006), p. 112, ISBN 0810864908
- Estes,Tiliouine, Richard J,Habib (2016). The State of Social Progress of Islamic Societies: Social, Economic. Springer. p. 115. ISBN 9783319247724.
- Histoire de l'émigration kabyle en France au XXe siècleréalités culturelles ... De Karina Slimani-Direche
- Histoire de l'émigration kabyle en France au XXe siècle. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Les cultures du Maghreb De Maria Angels Roque, Paul Balta, Mohammed Arkoun
- Dialogues d'histoire ancienne à l'Université de Besançon, Centre de recherches d'histoire ancienne
- Les cultures du Maghreb de Maria Angels Roque, Paul Balta et Mohammed Arkoun
- J. Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" 236-245, at 237, in General History of Africa, v.II Ancient Civilizations of Africa (UNESCO 1990).
- Mário Curtis Giordani, História da África. Anterior aos descobrimentos (Petrópolis, Brasil: Editora Vozes 1985) at 42-43, 77-78. Giordani references Bousquet, Les Berbères (Paris 1961).
- Beniamino Trombetta; Eugenia D’Atanasio; Andrea Massaia; Marco Ippoliti; Alfredo Coppa; Francesca Candilio; Valentina Coia; Gianluca Russo; Jean-Michel Dugoujon; Pedro Moral; Nejat Akar; Daniele Sellitto; Guido Valesini; Andrea Novelletto; Rosaria Scozzari; Fulvio Cruciani (2015). "Phylogeographic refinement and large scale genotyping of human Y chromosome haplogroup E provide new insights into the dispersal of early pastoralists in the African continent" (PDF). Genome Biology and Evolution 7 (7): 1940–1950. doi:10.1093/gbe/evv118. Retrieved 21 April 2016.; Supplementary Table 7
- Brenna M. Henn; Laura R. Botigué; Simon Gravel; Wei Wang; Abra Brisbin; Jake K. Byrnes; Karima Fadhlaoui-Zid; Pierre A. Zalloua; Andres Moreno-Estrada; Jaume Bertranpetit; Carlos D. Bustamante; David Comas (January 12, 2012). "Genomic Ancestry of North Africans Supports Back-to-Africa Migrations". PLOS Genetics 8 (1): e1002397. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002397. PMC 3257290. PMID 22253600. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Jason A. Hodgson; Connie J. Mulligan; Ali Al-Meeri; Ryan L. Raaum (June 12, 2014). "Early Back-to-Africa Migration into the Horn of Africa". PLOS Genetics 10 (6): e1004393. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004393.; "Supplementary Text S1: Affinities of the Ethio-Somali ancestry component". doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004393.s017. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Kefi R, Bouzaid E, Stevanovitch A, Beraud-Colomb E. "MITOCHONDRIAL DNA AND PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSIS OF PREHISTORIC NORTH AFRICAN POPULATIONS" (PDF). ISABS. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Bernard Secher; Rosa Fregel; José M Larruga; Vicente M Cabrera; Phillip Endicott; José J Pestano; Ana M González. "The history of the North African mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U6 gene flow into the African, Eurasian and American continents". BMC Evolutionary Biology. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
- Warmington (London: Robert Hale 1960, 2d ed. 1969), e.g., p. 46: "Libyans of Tunisia" (an anachronistic term), cf., p. 61 (citing Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Polybius.
- Sallust (86-35), Bellum Iugurthinum (c. 42 BC), 19-20, translated by S.A.Handford as The Jugurthine War (Penguin 1963) at 55-56.
- Laroui, The History of the Maghrib (1970, 1977) at 55, 60, 65.
- Brett and Fentress, The Berbers (1989) at 41-42.
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 37.
- Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969) at 15-17.
- Cf. Perkins, Tunisia (1986) at 15.
- Michael Brett and Elizabeth Fentress, The Berbers (Oxford: Blackwell 1996) at 24-25.
- Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 64-65.
- The 22nd Dynasty. Erik Hornung, History of Ancient Egypt. An introduction (; Cornell University 1999) at 128-131.
- Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, A History of the Maghrib (Cambridge University 1971) at 20.
