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North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others[ Like whom? ] have limited it to the countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by Arabs as the Maghreb ("West", The western part of Arab World). The most commonly accepted definition includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Sudan, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.
Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a sovereign state located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction. The capital is Rabat and the largest city Casablanca. Morroco spans an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) and has a population of over 35 million.
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.
North Africa includes a number of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, Plazas de soberanía, Ceuta and Melilla and the Canary Islands and Madeira.The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity that is unique to this region. Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians . Between the A.D. 600s and 1000s, Arabs from the Middle East swept across the region in a wave of Muslim conquest. These peoples, physically quite similar, formed a single population in many areas, as Berbers and Egyptians merged into Arabic and Muslim culture. This process of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa ever since.
The plazas de soberanía are the Spanish sovereign territories in North Africa. These are separate pieces of land scattered along the Mediterranean coast bordering Morocco. The name refers to the fact that these territories have been a part of Spain since the formation of the modern country (1492–1556), and are distinguished from African territories obtained by Spain during the 19th and 20th century.
Ceuta is an 18.5 km2 Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa, separated by 14 km (9 mi) from Cadiz province on the Spanish mainland by the Strait of Gibraltar and sharing a 6.4 km (4 mi) land border with M'diq-Fnideq Prefecture in the Kingdom of Morocco. It lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of nine populated Spanish territories in Africa and, along with Melilla, one of two populated territories on mainland Africa. It was part of Cádiz province until 14 March 1995 when both Ceuta and Melilla's Statutes of Autonomy were passed, the latter having been part of Málaga province.
Melilla is a Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa, sharing a border with Morocco, with an area of 12.3 km2 (4.7 sq mi). Melilla is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in mainland Africa, the other being Ceuta. It was part of the Province of Málaga until 14 March 1995, when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.
The distinction between North Africa, the Sahel and the rest of the continent is as follows:
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The name is derived from the Arabic word sāḥil meaning "coast" or "shore" in a figurative sense, while the name in Swahili means "coastal [dweller]" in a literal sense. However, this figurative use is unattested in Classical Arabic. The word might have been derived from the Arabic word sahl.
Nineteenth century European explorers, attracted by the accounts of Ancient geographers or Arab geographers of the classical period, followed the routes by the nomadic people of the vast "empty" space. They documented the names of the stopping places they discovered or rediscovered, described landscapes, took a few climate measurements and gathered rock samples. Gradually, a map began to fill in the white blotch.
Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information or resources. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans. In human history, its most dramatic rise was during the Age of Discovery when European explorers sailed and charted much of the rest of the world for a variety of reasons. Since then, major explorations after the Age of Discovery have occurred for reasons mostly aimed at information discovery.
The Sahara and the Sahel entered the geographic corpus by way of naturalist explorers because aridity is the feature that circumscribes the boundaries of the ecumene . The map details included topographical relief and location of watering holes crucial to long crossings. The Arabic word "Sahel" (shore) and "Sahara" (desert) made its entry into the vocabulary of geography.
The Sahara is a desert located on the African continent. It is the largest hot desert in the world, and the third largest desert overall after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi) is comparable to the area of China or the United States. The name 'Sahara' is derived from a dialectal Arabic word for "desert", ṣaḥra.
The ecumene (US) or oecumene was an ancient Greek term for the known, the inhabited, or the habitable world. Under the Roman Empire, it came to refer to civilization as well as the secular and religious imperial administration. In present usage, it is most often used in the context of "ecumenical" and describes the Christian Church as a unified whole, or the unified modern world civilization. It is also used in cartography to describe a type of world map used in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
Latitudinally, the "slopes" of the arid desert, devoid of continuous human habitation, descend in step-like fashion toward the northern and southern edges of the Mediterranean that opens to Europe and the Sahel that opens to "Trab al Sudan." Longitudinally, a uniform grid divides the central desert then shrinks back toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. Gradually, the Sahara-Sahel is further divided into a total of twenty sub-areas: central, northern, southern, western, eastern, etc.
