From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Tekna (disambiguation).
The Tekna country (red) and migration routes (yellow)
Total population
(approx. 669,000)
Regions with significant populations
Morocco - Guelmim region, Tarfaya zone
Western Sahara - Saguia el-Hamra
Hassaniya, Shilha
Predominantly Muslim
Related ethnic groups

The Tekna is a Sahrawi tribal confederation of Lamta Sanhaja Berber origins.[1] Its constituents today inhabit southern Morocco and northern Western Sahara, but traditionally with wider migration routes. Nowadays, its population is estimated to be around 669,000.[2]


The Tekna tribes speak Hassaniya Arabic and the Berber Shilha dialect in varying degrees.[3]

All Tekna are Muslims, belonging to the Maliki school of Sunni Islam. Their traditional lifestyle was partly nomadic, based on camel and goat herding, and partly sedentary, controlling important routes of the Saharan caravan trade.

They are divided into several berber-speaking and Arabic-speaking tribes, organized into the two rivalling tribal confederations, or leff:[4]

  • Aït Djemel confederacy (Western Tekna), consisting of the tribes of Aït Lahcen, Izerguiyen, Yaggout, and Aït Moussa Ou Ali ;
  • Aït Atman (or Aït Bella) confederacy (Eastern Tekna), consisting of the tribes of Azouafit, Aït Oussa, Aït Brahim, and Aït Hmad.


During the 17th century, Morocco under Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif seized control over the territory from the Moulouya River south to Senegal and Timbuktu. Contingents of Tekna troops were then sent to the Senegal valley on behalf of the Sultan.[5]

After 1765 the Tekna revolted, acquiring greater autonomy.[6] On May 30, 1767, Mohammed ben Abdallah, Sultan of Morocco, signed a peace and commerce treaty with King Charles III of Spain, recognizing that Morocco did not control the Tekna tribes.[7]

However, at the time of the Spanish colonization and at the beginning of the 20th century, the Tekna tribes recognized the Sultan of Morocco as their overlord.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Castellino, Joshua (2000). International Law and Self-Determination. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoof publishers. pp. 239–243. ISBN 90-411-1409-2. 
  2. ^ Berber, Tekna Joshuaproject.net
  3. ^ Claire Cécile Mitatre, « Le couloir ouest-saharien : un espace gradué », L’Année du Maghreb, VII (2011), p.211-228
  4. ^ http://www.telquel-online.com/archives/161/images/shema.pdf
  5. ^ Attilo Gaudio (1993), Les populations du Sahara occidental: histoire, vie et culture, p.106
  6. ^ Attilo Gaudio (1993), Les populations du Sahara occidental: histoire, vie et culture, p.107
  7. ^ Pedro Giménez de Aragón Sierra. "Proyecto Ibn Jaldun. VII. El colonialismo español en el s. XIX: África. 2. Chafarinas, Sidi Ifni y el Sáhara." (in Spanish). Junta de Andalucía. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
  8. ^ Histoire et géographie de l'Europe. Tekna Confederation (Tekna). Depends upon Morocco
  9. ^ International Court of Justice. Advisory Opinion of 16 October 1975


(French) Attilo Gaudio, "Les populations du Sahara occidental: histoire, vie et culture", ed. Karthala 1993, (Chap. VIII, pp. 97–116) (ISBN 2-86537-411-4) [1]