Peoples of North Africa - Ancestral origins

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The Greeks called the people of North Africa Libyans. The Romans called them Mauritanians. Currently they are known as Amaziges (or Berbers, more in disuse) to a group of people who belong to a set of North African ethnic groups. Due to an adaptation of Spanish, this area is also known as Maghreb.

The Amazighs are divided into a wide variety of ethnic groups, among which are the Rif, Kabylia, Guanche or Tuareg. They have their own alphabet and several languages, whose speakers are largely found in Morocco and Algeria.

African savanna
African savanna

There are numerous archaeological sites that testify to the presence in this region of Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, which demonstrates the great strategic and economic importance of the territory. The remains of great Roman cities such as Leptis Magna (near Tripoli) and Timgad (also in Algeria), symbols of ancient classical splendor in North Africa, are still clearly visible.

It should not be forgotten that European territories also belong to this region, such as the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla (Spain) or Madeira (Portugal) among others. The Guanches, ancient aborigines of the Canary Islands, are genetically closely related to the continental Berbers, and these, in turn, have genetic similarities with Mediterranean European people.

The majority religion is Islam with more than 95%, although you can also find small Christian communities in Egypt (especially Orthodox) and Jews in a smaller proportion.

Finally, it is worth noting the great variety of languages spoken in this region. To the indigenous Berber languages and Standard Arabic, we must add the languages imported by European colonizers. French is a widely spoken language, as are English and Spanish.

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