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Sunday, January 24, 2016

FEAR OF BLACKNESS SERIES - PART II Andalusia and the Mauri: An Exploration of the Original Berbers of Early Sources and their Settlements in Spain




" ...in the old sources the terms Berber, Sanhaja, Massufa, Lamtuna and Tuareg are often used interchangeably"  Marq de Villiers and Sheila Hirtle ( 2009).  Timbuktu: The Sahara's Fabled city of Gold, p. 271. 




“From Africa too, there came countless tribes; the Nadabaræ, Gætulians, and Numidians, and from the scorching south, the people named Moors or Mauritanians, from the Greek word mauros, which means black.“ 12th century author of Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi (Itinerary of Richard I and others to the Holy Land.) Chapter XXXVIII.
...among the descendants of Sudan, son of Kana'an are many nations, of them the Ishban, the Zanj, and many people that multiplied in the Maghreb.” Akbar al-Zaman 11th century Arabic text (Cited by Hopkins and Levtzion in Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History.(2000) p. 35, Markus Wiener Publishers)
Now the real fact, the fact which dispenses with all hypothesis, is this: the Berbers are the children of Canaan, the son of Ham, son of Noah. Their grandfather was named Mazyh...the Philistines children of Casluhim son of Misraim son of Ham were their relations...." Ibn Khaldun 15th century Andalusian North African.




INTRODUCTION - Notes on the Persistent Warping of Berber History


  CAPTIVES OF ARAGON

The name "Moors" has come in recent years to be used in Northwest Africa for tribes that are a mixture of Berber and Arabian (Sulaym-Hilal) origin, like the men above who stretch from Senegal to southern Morocco. 

      This is a post about the settlements in Spain of the once black African populations of the Maghreb known as the Beriberi or "al-Barabir" in Arabic, Mozarabic (Spanish Christian) and Portuguese sources - peoples of eastern and Nilotic African origin with biological affiliation to the Beja and other Cushitic speakers, ancient pre-Islamic Arabians, Nilo-Saharans and Tuareg.  It is not about the modern melange of peoples that colonialists and post-colonial specialists have come to designate as "Berbers" in attempts to link them with modern European peoples (for whatever reason), but about all of the peoples who the West has attempted to write out of the history of Muslim Andalusia.
       The reason it is important to distinguish between the Berber of today and the ancient people who designated themselves Berbers or "Beriberi" is that the Berber-speakers spotlighted in most academic and political studies today, unlike those of the Arabic texts, are basically a heterogeneous people with diverse cultural and biological origins linked to all of the known civilizations of the ancient world surrounding North Africa.
        Ancient Berbers were not people that looked or thought like the people of early or modern European and Near Eastern cultures and their various admixtures. The original Berbers were noted by the early Near Eastern observers to be divided into five confederations called the Masmuda, Sanhaja or Zenaga, Zanata, Hawara and Gomara all of which were early known as the "Maures" or  "Mauri" i.e. the black men. The name Mauritania thus was simply the land of the Maures. For as an old Viking text says "for Mauri is the same as black man and Mauritania is the same as blackness" (O'Donovan, John, 1860, p. 163; Forbes, Jack D., 1993, 68). The root of the word "Mauri" since the time of  Silius Italicus, Plautus was a synonym for the word "Niger" or "Negro" among Europeans, including the  Christian Spaniards ("Mozarabs"), and Portuguese.
       Ibn Khaldun as well considered that there was a first and second "race" or "generation" of Berbers both of whose people were claimed and still claim to have originated in the area stretching from the Arabian Tehama to Abyssinia where the people were once known variously as Sabaeans or Sabtaeans, Kana'anites or Kanauna, Kush or Yokshan, Ethiopians, Himyari or Humayri and Indi or Indians. This was the area that was once known in fact as both Arabia and India, and as we have shown it was undoubtedly the home of the original Semitic cultures from which emerged the Canaanite/Israelite or Midianitish people of the Torah and Old Testament.  When these people "spread abroad" they settled back in Africa and northward in the region of Mecca and Medina and finally along the Syrian/Aegean coasts, where they were also known as "Ethiopians". (See links on this blog  Kings Solomon's Miners I, II, and III)    
       Because of the findings of Kamal Salibi, author of the somewhat maligned, but groundbreaking text The Bible Came from Arabia, we were able to show that it is likely that the people of the Old Testament books of Genesis and the Exodus were actually represented in this still barely explored region. It is only natural that these peoples would have carried their ancient pre-Islamic Arabian, i.e. Hebraic traditions and legends of their origins back into Africa and then across "Libya" or what has come to be known as al-Maghreb.
   Thus, whether one believes in the Canaanite, Philistine, Israelite, Midianite, Sabaean, Indian origin of the Berbers or Mauri, it is important to remember that this post concerns those Berbers thought to be their descendants and not the entirety of modern Berberphone Africa which has its own unique history and cultural origin(s) quite distinct from that of the original "black peoples" or Maurusioi of the Maghreb.
     Before speaking of the Berber descendants of the Mauri I would first like to comment on the kinds of misguided information that is being put forth concerning these "Moors" or ancient Berbers. 
    Recently, I attended a lecture that was supposed to be about “the Moors”at a major masjid (mosque) in the city of Philadelphia in the United States.  The man was an “African American” claiming descent from Muslim maroons or those groups that hid out from European slavers. He had been out on the lecture circuit and on youtube and is supposed to be a scholar on the Islamic world who has studied and lectured at the University of Barcelona. For that reason I wanted to find out what he was accustomed to talking about.
    Thank goodnesss there were probably less than 20 people in the hall because the lecturer was so ill-informed about the early Berbers and their relation to Africans and the Africans in Islamic Spain that I felt like I was attending some kind of national conference for eugenicists in early 20th century America.
     I really didn't know whether to scream or cry during his lecture, but I was determined during the question and answer session not to get into another spat like the one I'd had with a rather rude curator after a lecture by Zahi Hawass at the University of Penn. ; )  Rude curator at University of Penn  
Unfortunately, while the rest of the audience sat blank faced and zombie-like listening to things like “not a lot of African Muslims were brought to America” and “the Moorish period began with the Almoravids” and "when they said the Moors were black, they didn't really mean black” I was attempting to stop wincing and squirming in my seat. It came to the point where I really could not hold my tongue because of all the misinformation that was being spouted.  Learn about the influence of Muslim African slaves in America here
   The man was also literally clueless even about the tribe of Arab people Muhammed came from, claiming Muhammad wasn't a Qurayshi!
     But in introducing the Moors to the almost exclusively black American audience he pronounced that black African people had very little part in the Moorish expansion, which he claimed began with the Almoravids, an assertion which of course in itself is highly problematic.
     I still understand the reasoning behind some of his beliefs. The man actually was not looking at the Berbers and the early Arab invaders in the way early observers spoke of them of course because like most reputable scholars today he wasn't familiar with the descriptions of the Berbers of the medieval period.
      The first piece of information that I had to question was why he had stated the Moorish period began with the Almoravids, when Berbers had been noted as Moors or Mauri since before Islam and were in Spain from the start of the Islamic invasions of Iberia. I noted St. Isidore's statements about the Mauri being "black as night”. His response was that the Greeks often used the term black for people that were dark, but not necessarily looking like black Africans. And that may or may not have been true, but since I wasn't talking about any Greeks I had to wonder why he was bringing them up in the discussion.
     In answer to another querent he said there were “African-centric” authors who frequently exaggerated the role of the Moors and blacks in the Islamic world and were largely biased. This is about when he offered his view that the Tuareg* were only a small part of the Almoravids as well, a belief which is understandable only for the fact that most scholars are not aware of the connection of the Tuareg with the Sanhaja clans even though they are both said to be wearers of the veil.   
     Of course there was no time to express to him or to the audience the fact that the Tuaregs are the nomadic Africans whose people still bear the names of the great portion of the Berber tribes that took part in the Almoravids conquests of North Africa and Andalusia in Spain. Back in the 1960s some folk historians were among the first to have discovered that after the Sulaym-Hilal Arab conquest of North Africa the Tuareg emerged as the people known in Arab sources as the Sanhaja - “Tuareg seem to reappear as Lemtuna, Sanhaja, Jedala, Mesufa and Lemta. The Tuareg claim that Lemtuna was the mother of their race. Pere Charles de Foucauld in his dictionary of the Ahaggar dialect notes that the legend includes a sister of Lemtuna who was the mother of most of the Berber tribes of Morocco and, particularly, of the Berabish.” From  Smithsonian Folkways. Tuareg Music of the Southern Sahara, Harold Courlander General Editor. Smithsonian Folkways



BERABISH MAN  -  as noted above, the ancestors of the Berabish were claimed to be the Lamtuna


     The historian and Arabic translator Hussein Mones also connected the Tuareg with the great confederation of Berbers that were spoken of as Sanhadja or "Zenaga" in Arabic texts in his "The Conquest of North Africa and Berber Resistance".   The article appears in the UNESCO History of Africa published in 1978. It reads:

"A further group of Sanhadja inhabited an area stretching from the desert land south of Wadi Dar'a (Oued Dra'a) to the strip of the Sahara that lies along the Atlantic coast as far as teh Senegal River.  Their most important groups were the Lamtuna, Massufa, Djudala, Gazula (Djazula), Banu Warith, Lamta and Tarka. These last were in fact the famous Tuareg (al-Tawarik), who have remained the lords of the great Sahara right down to our own day.  All these groups were camel-breeding nomads...   Ibn Khaldun calls this Sanhadja group 'the second generation of the Sanhadja (al-tabaka al-thaniya min Sanhadja)'" (Mones, 1988, p. 228).

      Since that time over the years certain researchers would point out here and there that the modern Tuareg groups, Iwellemeden (also spelt Auelimmiden or Ouelimidden) ("Lamtuna"), Igdalen ("Goddala" or "Jedala"),  Iforas (Iforaces)(Fentress, Elizabeth and Wilson, Andrew, 2016, p. 61), Iferouan (Ifren or Yafrene), Imesufa and Inusufen ("Massufa"), Imaqquren (Maghrawa) and Tawarek (Targi' yat or Tuareg) ("Tarka" or "Tarqiyya") all now based in the countries of Niger, Mali, Senegal and Libya, still reflect the names of not only the Sanhaja, but their Zenetian or Zenata ancestors who represented the majority of Berbers not only of the Almoravid, but of the Zirid and Hamaddid dynasties.
As Allen Fromherz puts it in The Almohads: The Rise of an Empire the Tuareg are "probable descendants of the Almoravids...Ethnographical descriptions of the matriarchal nature of the Tuareg descendants of the Lamtuna Almoravids can be found in Susan Rasmussen.... (Fromherz, Allen J., 2012, p. 224, fn 213).
Thus, scholars on the "Moorish" empire have long been aware of the Almoravid connection to the African Tuareg who, incidently, apparently make up a good portion of the ancestors of many African Americans judging from dna studies.
    Nevertheless when I mentioned to the lecturer during the intermission this relationship of the Lamtuna and Sanhadja and Almoravid peoples to the Tuareg (already noted by scholars), he told me that "that is not what his sources say" and  "we can agree to disagree", after which he put on his jacket and walked away in a huff as if I had insulted him.
     During the course of his talk he referred to Ibn Khaldun whose family was actually Andalusian in origin as an Arab.  He did the same for Ibn Sina (of primarily Persian descent), Ibn Rushd (of Persian descent), which is par for the course or usual and not unexpected since any individual with at least one Arab paternal ancestor or who spoke Arabic was probably considered of Arab ethnicity back then as today. Yet when mentioning the Sanhadja, the lecturer neglected to mention who they were.  
As we have seen the bulk of the Iraqis and Syrians were originally different peoples ethnically and phenotypically from the Arabs, but often confounded in modern history books, so when I made reference to the branch of Arabs called Quraysh living in Jericho in Palestine (or the modern Israel/Palestine) who are still black he seemed rather dismissive.
      He had first mentioned the Quraysh (also spelt different ways, like Qoreish or Koreish) as a tribe of Arabs “that persecuted Mohamed” when someone asked who they were.  Since it was a small group in the room I spoke up to add that they were also the tribe that Muhammad had come from - to which he summarily announced “no, they weren't”.  After being dumbfounded for a moment I answered  – "yes, they were", at which time he again immediately dismissed the suggestion. Now at this point I am kind of speechless starting to question my own sanity, and then his sanity.
     “OK”, I thought, maybe he had heard the modern Quraish there in Jericho were largely descended from Nubian slaves, an unproven assertion of some news media outlets there in Israel. That's understandable.  I was giving him the benefit of the doubt that he had heard something otherwise or was of the opinion that the older inhabitants of the Arabia peninsula were more like the people of the Middle East most often seen in western television or media today, but to assert that Muhammad was not a man born from the tribe of  Quraysh was quite another and baffling thing to hear.
     Rapidly many ideas ran through my mind.  I questioned if I was dreaming at home and hadn't woken up yet or something, or maybe my memory was failing me. Surely this man wasn't telling me Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was not from the Quraysh. I could have sworn that I had read in more than a few places, in fact over and over and over again that Muhammed was from the clan of Hashim or Hashemites who were of the tribe of Qureysh!
      Mind you, this “professor” was someone who had just mentioned the bias of Afrocentrics, and their tendency to “exaggerate”.  So now I was starting to realize I was speaking with someone who not only was biased himself, but basically didn't know what he was talking about -especially when it came to anything related to the ethnic history of the Moors, or Arabians and the Berbers who were in fact the reason the word Mauri had come to be synonomous with the words signifying "negro" or "black" - like I said even among Mozarabic Spaniards up until a few hundred years ago.
     Too bad none of the other members in the audience of less than a couple dozen or so people didn't seem to know the relationship of their Prophet to the Qureish either. I would have thought knowledge of and interest in the Prophet's people would be basic or fundamental to someone learning about the emergence of early Islam considering the importance early Muslims and the hadiths gave to genealogy.  Either I don't know what world I was living in and my head is in the clouds, or else there is definitely something wrong with education in African American masjids. lol!
    I could say something else here, but I'll just say its no wonder that Oprah Winfrey went over to Africa instead of staying here in the U.S. and founding a school here. : (
     Now I wished to be able to tell the people in the room there that this man as an Islamic “scholar” should be knowing what tribe the Prophet of Islam came from, but I kept my mouth shut after that because maybe there was the slightest chance that I was wrong. Now looking back I guess the four PhDs he received from African universities (he informed me of this during the intermission) didn't require him to learn where the Prophet came from and I am actually embarrassed for this lecturer. It also doesn't speak well for the universities he went to if it is true either, but I'm not going to bring Africa into this because I am sure most Muslim Africans, layman or otherwise, know what tribe the Prophet belonged to even if this man who considers himself an “African American” and a scholar didn't. More likely he developed a lot of his views and perspective of Africans during his stay in Barcelona or just as likely, Morocco. : )
   But, in any case many assertions such as the ones this man made has just reaffirmed my view that a PhD doesn't mean much when it comes to certain areas of study, and neither does living in Muslim countries apparently, especially North African ones where the names Berber and Arab are sometimes more a matter of nationality or language than cultural and biological origin, not to mention historical documentation. : (
    The lecturer also advised the audience to learn at least 4 languages so they could broaden their scope of what they learned something I would agree.  But one needs to wonder how much reading of history in either Arabic or English was done by this man with all the nonsense that was being spouted.
   This is what led to me lengthening this post that was supposed to have been out much earlier last year. I never meant for it to end up the length of a book - again. But, I've just far too often been coming across this type of nonsense spoken and written by supposedly reputable individuals who have presumably been studying these things so that it's turned out a lot longer than I had planned.  I've needed to add on to it endlessly, in an effort to refute the fount of fallacies that are being repeated.   
    Here for example is something typically nonsensical written about Tuareg women who are referred to as “black” and  “Amazons” in something called the Primera Cronica General composed in the 13th century.  The author, a Ronald Messier, comments After the death of El Cid, Christian chronicles reported a legend of a Turkish woman leading a band of 300 black African female archers. This legend was possibly inspired by the ominous veils on the faces of the warriors and the dark skin colored blue by the indigo of their robes” (Ronald Messier,  p. 118).
      In a later passage Messier writes elsewhere, H. T. Norris addresses the legend of the “Amazons” in the Almoravid army citing the Primera Cronica of Alfonso X and L. P. Harvey's article in The Journal of Semitic Studies.  "The latter wrote I therefore think that King Bucar had a group of Touregs in his army, and that because of their outlandish veiled garb these warriors smeared with indigo were mistaken for negresses.” (Messier, p. 213).


