Ethnic groups in Algeria

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Ethnic groups of Algeria [1]
Ethnic groups percent
Arabs and Berbers

Ethnic groups in Algeria include Arabo-Berbers, who represent 97 to 99% of the population, among them being Algerian Arabs (Algerians who identify themselves as belonging to the Arab ethnicity). The other ethnic groups which constitute the Arabo-Berbers are Kabyle, Chaouis, Chenouas and the Tuaregs in the South (who are all Berber ethnic groups).[2] Algeria also has a minority population of Europeans who represents from 1 to 3%, predominantly of French, Spanish, and Italian descent.[3] Berbers are the indigenous ethnic group of Algeria and have interacted with Phoenicians and Romans for centuries. Initially Christian, Berbers became Islamized after the spread of Islam under the Umayyad Caliphate. A part of them interacted with Arabs as well. They are mostly the ancestors of modern-day Algerian Arabs.


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.

The Berber-speaking Algerians 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.

Other ethnic groups[edit]

Other ethnic groups in Algeria include Europeans of French (Corsican), Spanish, Italian, 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 of which 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. ^ "Africa :: ALGERIA". CIA The World Factbook. Archived from the original on 2010-01-17.
  2. ^ "Les Berbères en Afrique du Nord". Chaire pour le développement de la recherche sur la culture d'expression française en Amérique du Nord., Université Laval Québec, 2016.
  3. ^ UNESCO (2009). "Diversité et interculturalité en Algérie" (PDF). UNESCO. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 25, 2013.