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually identified as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years, the Messinian salinity crisis, before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez. The Red Sea is a Global 200 ecoregion. The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift which is part of the Great Rift Valley.
In this way, "standard" geography has determined aridity to be the boundary of the ecumene. It identifies settlements based on visible activity without regard for social or political organizations of space in vast, purportedly “empty” areas. It gives only cursory acknowledgement to what makes Saharan geography, and for that matter, world geography unique: mobility and the routes by which it flows.
The Sahel or "African Transition Zone" has been affected by many formative epochs in North African history ranging from Ottoman occupation to the Arab-Berber control of the Andalus.As a result, many modern African nation-states that are included in the Sahel evidence cultural similarities and historical overlap with their North African neighbours. In the present day, North Africa is associated with West Asia in the realm of geopolitics to form a Middle East-North Africa region. The Islamic influence in the area is also significant and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world.
Some researchers have postulated that North Africa rather than East Africa served as the exit point for the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent in the Out of Africa migration.
North Africa has three main geographic features: the Sahara desert in the south, the Atlas Mountains in the west, and the Nile River and delta in the east. The Atlas Mountains extend across much of northern Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. These mountains are part of the fold mountain system that also runs through much of Southern Europe. They recede to the south and east, becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert, which covers more than 75 percent of the region. The tallest peaks are in the High Atlas range in south-central Morocco, which has many snow-capped peaks.
South of the Atlas Mountains is the dry and barren expanse of the Sahara desert, which is the largest sand desert in the world.In places the desert is cut by irregular watercourses called wadis—streams that flow only after rainfalls but are usually dry. The Sahara’s major landforms include ergs, large seas of sand that sometimes form into huge dunes; the hammada, a level rocky plateau without soil or sand; and the reg, a level plain of gravel or small stones. The Sahara covers the southern part of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and most of Libya. Only two regions of Libya are outside the desert: Tripolitania in the northwest and Cyrenaica in the northeast. Most of Egypt is also desert, with the exception of the Nile River and the irrigated land along its banks. The Nile Valley forms a narrow fertile thread that runs along the length of the country.
Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, and the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of fertile farming land. A wide variety of valuable crops including cereals, rice and cotton, and woods such as cedar and cork, are grown. Typical Mediterranean crops, such as olives, figs, dates and citrus fruits, also thrive in these areas. The Nile Valley is particularly fertile, and most of the population in Egypt live close to the river. Elsewhere, irrigation is essential to improve crop yields on the desert margins.
|Countries and territories|| Area (2016) |
|Population (2016)|| Density (2016) |
|Capital|| Total GDP |
| GDP per capita |
|2,381,740||40,606,052||17.05||Algiers||$160,784||$15,281||Algerian dinar||Presidential republic||Arabic and Berber (both official), French is commonly used|
|1,001,450||95,688,681||96||Cairo||$332,349||$12,554||Egyptian pound||Semi-presidential republic||Arabic|
|1,759,540||6,293,253||3.58||Tripoli||$33,157||$8,678||Libyan dinar||Provisional authority||Arabic|
|446,550||35,276,786||73.1||Rabat||$103,615||$8,330||Moroccan dirham||Constitutional monarchy||Arabic and Berber (both official), French is commonly used|
|163,610||11,403,248 ||63||Tunis||$41,869||$11,634||Tunisian dinar||Parliamentary republic||Arabic, French is commonly used.|
|18.5||82,376||4,500||—||—||—||Euro (official), Moroccan dirham (porter trade)||Autonomous city of a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy||Spanish|
|12.3||78,476||6,380.1||—||—||—||[ clarification needed ]||Autonomous city of a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy||Spanish|
|Western Sahara||266,000||538,755||0.37||disputed||disputed||disputed||disputed||disputed||Disputed: commonly French and Arabic (Moroccan zone); commonly Spanish, Arabic (SADR zone)|
|Source: The World Bank|
Variously the Sudan and Western Sahara are considered to be part of the region by the United Nations,while Western Sahara and Mauritania (but not Sudan) are included by the African Union. In general geopolitical and business usage, as for example with the World Bank, North Africa is often grouped with the Middle East under the acronym MENA ("Middle East and North Africa") and sometimes in American governmental usage the geopolitical term Greater Middle East. Similarly, the traditional Arabic toponym Maghreb (meaning "the West") is commonly used to mean the African part of the Arab World, though usually with the exclusion of Egypt.