 Even the smeared dye of indigo robes on dark brown faces can't hide the Tuareg's eastern African roots.

     First of all, its not certain how someone could come to the conclusion that a word for  “black” in Spanish should be translated as "negresses". The word "negress" is an anthropological term.
     Did Alfonso ever study anthropology? Obviously not, since he was born several centuries too early for that.
    Just because people in western academia think the term black should only be applied to peoples of sub-Saharan Africa doesn't mean this Alphonso of the 13th century was referring to women from Sub-Saharan Africa. The word black may be tantamount to an anthropological notion in western parlance, but in Spanish – lest we forget -  the words for black i.e. "negro" referred to a color or the complexion of a person and not necessarily an ethnic or “racial”stereotype of a West or Central African.  Alphonso of course never meant anything but to describe the color of Tuareg women who, after all were Berber women - women from a people who more often than not are described as black in medieval literature – like it or not.  
They are called a “black", "Moorish", "band” in the "Primera Cronica", but that doesn't mean "sub-Saharan African". Maybe for modern folk to say black or Negro may mean "sub-Saharan", but for the Spanish 13th century ruler the description was for a group of women who happened to be black in color as was common to "Moorish" people - whether one likes to believe it or not.
In Tuareg societies and in those of the peoples that were originally called Berbers society was matrifocal where women "ruled the roost" so to speak though this probably lessened with the coming of other groups into North Africa. But the importance of woman, is still emphasized as Tuareg men in some areas traditionally speak softly in the presence of women and have to live with their wives family or mother for op to 3 years or until his mother-in-law says the marriage is firm. Such deferential attitudes toward women and especially the mother-in-law were once widespread in Africa and common among other African societies including the Beja, Beriberi and Nilotes. 
Among the Kel Ewey for example one anthropologist has noted "Tuareg men are usually 'ashamed' before women and speak in low, hushed voices before them". And men who have received the face veil are not allowed to eat or drink when women are present (Rasmussen, 2006, Susan p. 50). Men make the brideswealth payments and if the couple divorces she of course keeps it. It is not that rare to find a Tuareg woman that has been married several times or even over a dozen times.
Tuareg noble clans have a protective relationship with certain client or vassal tribes and the protection by a women is considered more important or valuable than that of a man. The Tuareg are clan-based matrifocal societies as were most other of the original Berbers such as the Kanuri, also known as the Beri-beri. An early writer says of them "the Kanuri Berbers of Bornu still live under the matriarchal system" (Randall-MacIver, David and Wilkin, Anthony, 1901, p. 5). The Shluh Berbers otherwise known as the Masmuda were similarly matrilineal in their focus and inheritance. However, northern coastal based Berberphones that share much in common biologically and culturally with their Euro-Mediterranean and Near Eastern neighbors, like the modern Kabyles remain the most patriarchal people in Africa. They are patrilocal and patrilineal probably preserving some of the old Indo-European views of women. Unlike the other Africans just mentioned in traditional Kabyle culture the girl goes to live with the husband's family (Wysner, Glora, 2013, numberless pages).
Traditionally Kabyle woman could not inherit property, and the society was characterized by extreme male domination ( Knauss, Peter R., 1987, p. 6). This type of patriarchy though traditional, is very old and very real in the Kabyle region and first mentioned in the 4th century. It is perhaps a legacy - like their biological inheritance - of the Germanic tribes, Vandals, Lombards and the Byzantines that settled the area. 
But, whatever it is - it's not African! : )

An older interpretation of the Amazons of Valencia refers this time to "Turkish darts" and 200 princesses.

"Upon the third day after the Cid departed this life, the king Bucar landed his forces in the port of Valencia – an immense host of Moors and Africans- so great as to astound all the beholders. There were with him six and thirty kings and a black queen of the Moors , who led an amazonian band of 200 princesses, each of them as black as herself, all naked to their waists, with their hair covered with red wool and bearing  arrows amd Turkish darts in their hands. These amazons appeared in the field, in fulfilment of a certain vow, and to perform a pilgrimage pleasing to their propehet. And the king Bucar ordered his tents to be pitched round about the city. And they numbered 15,000 tents; and he commanded the black queen's band to form the vanguard as close as possible to the city gates. The Court magazine and belle assemblée and monthly critic and Museum  Number 103, 

      The second major misinterpretation in Messier's passage, this time having a slightly comical ring to it (considering the status of women in Turkish culture in that time), is the assertion that a “Turkish woman” archer somehow gained control over a band of big, black “Libyan” and matrifocal women, i.e. Amazons. As Carol Lefleur states, their leader was in fact not Turkish but a “Tuarek leader, Nugaymath al-Tarqiyya ( the star of the Tuareg archers)' in Arabic, who led an Almoravid, i.e. Tuareg siege of Valencia" ( See  Carolyn Fluehr-Lobbans, "Nubian Queens in the Nile Valley and Afro-Asiatic Cultural History", Ninth International Conference of Nubian Studies, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA.)Tuareg women archers article link
    But no matter, Mr. Messier, the author in fact doesn't mention much about the Tuareg in his book which happens to be all about Almoravids; i.e. the Lamtuna and their related Tuareg kinsmen. He probably had no reason to comment on the irony, or strangeness rather, of the statement he cites from another author, L. P. Harvey who apparently wrote - “I therefore think that King Bucar had a group of Touregs in his army” (Messier, R., 2010, p. 213).
      But yes, we can all surmise and in fact its been documented that Abu Bukari b. Umari, the Lamtuna Tuareg (Gazula on his mother's side) had his own veiled Lamtuna and Gazula people in his Almoravid army. And yes, they were for the most part what is called "negro" in Spanish - that is to say "black" or very near it.  I surmise L.P. Harvey's problem is that he didn't know the Almoravids were primarily the Tuareg i.e. the Iwellemeden ("Lamtuna") Tuareg or veiled Berbers and their brethren, so he assumes Alphonso was wrongly misled into thinking they are women.





Kouba from the Almoravid period in Morocco.

     Lastly, the idea that the Moorish band were mistaken for black women because the Tuareg used indigo that smears and makes them look black is another way to avoid the obvious fact that the women described as black were Tuareg. Apparently Norris in any case written that the women had "shaven heads" except for hair that was  “tied in a topknot”.
     Luis del Marmol y Carvajal, 1520A.D. a 16th century Spanish traveler and chronicler from Granada speaking on the origins in the Horn of Africa of the five major Berber confederations he calls "Masmuda", "Sanhaja", "Gomara", "Zanata" and "Hawara" stated,These five peoples first populated eastern Berberia, and afterward spilled over into different habitations, making themselves lords of most of Africa. They were collectively called African Berbers, because they first lived in Berberia.”
He was repeating what earlier Arabic sources had said. Berberia is the region located in the area now called Somalia by the Arabic writers like Ibn Battuta, and before that by the Greeks and Romans. Thus as Ramzi Rouighi has said,  “Clearly, for six centuries Greeks and Romans consistently and regularly described a Barbaria on the east coast of Africa” (R. Rouighi, 2011, p. 71). Veiled Berbers were said to have lived in Zayla near Berbera Port. The pre-Islamic Arabians called the area Barbar and its people al-Barbar (Baadj, Amar S., 2015, p. 11).
    This is how the origin of the Berbers was commonly conceived of until the beginning of the European colonial era. That they were still considered a people of East African origins by 16th century travelers from Granada as having eastern African or Eritrean origins - as in the time of Josephus of the first century -is telling and significant.
    Today some specialists seem oblivious to the fact that this eastern Berber region existed. And, when they acknowledge it they claim it had no relation to the Berbers of the Western regions the Arabs called al-Maghreb.


{I respectfully dedicate this blogpost to my African ancestors as well as to the native "Blackfoot" ancestors who according to an aunt originated in South Carolina among the people that were once reported in newspaper articles to actually have been a combination of "Moorish" slaves, Indians and Portuguese.
    As well I dedicate this to my European ancestors...** }


     
      Today a variety of observers from geneticists to historians assume a European-affiliation and in particular a non-black origin of the ancient peoples called "Berbers".  A modern author writing on the Berber nationalist movement has said, “Among the Ishelhin speakers of the Tashelhit dialect in southwestern Morocco (the Souss region) as well as in the southeast, 'Amazigh' is both a literary archaism and a term denoting “white or “true” Berbers” as distinguished from the black-skinned Berberophones of the region” (Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce, 2011, p. 212).
     By Berberophones we can assume the author Maddy-Weitzman is referring to the slave descended Gnawa or the Haratin.  By "white" it is not known whether he means fair-skinned Berbers of modern Morocco or the dark brown and near black Berbers there and in the Maghreb who have traditionally called themselves by the word “bidan” (translated literally as “white” but having more of a cultural meaning than anything else).  But it is clear from the cover of his book, The Berber Identity Movement and the Challenge to North African States, that the author considers modern Berbers that look more like Europeans to be the “true” Berbers.   


BERBERS OF THE SOUS VALLEY - Described by Guiseppe Sergi  as of "very dark complexion", (see his book The Mediterranean Race) they along with the Berbers of the Wadi Regh and Nafzawa are among the Berbers anthropologists and historians are now trying to claim were descendants of slaves even though the Mauri even north of these regions since ancient times have been called "black as night". The Sous Valley in particular was settled by Masmuda. Even if they have absorbed sub-Saharan slaves, if anything they are probably a lot lighter than they were in the time of the Byzantines! 
      As we have shown in this blogspot, such people  now common to the Mediterranean coasts of North Africa in general are greatly modified both biologically and culturally and could hardly be the best representatives of the early Berbers in the same regions once referred to in Arab, Byzantine and Roman sources as the "five nations of Sabaeans" and Himyarites, or as Mauri, Numidians, Levathes, Indi, Gaitules, etc.
      Nor are the present fair-skinned peoples along the coast the best biological or cultural representatives of the people referred to as the 2nd race” of Berbers – the latter being as we have seen the veiled Tamashek or Tuareg*, i.e. “Mazikes” and their vassal castes composed mainly of Songhai or Soninke, Zaghai or Ahel Gara (Jarawa). (See link for more on the Gara).From Proto-Berbers to Moors Part I
      A thousand years ago the Masmuda were the Berber population of the Moroccan coast whose largest branch was called Ghomara or Gumari. As Hsain Ilahiane puts it in his Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Amazighen) , "Masmuda branches and subgroups occupied the major parts of Morocco: the Ghommara all over the Rif as far as the straits and southward into the plains by the Abu Ragrag and Sabou rivers..." (2006, p. 91). The Barghawata or Berghawata of the Atlantic coast of Morocco between Sale and Safi were also Masmuda while others believe they were Zanata (Naylor, p., 2009, 272, fn. 2). It was previous to and during the time of the 12th century Masmuda-led Almohade invasions and empire of southern Europe and North Africa that observers writing in Arabic referred to the Masmuda as “black-skinned” (Lewis, Bernard, 1974, p. 217) and as “black Africans” . Yet, today most inhabitants of the Rif in Morocco calling themselves Masmuda and Ghomara are as fair as Europeans and sometimes even north European populations.




In Majorca during the reign of the Almohad Masmuda Berbers a "Moor" falls victim to soldiers of the King of Aragon on the last day of the Christian year  1229. As stated by Amar Baadj, "Majorca would remain under Almohad control until its conquest by James I of Aragon, when it passed out of Muslim hands forever."  (See Saladin the Almohads and the Banu Ghaniya p. 161).
Though it may be true that many of the black Moroccans of today are not Berbers there are many still near black Moroccans who in fact represent the black-skinned peoples once designated Berbers and “Mauri” right up until the 15 and 16th centuries.
    It is interesting and fascinating that the West's academics are not curious about what happened to these “black” Africans of the Maghreb i.e. the Berbers, so vividly described by early authors with words and in terms that could not be confused with the "swarthiness" of modern Europeans or Mediterraneans.
    What happened to those "Moors" of the Riff mountains of Tangiers -  horse-riding wearers of loin-cloths who St. Isidore of Seville told us were "black as night" and the 8th century Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 claimed were of a color so horrifying that it scared away the horses of their enemies. What happened to the javelin-throwing "Ethiopians" called  "Mauri Mazazeces" and "Mazices" in Tripolitania of the Byzantine writers whose name has only in the 20th century been adopted by all Berber-speakers.
      Perhaps, some believe they'd be better off not knowing, but that is what this post is attempting to address.


The So-Called Blackamoor vs Moor Divide

     In his book Iberia published in 1968, James Michener spouted the prevalent postcolonial perspective that “the word blackamoor was invented to describe Negroes; the great bulk of the Moors must have been white men tanned by the sun, like Arabs” (Michener, J.,  Iberia, 1968, p. 163).
    In fact the name blackamoor in Western Europe appears to have been applied not just to anybody black as a Moor, but to anyone thought to be descended from one that wasn't necessarily black in color.  The name was frequently used for European individuals who were considered of black African, i.e. Moorish in “blood” or origin, but not Muslim.  Thus, in 1945 Austrian author and composer Max Graf quotes novelist Heinrich Laube who described fellow Austrian Johann Strauss Senior (famous like his sons for his Waltzes) upon seeing him for the first time.  He wrote of him as ”black as a Moor with curly hair, the typical King of the Blackamoors” (Graf, Max, 2015).
     Such descriptions contradict the view promoted by some that a Moor usually referred to any Muslim from Spain or North Africa and that a "Blackemore" was a black Muslim. They suggest rather that it signified any man that showed descendancy from a Moor, i.e. black man. Witness the description of Strauss by Laube. “The man is completely black like a Moor, the hair frizzy, the mouth melodious.  One has only to regret that he has a white face... ” he adds, otherwise he would look like Balthasar(Lang, Zoe, 2014, p. 115).  Laube even goes so far as to ascribe the music of Strauss to “Africanly hot-bloodedness” saying he conducted a dance “in an African manner”.
     He clearly saw Strauss as a fair-skinned descendant of  “black Africans” as he was consistent in comparing his features to them (Lang, Zoe A.,  2014, p. 116).
    Strauss had according to the same author a brother who was olive-skinned and one ivory-skinned with jet black hair.  Strauss's grandmother was born in Spain, but we can surmise that in his day one had to be darker than “olive-skinned” to be likened to Moors.  Similarly, the pianist and composer Hadyn was described by a Prince Esterhazy (a Hungarian nobleman he worked for) as a “fine blackamoor” (Stapert, C., 2014, p. 40) and even as a “blacky” according to one translation. Such instances of the use of blackamoor seem to convey more of a meaning of being black like a Moor as put forth by J.A. Rogers, rather than a black Muslim, and like the word Moor, had the sense of being either a  “black man”, or descended from one.  Like Strauss, Beethoven was also called a "Moor" and "a black Spaniard" because of his dark skin and "flat" "thick nose" possession of of other traits described in his time by other Europeans as “Negroid” and "resembling a mulatto"– whether one likes it, or not.


An early depiction of  a youthful Beethoven who was apparently referred to in his time as "the black Spaniard of Bonn". This is one of a number of early portraits depicting him looking rather mulatto-ish.    

