Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Berbers: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
The Berbers lived in a territory extending from Egypt to Morocco to the Niger River. Their languages, such as Kabyle, Tachelhit, and Tamazight, are derived from the Afro-Asiatic linguistic family. The Berbers are believed to have moved from the Near East and intermingled with both sub-Saharan people and the people of southern Europe. Berber nomads and farmers managed to preserve their identity, their languages, and their culture for centuries. But when they encountered the Arab civilization, their lives changed forever, both culturally and socially. During their expansion to north Africa, the Romans wanted to enslave the Berbers, who resisted them. Later, the Berber Juba II became king of Roman Africa, called Mauretania Tingitana. The Berber elite integrated into the Roman culture, but the majority of the population was neither acculturated nor assimilated. Later, the Berbers fought the Vandals and, under their influence and the Byzantine presence, some adopted Christianity. A ...