Bisharin tribe

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Bisharin
MPP-Hm1.jpg
Total population
42,000
Regions with significant populations
 Sudan,  Egypt
Languages
Beja
Religion
Islam

The Bisharin (Bishārīn) are an ethnic group inhabiting Northeast Africa. They are one of the major divisions of the Beja nomadic population, the other being the ʿAbābdah.[1][2] The Bisharin speak the Beja language, which belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family.

Demographics[edit]

The Bisharin live in the eastern part of the Nubian Desert in Sudan and southern Egypt. They reside in the Atabai (also spelled Atbai) area between the Nile River and the Red Sea, north of the Amarar and south of the Ababda- basically between the Nubian desert and the Nile valley, an area of limestone, mountains, with sandstone plateaus.[3]

The Bisharin population numbers around 42,000 individuals. Most of the tribe moves within the territory of Sudan, where members have political representation in the Beja Congress.[4]

Language[edit]

The Bisharin speak the Beja language as a mother tongue but they also speak Egyptian Arabic.[5] The Beja language is an Afro-Asiatic language, often grouped within the family's Cushitic branch.[6]

In 1949, a member of the Bisharin tribe stated that when they meet a stranger, they immediately ask "'Are you b ggawij t (=Bi ar ) or belaeij t (Arab)?'" and continued "‘...We call our language b ggawija and it contains many elements of Arabic (belaeij t).'"[3]

Economy[edit]

The Bisharin are traditionally nomadic people, working in husbandry of camels, sheep, and goats in the Southern part of the Eastern Desert. It's an area that is off the beaten path- largely unexplored. Of the tribes in the area, this tribe lives in the more remote areas.[1] The Bishari and the Bishari Qamhat, believed to be ancient Bishari, have traded agricultural commodities with other people since ancient times.[1][3][5]

Religion[edit]

The Bisharin are mostly Sufi Muslim.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Egypt People". Britannica. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Pateman, Robert; El-Hamamsy, Salwa (2003). Egypt. Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 9780761416708. Retrieved 24 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Starky, Janet. "Perceptions of the Ababda and Bisharin in the Atbai". University of Durham. Archived from the original on 10 March 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Young, John (2007). The Eastern Front and the Struggle against Marginalization (PDF). Small Arms Survey, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva 2007. ISBN 2-8288-0081-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-06-17. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Sidebotham, Steven E.; Hense, Martin; Nouwens, Hendrikje M. (2008). The Red Land: The Illustrated Archaeology of Egypt's Eastern Desert. American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 9789774160943. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Bedawiyet". Ethnologue - Languages of the World. Retrieved 23 November 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

Egypt: Handbook for Travellers : Part First, Lower Egypt, with the Fayum and the Peninsula of Sinai, by Karl Baedeker, (1885)