   On the other hand the phrase "white Moor" in Europe seems to have been used for Muslims who were not typically Moorish in complexion.
       A diverse array of scholars have become unnecessarily deluded over the usage of the word Moor and the appearance of the early Berbers in ancient times.  In her article “Delicious Traffick': Alterity and Exchange on Early Modern stages” an Ania Loomba notes that Shakespeare used the word simultaneously with Negro in texts like the Merchant of Venice. According to Loomba “The Spanish derived the word 'moro' from the Latin 'maurus' which in turn came from the Greek 'mavros' meaning black...”  Then she makes the point that  “they used it to designate their conquerors who were not black at all but a mixture of Arab and Berber Muslims” (Loomba, A., 2000, p. 210).
    Thus, she is another one of the many scholars curiously supposing the two people, which as we have shown, once epitomized blackness to be “not black at all”.  Of course one must wonder what “not black at all” may mean for this modern professor of post-colonial studies. One doesn't know whether to understand her use of the word black in a literal sense or in a cultural sense.  But, as we have seen from references on this blog the complexion of the earliest Berber and Arab Muslims was most certainly the reason Moors were characteristically depicted as black. Both populations, but especially the former, were part and parcel of the peoples considered black in Africa by outsiders up until the 15th century.
     But, at least Professor Loomba acknowledges where the word “Moor” came from. There are many specialists in ancient history that don't even know or admit to the original meaning and use of the word. The question then arises as to why so many have been led to make assumptions about early documented inhabitants of the world they've evidently not done much learning about.
      As we have shown these views were largely influenced by the present day demographic situation of North Africa and the Middle East, as well as a little bit of wishful thinking on the part of historians.  It was the wont or desire of certain colonial and some post-colonial era scholars to make the people there into the unmodified descendants of palaeolithic European populations, i.e. the “Mediterranean race” of Gabriel Camps and other anthropologists.
     The people designated in North Africa “Berbers” in the early periods were explicitly referred to in almost all sources as black-skinned. This includes not only Latin and later European texts, but early sources of the Arab-speaking Middle Eastern and Central Asian world. There was certainly no tribe of fair-skinned Moors/Berbers that is spoken about in early histories.  And, in actuality the people who have used the term Berber or “Beriberi” for themselves were and are still for the most part black Africans. Thus, it should not be surprising that certain individuals claiming Berber nationality and that they speak for modern Berbers will comment that they have actually never used the word for themselves and that it is in fact a term invented for them by others.
     And essentially they are right. The word Berber obviously is and was originally used by and for the Zaghawa-related and then Tuareg-related people who in North Africa have since mixed with North African Vandals, Lombards, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Normans, Franks, Syrians, Arabians, Genoans, Andalusians, Turks, Bosnians, Persians and numerous renegade European converts to Islam - and that's not even taking into account abundant supply of documented highly-sought-after Byzantine, Circassian and western European concubines. : )
     Studies have in fact shown that the current inhabitants of the coastal regions of North Africa as well as peninsular Arabia are genetically tied to populations of the modern Levant and Iberia. This would actually make sense since the same people that are known to have played a dominant part in populating the Levant also came to populate Spain and Portugal and have immigrated from these regions within the past several centuries into North Africa. 
One study done using both SNP and STR analysis has shown that up to 60 percent of the gene pool of modern Maghrebis is from the Levant while another 23 percent is from Iberia. The only problem with the study is that they suggest the Levant influence was due to the Phoenicians when in fact it was likely due to the influx of later peoples coming from the Levant both as slaves, concubines and later populations from Syria (not to be confused with the Sulaym-Hilal invasion) that fought against the Berbers. DNA Tribes Genetic Analysis of North African STRs
    Other genetic studies have come to nearly the same conclusion - modern Berberphones of North Africa are biologically more Near Eastern than African.

 It is clear that the so-called Berber Y haplogroup M81 or E1b1b1b  in modern Moroccan Berber-speakers is a legacy of the one-time Tuareg presence along the coasts of North Africa. It is the dominant haplogroup of the Tuareg, including those to the far south in Burkina Faso at Goram Goram and in Gosi in Mali. It is also high among the Sahrawi of Morocco who are also in large part relatively dark-skinned, but it decreases as one heads from the south to the north in Morocco.
       We have one study below - 
    "As results, a large majority of the Berber-speaking male lineages belong to the Y chromosomal E1b1b1b-M81 haplogroup. The frequency ranged from 79.1 to 98.5% in all localities sampled. Then, the E1b1b1b2-M183 was the most dominant subclade in our samples, which ranged from 65.1% to 83.1%. In contrast, the E1b1b1b1-M107 and E1b1b1b2a-M165 subclades weren’t found in our samples. Our results suggest a predominance of E1b1b1b-M81 haplogroup among Moroccan Berber-speaking male with a decreasing gradient from south to north..." (Reguig, A., 2014).

   Another paper entitled "Genome-Wide and Paternal Diversity Reveal a Recent Origin of Human Populations in North Africa" appears to get to the gist of the problem when it comes to conclusions about modern Berber origins. It supports an origination of modern Maghrebi's and Egyptians derived from a diversity of people or admixture.
    "PCA on genome-wide SNPs (Figure 4A) shows that North Africans are diverse and closer to Middle Easterners and Europeans than to Sub-Saharan Africans. Egyptians appear the closest to Middle Easterners and Europeans while South Moroccans are drawn towards Sub-Saharans. Tunisian samples (Chenini-Douiret Berbers) form an orthogonal cluster close but distinct from other North Africans which mostly appear in overlapping clusters....  
"All North Africans except Tunisians appear to be a mixture of populations related to Yoruba and Eurasians (Basque and Lebanese Christians)...
"Our results from the maternally inherited mtDNA genome [45] and the paternally inherited Y-chromosome show that both males and females in North Africa underwent a similar admixture history and both are today a mixture of African and Eurasian lineages with more affinity towards the out-of-Africa populations than to sub-Saharan Africans. We should note here that although the pattern of admixture with the surrounding regions is similar in males and females, the demographic processes or historical events driving these admixtures could have been different.'"
"Our analysis of modern North Africans shows that most populations emerged recently from admixture of Africans and Eurasians and therefore are ineffective in resolving questions about ancient human expansions." (Fadhlaoui-Zid, Karima et al., 2013) Genome Wide and Paternal Diversity Reveal Recent Origin...

Finally there is the article - "Genetic Structure of Tunisian Ethnic Groups revealed by paternal lineages" by Karima Fadhlaoui-Zid et al.
"The most common lineage was the North African haplogroup E-M81 (71%), being fixed in two Berber samples (Chenini–Douiret and Jradou), suggesting isolation and genetic drift. Differential levels of paternal gene flow from the Near East were detected in the Tunisian samples (J-M267 lineage over 30%); however, no major sub-Saharan African or European influence was found. This result contrasts with the high amount of sub-Saharan and Eurasian maternal lineages previously described in Tunisia. Overall, our results reveal a certain genetic inter-population diversity, especially among Berber groups, and sexual asymmetry, paternal lineages being mostly of autochthonous origin. "

     An example of the modern diversity in phenotypes of the inhabitants of the Chenini-Douiret region is seen below.   The people of the area are as mentioned above Berbers with differing amounts of Near Eastern genetic contribution, while other Tunisian Berbers show high levels of absorption of women from both  Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.  This means the people below that are near black in color are not black due to being sub-Saharans or "black Berbers", but remnants of the true ancient Berbers.   


CHENINI Berber woman



CHENINI "Berber" men  (with Near Eastern phenotype)




DOUIRET Berber man


A Berber couple of Chenini, Tunisia in their traditional home




Douiret  Berber man


    So what's been discovered is that the paternal African haplogroup or Y "Berber marker" M-81 ( E1b1b1b) that is dominant in the Tuareg gene pool still flourishes among males of the modern Maghreb in varying degrees. North African peoples in general however for the most part show more admixture with populations that are in a sense not indigenous to Africa, but connected to the Middle Eastern Levant like the Christian Lebanese who themselves have been linked to the Crusaders in certain other studies.      



Modern Berbers of today's Tunisia as elsewhere in the northern Maghreb reflect a biological heritage that is mixed or heterogeneous - that is to say both Berber or African and otherwise Eurasian or Near Eastern.

      We should note here that the admixture that has taken place in the North African area with the Levant reflects the various historically-documented population movements that have occurred within the last 1000 years and have made the North African landscape of peoples what it is today.

Reft of the Moors:  Ignored Documented Descriptions of the Berbers of the Maghreb



       The 12th century Itinerarium of Richard, the Lion-Heart in fact states that “Gaetulians, and Numidians, and from the scorching south, the people named Moors or Mauritanians from Mauros which means black” all made war against the crusaders under Saladin and his Kurdish troops (Vinsauf, Geoffrey, 2015,  no numbered pages). It is safe to say that since the Gaetules and Numidians both according to Leo Africanus 16th century and others were connected to the veiled ancestral Tuareg  – the “Goddala” or Joddala (modern Igdalen of Agades) and  “Lamtuna” (medieval translation of the  name of the Tuareg Iuwelimmiden or Auelimmeden) and their kin and vassals , the Moors coming from “the scorching south” in “Mauretania” mentioned in the document are not the Tuareg, but some other people.
THE "LAMTUNA" TUAREG OF TODAY

    The Lamtuna (Aeelemmiden or Ouelleminden) according to Leo Africanus along with the Lamta, Gezula, and other veiled men “came out of the desert of Numidia”. Ibn Khaldun said that in the 8th century they already had a kingdom. This kingdom, called Anbiya, had actually included the Sous region in the southern part of what is now Morocco, and stretched between Sijilmassa and Ghana. Both of the names Lamta and Lamtuna were said to have come from their light shields named for an oryx or African antelope called Lamt or El Amd. The hides of this animal were used to make their shield which were dipped for months at a time in milk to make them impervious to swords and other instruments used in battle.   
     The Tuareg clan name Imakitan is likely the same as that of the  “Micateni” of Numidia mentioned by the 1st century Diodorus in Book 26:232 (in the context of the Punic war) and perhaps the name as the Muctunia manus and also Ucutameni of other writers who later became the Iktameni or Kutama or Kitama Berbers said to belong to the either to the Sanhaja or Masmuda. But, according to Jamal Abu Nasr the Kutama of the medieval period were a sedentary branch of the Sanhaja (Abun-Nasr, Jamal, 1987, p. 60).
      In the previous blog on the Saracens we saw that Sicily was occupied by a number of these Moorish people for which reason Palermo was called the “Gate of the Blacks” (Bab es-Sudan) (Kaplan, P., 1987).  It was said that  “roughly 16,000 prisoners” were removed from Sicily by the ruler Frederick and brought to settle in Lucera, Italy.
     A specialist on the matter of “Moors” in Sicily writes as follows.


When tensions between the Christians and Muslims in Sicily in the first decades of the thirteenth century disrupted life on Frederick II's island, the emperor did what the Christian rulers of Iberia had done in the eleventh century: he removed the Muslims from his kingdom. Instead of expelling them, however, he deported them to Lucera, a town previously inhabited by Christians in Apulia, forty miles or so from the Adriatic Sea in the southern Italian peninsula. The first deportations began in the 1220s and continued for twenty years. By mid-century, Sicily's Muslim population no longer existed.  Some had fled to North Africa while the majority had been settled in Lucera and small villages in the same region.” See Sally Mckee's Review of Muslims in Medieval Italy: The Colony at Lucera by Julie Taylor” The American Historical Review, October 2004.
    Though some have taken issue with the statement that all Muslims were treated harshly by all Christian rulers, the point is that a large group of the Moors definitely ended up in Lucera and other towns in Italy. Names like  “nigri” are seen in documents with reference to those in the service of Frederick and some of the personal names mentioned in the documents suggest North African toponyms.  In 1239 Frederick ordered the formation of a brass band which was to include the “sclavis nigris”, while in a letter of 1240 two “servitelli nigri” are named – they are two youths named Musca and Marzukh.
    The name Marzukh sounds much like the name of Marzuk or Murzuk, an early and still extant town in Libya inhabited mostly by the Berbers (Tebu and Tuareg). It is likely then that many of the "Moorish" men in service to the King of Italy were simply North African Berbers or Beriberi from places like Libya, Tripolitania and the Fezzan.



Men of Murzuk in Libya belong to the populations once called Berber from their name "Beriberi".  They are called Tubu/Tibbu or Teda and may be remnants of the Tedamensii - a people of the "Ethiopians" or blacks of St. Isidore called Garamantes.  Closely related are the Goran, Daza and Zaghawa (whom were called the "Zawagha" Berbers or "Azuagha" Moors). 

Berber History and the Misinterpretation of African Color Terms


   “The tawnie Moores are divided into five severall people or tribes: the tribes called Zanhagi, Musmudi, Zeneti, Hacari, and Gumeri.” Translation of Leo Africanus 16th century categorization of the Berbers in History of Africa.



Berbers at a meet-up in southern Morocco in the Wadi Nun (Oued-Noun) region 

      For Leo Africanus “Numidia” of the 16th century was of an enormous expanse extending between the Nile and the ocean sea (Atlantic). Its major cities included Wargla ("Querqelen"), the Gharian, Ghadames, Misrata, Mesallata, Touggourt (“Tegort”), Birdeoa,  Figuig, Sidjilmasa, Ifren and Tekrur.  The Berber or mainly Tuareg people occupying the area - the Zenata, Masmuda, Megrawa, Lamtuna and Gezula are called “tawnie Moors” by Leo, or his translator while the Sudanic peoples are called the" black Moors" or “Negros”, (originating with the name “Niger”).  The word tawnie would correspond to the literally brown complexion of the Tuareg and modern Iullemidden modern Lamtuna , Zanata and other Berbers still occupying these towns.
Thus writes a colonial observer, "Tuggurt, a brown colored town, occupied by Ghuara is very like Wargla in appearance" (Pommerol, 1900, pp. 233, 241, and 245 ). Aside from the Tuareg-related groups like the Ifren and Maghrewa who settled at Wargla, the still very dark-skinned Djarawa (Ghuara) a branch of the Zanata were the largest population of the region. Previously we spoke about the Jewish heritage of many of these groups, especially the Djarawa or Garawa and their leader and prophetess "Kahina", a Queen of the Aures, and likely Garamantes of the Byzantines. See more about the Gu'ara (Garawan or Djarawa Berbers) of these ancient towns here.
The Tuareg Inaden blacksmiths caste in fact claims descent from the Jews of Wargla.
Similarly the Wangara/Garawan (Soninke) related groups further west and south had traditions of Jewish origin.  

"In today's Mauretania, endogamous groups of blacksmiths claim Jewish descent and some oral traditions maintain that it's early inhabitants, the Bafur, were Jews from Wadi Nun.... Other traditions from Mali document the prevalence of Jews in the pre-Islamic period, some claiming that Maghribi Jews from the Dra'a and the Sus regions shared with the Mande their knowledge of blacksmithing. 
The History of African Jews, one of the most understudied chapters in African history, would extend back to the days of king Solomon....
By the eighth century there were communities of Jews in most major oases on the desert edge such as Sijilmasa, Tu'at, Gurara, Ghadamis, Sus, and Wadi Nun " (Lydon, Ghislaine, 2009, p. 66).  


The African Jews referenced in this paragraph refer to the Soninke/Songhai or Zaghai or Zaghawa branch of the Berbers, i.e., the original Beri-beri as we have explained previously in our blog about the proto-Berbers.


 Men of Tamentit a town of Tu'at (Tuwat) oasis in the northern Sahara of Algeria.  The inhabitants speak the dialect of the Zenata Berber called Taznatit. Many towns in the northern Sahara were established in the 6th century AD by the Ibadi. See video on link of the Berber Berber Men of Tamentit sing  .  These people of such towns in the region of ancient Numidia are similar to the Maurusioi or Mauri Procopius, Corippus, Lucan, Isidore and other ancients frequently spoke of. They once occupied much of coastal Northwest Africa or "Mauritania" as well. : ) 


Al-Idrisi links the Bafour in fact to the Teda-Kanuri people or modern Beri-beri.  


"Al-Idrissi's testimony informs us that the Bafour spread out in the west of Mauritania, and on the Atlantic coast where they were persecuted by the Almoravids: 'To that important Bafor dispersion of the Judaized blacks of Adrar and Tagant, one must add the Bafor fraction which lives on fish on the coast...Only a small group of people from Kamnuria remain scattered between these deserts and near the coasts and living off dairy products and fish. They lead a hard and precarious life they wander in this territory. The oral tradition that presents the fisherman of the Mauritanian coast scattered between these deserts and near the coast and living off dairy products and fish, the Imraguen, Shnagla and Ouled Ahmed Dahman as descendants of the ancient Bafour, corroborates al-Idrisi's account, and observers noted that they concealed their Jewish religion" (Bruder, Edith, 2008, pp. 108-109).