- E.g., Soren, Ben Khader, Slim, Carthage. Uncovering the mysteries and splendors of ancient Tunisia (New York: Simon & Schuster 1990) at 18-20, observes imperial pretensions.
- The Wadi Majardah was anciently called the Bagradas. Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 270.
- B. H. Warmington, "The Carthaginian Period" at 246-260, 248-249, in General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa (UNESCO 1981, 1990), edited by G. Mokhtar.
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 86.
- Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 172, 125.
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, 2d ed. 1969), p. 81.
- Cf., Richard Miles, Carthage must be destroyed (NY: Viking 2010), p. 80.
- "Pro Berber" view points (contrary to prevailing "Punicophilia" literature) are presented by Abdullah Laroui in his L'Histoire du Maghreb: Un essai de synthèse (Paris: Librairie François Maspero 1970), translated by Ralph Manheim as The History of the Maghrib. An Interpretive Essay (Princeton University 1977) at 42-44.
- Cf., Le Berbère, lumière de l'Occident (Nouvelles Editions, 1984).
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 65, 84-86.
- Laroui, The History of the Maghrib (1970, 1977) at 52, 58.
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, Penguin 1964), p. 86 (quote).
- Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 172. The Picards, however, remark that the resulting Greek defeat showed "how strong was the hold of Carthage over her African territory."
- The Romans also met with instances of "disloyalty" by Berber leaders, witness their long war against Jugurtha (c. 160-104 BC), the Berber King of Numidia. Sallust (86-c. 35 BC), The Jugurthine War (Penguin 1963), translated by Handford.
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 83, citing (not quoting) Plutarch (46-120 CE), Moralia 799D.
- Charles-Picard, Daily life in Carthage (Paris: Hachette 1958; London: Geo. Allen & Unwin 1961), p. 123. The Khamessat contract "gave the landowner four-fifths of the income".
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, Penguin 1964), p. 86; Warmington, Carthage (2d ed. 1969), p. 80.
- Picard and Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 203-209.
- Polybius (203-120), The Histories at I, 72.
- The Mercenary revolt occurred after the First Punic War (see below).
- Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 86-87.
- R. Bosworth Smith, Carthage and the Carthaginians (London: Longmans, Green 1878, 1908) at 45-46:
[T]he most ruinous tribute was imposed and exacted with unsparing rigour from the subject native states, and no slight one either from the cognate Phoenician states. ... Hence arose that universal disaffection, or rather that deadly hatred, on the part of her foreign subjects, and even of the Phoenician dependencies, toward Carthage, on which every invader of Africa could safely count as his surest support. ... This was the fundamental, the ineradicable weakness of the Carthaginian Empire... .
- Compare the contradictions described in Brett & Fentress, The Berbers (1996) at 24-25 (Berber adoption of elements of Punic culture), 49-50 (Berber persistence in their traditional belief).
- Fr Andrew Phillips. "The Last Christians Of North-West Africa: Some Lessons For Orthodox Today". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- The Berbers, BBC World Service | The Story of Africa
- "Berbers : ... The best known of them were the Roman author Apuleius, the Roman emperor Septimius Severus, and St. Augustine", Encyclopedia Americana, 2005, v.3, p.569
- European slaves in North Africa, Washington Times, 10 March 2004
- Histoire des Berbères et des dynasties musulmanes de l'Afrique Septentrionale De Ibn Khaldūn, William MacGuckin
- Ibn Khaldūn (1852). "Introduction". Histoire des Berbères et des dynasties musulmanes de l'Afrique Septentrionale, Volume 1 (in French). p. ii.