The inhabitants of the Spanish Canary Islands are of mixed Spanish and North African Berber ancestry, and the people of Malta are of North African ancestry and speak a derivative of Arabic. But these areas are not generally considered part of North Africa, but rather Southern Europe, due to their European-based cultures and religion.
The inhabitants of North Africa are roughly divided in a manner corresponding to the principal geographic regions of North Africa: the Maghreb, the Nile valley, and the Sahel. The Maghreb or western North Africa on the whole is believed to have been inhabited by Berbers since at least 10,000 B.C.,while the eastern part of North Africa or the Nile Valley has mainly been home to the Egyptians. Ancient Egyptians record extensive contact in their Western desert with people that appear to have been Berber or proto-Berber. As the Tassili n'Ajjer and other rock art findings in the Sahara have shown, the Sahara also hosted various populations before its rapid desertification in 3500 B.C and even today continues to host small populations of nomadic trans-Saharan peoples.
In the eleventh century, the Banu Hilal invaded the North African plains and plateaus, but not the mountainous areas such as the Tell Atlas range, the Rif or the Aurès Mountains and brought with them Hilalian dialects of Arabic, which over the centuries have been in significant contact with other languages, including the languages of Europe. They have contributed to the Arabized Berber populations.[ citation needed ]
The official language or one of the official languages in all of the countries in North Africa is Arabic. Today, the largest ethnic groups in North Africa are Arabs, Berbers and West Africans. The region is predominantly Muslim with a Jewish minority in Morocco and Tunisia and significant Christian minority—the Copts—in Egypt, Algeria,Morocco and Tunisia.
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The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara regions speak Berber languages and several varieties of Arabic and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afroasiatic language family. The Tuareg Berber languages are notably more conservative than those of the coastal cities.
Over the years, Berbers have been influenced by contact with other cultures: Greeks, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Europeans and Africans. The cultures of the Maghreb and the Sahara therefore combine indigenous Berber, Arab and elements from neighboring parts of Africa and beyond. In the Sahara, the distinction between sedentary oasis inhabitants and nomadic Bedouins and Tuaregs is particularly marked.
The diverse peoples of North Africa are usually categorized along ethno-linguistic lines. In the Maghreb, where Arab and Berber identities are often integrated, these lines can be blurred. Some Berber-speaking North Africans may identify as "Arab" depending on the social and political circumstances, although substantial numbers of Berbers (or Amazighen) have retained a distinct cultural identity which in the 20th century has been expressed as a clear ethnic identification with Berber history and language. Arabic-speaking Northwest Africans, regardless of ethnic background, often identify with Arab history and culture and may share a common vision with other Arabs. This, however, may or may not exclude pride in and identification with Berber and/or other parts of their heritage. Berber political and cultural activists for their part, often referred to as Berberists, may view all Northwest Africans as principally Berber, whether they are primarily Berber- or Arabic-speaking.
Egyptians over the centuries have shifted their language from Egyptian (in its late form, varieties of Coptic) to modern Egyptian Arabic while retaining a sense of national identity that has historically set them apart from other people in the region. Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslim, although there is a significant minority of Coptic Christians.
The Maghreb formerly had a significant Jewish population, almost all of whom emigrated to France or Israel when the North African nations gained independence. Prior to the modern establishment of Israel, there were about 600,000–700,000 Jews in Northern Africa, including both Sephardi Jews (refugees from France, Spain and Portugal from the Renaissance era) as well as indigenous Mizrahi Jews. Today, less than fifteen thousand remain in the region, almost all in Morocco and Tunisia, and are mostly part of a French-speaking urban elite. (See Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries.)