IMRAGUEN - fisherman of the Mauritanian coast are thought to descend from the Bafour or "Mauri Bavares". Idrisi links them to the Kanuri peoples further East in Kanem-Bornou. "The Bornu people especially the traditional ruling class of the Kanuri, are aware of the historical roots and role played by the ancient Zaghawa in the foundations of the Kanem Empire (Arabie, B., 2012, p. ). 

      Under Arab cultural influence such people though black to westerners are those that came to describe themselves as “whites” in Africa, because of the many much darker slaves brought from further south.  However, had they meant white or fair in the European sense, the word “red” or “ahmar” would have been used as it was the term among Arabs for the complexion of people of Syrian, Persian, Byzantine, Frankish and Turkish descent. The Arabic term (biyad or abyad, etc.) which has been translated as “white” was in that day usually reserved for very dark-skinned Arabs and Africans like the Tuareg (Sanhaja) or Fulani (Woodabe), who in the late medieval period were essentially dark brown as most remain today, though lighter than other Africans.
      Africanist Bruce Hall has been one of the few to explore the modern definition of “black” and “white” in African Sahelian societies and note that the meaning of each is dissimilar to the way such terms are used in Europe and the West.  As he also has pointed out, in the Sahel the term “white” is frequently used by and for Fulani, Tuareg and the rather dark-brown Arabs (the Trarza for example). Sometimes, the Soninke Wangara and other merchants are designated “whites” in old texts as well.
     Hall at least prudently qualifies his usage of the words “race”, “black” and “white”in a footnote in the introduction of his own book, A History of Race in Muslim West Africa, 1600-1960 saying - .
    “Throughout the book I will use the term “black” ,“white” and “race” .  It will be understood, I hope, that even when not indicated by quotation marks or parentheses these terms are not meant as objective descriptors of physical or racial difference, but as social and cultural constructions” (Hall, 2011,  p. 6, fn.)
     But, another American historian Timothy Cleaveland published in the Journal of North African Studies writes in his abstract “Ahmad Baba included only one Black scholar in his biographical dictionary and instead featured nine scholars from his own ‘Berber’ patriline, including himself. The ironic characteristics of the Mi‘raj al-Su‘ud and Nayl al-Ibtihaj may best be explained by Ahmad Baba’s own ambiguous status in Timbuktu and the broader society of Islamic West Africa – as a ‘White’ Berber living in the ‘land of the Blacks’”  (Cleaveland, 2015, Abstract).
     The last statement of course implies Berbers were not “black Africans”. But, according to early observers Sanhaja and other Berbers were a people black and near black in color if not culture. What's more according to some accounts Ahmad Baba was far from being purely Sanhaja Berber and part of his ancestry was from the Sudan.  In any case, if he was “white” in the African sense that should not be confused with the modern Western one, and to say that only one scholar was black in reality has little resonance with comtemporary Western considerations of what a “black” complexion is.
     It probably would have been better to say few sub-Saharans were named by Ahmad Baba, but even that sounds inappropriate since Berbers were at some periods were recognized as much sub-Saharan as they were northern peoples. Baba was black in the western or European sense because he was Berber and secondly because his foremothers were also of  sub-Saharan origin. If he considered himself “white” it could only have been in the Arab cultural sense that is now used among the Fulani, Ibo and other groups that Western observers have customarily considered “black Africans”. A prime example of this usage is in the text of Ibn Battuta supposedly a Berber himself when he describes a group of Bardama or Tuareg women of Mali as "pure white" or of a "whiteness without admixture" (Poppenoe, Rebecca, 2004, pp. 33 and 34). Bardama is the name of the Tuareg even today. The Fulani still call the Tuareg "Burdaame", and the Soninke name for the Tuareg is Burdama (Hill, Allen G., 2012, p. 9; Jablow, Alta, 1990, p. 42).
     Some authors have also suggested that the Sanhaja refused to mix with the inhabitants of Tekrur based on the fact the latter were “blacks”.
     According to al-Maqqari, the people of the Tekrur had in fact under their king invaded the Sanhaja city of Walata or Aywalatin. But the partners of the King of Tekrur he stated were in Tlemcen, a town in Algeria. It would only be natural that the Massufa clan of the Sanhaja of Walata, today's Tuareg clan of Inusufen or Imesufa, would develop some dislike of the inhabitants of Tekrur. Thus, the whole generally agreed upon premise of why the Sanhaja Berbers despised and would not intermarry with the Africans of Tekrur is once again a case of projecting modern Maghrebi and Western anti-black views onto an historically and contextually-unrelated matter.
    Such antipathy in Africa when it has existed between peoples was mainly historically and economically-based as everywhere else in the world.  Such tensions also existed and in some places still between the lighter nomad or "red" Fulani (called Woodabe or Bororo) and other African groups.


Woodabe Fulani men looking not much different than the Tuareg in complexion and facial characteristics (derived from their ancient African ancestors) stand in front of other black Africans.  Such people were designated "red" and "white" men in Africa, before such terms came to be confused with the usages of the same terms by European colonialists for themselves. 

     On the other hand, the Tuareg who today consider themselves “playmates” of the Woodabe group of the Fulani could not have had the biological aversion towards mixing with the latter. Woodabe and Tuareg, both being so-called "red" or “white” nomads that tended to avoid intermixing with agriculturalists in various regions of Africa. "In West Africa and Sahel many African peoples place Fulani in the same category as Arabs and Tuaregs - 'red-skinned' people that have used Islam as a vehicle of conquest and rule"(Riesman, Paul and Szanton, David L., 1992, p. 12). 
The Woodabe appear to be very insular even in comparison to the Tuareg. While the latter in particular or Sanhaja as they were called have had their ages long custom of subjecting to control or enslavement the people who used the plough to till the land even if that slavery differed somewhat from both the Middle Eastern, African and Western types of chattel slavery.
    Yes, the agricultural populations tend to have blacker skin, but Tuareg who made up a great part of the Sanhaja of that period could hardly have appeared much different than what most Tuareg, Fulani and other dark-brownish sub-Saharans are today, closer to dark brown and brown-black than the sallow or yellowish brown (“light”) color now found among many of the Hoggar Tuareg or those of the Acacus region of Libya. Thus an Encyclopedia in 1911 reads rather inaccurately - "Their general color is the reddish yellow of southern Europeans, the uncovered parts of the body being, however, darker through exposure." And in direct contradistinction to modern genetic studies another recent Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z reads - "The Tuaregs are a Berber people, descendents of the Zenaga Berbers, a Caucasian people with later black African and Arabic admixtures (Minahan, James, 2003, p. 1923).
     In fact fair skin among Tuareg populations in a Mediterranean sense of "fair" is rather uncommon except for a few places. Most Tuareg are still very dark in comparison to coastal or Mediterranean Berbers. Those especially in the Ahaggar region of Algeria and Acacus region of Libya also have a more marked or noticeable amount of modern Eurasian admixture likely due to the slave trade or absorbing other northern peoples. The Tuareg of Libya are also said to have "mixed with Turks and Tartars" in African manuscripts, but those of places like Murzuk and Ghat are still rather dark. Like the Fulani, the Tuareg especially in the Acacus region of Libya may also have an Eurasian component, but one that predates the spread of late bronze age Europeans in Europe.


Tuareg of Libya at a festival of Ghat


A Tuareg girl of Libya

    The identification with the Berbers or Tuareg with the Philistines or (pilishtim) was actually commonplace in Midieval Muslim Spain. In fact in many Jewish texts from Spain the word Berber is replaced by Pilishtim (Philistim). “When the Hebrew chronicler Abraham Ibn Da'ud of Toledo (d. 1180) refers to the Berber king of Grenada Habus b. Maksan, he calls him melekh ha-pilishtim, “King of the Philistines,” and states, too, that the minister Joseph Ibn Naghrela was murdered by the Philistine, that is, Berber, chiefs (Berthelot, K., David, J. E., Hirschman,.M., 2014, p. 304).
    The fifteenth century Genoese observer Antonius Malfante wrote about the Tuareg (veiled Sanhaja) as Philistines, saying they were “fair” in comparison to the black Africans they lived amongst.  In translation they were “bianchi Africani” and “tawnie”. However, in the same century Portuguese voyager Alvise Cadamosto (d. 1483) describes the Sanhaja of Oudane in that area as “brown rather than lightish” and the Arabs themselves were also described as of  “brown complexion” (Blanchard, Ian 2005, p. 1139,  fn. 114), which would characterize the majority of both of these so-called  "white" peoples even today.

Arab girl of Ouadane (Wadan) 
ARAB GIRL OF WADAN




A recent article states, “The Tuareg had a racist contempt for the dark-skinned agriculturalists and did not see themselves as part of the same cultural universe. They saw themselves as white, though many were quite dark. Their supposed 'whiteness' made them favored by colonial administrators, but left them targeted by African nationalists.” http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v29n2p10.htm





But as we can see whiteness of the Tuareg and Fulani as with African Americans has little to do with “whiteness” of Europe or even modern coastal North Africa, but is a way to describe "black Africans". Nevertheless, many mistaken views of the Tuareg have arisen due to the presumption that modern coastal people called Berbers represent “truer” Berbers than the people that  called themselves Berbers not living near the Mediterranean coast today. Such ideas have led to interesting, but baseless genetic studies founded on unwarranted suppositions. Some of these studies for example are based on the idea that the Tuareg were descendants as the plough-using Garamantes and autocthones of North Africa or Sahara.
But, the Tuareg whose noble castes despise the plough as we have shown are direct descendants of the largely nomadic ancient Levathes Mauri still bearing their names. Among them are the modern Inusamani  (“Nasamones”), Ifran (“Yafran”) and Iforas (“Ifuraces”), Imoshagh (“Mazax” or “Mazices”) and Imakitan or (“Micateni”),  Imaqqoren (“Machruas”), and Kel Cadenit (“Silcadenit”) whom retain customs of the more nomadic and war-like ancient Libyans such as the Nasamonian practice of sleeping near ancestral tombs of their ancestors and prophesying through dreams. Al-Bekri said the Tuareg were strangers to agriculture, and even bread, living entirely off of the meat and milk of their herds. Ya'aqubi also said they had no cereal or grain.
In any case to suggest that the very warlike and predatory ancestors of the Tuareg people were the basis of agricultural Garamantes whom Herodotus said in his time had no weapons of war, is hardly warranted. In fact as has been suggested they may have been among those that contributed to its destruction.  


A Tuareg specialist from the Smithsonian institute wrote decades ago -


No Tuareg of noble birth will stoop to work of any kind and so, with the passing of the rich days of plundered caravans and towns, he is often reduced to the precarious, but always dignified, existence of an aristocratic mendicant. It is this same aristocratic outlook on life and the 'protection' they have afforded to Sahara commerce which has earned them the names of jackals, thieves and murderers, and the opprobrium of their Arab enemies.” (Holiday, Finola and Geoffrey, 1960, p. 2)


In another words, it is probable that throughout history Tuareg nobles have worked hard to get protection money from client or vassal clans, but work involving the plough, harvesting and taking care of crops was probably considered work beneath them.
The Soninke or Isuwaghen, Zuwagha or Zaghai, i.e. Zaghawa also called Wa'n'gara or Djarma Songhai may on the other hand have claim to be Garamantians and Gamphasantes. It is usually their vassal clans composed of Soninke (Garawan/Wangara) or Zaghai origin that engage in agricultural practices, rather than Tuareg nobles, along with salt and gold mining, metallurgy, masonry, music and other things the great African civilizations of the Sahel were known for. The Soninke, like the Garamantes "peoples of Djerma" were likely originally Nilo-Saharans, knowledgeable in hydraulics who once used their masonic skills to build pyramids similar to the Nilo-Saharan speakers of Meroe. The former were early on joined by the Zaghai or Zaghawa who added elements such as silversmithing, the tradition of raiding and possibly Judaism. See link
Some European colonials and modern scholars sometimes think of the Tuareg as a single cultural population, but in reality the the vassal tribes are not Tuareg by origin and originated as “clients”.  The latter are actually remnants of the “first race” or “generation” of Berbers mentioned by Ibn Khaldun, whose history has been overshadowed by the more glamorized Tuareg and their mysterious veils.
Much like the Bedja who were romanticized for their independence, seeming fearlessness, pride, ferocity and for inspiring fear in neighboring tribes and at times for being murderous ruffians, the Tuareg were rarely thought of as black Africans in the colonial period. At times they were even noted for having Nordic traits and the blondism found among some of those northern oases was eagerly pointed out.
The Tuareg were frequently engaged in murderous raids and pillaging as in Roman times, and probably as in the time of Moses for that matter. Many early explorers had been killed venturing into their land, so there was a sort of love hate relationship that developed at least in accounts of the Tuareg.  But in the end a kind of adoration had won out and even today they are probably one of the big attractions of Africa.
  A colonialist named Rodd wrote "they are more like Nordic folk in that their limbs and backs are smooth until exerted, when the muscles stand up hard and tough" (whatever that means)....further down he says, "Of all their characteristics the one I have most vividly in mind is their grace of carriage.  The men are born to walk and move as kings, they stride along swiftly and easily, like Princes of the Earth, fearing no man , cringing before none, and consciously superior to other people" (Clark, Thurston, 2016, numberless pages) And so on and so on.
The author of who cites this passage also speaks of Henry Duveyrier the young Frenchman who lived with the Tuareg nine months.  
"The first and most important proponent of the second part of the schizophrenic European myth depicting the Tuareg as noble and brave warriors, a beautiful and hospitable people was Henri Duveyrier. In his book the Tuareg of the North, Duveyrier spoke of the Tuareg's grace, chivalry, and respect for their women. He even found beauty in their war charge:
 'To see a Tuareg war charge is to feel complete and utter fear creep through one's body. Great serried squadrons of tall, blue-veiled men, mounted on fast white camels crashing forward like a vast roller. The shrill cries of the warriors, the thrilling sound of the javelins flashing through the air, and the long lugubrious beat of the tobol [drum] combine to make it one of the most stunning spectacles to be seen on any battlefield...."


