People of Morocco

People of Morocco Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

The Berber were the original people of Morocco and the majority of modern day Moroccans (about40%) are pure Berber with another 35% of Berber extraction.

Arabs, who trace their presence in Morocco to the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD, are the second largest grouping and coalesce in the country's urban areas. There is a small minority of black African descent and a European community, predominately French, of about 100,000.

Berbers

The Berbers are an indigenous northwest African non-Arab tribal people who dominate large areas of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. They inhabited North Africa at least as early as 3000BC. They speak their own distinct language in approximately 300 dialects relating to specific localities. Their Berber linguistic tradition is oral rather than literary and there is very little written Berber in existence.

Over the centuries the Berbers have slowly become assimilated into the Arab mainstream culture although the majority still live in the country's rural areas raising livestock and growing crops. With education and modern transportation and communications, Berbers are now found in a wide variety of other traditional and contemporary occupations.

Most Berbers speak Moroccan Arabic and all are at least nominally Muslim although many Berbers retain traces of an atavistic animism in their practice of Islam. Certain Berber tribes, usually in remote areas, have at certain periods reverted to pre-Islamic pagan practices and have been reintegrated into the Muslim mainstream by religious missionaries.

The Arab conquest of the 7th century AD drove many Berber tribes south toward the interiors of the country, to the Atlas and the Moroccan Sahara. Eventually, however, the Berbers embraced Islam.

The Berbers gave their name to North Africa's Barbary Coast which became a notorious pirate stronghold and threat to Mediterranean sea lanes.

As you like 'People of Morocco' you may also like following articles . . .

Culture of Libya: The Berbers

The Berbers are an indigenous North African tribe, who originally inhabited the lands of the Jafara plain in north-western Libya, with Zuara as their main centre. During various Arab...

History of Mauritania: The Bafours and The Berbers

During the Neolithic Age, the area of the Sahara, which now covers the north of Mauritania, was much more fertile than at present. The original ancestors of the Soininke tribe, the Bafours...

Early History of Algeria

The earliest known inhabitants of certain areas of Algeria were cattleherds and hunters living in the Al Hajjar region between 8,000 and 2,000BC. These may have been tribal Berbers....

Language of Morocco

Arabic is Morocco's official language, spoken by about three-quarters of the population. The various Berber dialects are still spoken in rural areas but with less frequency. French is...

History of Morocco: Foreign Invaders

The native people of Morocco are the Berbers, an ancient race who, throughout history, have seen their country invaded by a succession of foreign powers. In the 12th century BC the first...

Geography of Morocco: Introduction

Morocco occupies an area of approximately 446,550 sq km (172,413 sq mi) in the northwestern corner of the African continent. The Atlantic Ocean forms the country's western perimeter. The...

Religion in Algeria

Islam is Algeria's official religion and the vast majority of Algerians are Muslim. Since the departure of the French, Christianity is a peripheral religion. However, Algeria's...