History of Mauritania: The Bafours and The Berbers

History of Mauritania: The Bafours and The Berbers Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

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, practiced agriculture and were largely stationary. As the desert spread they moved south.

During the third century AD, the Sanhadja Berbers began to move into the western Sahara from the north. By the eleventh century AD, this broad grouping of nomadic tribes had established a strong political influence in the area.

As a captive people under the Ghana empire, the Sanhadja embraced Islam and rallied behind the Almoravids, who seized Sijilmassa in 1054 and declared a jihad against Ghana whom they defeated in 1076.

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