  Vassal clans of the Tuareg who were very likely bringers of the name Berber to the Sudan have come to be named in recent times “black Tamashek”.  But, as Bruce Hall puts it, “One suspects however, that the use of the term for ‘Blacks’ to refer to low-status members of Tuareg society is, like the Moors, a largely recent development.” (Hall, B.,  p. 342)
As has been discussed earlier in this blog the Tuareg still retain the names of their ancient forebearers the Romans knew and fought so often against. The origins of the Tuareg noble clans or caste is certainly with the with the nomadic Levathes (also written Laguatan or Leuathae and Ilagwathes) Mauri and Austuriani of the Byzantine era whose groups included the Iforas or Ifuraces or "Frexus" (Mattingly, D. J.,  p. 93- 100 ) (See earlier blogposts), who (as also mentioned previously in our blog) wore the same wrist knives and long robes and used the camel more than the horse in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.
Nasamone, Marmarica and Syrtica (Sidrata) were used as a synonyms for the Laguatan (Mattingly,  p. 101). The Tuareg clan of Inusamani preserve the old ethnonym of the Nasamones and their culture. According to the folk historian Finola Holiday Tuareg still practice the ancient Nasamonian customs.
There are several references in early history, reasonably attributed to the Tuareg. Herodotus records a party of Nasamons, a Libyan tribe, setting out across the desert and reaching the river Niger. There is evidence which relates certain customs of this tribe - particularly the method of preparing flour and the practice of questioning the dead to obtain intelligence of the future - to the Tuareg of today” (Holiday, Finola, op. Cit, p.  ).
And, it is also highly unlikely that such people as the Nasamones, Ifuraces, Mezikes, Micateni and Astrikes and the like were perennial inhabitants of North Africa directly descended from its palaeolithic inhabitants. Modern Tuareg are biologically or genetically closest to the Beja according to some studies and to some extent other Ethiopians rather than modern North Africans that are considered Berbers today. Thus Cavalli-Sforza says the genetic relationship between Beja and Tuareg "demands explanation" and he asserts, "The Tuareg do not belong to the Berber North African group, but to that of the Ethiopians..." (Cavalli-Sforza, Luca et. al, 1994, p. 173). 
This is not surprising since they are in part derived from the Zaghawa and both share Tuareg and Beja share unique customs. But early observers also noted strong cultural links of the Tuareg and Beja to the ancient Sabean or Ethiopic peoples even further east in Horn and in the Yemen, which may as also mentioned previously, explain the seeming links to the Sabaean and Phoenician alphabet of their Tifinagh script. The tomb types associated with the Tuareg are similar to a type called argem or rigem found there in the Horn and in the early Afro-Tihama culture of Arabia. (Magee, P., 2014, p. 143)
One recent article summarizing a study of Tuareg genes mentions,


The fact that the genetic distances between the Tuareg and Berber/North-western Africans were larger than that between the Tuareg and Beja, provides a picture of a common origin and population separation at some point more than 5000 years ago. Interestingly, both people are also pastoralist and speak Afro-Asiatic languages, even if the Beja language (Bedawi), with its  four dialects, belongs to the Cushitic branch, whereas Tamasheq belongs to the Berber branch" (Pereira, Luisa et al., 2010, Introduction).
But modern Northwest Africans are not a homogeneous unit and the Berber dialects probably even less so.  Those Berberophone groups obviously more European and Near Eastern than African are only tangentially connected to the Berber of Andalusia and North Africa mentioned in the medieval Arabic texts. Coastal North Africans should not be viewed as a group evolved exclusively from the Berbers of the medieval or ancient period or neolithic periods. And they are definitely not evolved from the ancient inhabitants of the Mediterranean.  Neither the European nor the African side of the Mediterranean coast today has much in common cranially or osteologically with neolithic population of the Mediterranean in North Africa (Brace, Loring,  2005, See Loring Brace's article here ). The latter have more in common with the Eritrean peoples like the Somali and makers of the protohistoric Capsian culture.
As well the neolithic and bronze age physical remains and material culture of the Maghreb and Saharan rock art show connections with modern east Africans and people like the nomad Bororo (Woodabe Fulani).
The conclusion should be that modern North-western coastal Africans are related to early Berber populations to the extent they are biologically-related to people like the Tuareg and Zaghawa or Zaghai who were in fact the majority of Berbers spoken of in early Arab texts.   It would be logical to conclude this as several fair-skinned coastal Berber groups like the Ghomara of the Riff in northern Morocco claim descent from people who were just several centuries ago or until the 14th century designated or described as “blacks” in the same region. Abu Shama was one of the last writers to  describe them as “blacks” in his 13th century Kitab al- Ravdatayn according to Bernard Lewis's, Islam Religion and Society ( Lewis, B., 1974, p. 217). But, Leo Africanus of the 16th century even links these “Gumeri” to the Bardoa of Libya a town occupied by in the present day by Tibu and Tuareg populations.  On the basis of what was written by Luis del Marmol-Carvajal he considers them one of the Berber peoples and refers to them as the Bardaei or Berdoa - a name still preserved in the Bardai oasis of Tibesti in Libya (Keane, A., p. 1883, p. 409).  The Grenada born Luis del Marmol Carvajal mentions the Bardoa as one of the five great sections of the Berbers along with the Targa (Tuareg), Lamta, Sanhaja and Guenziga (from which comes the name Gonzaga).
The “Azuagues”, are whom Marmol speaks of as the Berbers of the vicinity of Bougie or Beja in Kabylia.
The Libyan Berdoa or Bardai were considered to have been the Tubu or northern Tubu by some and Tuareg by others (Barth, H., 1862, p. LXVII). Heinrich Barth believed it was a mistake to connect the Tubu with the Birdeoa. The former were a group affiliated with the modern Zaghawa or “Azuagha” the one time “Moors” whom Marmol-Carvajal says were descendants of the peoples that had founded Carthage. 
In recent times they have been characteristically linked to either a “Berber” or “Negro” ethnicity depending on the writer.  Arthur Keane comments that Leo Africanus “transfers to the Berber (Tuareg) connexion the Gumeri and the Bardaei, who are really Tubus of the Bardai oasis” (Kean, 1894, p. 225).  Referring to the Tubus elsewhere he writes “this interesting if somewhat troublesome nomadic race... appears to occupy a dubious ethnological position between surrounding Hamitic and negro people” (Keane, 1883, p. 409).
   
Women of the Zaghawa or "Azawagh"  of Chad were part of the original ancient Berber population that were considered mixed "hamitic "  and Negro" populations by colonialists. 
    But, instead of admitting the obvious role of amalgamation or absorption in the formation of modern Berbers (the process of black African Berber men absorbing foreign and obviously not very black women), such information has been ignored since the late 20th century or at least remained relatively obscure, and various orientalist historians have needlessly fabricated myths of a European origin of Berbers (like the early Ghomara or “Gumeri” of the Masmuda) that continue to influence modern historians and anthropologists alike.  The case of the Ghomara or Gumeri of Leo Africanus who were in fact - at the time of the descriptions of writers Abu Shama and Nasir Khusrau  - the largest branch of the black Masmuda of  Mauretania Tingintana of a thousand years ago are a good example of what has happened to the Berbers in histori - and to the early Arabians.
Some authors had even come to suggest an Irish or Celtic origin for these now whitish Ghomara and other Berbers along the coast. In an article submitted to the Royal Society of Canada, a Reverend Dr. Campbell wrote “The Berber languages are Celtic. Pegot Ogier and other French writers agree that the Guanches are Berbers, and also that they may be put down as exclusively of Celtic origin. … A few paragraphs later he writes “The Cymric element was strong in the Berber stock”,  and  goes on to talk about the fine “Roman” looks of the present Shilluh (Shleuh) of Zimurh (Zamor).
But, making people that are today more biologically European than Berber into “the true Berbers” and all of the darker Berbers into just "Berberophones" and then presuming the first to be  indigenous to North Africa is the reason the origin of “the Berbers” has remained such an enigma.   
In fact linguist Alexander Militarev in his article "Tamaraq Tuareg in the Canary Islands" (1988) has shown that the Haggar or Hawara Tuareg probably brought their Berber script to the Canary Isles possibly around the 7th century AD (Militarev, Alexander, 1988, pp. 195 to 209). There are strong "Ahaggarisms" in the Gaunche language because of it. Nevertheless, the modern Gaunches themselves of course have little to do with the Tuareg. Tuareg Influence in the Canary Isles


More Scholarly Misrepresentation of Africa's Past – Among Other Things

       The variety of shades among black Africans was recognized by Arabic and African observers. Similarly, European writers addressed the difference between the shades of fairness among Europeans. The noted American inventor and founding father (for the U.S.) Benjamin Franklin distinguished a variety of tones among the incoming early European immigrants to the American colonies. It has often been noted that Europeans even used such terms as black for individuals among them that were darker than the norm. A similar thing was done among black Africans and affiliated peoples in Arabia. The term “white” has traditionally been used for certain black Arab or African people and African Americans of the same complexion. It has also been the case for a long time that  “red” or “white” was in different areas used for black Africans for West African and East African black populations that are not absolutely black as well, but that is not to be mistaken for the Arabic use of the term “red” for European or other fair-skinned people.  As mentioned previously in this blog certain Arab-speaking societies, when “referring to skin, an Arabic speaker may use [abyad] (“white”) as a euphemism for [aswad] (“black”)” (Allam, J., 2000, p. 78).  As well “the word meaning white can be used to describe the color of coal…” (Boullata, Kamal, 2000, p. 302) .
    This usage was customary for complexion where a black complexion with exceptionally clear or shining caste could be described as “abyad” and that of black buckwheat as found among many Sahelian Africans, Fulani, Tuareg, Trarza etc. could be expressed as abyad or bidan.  It finally came to take on a cultural significance as well since many of the latter had obtained higher status in the Sahel and Sudan.
    A fair skin as is characteristic of modern coastal Berbers was described as “red” under Arab influence.
    Unfortunately, a number of academics having failed to discern or discriminate between the Arabic influenced uses of such words in Africa and as a result many of the people, i.e. Fulani, Tuareg, Wangara, or medieval Berbers often called “whites” in medieval Arabic writings have been wrongly interpreted as being swarthy Mediterranean people. Meanwhile, the references to the Berbers and Moors being black or even black as night and ink or pitch black have been considered either anomalies or exaggerations.
    In truth no one in the past would have logically compared the difference in tone that existed between the color of early Berbers of the medieval period with that of a modern southern and northern European as is done today. In America as well swarthy Europeans were not confounded with early Berbers. Benjamin Franklin an English man in American colonies stated the following:
Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion... in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light to the Eyes of Inhabitants in Mars or Venus, why should we in the Sight of Superior Beings, darken its People? Why increase the sons of Africa by planting them in America where we have so fair an Opportunity by excluding all blacks and tawnies, of increasing the lovely White and Red?. ” Benjamin Franklin English immigrant in America. 1770s.
     Fortunately the elitist and apparently very white English dained to let in the “swarthy” Germans, the largest immigrant group in America into the colonies thereby becoming as strange as it may sound  “honorary whites”.
    The Berbers would never have been considered swarthy whites in the U.S. because in that day for Europeans and peoples of the Middle East, a Berber was still a “black” man “of the race of Ham”.  He could not have been any more light in tone than the average modern African American, another people mostly black “with some pale among them” but frequently deemed “white” in Africa today. In fact Berber was another designation for black Africans brought to America as far as early European Americans were concerned, and thus came about the slave law which stated “the term negro is confined to slave Africans (the ancient Berbers) ...” Section 4 Negro Law of South Carolina.
       Of course at that time no American academic or European colonialist had yet ventured to Africa where they could designate and qualify all the biological descendants of Europeans and Eurasians in North Africa “true Berbers” and categorize all the lesser modified descendants of  Berbers in North and inner Africa the fake ones or (more usually) descendants of slaves. ; )
     Ignorance of the Berber biological affiliations has been perpetuated in academic articles such as the well-known“Berbers and Blacks, Ibadi Slave Traffic in Eighth Century North Africa”  by E. Savage, and more recently in works like "Blacks and Slavery in Morocco" and Black Morocco by Chouki Hamel.  Such treatments have tended to reinforce the European colonial notion that that there has always been a perennial separation in the region of Maghreb with respect to color and culture and particularly between presumed Berbers of Eurasiatic or “Caucasoid” origin and so-called black Africans.
     Something of course similar has been done with ancient Egypt, where Egyptians are perceived as some “darkened white” type invaded at various times by black and of course less civilized Nubians, who trickled in over course of time and modified the population in the south of a presumed “caucasoid” Egypt.
     Strangely enough, Savage in his article quotes from another scholar about the numerous Berber women taken as slaves to Iraq mentioned by Ibn Butlan. He wrote that the demand “for North African slaves lay primarily in the east where they were sold for different places in the markets of the central Islamic lands. The best known were the female slaves, qayna, who entertained the caliphs themselves. Though the majority of slaves was barely, noticed by history, an eleventh century writer, Ibn Butlan wrote about the singers that the ideal slave was a Berber woman...” because they were given training in music and literature both in Mecca and Medina before being sent off to Iraq. Savage goes on to say "they were highly regarded for housework, sexual relations and childrearing" while Black women were seen as docile, and good wet nurses. Berbers and Blacks: Ibadi Slave Traffic in 8th Century North Africa
    Perhaps Savage hadn't seen the full text of this 11th century Iraqi doctor, Ibn Butlan on the Berber women. Whatever the case, he hadn't cited the rest of what the text asserted concerning Berber woman as ideal concubine or he may not have chosen to name his paper Berbers and Blacks. He would have noticed that Ibn Butlan also flat out states in the same paragraph that these North African Berber women from the Sanhaja, Masmuda and Kutama confederations were “mostly black” with some paler ones among them. ; )
     And this as we have said would make them in fact darker than Beja women of Nubia whom the same Ibn Butlan describes as “golden” in complexion.