- Trans-Saharan Africa in World History, Ch. 5, Ralph Austin
- "Mahdia: Historical Background". Commune-mahdia.gov.tn. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "MAHDIA:Finger pointing at the sea". Lexicorient.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Spain - Al Andalus, Library of Congress
- ↑ Rando et al., 1998 ; Brakez et al., 2001 ; Kéfi et al., 2005
- ↑ Turchi et al. 2009, Polymorphisms of mtDNA control region in Tunisian and Moroccan populations: An enrichment of forensic mtDNA databases with Northern Africa data [archive]
- ↑ Côrte-Real et al., 1996 ; Macaulay et al., 1999
- ↑ Fadhlaoui-Zid et al., 2004 ; Cherni et al., 2005 ; Loueslati et al., 2006
- "Africa: Algeria". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 17 January 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
- Arredi, Barbara; Poloni, Estella S.; Paracchini, Silvia; Zerjal, Tatiana; Dahmani, M. Fathallah; Makrelouf, Mohamed; Vincenzo, L. Pascali; Novelletto, Andrea; Tyler-Smith, Chris (June 7, 2004). "A Predominantly Neolithic Origin for Y-Chromosomal DNA Variation in North Africa". Am. J. Hum. Genet. 75 (2): 338–45. doi:10.1086/423147. PMC 1216069. PMID 15202071. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Stokes, Jamie (2009). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East: L to Z. Infobase Publishing. p. 21.
- Willem Adriaan Veenhoven; Winifred Crum Ewing; Stichting Plurale Samenlevingen (1975). Case studies on human rights and fundamental freedoms: a world survey, Volume 1. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 263.
- Oxford Business Group (2008). The Report: Algeria 2008. Oxford Business Group. p. 10.
- Oxford Business Group (2011). The Report: Algeria 2011. Oxford Business Group. p. 9.
- "The World Factbook". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
- "The World Factbook". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
- "Q&A: Tuareg unrest". BBC. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
- "Who are the Tuareg? | Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World". africa.si.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
- "Small rebel victory big moment for persecuted Berber tribes". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Amid a Berber Reawakening in Libya, Fears of Revenge". NYTimes. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- "Historical Dictionaries: North Africa". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- David Prescott Barrows (2004). Berbers and Blacks: Impressions of Morocco, Timbuktu and Western Sudan.
- Pour une histoire sociale du berbèRe en France, Les Actes du Colloque Paris – Inalco, octobre 2004
- "Berber". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Christian Converts in Morocco Fear Fatwa Calling for Their Execution
- House-Churches' and Silent Masses —The Converted Christians of Morocco Are Praying in Secret
- "Marokkos unsichtbare Kirche" [Morocco invisible church]. Die Welt (in German). 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- Tore Kjeilen. "Ibn Tumart - LookLex Encyclopaedia". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Ross E. Dunn, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta - A Muslim Traveler of the 14th century, University of California, 2004 ISBN 0-520-24385-4.
- "The Donatist Schism. External History." History of the Christian Church, Volume III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity. 311-600 CE. 
- Augustine's Letter to the Donatists (Letter 76).
- Cantor, Norman (1993), The Civilization of the Middle Ages, Harper, p. 74, ISBN 0-06-092553-1
- Martindale (1980: p.734)
- Modéran (2005) discussing this point also points out that according to the sixth-century historian Procopius a Berber king carried an idol of the god Gurzil
- "Il Gaito Pietro"
- "Wafin: Moroccan Connections in America". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Montagu Colvin, Howard. Architecture and the After-life. 1991, page 26
- ABC Amazigh. An editorial experience in Algeria, 1996–2001 experience, Smaïl Medjeber
- "Message - El Watan". Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "A la une - El Watan". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- Brett, Michael; Fentress, Elizabeth (1997) [ISBN 0-631-16852-4], The Berbers (The Peoples of Africa), ISBN 0-631-20767-8
- Celenko, Theodore, ed. (December 1996), Egypt In Africa, Indianapolis Museum of Art, ISBN 978-0-253-33269-1
- Cabot-Briggs, L. (2009-10-28), "The Stone Age Races of Northwest Africa", American Anthropologist 58 (3): 584–585, doi:10.1525/aa.1956.58.3.02a00390
- Hiernaux, Jean, The people of Africa, People of the world series, ISBN 0-684-14040-3
- Encyclopædia Britannica, 2004
- Encarta, 2005
- Blanc, S. H. (1854), Grammaire de la langue basque (d'apres celle de Larramendi), Lyons & Paris
- Cruciani, F; La Fratta, B; Santolamazza; Sellitto; Pascone; Moral; Watson; Guida; Colomb (May 2004), "Phylogeographic Analysis of Haplogroup E3b (E-M215) Y Chromosomes Reveals Multiple Migratory Events Within and Out Of Africa", American Journal of Human Genetics 74 (5): 1014–22, doi:10.1086/386294, ISSN 0002-9297, PMC 1181964, PMID 15042509
- Entwistle, William J. (1936), The Spanish Language, London, ISBN 0-571-06404-3 (as cited in Michael Harrison's work, 1974.)