Due to the recent African origin of modern humans, the history of Prehistoric North Africa is important to the understanding of pre-hominid and early modern human history in Africa. The earliest inhabitants of central North Africa have left behind significant remains: early remnants of hominid occupation in North Africa, for example, were found in Ain el Hanech, near Saïda (c. 200,000 BCE); in fact, more recent investigations have found signs of Oldowan technology there, and indicate a date of up to 1.8 million BC.
The cave paintings found at Tassili n'Ajjer, north of Tamanrasset, Algeria, and at other locations depict vibrant and vivid scenes of everyday life in central North Africa during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (about 8000 to 4000 BCE). Some parts of North Africa began to participate in the Neolithic revolution in the 6th millennium BC, just before the rapid desertification of the Sahara around 3500 B.C. due to a tilt in the Earth's orbit.
While Egypt due to the early civilizations of Ancient Egypt entered historicity by the Bronze Age, the Maghreb remained in the prehistoric period longer. Some Phoenician and Greek colonies were established along the Mediterranean coast during the 7th century BC.
The most notable nations of antiquity in western North Africa are Carthage and Numidia. The Phoenicians colonized much of North Africa including Carthage and parts of present-day Morocco (including Chellah, Essaouira and Volubilis). The Carthaginians were of Phoenician origin, with the Roman myth of their origin being that Dido, a Phoenician princess, was granted land by a local ruler based on how much land she could cover with a piece of cowhide. She ingeniously devised a method to extend the cowhide to a high proportion, thus gaining a large territory. She was also rejected by the Trojan prince Aeneas according to Virgil, thus creating a historical enmity between Carthage and Rome, as Aeneas would eventually lay the foundations for Rome. Ancient Carthage was a commercial power and had a strong navy, but relied on mercenaries for land soldiers. The Carthaginians developed an empire in the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, the latter being the cause of First Punic War with the Romans.
Over a hundred years and more, all Carthaginian territory was eventually conquered by the Romans, resulting in the Carthaginian North African territories becoming the Roman province of Africa in 146 B.C.This led to tension and eventually conflict between Numidia and Rome. The Numidian wars are notable for launching the careers of both Gaius Marius, and Sulla, and stretching the constitutional burden of the Roman republic, as Marius required a professional army, something previously contrary to Roman values to overcome the talented military leader Jugurtha.
North Africa remained a part of the Roman Empire, which produced many notable citizens such as Augustine of Hippo, until incompetent leadership from Roman commanders in the early fifth century allowed the Germanic peoples, the Vandals, to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, whereupon they overcame the fickle Roman defense. The loss of North Africa is considered a pinnacle point in the fall of the Western Roman Empire as Africa had previously been an important grain province that maintained Roman prosperity despite the barbarian incursions, and the wealth required to create new armies. The issue of regaining North Africa became paramount to the Western Empire, but was frustrated by Vandal victories. The focus of Roman energy had to be on the emerging threat of the Huns. In 468 AD, the Romans made one last serious attempt to invade North Africa but were repelled. This perhaps marks the point of terminal decline for the Western Roman Empire. The last Roman emperor was deposed in 476 by the Heruli general Odoacer. Trade routes between Europe and North Africa remained intact until the coming of Islam. Some Berbers were members of the Early African Church (but evolved their own Donatist doctrine),some were Berber Jews, and some adhered to traditional Berber religion. African pope Victor I served during the reign of Roman emperor Septimius Severus
The early Muslim conquests included North Africa by 640. By 700, most of North Africa had come under Muslim rule. Indigenous Berbers subsequently started to form their own polities in response in places such as Fez and Sijilmasa. In the eleventh century, a reformist movement made up of members that called themselves the Almoravid dynasty expanded south into Sub-Saharan Africa.