Berber woman of northern Maghreb
    
As already mentioned in this blogspot (and more than once) this description of the Berbers including the Masmuda, Sanhaja and Kutama of the Maghreb was reiterated by numerous later observers from Syria and Persia up until the 14th century. The list of  individuals from the Near East and Central Asia that described the Berbers' blackness also includes Ibn Kathir of Mamluk, Syria, the Persian Ibn Qutayba (9th c.),  Syrian Abu Shama of Damascus, Nasir Khusrau of Persia, Ibn Nadim, and Ibn Rakik to name just a few. Not to mention the earlier Byzantines like Corippus and Procopius.
 Nadim of Baghdad writing in the 10th century wrote of the Zanj, Nubians, and Berbers as blacks a few years before Ibn Butlan also from Iraq spoke of the Zanj, Habesha, and women of the major Berber tribes of Sanhaja, Kutama and Masmuda as black.
    Were the two men not talking of the same Berber people?
     Although Ibn Butlan explicitly mentions the Berber concubines as women from the Maghreb most modern historians have tried to deny the link between Berber confederations of the Maghreb and those of east Africa and Nubia. Thus in their minds all the other comments on the Berbers being black must be references to those in Berberia, i.e. Somaliland ( Hamel, C., 2014 )
     Hamel's book Black Morocco offers unfortunately the usual example of modern views of early Berbers in Africa. The author evidently imagines real Berbers were always some enigmatic fair-skinned African even separate from modern Tuareg, whom he evidently prefers to think of as “Berber-speaking” rather than Berbers.  Meanwhile the only blacks in North Africa are relegated to subordinate status and are supposedly represented by the Haratin and various sub-Saharan folk he calls  “blacks”.  Even, Estebanico called “the Moor” and “the black” who may very well have been an Arab - and a pure one at that (being that his name means "little Stephen" or Esteban) is also implied as being a slave of the Berbers - apparently before he became a Portuguese slave. : (
     Ironically, in support of this mindset he mentions the story of a legendary Masmuda figure, a “Shaykh of the Shaykhs”in the Maghreb, called Abu Yi'zza or Moulay Bouazza, who was a Sufi spiritual leader and healer that once pretended to be a female slave to help out a friend.
     Abu Yi'zza was actually a member of the Haskura who were originally a clan of the Sanhaja. The latter had moved into the Atlas mountains and had been absorbed into the Masmuda people by the Almohad period (2002, Powers, David S., p. 92).
     We see in Hamel's book, Black Morocco, the following:
       “It is interesting to note that the Sufi figure named Abu Yi'zza (d. 1177) mentioned in this anecdote, who was from the Masmuda Berber, had a companion who just got married.  This companion informed Abu Yi'zza that his wife asked him for a female slave, but he did not have the means to get her one.  Abu Yi'zza proposed to him that he could take the place of the female slave.  He thought that he could easily pass for a female slave when dressed up like a woman, because he was black and had no facial hair.
     Hamel commenting on this writes,“What is revealing in this story is the assumption among the Masmuda Berber that slavery was associated with black people.  But at the same time the fact that he was an important Sufi figure suggests the opposite as well as spiritual mobility....”
      For whatever reason or perhaps because Berbers had slaves from the Sudan, Hamel then goes on to surmise that “Berber racial attitudes toward black people could have dated back to before the Arab conquest, when the Berbers of Sanhaja and Masmuda were forced to leave their homeland because of external invasions”.
    Of course, Hamel never exposes what he thinks the Sanhaja and Masmuda people were in terms of complexion. I'm not certain but perhaps for Hamel as with many North Africans, people that are black-complexioned are only black when found in a sub-Saharan African context or as slaves. He failed to see the irony of using the term blacks for people the Berbers despised in contradistinction to “the Berbers” who themselves were if we are to believe the historians of that time  “black-skinned” Africans, albeit of a different culture and origin.
     But, the point is the term blacks obviously should have been put into context. Moulay Bouazza is claimed to have had “black skin” in the story. He was thus the color of the Masmuda Berbers he came from. However,  the people who have passed down the story of Moulay Bouazza (Abu Yi'zza) appear for the most part ignorant of this fact.
     Ibn Butlan who lived in the same period of Abu Yi'zza was referencing Abu Yi'zzas people when he spoke of the Berber women being “mostly black”, but for a few – was he not. Those “whose father is Sanhaja and whose origin is Masmuda” and who epitomized “racial excellence”. The Masmuda that Abu Shama referred to as black-skinned Africans were obviously Abu Yi'zza's people.  But let's see.  What would qualify this Sufi Abu Yi'zza to be called“black-skinned” in tradition?  Could it be because he had pretended to be a slave, or was it maybe because he was a Masmuda, and Sanhaja Berber?  Or could it be the 20,000 Masmuda Berbers in the Fatimid army that Nasir Khusraw mentioned and referred to as “black Africans” were in actuality just slaves of the Masmuda?!.  Hmmmm ...let us think about this one.
     Granted, the “racism” of  Masmuda and other Berbers or Sanhaja towards the inhabitants of the Sudan probably existed, but it wasn't based on the fact they were black - any more than a Somali or Tibu despised black Africans they enslaved because of their skin color.  Of course the cultural difference would have been the major factor, but if one is to use the phrase black African in interpreting disputes between blacks in Africa, an author should have to qualify why one group should be considered black African and the other not.
    Again, the discrimination or dislike in West Africa between nomadic Peul or Woodabe Fulani and other blacks would not be analagous or comparable to the kind of color prejudice that exists now between peoples in places like southern Europe or in the Moroccan rhetoric of anti-blackness.  For, in fact the latter type of racism was directly the outcome of non-black and truly “white-skinned” people in the western sense - Europeans, Andalusians (Hispano-Muslims included) and Middle Eastern peoples - coming in contact with customarily dark brown and black-complexioned Berbers and Arabs who had first established themselves as aggressors and colonizers, rather than conquered people.
   Referring to the case of Abu Yi'zza Hamel asserts -
     “This racist anecdote from the Masmuda Berbers is not an isolated example; we find this attitude among other Berber scholars who thought that biological intermixing with blacks would contaminate their lineage.  For this reason, the Aqit, an important Sanhaja family, migrated from Masina (presently in Mali), an area whose inhabitants were mainly black Fulani, to Walata (or Biru, presently in Mauritania.' Seventeenth-century Timbuktu historian Abd ar Rahman as Sa'di reported:  I heard the great scholar jurist Ahmad Baba […] saying that it was only hatred for the Fulani living in his neighborhood that made him [Muhammad Aqit] move to Biru.  He said that he was absolutely sure he never intermarried with them.  But he was afraid that his children would do so and mix their lineage with them [the Fulani]” (El Hamel, 2014, p. 88).
     Hamel here mentions the Aqit, a clan closely affiliated with or relatives of the Massufa Berbers of Walata whom as we have said are the ancestors Tuareg still known by the name “Imesufa” and “Inusufen” (Bernus, S. and Ed., 1972. p. 13). I think most people familiar with African history are aware pastoralists and settled people have often looked down upon each other, and were, and for that matter still are in conflict in places.  But, the idea that the Imesufa refused to mix with Fulani because they were “black Africans” is an inappropriate interpretation.  For one thing, the  Fulani were called  “whites” in Massina, like the Sanhaja or Tuareg who were most likely or for the most part the same color.  
     Projecting modern attitudes among Moroccans and Europeans on the views of early Berbers in relation to other dark brown or near black people in Africa can not do anything but confuse historical matters. Early Berbers in North Africa were generally as dark as other sub-Saharans (and the Zaghawa, Jarawa and Masmuda may have been among those originally jet black peoples). Yet, Hamel like Savage, is clearly intent on making a distinction between early Berbers and sub-Saharans based on an imagined color difference as if the blackness or subjugation of the latter somehow precluded or made impossible the blackness of the former. Clearly at one time – and not too long ago - that wasn't the case.
     In any case many Berbers living in the northern part of the Maghreb like the Sanhaja and Ketama, i.e. Tuareg, and the Masmuda, and Arabs like the Hassaniyya have become lighter in complexion over the past half millenium, and the term “blacks” as used by Hamel and North Africans in general often appears related to cultural distinction and distain as much as if not more than the phenotypical distinctions aggravated by Andalusian and then Western European colonial presence.
     Hamel continues projecting modern racial divisions onto early Berber history, clearly imagining Berbers to have been more like Mediterraneans than like early Berbers. Like many historians of the Maghreb he appears not to be aware of  the biological connection between the early Sanhaja groups like the Massufa, Jazula and Lamtuna with the Tuareg and Azwagha or Zawagha and other Zanata and Sanhaja groups with modern Zaghawa. He refers to the Tuareg, Ibn Khaldun's second race or generation of Berbers (  p. 228), probably a not very modified people both physically and culturally-speaking over the last 1,000 years as “berberophones”.
         


     Beriberi or Al-Barabir as Soninke - The “First Race of Berbers” of the Arabic and Portuguese Writers


Andreas Massing  mentions several variant spellings of Wangara a name originally for Soninke merchants of Songhai used in the Tarikhs: (es-Sudan, el-Fettach, and Tedzkiret en-Nisian), including Wakoré, Wankori, Ouankori, and Wangarbe.  He speaks of the enigma of these people who are ironically designated “in the Tarikhs as blacks from the south, but in other sources e.g. al-Bakrî, al-Idrısi as whites from the North” (Massing, p. 297, fn.18).


Soninke or Wangara communities in Africa were originally of the same origin of the Bafur and Djarawa or Djawara.  They were originally people a Nilo-Saharan speech who moving southward adopted the Mande dialect and absorbed their people.

  Africanist Tadeucz Lewicki also noted the tendency of certain Arab and Portuguese authors to use the name of Barbar or Barabir for the Soninke.


    He writes the following:


According to Arab sources of the sixth/twelfth century ( Kitab al Istibsar and al-Zuhri), the blacks known as the Barbar or Barbara (Arabic plural: Barabir) formed the population of the Sudanese land of Zafunu, corresponding to present day Diafunu.  They counted among the Djanawa, that is to say the blacks, and also, according to al-Zuhri, lived in the centre of the desert  (probably the deserts and steppes of south-east Mauritania) and in areas in the vicinity of Ghana and Tadmekka (north of Gao), the inhabitants of which invaded their lands in order to take slaves.  They had their kings and wore animal skins, as was normal for a people partly composed of nomads. The Barbara believed themselves to be the noblest of the Sudanese peoples and claimed that the sovereigns of Ghana came from their 'tribe'.
    “The Barbara would thus appear to be a group of the Soninke. Might not al-Barabir (Barbara, Barbar) be identified with a black people known as al-Barbar who, so local tradition has it, formerly inhabited the city of Tichit in south-eastern Mauritania? Some observers identify this legendary people with a people [sic] of black-skinned agriculturalists referred to as the Barbaros in the ancient Portuguese chronicles and appearing in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of the Christian era in the Mauritania Adrar, alongside the 'Azenegues' or Berber Zenaga (Sanhadja)” (Lewicki, Tadeusz, 1988, p. 313).


   Gabriel Camps the specialist on archaeological history of the Maghreb proposed in his Berberes: Aux Marges de'l'Histoire that name Bavares or Bavari was an early form of the name Barbars (Baadj, Amar S., p. 11). David Goldenberg, one of the West's more trustworthy historians (in my opinion : ) when it comes to things related to “race” in the ancient world has written - “Barbares is a variant form of the name Bavares, a people of Mauretania Tingitana and/or Caesarensis, who possibly appear also under the name Babari. Note the association of Barbares with Mauretania in the Laterculus Veronensis (Riese, p. 129): 'Item gentes quae in Mauretania sunt: Mauri [Quinque]gentiani, Mauri Mazices, Mauri Barbares, Mauri Bacuates....”" See pdf of 
Rabbinic Knowledge of Black Africa published in 1998 in the Jewish Quarterly, 5. The mountains of the Bavares were also known as the Grand and Petit Babors, the latter including Little Kabylia.
 According to Lewicki, in fact, Bavares is also thought to be the name of the people that came to be called the Bafour. “According to some traditions Bafour were whites ... belonging to the Berber group of the Zenata. According to non-Muslim tradition the autochthonous inhabitants of Adrar Tmar were agriculturalists...The Bafour, might we think, be identified with the Libyan (Moorish) tribe of the Bavares, active in western part of North Africa in the third to fourth centuries of the Christian era” (Lewicki, Tadeusz, p. 313)
A recent government document in Mauritania sheds some light on the Bafour/Bavari connections of the Soninke or Wangara. It reads -
From the 3rd to 7th centuries, the migration of Berber tribes from North Africa displaced the Bafours, the original inhabitants of present-day Mauritania and the ancestors of the Soninke. Continued Arab-Berber migration drove indigenous black Africans south to the Senegal River or enslaved them. By 1076, Islamic warrior monks (Almoravid or Al Murabitun) completed the conquest of southern Mauritania, defeating the ancient Ghana empire.” See (2000) Mauritania, Mineral and Mining Sector Investment and Business Guide, Volume 1, Strategic Business Guide, p. 19.
Clearly it seems that the “Barbares” or Soninke of the Sahel and Sudan were the “Mauri Bavares” or Babars of Mauritania in what is now Morocco and Algeria possibly pushed down by the Tuareg "the second race of Berbers" and/or Arab Sulaym/Hilal peoples like the Trarza or Hassaniya. They were direct ancestors of the black merchants known as Soninke, Sughai (Isuwaghen or Zawagha) or Wangara who are called “whites” in early African manuscripts.
The Bafour in fact are considered by some to be the same as the Zenagha or Znaga Berbers who came to be subject to the Almoravid (Tuareg) nobles. In Mauritania by the 15th century they were referred to as "tawny and squat" by a slave trader from Venice named Alvice Ca'da Mosto (Thomas, Hugh, 1997, p. 22). They then fell into low caste status under the Hassaniyya or Hassan "Moors" (a group formed from the mixture of Arab/Berber peoples) which might explain how they came to be the first Africans sold out of Lagos to the Portuguese that were brought to Europe.  I
      In 1704 a Willem Bosman of the Dutch West India company describing the "Gold Coast" wrote - 
     "Here the Portuguese received a small quantity of gold dust, as well as some ostrich eggs; and, as Gonçalves had always desired, his men also seized some black Africans, twelve in number, to take back to Portugal (“What a beautiful thing it would be,” this commander told his men, 'if we could capture some of the natives to lay before the face of our Prince').
    These people were nearly all Azanaghi, as had been most of those sold in Lagos in 1444. They seem not to have been carried off to serve as slaves—though one of them, a woman, was a black slave, presumably from somewhere in the region of Guinea. They were taken as exhibits to show Prince Henry, much as Columbus would bring back some Indians, fifty years later, from his first journey to the Caribbean"  
 The previous statements give credence to the suggestion by earlier colonial historians that the Jarawa or Garawan of North Africa were the Wangara or Wakore of the Sudan, and that the name of Djanawa is in fact derived from the traditional Berber ancestor "Djana". Yves Moderan in Les Maures et l"Afrique Romain has said they were agriculturalists having some pastoralists, rather than camel nomads. “D’une part, en effet, tous les Zénètes ne peuvent être assimilés à de grands nomades chameliers : les plus célèbres, les Djarâwa, étaient, nous l’avons vu, des agriculteurs autant que des pasteurs”. The Mauri and Roman Africa link
Of course it is easier to put two and two together when it is realized that the Songhai or Soninke version of “white” is not the modern North African or European one.    
Nevertheless, not understanding the usage and cultural dimensions of the word “white” or “abyad” in Africa even after much communication with Africans, some historians seem to have been completely disoriented at the likely entanglement of the enigmatic Bafour/Bavares or Babars in documents with the ancestors of what today otherwise called “black Africans” or "Negroes".
 According to Maurice Delafosse  the Sanhaja (Tuareg) had pushed their way southward into the Hodh area of Mauritania founding Aoudoghast. Influenced and confused by the fact the Soninke considered their ancestors “whites” he in fact wrote in his African Art the following:


“At that distant epoch when they lent themselves to tillage and a sedentary life, the Bagana or Wagadu and most of the sub-Saharan districts which we unite today under the name of Hodh in the east and Mauritania in the west, must have been inhabited by the Negroes, more or less mixed with Negrillos and white natives of North Africa.  These Negroes formed an ensemble, fairly disparate perhaps in certain aspect, which Moorish traditions generally designate by the term Bafur; from them have without doubt gone forth by ramification, the Songhoy or Songai towards the east, the Serers towards the west and towards the centre, a great people called Gangara (Gangari in the singular) by the Moors, Wangara by Arab authors and writers of Timbuktu and more recently comprising, as its principal divisions, the Mandinka properly speaking or the Malinke, the Bambara, and the Jula. It is in this region and among these Bafur, undoubtedly already ramified, the immigrants of the Semitic race treated in the last chapter probably settled, as they pass for having colonised particularly the Massina and the Wagadu, and for having founded the kingdom and the city of Ghana." (Delafosse, M. 2015, numberless pages)
Delafosse goes on to propose an outlandish-sounding scenario in which semitic Abyssinians or “Beni-Israel” whom he calls “congeners” of the Carthaginians came into Sudan along with autochthonous “white” Libyo-Berbers and influenced the founded the earliest civilization of Ghana. As we have shown in the previous posts however his statements like many early colonial-era Africanists have basis in fact in that the early Sughai, (Songhai or Zaghai) populations were tied to the otherwise known as Azuagha i.e., Zawagha or Zaghawa Berbers (and perhaps the Zaghwe) further east and north who were in fact called by the Portuguese Malfante "Moors" and founders of Carthage.  They are then likely the "Mauri Babares" and  “Mauri Bacquates” or Berghawata of the early Roman texts. And most of these Mauri who are the reason the word "Maurus" came to be a synonym for “Niger” or black in the Greek and Latin dialects were no more indigenous to the Maghreb then were the 2nd generation of Berbers (veiled Tuareg).
These Zaghai or "Azanaghi" then are likely the first generation Beriberi people pushed south by the Tuareg ("second generation") who were the “Moors” of the 12th century Itinerarium chronicling the crusades mentioned previously, and whose very "name meant black" and who were said to have come up from “the scorching south”. See link Contemporary Narratives of King Richard - the Lionheart (Coeur de Lion).Itinerary of Richard I

When Isidore of Seville wrote of the Moors in the 6th century being "black as night" he probably wasn't exagerrating.  This man hails from between the border of modern Mauritania and Senegal.   Such people have very likely been pushed from places further north a remnant of the once "black African" Masmuda/Zanata clans.