- Gans, Eric Lawrence (1981), The Origin of Language, Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-04202-6
- Gèze, Louis (1873), Eléments de grammaire basque (in French), Beyonne
- Hachid, Malika (2001), Les Premiers Berberes, EdiSud, ISBN 2-7449-0227-6
- Hagan, Helene E. (2001), The Shining Ones: an Etymological Essay on the Amazigh Roots of Ancient Egyptian Civilisation, XLibris, ISBN 978-0-7388-2567-0
- Hagan, Helene E. (2006), Tuareg Jewelry: Traditional Patterns and Symbols, XLibris, ISBN 1-4257-0453-0
- Harrison, Michael (1974), The Roots of Witchcraft, Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, ISBN 0-426-15851-2
- Hoffman, Katherine E., and Susan Gilson Miller, eds. Berbers and Others: Beyond Tribe and Nation in the Maghrib (Indiana University Press; 2010) 225 pages; scholarly studies of identity, creativity, history, and activism
- Hualde, J. I. (1991), Basque Phonology, London & New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-05655-1
- Martins, J. P. de Oliveira (1930), A History of Iberian Civilization, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-8154-0300-3
- Myles, S; Bouzekri; Haverfield; Cherkaoui; Dugoujon; Ward (Jun 2005), "Genetic evidence in support of a shared Eurasian-North African dairying origin", Human Genetics 117 (1): 34–42, doi:10.1007/s00439-005-1266-3, ISSN 0340-6717, PMID 15806398
- Nebel, A; Landau-Tasseron; Filon; Oppenheim; Faerman (Jun 2002), "Genetic Evidence for the Expansion of Arabian Tribes into the Southern Levant and North Africa", American Journal of Human Genetics 70 (6): 1594–6, doi:10.1086/340669, ISSN 0002-9297, PMC 379148, PMID 11992266
- Osborn, Henry Fairfield (1915–1923), Men of the Old Stone Age, New York
- Renan, Ernest (1873) [First published Paris, 1858], De l'Origine du Langage (in French), Paris: La société berbère
- Ripley, W. Z. (1899), The Races of Europe, New York: D. Appleton & Co.
- Ryan, William; Pitman, Walter (1998), Noah's Flood: The new scientific discoveries about the event that changed history, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-81052-2
- Saltarelli, M. (1988), Basque, New York: Croom Helm, ISBN 0-7099-3353-3
- Semino, O; Magri, PJ; Benuzzi; Lin; Al-Zahery; Battaglia; MacCioni; Triantaphyllidis; Shen (May 2004), "Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area", American Journal of Human Genetics 74 (5): 1023–34, doi:10.1086/386295, ISSN 0002-9297, PMC 1181965, PMID 15069642
- Silverstein, Paul A. (2004), Algeria in France: Transpolitics, Race, and Nation, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-34451-4
- David Bensoussan, Il était une fois le Maroc : témoignages du passé judéo-marocain, éd. du Lys, www.editionsdulys.com, Montréal, 2010 ISBN 2-922505-14-6. Second edition : www.iuniverse.com, Bloomington, Indiana, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4759-2608-8, 620p. ISBN 978-1-4759-2609-5 (ebook);
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Berbers|
- Portail des Amazighs (Berbères)
- Amazigh/Berber Culture
- Culture Amazighe (Berbère)
- The New Mass Media and the Shaping of Amazigh Identity.
- Number Systems and Calendars of the Berber Populations of Grand Canary and Tenerife.
- Flags of the World -- Berbers/Imazighen.
- Imedyazen cultural association (in Berber).
- World Haplogroups Maps
- "What does Berber sound like?" (Thamazight poems as text & MP3)