Ethnic groups in Algeria

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Ethnic groups including Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks and Sub-Saharan Africans have contributed to the ethnic make-up of Algeria.[1]

Arabs make up the majority (~83%) of Algeria's inhabitants, whilst the Berber population is estimated between 17% and 30%.[2][3] Although almost all Algerians are Berber (not Arab) in origin, only a minority identify as being Berber.[4]


Berbers are the indigenous population of Algeria. Beginning with the Numidian kingdom till the Middle-Ages. Berbers had extensive historical relationships with both Romans and Phoenicians who eventually build Carthage in their own lands. Partially Romanized and Christian during the Roman Empire, the Berbers and their lands were Islamized in the 7th century with the expansion of the Umayyad Empire from Syria. Previous Roman-Berber cities gradually began to become Arabo-Berber cities where an Arabo-Islamic culture was involved. Arabization was considered as a low phenomenon, mostly due to cultural and economical exchanges between the new Maghreb and the old Mashreq of the Arab world until the 12th century with the invasion of the Bedouin tribe Banu Hilal expanded their cultural influence towards the inland areas. Within the few centuries later, the linguistical Arabization of the Maghreb became much more important and dominant.

Unlike Ibn Khaldun, there are Jewish/Hebrew, Persian, Arab, Yemenite, and Islamic Scholars are of the view that Berbers are of either Yemenite or Levantine Canaanite origin. However modern genetic studies do not support to these writings.

The Berbers are divided into many subgroups. The Kabyles, or Kaba’il, mostly farmers, live in the compact mountainous section in the northern part of the country between Algiers and Constantine. The Chaouia, or Shawiyyah, live in the Aurès Mountains of the northeast region. The Chenouas and various similar Zenata groups used to occupy a very large area from Central Algeria to Western Algeria. The Mzab, or Mozabites, include sedentary date growers in the Ued Mzab oasis. Desert groups include the Tuareg and Tuat.


Estimates of the Turkish community in Algeria range from 600,000 to 2 million.[5] In 1953, Sabri Hizmetli claimed that people of Turkish origin make up 25% of Algeria's population.[6] However, in 2008, the Oxford Business Group gave a more prudent estimate, according to its report, 5% of Algeria's population, accounting to about 1,740,000 people, are of Turkish descent.[7]

Other ethnic groups[edit]

Other ethnic groups in Algeria include Europeans of French (Corsican), Spaniards, Italians, and Maltese ancestry, who are estimated at less than 1 percent of the population in 2005. Algeria was also the home of a significant Jewish community, most who fled after Algeria's independence, with about 70,000 Jews emigrating to France and 10,000 to Israel in that period. Almost all the rest left Algeria during the next seven years and fewer than 100 Jews remained in Algeria as of 1998.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UNESCO (2009). "Diversité et interculturalité en Algérie" (PDF). UNESCO. p. 9. 
  2. ^ Nations Online
  3. ^ "Tote bei Kämpfen zwischen Berbern und Stämmen in Algerien". Kleine Zeitung. Retrieved 2015-07-09. 
  4. ^ "Algeria". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Turkish Embassy in Algeria (2008). "Cezayir Ülke Raporu 2008". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. p. 4. 
  6. ^ Hizmetli, Sabri (1953), "Osmanlı Yönetimi Döneminde Tunus ve Cezayir’in Eğitim ve Kültür Tarihine Genel Bir Bakış" (PDF), Ankara Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi 32 (0): 10 
  7. ^ Oxford Business Group (2008), The Report: Algeria 2008, Oxford Business Group, p. 10