The Baliy portion of the Zaghawa and Bideyat now in Nubia and Sudan by all accounts had come in remote times from the east from Hadramauti colonies that established themselves in Abyssinia the "Middle India" of numerous ancient writers.  We have already shown the connection between the Banu Baliy of Arabia and Bal Qayin or Ka'in two Qudha'a clans that lined the coasts of the Yemen, Tihama and the Hijaz as smiths clans of the Solaym or Sulaym (the Roman "Solymi") who appear to have been the Hebrew or Israelitish smiths called “Kenites” and "Salmaeans" of the Torah and "Shlamai" of the Targum Onkolos. Irfan Shahid flat out states the Baliy in Arabia were the smiths of the Solaym/Solymi. As Moshe Gil stated, "The Kenite, Jethro's tribe, is identified in the Targum with Bene Salma'a".  And just in case one hasn't recognize the importance of what is being proposed here it should be remembered Salma "father of Bethlehm" was "son of Caleb" in 1 Chronicles 2:50 of the Torah/Bible. He is made the brother of Othniel in the Talmud, first judge of Israel.
The part of the Tihama area known as the Wadi Kanauna or valley of the Kana'ani gave rise to lore about the coming of the Berbers from Canaan as well as the Biblical references in the Genesis of the Old Testament. (Please see King Solomon's miners part I, II and III). Those traveling westward over time kept the myth of their origins in the Yemen alive as well as some of their Hebraic culture. Clearly many of the Zaghay related peoples in the Maghreb and Sudan were not just Judaized but - from the tribe of Judah.
The Kanuri who also are referred to as "Beriberi" have descent groups linked to the Bideyat, Zaghawa and Teda or Tubu (Tibbu-Gor'an) as well (Wedderburn, Agnes, 1986, p. 74)
Thus, in a sense Delafosse's statements are in agreement with the fact that the ancient Zaghai or  Zaghawa or Baliyy the Balau or Balawi of Nubia, Abyssinia and Arabia - as they were  called- were in fact that group of people that correspond to the Himyarite Qudha'a or Kudh'a tribes of Djuhayna i.e. “Djana” and Qayin or ba'l Kain tradition who certain scholars on Arabia now identify with the Kenite portion of the  "Midianites"(Shahid, Irfan, 1989, 310). Africanist historian Dierke Lange writes about Canaanite traditions found across the Sahel mentioned how at “the end of the fourteenth century .. the name Zaghawa — in its form Zaghay — was once more used in the reports given by knowledgeable informants from Central Sudan to North Africa” (Lange, D., p. 265)
Today the name Zaghawa, Zawagha or Zauge today is given to the people of Central Chad, Niger, southern Libya and Sudan who also call themselves “Beri” and “Beriberi” and their language Beri or Barituki (Hopkins and Levtzion, p. 203).  They were related to the Zaghai or Sughay further West.  That is doubtless the reason why according to African historians the names “Barbara” and  “al-Barabir” were once attached to the Djanawa or Soninke (Wangara/Wakore) of Dar Tichitt in early Arab sources and Portuguese chronicles (See Lewicki, 1988,  p. 313)
Such people who once were strung across North Africa came to call themselves “the whites” only in the medieval period due to Arabic influence, but as we have said they were neither indigenous nor autocthones in North Africa. Nor were they white in the sense the west thinks of. And by Arabic here we refer to the original black or “khudar” of the Arabians, like Sulaym and Hilal occupants of Arabia and the Levant that had moved across North Africa, and were accustomed to dividing themselves into “whites”, and “blacks”, “yellows” and “greens” long before they had conquered the Syrians, Persians, and Byzantines and others they termed “ahmar” (red).
Earlier historians acknowledged these connections. The problem in our times is that most modern academics studying "the Berbers" are not familiar enough with "black African" history to have paid attention to these connections. Zaghawa are accepted as black only because they are still a part of in black Africa and people have not figured out that they are the Zawagha.  Under the name Zawagha or Azouagha in North Africa and Spain, on the other hand, the same people are somehow imagined as truly white Berbers more related to the Kabyles than Tubu. Thus, since the goal of a large number of scholars has been to discover a EuroMediterannean origin of the Berbers, the idea of early Zaghawa having some Phoenician, "Indian" and south Arabian origin as mentioned by the medieval Arab and the Andalusians of Granada is usually assumed to be fantasy, or hogwash so to speak.
As for the Zaghawa, according to specialist Harold MacMichael “..witness is borne to this connection of the Zaghawa with the Berbers by Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) who in speaking of the Tuwarek ('mulethamin” - “veiled ones”) says they are a section of the Sanhaga Berbers, who include the kindred tribes of the Lamtuna, Zaghawa, and Lamta, and have frequented the tracts separating the country of the Berbers from the blacks...” However, the word Ibn Khaldun used "Zanj" is here translated as “the blacks” and by doing so the reality that the Zaghawa were also pretty much black is obscured, as were the other Berbers named.
    An Encyclopedia of Islam also reads, “The Zaghawa were in part Berber-speaking (the Sadrata) and were semi-sedentary. They possessed a capital that was located in the regions of Borkou.” The Zawagha were living on the Tripolitanian Coast " (Abun-Nasr, J., 1987, p. 46).  Sadrata is the name for an either Tuareg or Zaghawa people – the latter otherwise called “Zawagha” who had named the Gulf of Sidra (the Syrtic Gulf) in modern Libyan coast. They also had a town named Sidrata, where they lived further south.
 “As for the city of Sidrata or Sedrata it seems to have been the capital of the oasis of Wargla between the fourth/tenth and sixth/twelfth centuries B.C. The name of this city derives from that of the Sadrata Berbers, another group of which inhabit the Mzab” (Peek andYankah, 2004, pp. 59-60).
      Historians have been hesitant in connecting the Berber name Zaghawa with Zawagha. Abun-Nasr and other Arabic-speaking historians more recently have used the spelling, “Zawagha” for them.  Speaking of the Ibadites he writes "Khalaf was supported at first by the Zawagha tribe living along the Tripolitanian coast..." The Ibadites were exclusively  Zawagha  and Tuareg (Luwata, Mizrata, Hawwara). The same Berbers that are mentioned in the article "Berbers and Blacks".
   Abun Nasr adds, "Al Bakri says after the foundation of Tahart, groups of the Lawata, Hawara, Zawagha, Matmata, Zanata, and Miknasa tribes settled in different localities around it" (Abun-Nasr, 1987, p. 45). These people were the only so-called Berbers meant by the Arab authors - a combination of  Zaghawa i.e. Zawagha or Beriberi (Tubu = Teda-Daza or Gorane) and Tuareg.
     Tahart was the home of the Nafusa Berbers according to Abun-Nasr although there were many Rustamid Persians settled there as well (p. 48). After the demise of Tahart in the early part of the tenth century many Ibadites settled in places like Wargla in Algeria and Ghadamis in Libya. They were the Tuareg and Wangara or Garawan/Jawara traders (Lydon, Ghislaine, 2009, p. 81)
     In speaking of the early Idrisids in Libya another translator from Saudi Arabia recently wrote “Gradually Idris become [sic] popular among Zawagha, Lawata, Zanata, Sadrota, Meknes and the Ghanaza clans of the Berbers” (Najibabadi, 2001, p. 222).
     Africanist historian Dierke Lange writes about how at “the end of the fourteenth century .. the name Zaghawa — in its form Zaghay — was once more used in the reports given by knowledgeable informants from Central Sudan to North Africa” (Lange, D., p. 265)  As mentioned previously the name of the kingdom of Sughai or Songhay and its clan of Isuwaghen was derived from or etymologically related to this name "Zaghay".
The statements give credence to the suggestion by earlier colonial historians that the Jarawa or Garawan of North Africa were the same people as the Wa'n'gara or Wakore traders in the Sudan, and that their name of Djanawa is in fact derived the traditional Zanata Berber ancestor "Djana".  Of course, it is easier to put two and two together when it is realized that the Soninke kind of “white” is not a mirror of the modern North African or European one.  But many colonialists apparently prefered to view the significance of the word “white” in use among black Africans for themselves as meaning something connected with “Caucasoids”.  
Today the name Zaghawa, Zawaga or Zauge today is given to the people of Central Chad, Niger, southern Libya and Sudan who also call themselves “Beri” and “Beriberi” and their language Beri or Barituki (Hopkins and Levtzion, p. 203). They were related to the Zaghai or Sughay further West and the Azuaga or Zawagha furthern north.  That is the reason why according to African historians the names “Barbara” and  “al-Barabir” was once attached to the peoples called Sughai (Songhai) or Isawaghen, Djanawa or Soninke (Wangara/Wakore) of Dar Tichitt in early Arab sources and Portuguese chronicles (See Lewicki, T., 1988,  p. 313)
    Clearly before the 15th century the term Berber was used exclusively for ancestors of the people of  Soninke Wangara, Wakore/Korowa or Garawan (possibly Gor'an) origin who were associated with the Sughai, Isuwaghan, Zaghai or Zaghawa client tribes of the Sanhaja and Zanata, and possibly with the name of the Ghuerouan (now a nearly white people) of the Masmuda.
At a certain point the Tuareg or confederation of veiled Imoshagh who were the pre-Islamic Ilaguathes or Luwathes Mauri came to be control a large portion of the Maghreb. (Luwathes or Ilagwas was the Roman name for the confederation including the Iforas (Ifuraces or Frexes = the original Ifren, Ifarik or Afaricani), Inusamani (Nasamones), Imakitan (Micateni) and Imoshagh (Mauri Mazikes or Mazazeces - an “Ethiopian” people).
As historian Gsell stated the latter were a people who were met with in the deserts of Tunisia and Tripolitania that were small in number at the time and called by the name of  "Mezikes" and "Ethiopians" skillful throwers of the spear. “Au Sud de l’Afrique [il s’agit de l’Africa romaine officielle, c’est-à-dire de la Tripolitaine et de la Tunisie], s’étend un désert très vaste, qui, dit-on, est habité sur quelques points par des peuplades barbares peu nombreuses, appelées Mazices et Éthiopiens” (Gsell, S., 1927, p. 2).
It is in Tunisia that Corippus poetically speaks of how during an officers meeting the leader Antalus "the Moor " is like "Hades surrounded by 'black faces' ( nigrae facies) 'a war council of a thousand monsters' lining the 'path out of Hell'" (Starks, John, 2011, p. 256)
 If there are fair-skinned Berbers such as the present occupants of Matmata and Ait Atta in the Tunisian and Moroccan Souss-Draa region today that fair-skin could not be due to the early Berber influence. Just as dark skin is not always the signature of slave identity. The Dra'a had in particular long been the home of the dark-skinned (black and near black) Sanhaja, Zenata and Masmuda peoples.
Meanwhile remnants of the Masmuda Berbers in the southern Atlas were also called Shluh or Chleuh.  They were once also well- known black-colored occupants of the Riff near the coast of Morocco, as much as in the Sous region.  Musa ibn Nusayr had found the Masmuda in the Dra'a region and allotted 17,000 soldiers to his son. The river Dara is associated with the Wad Dra'a valley.  This is the area where according to William Smith, Pliny once spoke of the river Daradus or Ethiopis Daratitae (Polyb. ApPlin. Nat.5.1; Agathem.2.5.) where were the Darae Gaituli and“Mt. Caphas (Kaphas), 8 degrees to S., from which the Daradas flowed, stretched in a SE. direction far into the Desert” (Smith, W. 1873, p. 179)
An ethnologist of the colonial period wrote 
The name of the “Daradus” river, for which Mr. Migeod can find no modern equivalent, was undoubtedly first applied to the Draa in the south of Morocco, the last thing in rivers met with by a coasting explorer coming from the north till he reached Senegal, the modern boundary between Negro and non-Negro. The Daradus or Draa was also called the Gir or even Ni-gir.  This name (the origin of our “Niger” ) was  - and is still – the local name of a little stream which rises on the southern slopes of the Atlas not far from the oasis of Figig.'  Johnston goes on to mention that Suetonius Paulinus crossed the snowy Atlas in 50 A.C., and reached this palm-fringed stream flowing south into the Sahara Desert, he called it the Ger.” (Migeod, F. W. H., and Johnston, Harry, 1914, p. 424)
The Ghomara population in the Riff region once the largest branch of the Masmuda, is now almost completely “white” or nearly European in appearance.  Nevertheless, no Western historian or geneticist has attempted to explain what happened to the black people so frequently described in the Riff in Medieval texts and how they went from black to white within the space of 5-600 years. Instead we are treated to long and frankly irrelevant discourses and studies on how paleolithic Eurasian genes came to be in modern coastal Berbers who though they may have Berber genes are in fact as far as logic and dna studies are concerned closer cogeners of modern peoples of the Levant and Iberia than they are to the ancient Berbers - like it or not.




Many modern Ghomara are like the women above indistinguishable from Europeans. Andalusians are among those of non-Berber origin that have settled in the Riff region of Morocco.  Leo Africanus, an Andalusian himself, claimed the Ghomara of the Masmuda were related to the Libyan "Birdeoa" or founders and inhabitants of Bardai located today in the Tibesti region of Chad. (See photo below)
Men of the Tubu surround their chief in the Tibesti region of Chad where were the Birdeoa whom Leo Africanus links to the "Gumeri" or Ghomara Berbers. Obviously the Ghomara of Leo Africanus were not the same people biologically as today's Ghomara in Morocco, although the latter still apparently told Carleton Coon they came originally "from the south".   

     I wonder if the directors of the movie "Robin Hood" knew the appropriateness of their choice to cast actor Morgan Freeman, a man of Tuareg and Isuwaghen Songhai biological origin to play the Moor. : ) 

Al-Barabir or the Mauri in Spain

Battle of Spaniards against men dressed or attired in Berber fashion  at  Puig in Valencia.  The painting dates from the 14th century.  

Zanata Berbers of Algeria dressed in their ancient attire perform sacred chants of the "Ahellil"




"The immigration of Berbers in the eighth through twelfth centuries was so great that they were soon the majority of the Muslim population. By the end of the tenth century they were already 'the mainstay of the government under the Amirids' and had begun to establish independent states (Toledo, Badajoz, Malaga, Elvira, Granada, Algericas). By the end of the next century as we shall see, they already controlled all of Andalus. However the so-called "Arabs" (i.e. Syrians) generally controlled the government and made significant cultural contributions." p. 45, (1994). Jews, Visigoths, and Muslims in Medieval Spain by Norman. Roth