North Africa's populous and flourishing civilization collapsed after exhausting its resources in internal fighting and suffering devastation from the invasion of the Banu Sulaym and Banu Hilal. Ibn Khaldun noted that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.
After the Middle Ages the area was loosely under the control of the Ottoman Empire, except Morocco. The Spanish Empire conquered several coastal cities between the 16th and 18th centuries. After the 19th century, the imperial and colonial presence of France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy left the entirety of the region under one form of European occupation.
In World War II from 1940 to 1943 the area was the setting for the North African Campaign. During the 1950s and 1960s all of the North African states gained independence. There remains a dispute over Western Sahara between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.
In 2010–2011 massive protests swept the region leading to the overthrow of the governments in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as civil war in Libya. Large protests also occurred in Algeria and Morocco to a lesser extent. Many hundreds died in the uprisings. This uprising is commonly referred to as the "Arab spring"
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The economies of Algeria and Libya were transformed by the discovery of oil and natural gas reserves in the deserts. Morocco's major exports are phosphates and agricultural produce, and as in Egypt and Tunisia, the tourist industry is essential to the economy. Egypt has the most varied industrial base, importing technology to develop electronics and engineering industries, and maintaining the reputation of its high-quality cotton textiles.
Oil rigs are scattered throughout the deserts of Libya and Algeria. Libyan oil is especially prized because of its low sulfur content, which means it produces much less pollution than other fuel oils.
The Berber languages, also known as Berber or the Amazigh languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.
Berbers, or Amazighs, are an ethnic group of several nations indigenous mostly to North Africa and some northern parts of Western Africa.
The Arab world, also known as the Arab nation, the Arabsphere or the Arab states, currently consists of the 22 Arabic-speaking countries that make up the members of the Arab League. These countries occupy the Middle East, North Africa and parts of East Africa; areas stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. The contemporary Arab world has a combined population of around 422 million inhabitants, over half of whom are under 25 years of age.
The Maghreb, also known as Northwest Africa or Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb or Greater Maghreb, or by some sources the Berber world, Barbary and Berbery, is a major region of North Africa that consists primarily of the countries Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara and the cities of Melilla and Ceuta. As of 2018, the region has a population of over 100 million people.
Ksar, plural ksour is the North African term for "Berber castle", possibly loaned from Latin castrum. The term generally refers to a Berber fortified village.
North Africa has contributed to popular music, especially Egyptian classical and el Gil, Algerian raï and chaabi. The broad region is sometimes called the Maghreb, and the term Maghrebian music is in use. For a variety of reasons Libya does not have as extensive a popular tradition as its neighbors. Folk music, however, abounds, despite frequent condemnation and suppression from governments, and exists in multiple forms across the region—the Berbers, Sephardic Jews, Tuaregs and Nubians, for example, retain musical traditions with ancient roots.
Maghrebi Jews or North African Jews are Jews who had traditionally lived in the Maghreb region of North Africa under Arab rule during the Middle Ages. Established Jewish communities had existed in North Africa long before the arrival of Sephardi Jews, expelled from Portugal and Spain. Due to proximity, the term 'Maghrebi Jews' often refers to Egyptian Jews as well. These Jews, those from North Africa, constitute the second largest Jewish diaspora group.
Maghrebi Arabic is an Arabic dialect continuum spoken in the Maghreb region, in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Western Sahara, and Mauritania. It includes Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan, and Hassaniya Arabic. Speakers of Maghrebi Arabic are primarily Arab-Berbers who call their language Derdja, Derja, Derija or Darija. This serves to differentiate the spoken vernacular from Modern Standard Arabic. As the Maltese language is believed to have been immediately derived from Siculo-Arabic and ultimately from Tunisian Arabic, it contains some typical Maghrebi Arabic areal characteristics.
North Africa is a relatively thin strip of land between the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean, stretching from Moroccan Atlantic coast to Egypt. Currently, the region comprises seven countries or territories, from west to east: Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. The region has been influenced by many diverse cultures. The development of sea travel firmly brought the region into the Mediterranean world, especially during the classical period. In the 1st millennium AD, the Sahara became an equally important area for trade as camel caravans brought goods and people from the south. The region also has a small but crucial land link to the Middle East, and that area has also played a key role in the history of North Africa.
