Mudell:Short description Mudell:Multiple issues Mudell:Infobox ethnic groupMudell:Contains Tifinagh text

Berbers, or Amazighs (imaziɣen ; ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ), are an ethnic group of several nations mostly indigenous to North Africa and some northern parts of West Africa.

Berbers mostly live in Marokk, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, northern Mali, northern Niger, and a small part of western Egypt.

Berber nations are distributed over an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River in West Africa. Historically, Berber nations spoke the Berber language, which is a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. The Berbers of Algeria were independent of outside control during the period of Ottoman Empire rule in North Africa. They lived primarily in three different Nations: the Kingdom of Ait Abbas, Kingdom of Kuku, and the principality of Aït Jubar.[1]Kingdom of Ait Abbas is a Berber nation of North Africa, controlling Lesser Kabylie and its surroundings from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. It is referred to in the Spanish historiography as "reino de Labes";[2]Mudell:Fcn sometimes more commonly referred to by its ruling family, the Mokrani, in Berber At Muqran, in Arabic أولاد مقران (Ouled Moqrane). Its capital was the Kalâa of Ait Abbas, an impregnable citadel in the Biban mountain range.

Flag of the Berber nation the Kingdom of Ait Abbas prior to modern day Algeria until 1872.

There are more than 42 million Berbers in North Africa who still speak the Berber language,[3] most living in Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, northern Mali, and northern Niger.[4] Smaller Berber-speaking populations are also found in Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Egypt's Siwa town. The majority of North Africa's population west of Egypt is believed to be Berber in ethnic origin, although due to Arabization and Islamization some ethnic Berbers identify as Arabized Berbers.[5] There are large immigrant Berber communities living in France, Spain, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy and other countries of Europe.[6][7]

The majority of Berbers are Sunni Muslim. 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 societies, ancestries and lifestyles. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history.

Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en (singular: a-Mazigh), possibly meaning "free people" or "noble men".[6] The name probably had its ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for Berbers such as Mazices.[8]

Dihya memorial in Khenchela, Algeria

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 in ancient Israel. The Berber queen Dihya, or Kahina, was a religious and political leader who led a military Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in Northwest Africa. Kusaila was a 7th-century leader of the Berber Awerba tribe and King of the Iẓnagen confederation and resisted the Arab-Muslim invasion. Yusuf ibn Tashfin was a Muslim king of the Berber Almoravid dynasty. Abbas ibn Firnas was a Berber-Andalusian prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation. Ibn Battuta was a medieval Berber explorer who departed from Tanja, Morocco and traveled the longest known distances of his time and chronicled his impressions of hundreds of nations and cultures.

  1. ^ E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Volume 4, publié par M. Th. Houtsma, Page: 600
  2. ^ Afrique barbaresque dans la littérature française aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles (l') Par Guy Turbet-Delof page 25
  3. ^ Żball fl-użu tar-referenzi: Użu invalidu ta' <ref>; l-ebda test ma ġie provdut għar-referenza bl-isem Berber speakers.
  4. ^ Żball fl-użu tar-referenzi: Użu invalidu ta' <ref>; l-ebda test ma ġie provdut għar-referenza bl-isem Bilingualism, p. 860.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Morocco's Berbers Battle to Keep From Losing Their Culture. San Francisco Chronicle. March 16, 2001.
  7. ^ Berbers: The Proud Raiders. BBC World Service.
  8. ^ [1], page 38.