The Arab Maghreb Union (AMU); Arabic: اتحاد المغرب العربي Ittiḥād al-Maghrib al-‘Arabī) is a trade agreement aiming for economic and future political unity among Arab countries of the Maghreb in North Africa. Its members are the nations of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The Union has been unable to achieve tangible progress on its goals due to deep economic and political disagreements between Morocco and Algeria regarding, among others, the issue of Western Sahara. No high level meetings have taken place since 3 July 2008 and commentators regard the Union as largely dormant.
Arabized Berber denotes an inhabitant of the Maghreb region in northwestern Africa, whose native language is a local dialect of Arabic and whose origins are Berber.
The people are of the Maghreb and the Sahara speak various dialects of Berber and Arabic, and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber groups of languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic family. The Sahara dialects are notably more conservative than those of coastal cities. Over the years, Berber peoples have been influenced by other cultures with which they came in contact: Nubians, Greeks, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, and lately Europeans. The cultures of the Maghreb and the Sahara therefore combine indigenous Berber, Arab and elements from neighboring parts of Africa and beyond. In the Sahara, the distinction between sedentary oasis inhabitants and nomadic Bedouin and Tuareg is particularly marked.
Kouloughlis, also spelled Koulouglis, Cologhlis and Qulaughlis was a term used during the Ottoman period to designate the mixed offspring of Turkish men and local North African women, situated in the western and central coastal regions in the Barbary coast. Whilst the terminology was commonly used in Ottoman Algeria, Ottoman Libya, and Ottoman Tunisia, it was not used in Ottoman Egypt to refer to Turco-Egyptians. Today, the descendants of the Kouloughlis have largely integrated into their local societies after independence, however, they still maintain some of their cultural traditions ; they also continue to practice the Hanafi school of Islam, and uphold their Turkish origin surnames.
Human habitation in the North African region occurred over one million years ago. Remains of Homo erectus during the Middle Pleistocene period, has been found in North Africa. The Berbers, who generally antedate by many millennia the Phoenicians and the establishment of Carthage, are understood to have arisen out of social events shaped by the confluence of several earlier peoples, i.e., the Capsian culture, events which eventually constituted their ethnogenesis. Thereafter Berbers lived as an independent people in North Africa, including the Tunisian region.
Arab-Berbers are an ethnic group native to Maghreb, a North African region along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Arab-Berbers are people of mixed Berber, Arab and other non-Berber origin whose native language is a variant of Maghrebi Arabic. Many Arab-Berbers identify primarily as Arab and secondarily as Berber. While some Arab-Berbers claim West Asian descent, genetic studies there have determined that Arab and non-Arab Berbers are genetically nearly identical. This suggests that the processes of "Arabization" in the Maghreb was probably mainly cultural rather than genetic. The Arab-Berber identity came into being as a direct result of the Arab conquest of North Africa, and the intermarriage between the Arabian and Persian people who immigrated to those regions and local mainly Roman Africans and other Berber people; in addition, Banu Hilal and Sulaym Arab tribes originating in the Arabian Peninsula invaded the region and intermarried with the local rural mainly Berber populations, and were a major factor in the linguistic, cultural and ethnic Arabization of the Maghreb.
North Africans in the United States are Americans with origins in the region of North Africa. This group includes Americans of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.
Tourism in the Arab World encompasses a wide array of activities and tourist attractions in an area spanning more than 13 million square kilometers. The Arab World mainly consists of the Arabic-speaking countries and populations in North Africa and Western Asia. The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 countries and territories of the Arab League: 10 countries in Africa, and 12 countries in Asia. Geographically, it stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. It has a combined population of around 422 million people.
The Hilalian dialects are a continuum of Arabic dialects native to North Africa.
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