      According to the author of  The Muslim Conquest and Settlement of North Africa and Spain the biggest of the Berber groups that took part in the 8th century conquest of Spain in the south of Andalusia were related to the Masmuda or Masamida (Taha, Abdul Wahid, 1988, p. 167).  They were the first of the Berbers to convert to Islam. The so-called southern Masmuda included the Dukkala, the Haskura, Hintata, Berghawa, and the Haha living in the plain north of the Great Atlas mountains.   To the north of them were the Ghomara of the Riff region.  The most important branches of the Masmuda according to Hussein Mones "were the Ghumara (in the Tangier region and throughout the Rif) and the Barghawata (Mauri Bacquates) of the Roman era who ruled the Sebu valley along with the Awraba)" (Mones, 1988, p. 228). It was from the Tangiers Masmuda or "Moors" of the Moroccan Rif that according to the 8th century Latin Chronicle ( also called Mozarabic Chronicle of 754) came the Berbers on horseback wearing loin cloths whose color was so horrifying that even the horses of their enemies were repulsed and drew back in horror.
     During the end of the 10th century an army of 60,000 Berbers had been raised in Andalusia. Even leaving out the early Arab and later veiled Berber (Almoravid) element, the Masmuda group in itself would have reinforced upon the inhabitants of Iberia the already firm belief that “Moors” or Mauri were black. They are doubtless among the Berbers referred to when St. Isidore of Seville wrote that the Mauri were "black as night".
     Masmuda were settled by Qurya and Lajdanya in the valley of the River Tagus (Tajo). When they were threatened by Christians in 874 they moved to Merida and Santarem near the mouth of this river 78 kilometers north-west of Lisbon in Portugal. Some members of the Masmuda according to Taha appear to have settled in Lisbon. One group of them settled in the southern parts of Portugal becoming the rulers of Qulunbira, Colenbiera. They also lived in Qulumriya, Coimbra ( Taha, p. 173). In this area they traded in salt which constituted the main produce of this area.
Later the Masmuda founded the Al-Muwahid'un dynasty in 1121 A.D., otherwise known in the west as the "Almohade dynasty". Ibn Khaldun said the Almohades were made up first and foremost of the Masmuda.
        A number of other tribes of the "Mauri" belonging to the Zenata tribes settled in Al-Andalus, like the Hawara, Mitghara, Miknasa, Maghrawa, Nafzawa and/or Nafusa, Zawagha, and Birzal. A huge portion of the Zanata were the Jarawa or Djawara according to Taha, while one of the more celebrated were known as the Yafren or Banu Ifren. They settled in the south of Andalusia in places like Algeciras, Sidonia, Seville and Cordoba and within this region in Ronda, Jaen, and Elvira (Taha, p. 167). It was the largest Berber population in North Africa in the time of Ibn Khaldun a people whom he and others claimed were doubtless descendants of Canaan son of Ham and black due to a curse.    
     Much of where these Africans settled in Spain and Portugal as written here is taken from Taha's book, The Muslim Conquest and Settlement of North Africa and Spain.  He says Berbers tended to settle in rural and in remote areas such as Valencia and with the "Hispano-Muslim" populations there. Groups of Masmuda came to live in Cordoba and in fahs el-Ballut. Others lived in Baena 48 kilometres southeast of Cordoba. Prominent families of Masmuda were early on settled in Guadalajara and Santaver. Some Ghomara of the Masmuda settled in Bengamar, still “situated in the province of Cuenca.”
    Speaking of Valencia region one writer has asserted, “There are numerous specifically Berber toponyms reflecting the settlement of Sanhaja and Zanata tribal segments but these are presumably late, referring to population movements in the wake of the Almoravid and Almohad invasions” (Thomas F. Glick . 1992, p. 194).
      According to Pierre Guichard’s, “Social History of Muslim Spain” the Zanata groups left their names all over the region of Andalus. The major clans of the Zenata included the Yafran, Zaghawa or Zawagha, Miknassa, Maghrawa, Hawwara and Nafzawa.  It was from the last Ulhasa clan of the Nafzawa that came the father of famed Tariq bin Ziyad, governor of Maghrib al Aksa or the western Maghreb and conqueror of Spain.
    The towns of "Atzanetas" or Zanatas found in the Levantine province of Spain are thought to derive from the name of the great tribe of Zanata. Other "place names derived from the name Zanata are also in Alicante - LAtzeneta And LAtzaneta - in Valencia and Mallorca -LAtzaneta d'Albaida- -the alquer í- as Azenet or Atzenet and Azenet-in Canarrosa districts and Manacor, respectively,
documented in the thirteenth century"****. The areas of Senija and Soneja, derive from the rivals in Spain, the confederation of the Sinhaja (Poveda-Sanchez, Angel, 2004, p. 40; Bazzana, Andre, 1992, p. 27).  The town of Santover was a “Berbers-stronghold” according to Taha.   
    According to the 12th century Idrisi, Tariq bin Ziyad the Berber was a Zanata, who with his troops conquered the region later to be known as Old Castile, occupying Astorga, Amaya and Leon, putting an end to Visigothic rule there. According to Mones, however his army was mainly composed of men of the Sanhaja (Mones, p. 242).
   At Alicante the Zanata branch of the Hawara founded the towns of Lahuara and Alahuar (Taha, p. 174).  The Ulhaca tribe of the Nafzawa branch of Zanata dominated a place called Jatwa where there is a Nafzies apparently named for the tribe. The town of Santover was a “Berber-stronghold”.  It had been settled by the Miknasa branch of the Zanata. The tribe was also in Saragossa and Tortossa as well.
    In Africa Zawagha were found next door to the Matghara in Tadla and Fazzaz in Morocco.  
    The Banu Yafrene or Ifren (modern Kel Iferouan) had come to occupy Ronda, Takurunna, Moron ,and Seville in Andalusia. They were settled in Jaen and Murcia in Andalusia. “Miknassa were also living in the Ville de los Pedroches to the northwest of Cordoba and in the Saragossa region where the place name of Mequinensa still recalls its one time inhabitants” (Makki, 1992,  p. 56; Ilahiane, Hsain, 2006, p. 87).
Guichard has written the following in his article entitled “Social History of Muslim, Spain”:
"… names of present day towns and large villages, such as Mequinenza in Aragon, Adzaneta in the Valencia region and Azuagha in the south of the present province of Badajoz, still, for instance, recall the tribal names Miknasa, Zanata and Zuwagha, of Maghribi origin. There were undoubtedly many other such cases in the geography of al-Andalus. In fact the geographer al –Istakhri, from the first half of the 4th/10th century, indicates, along the stages of the road from Cordoba to the Lower Frontier, in regions on the two sides of the Guadiana between the Guadalquivir and Duero valleys, districts or localities bearing the names of the Miknasa, Hawwara and Nafza Berber tribes (Guichard, P,. 1992, p. 685).
      Large numbers from the Hawwara and Nafza clans of the Zanata were in Teruel in the 11th century  (Taha, p. 175-176). Various tribes were settled in Galicia, Astorga and east of the Pyrenees (p. 177).  Orba in Navarre is named after the Aureba tribe that was settled there.
Another author, citing Guichard, puts it more succinctly, “Today’s Mequinenza in Aragon, Azaneta in Valencia and Axuaga in Badajoz are Spanish versions of the Miknasa, Zanata, and Zuwagha tribes… ” (Fromherz, A. 1992, p. 45). Many other areas in the eastern region of Spain are still called after Zanata, including Adsaneta de al-Bayd,a Adsaneta de Maestre and Zaneta, Sanet y Ngrals in Albacete, Gineta and Ginete in Albacete, Azenanat, Ceneta, and Ifre-Yafrun in the province of Murcia.
In Valencia also “relatively numerous place names preserve the memory of settlements by the Zanata, Sinhaja, Hawwara, etc…” (Guichard, Pierre, 1992, p. 685).
      A great deal of compiled information dealing with where the Berber tribes settled can be found in the book by Abdulwahid DhanunTaha, entitled The Muslim Conquest and Settlement of North Africa and Spain. In the town of Algeciras the Zanata had a large region to themselves called al-Babar. Many of them settled in Sidonia - like the the clan of Maghila. Seville and nearby regions were occupied by many Berber groups (Taha, p. 168) settled around Seville in Fuente de Cantos, Shantfila.  The Hawwara lived in Marshana, Marchena east of Seville in considerable numbers and “very wealthy”. Descendants of Tariq b. Ziyad had settled in Osuna south of Ecija, where they were “similarly rich”.
    Zanata groups like the Nafza lived in the valley of the River Guadiana. Others settled in Barjala and near Merida, where the name Nafza is still found. Miknasa also dwelt in this area and “their place of residence is still in existence in the village, Miknasa” (Taha, p. 171).  Such places in Alahuar and Lahuar are named after the tribe of Hawwara. The Nafza dominated the region of Jativa where they were numerous. There is still a place called Nifzies, after the tribe of Nafza in that area. Other Zanata lived in the what are now the modern provinces of Valencia, Murcia and Alicante. One part of Valencia was once called iqlim Zanata.
     The Zuwagha clan had its own fort near Badajoz. “This place is still called Azuaga after this clan”. Other places in the Badjoz district “still bear the names Maguilla, and Gineta” named apparently for the Maghila and Zenata.  The Banu Birzal of the Zanata settled in Carmona, Ecija, Almodovar and other places. (Taha, p. 173). The word jinete coming from the name of the Zanata means light horseman in Spanish today.


Horsemen of the Zaghawa - once considered a tribe of the Zenata 


     Another historian says about the Zanata in Africa correctly noted that at one time the “Zanata (or Zanatians) inhabited Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, extending southward as far as Djabal Nafusa and the oases of Fezzan, the predominant confederations of kabilas being those of the Hawwara, Luwata, Nafusa, and Zaghawa” (Mones, H. 1988, p. 228)
     Some 100 kilometers west of Malaga was the settlement of Masmuda and Nafza in Takarunna “a mountainous area around the city of Ronda” originally called “Izna Rand Onda” which later came to be  ruled by the Zanata tribe of Iforen (Tuareg Ifren). During the time of the Almoravid and Almohad rule it sprung up as an important Moorish  town - “Madinat Randa”.  At least two famous poets surnamed al-Rundi came from the town.
     In the central part of Spain they stretched north of Toledo and Talavera through the valleys of the River Tajoa towards the south over the Guadiana, where Merida, Medellin and other more populated areas in the western parts of the Iberian Peninsula were situated. Maghila were also found in Toledo.     :     Cordoba was inhabited by Masmuda, Hawwara, Kutama and Maghila. The Kutama whom some sources consider Sanhaja others Masmuda also settled in Shaqunda, Secunda, on the left bank of the River Guadalaquivir, 5 kilometers from Cordoba. The most densely populated area being El Valle de los Pedroches and the Santaver. As well “Kutuma was the most representative of the Berber tribes in the district of Elvira” (Taha,  p.170). West of Cordoba were settled some Luwata in a place called iqlim Luwata. Some Sanhaja also dwelt in Ecija.
     In the 11th century “The most powerful Berber state, however, was that of the Banu Ziri of the Sinhaja in Granada”  Zawi bin Ziri and his Sanhaja followers settled in Elvira and founded the city of Grenada. According to Ibn Khaldun he belonged to the Matmata still a name used in Africa for certain Tuareg peoples. The name should not be confused with the people of the present town of Matmata in Libya. They established the Zirid dynasty which fell only with the coming of the Almoravid dynasty, and their army which had entered Almeria also took Seville from the deposed ruler there in the 11th century.  Soon afterwards other Andalusian capitals fell into Almoravid hands (Guichard, 1992, p. 685; Makki, 1992, p. 60 and 63).
     As mentioned previously the ancestors of the Tuareg that entered the Iberian peninsula as members of the Sanhaja included the Tuareg called  Inusufen or  “Massufa”, the Auelemidden or “Lamtuna” and “Lamta”, Imakitan or “Kitama” (or Kutama), and the Igdalen or “Goddala”.  The Igdalen are a subgroup of the Tuareg in Niger and Mali. These groups of Tuareg depending on the region can be considered the major portion of the Sanhaja.  Sanhaja lived in the provinces of Castellon, Alicante and Murcia (Taha, p. 174), and in this Castellon region are towns named for them including Ceneja,  Soneja, and Senija in Alicante.
One guidebook of Oriental studies discussing the government and administration of the Middle East in the Islamic period says the following:
“...under the Almoravids there were cadis in Seville, Granada, Almeria, Malaga, Jaen, Algeciras, Niebla, Carmona, Ronda, Ecija, Preigo, Ubeda, Baeza, Baza, Guadix, and Almunecar in the south of Andalus; Saragossa, Lerida, Tortosa, Denia, Majorca, Valencia, Murcia, Al Puente, Santa Maria de Levante ( Albarracin), Valencia, Jativa, Murviedro, Chiprana, Onda, Alcira, Orihuela, Berja and Almeria in the Levant (Sarq); and Silves and Santa Maria de Algarve, Beja and some other places in the west of al-Andalus.  All these cities were the capital of a judicial area..." (Vila, Jacinto B., 1988, p.128).
    According to Hugh Kennedy's Muslim Spain and Portugal:: A Political History of Al-Andalus the Almoravid Tuareg men were well-known for their face veils even in Iberia.
They were remarkable too for their veils which they wore like the Touareg of today, so that only their eyes were visible.  It was said that they thought it indecent to expose the mouth and that none of them would recognise a comrade if they saw them unveiled.  The veils, so practical in the dusty desert conditions, were very noticeable in the streets of Andalusi towns, and the Almoravids were frequently singled out and described as al-mulathimun, the veiled ones (from Arabic litham, a veil). (Kennedy, Hugh, 2014 p. 155).
    
      Another of the veiled Tuareg groups were the Gezula or Jazula who are often thought of as the same people as the Joddala.  The latter were the people who in an ancient period was Gaituli or Melano-Gaituli meaning literally "black partridge" or snake. The Tuareg ancestors are rather often referred to both in Andalusia and in North Africa as the Philistines in Arab and Hebrew sources. The Gazula were even called Philistines by a Portuguese traveler who wrote - “In the lands of the blacks, as well as here, dwell the Philistines [the Tuareg], who live like the Arabs in tents. They are without number and hold sway over the land of Gezola from the borders of Egypt to the shores of the Ocean...” (Duiker, W. and Spielvogel, J., 2010, p. 189).


According to historian Taha the names of the veiled Gazula clan are “still traceable in Spanish place names; for example between Granada and the sea, the massif where the Jazula lived is called the Sierra de los Gazules” (p. 79) There was also a place in the province of Cadiz in Spain called Gazula.
In the time of the first Arab invasion of Africa some Banu Joddala were also located in Tiklasiyen or Takrur under the name of Banu Warith or Waritan Sanhaja. And Levtzion says that “in spite of the inter-tribal tension in the desert, thousands of Juddala and Massufa took part in the military exploits of the Almoravids in the Maghrib and in Spain” (Hopkins and Levtzion, 2000, p. 212).
       Both the Sanhaja and the Zanata group of Hawwara came to  live in Jaen and its surroundings, and the latter had their own settlement in Jaen. Banu Hibr of Sanhaja dwelt in Bulkuna “south of the road between Cordoba and Jaen” (Taha, p. 170).
     The Town of Elvira or Illiberis was capital of a kingdom or Taifa of Granada established by the Sanhaja under the Zirids. The “Lamaya” another Tuareg group of the Sanhaja “took up residence in Rayya” in iqlim Lamaya.      
     Taha writes, “The mountains of Almaden were thickly populated with Berbers”. It was an area rich in mineral resources. Further to the east were the Mistasa a sub-tribe of Wazdaja. Where they had their own iqlim and region not too far from the present village of Mestanza. To the west of this was a large region populated by Berbers called bilad al-Barabir, where were the towns of Medellin and Merida.     
    They were mainly of Masmuda, Miknasa, Hawwara and Kutama affiliation. Many of the Hawwara became governors in Medellin where they “were wealthy and powerful” (Taha, p. 172).
      In the east of Andalusia in the Valencia and Murcia regions were mainly Sanhaja, Aureba, Kutama, Hawwara and Masmuda. One district was called juz Masmuda. Kutama settled in Albunt, Alpuente. Members of the Auraba settled in Alicante which is now called Orba.  In the northeast stretching over the Pyrenees Mountains as far as the provinces of Guadalajara, and Teruel lived mainly Berbers except for Saragossa inhabited by clans of Arabs. In Saragossa the Berber minority consisted of Zuwagha, Sanhaja and Miknasa. “Maghila was among the first Berber tribes to settle in the region of Guadalajara.”
     Maghila also lived in Muntaniya and Shantabariya, Castro de Santaver. Hawwara took control of Toledo making it their capital in the 11th century.   
     It is actually estimated that a total of over 900,000 Berbers at one time or another had settled in Iberia during the period of Islamic rule there.




REFT OF THE MOORS :   Racial Animosity towards the Berbers during their stay in Spain


     Whatever the Berbers called themselves in Africa it is clear that in Spain or Iberia and the Middle East they were often recognized as “blacks”, and faced plenty of discrimination in Iberia because of it.  It was in fact noticeable in the 11th century when there was a great rebellion that was in part “racial” or ethnic against the Berbers called the fitna al- Andalucia Berberiyya. There came a time that certain leaders were calling on people to kill the Berbers, and anyone that looked like them. This reaction occurred because a leader named Al-Mansur who had taken over the Cordoban caliphate began importing many Berber mercenaries who had become recognized as a favored class. He brought in many of the Zirid, Hammudid and Sanhaja Berbers (mainly branches of the Zaghawa or Zaghai and Tuareg peoples) used for military campaigns against the Christian Europeans of Navarre, Leon and Castille.
      Cordoba was filled at the time with a lot of Muslim Spaniards often called Hispano-Muslims and it had also been a large slave state in the early years. The early slaves in Iberia according to Thomas Arnold were mostly of  “Slavonic” in origin and the Muslims “preferred the mothers of their children to be those fair-complexioned slaves captured in the north of Spain, rather than, or in addition to, their own womenfolk…”  Frankish (Afrangi) women too were especially sought after because of their blond hair. In the earliest periods most of those slaves were largely of Turkish, Persian, Slavic, French/Frank, and other European origin.
    Many of the Muslims of the Cordoban caliphate were descendants of the Slavic slaves. The 9th century Abd-al Rahman of Cordoba had a harem of 6,300 women (Mann, John. 1999, p. 72 )  Abdal Rahman III was said to have been half -Basque himself with red hair which was also characteristic of the Slavs. There were over 13,000 Slavic slaves in Cordoba in his time. The Slavs in particular became very numerous after a time in the Cordoba caliphate and became rulers of various Taifas, along with the Berbers and a few Arab rulers. Some say the Hispano-Muslim population made up the majority of Muslims in the Andalusian region. But according to Norman Roth, "The immigration of Berbers in the eighth through twelfth centuries was so great that they were soon the majority of the Muslim population” (Roth, Norman, 1994, p. 45). In addition one 8th century campaign brought 300,000 captives in from North Africa (Man, John, 1999, p. 72). As a result historians speak of “Moorish” Spain, a name derived from the fact that the Berbers were descendants of the Mauri or “Moors”.
      According to historian Peter C. Scales in The Fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba, there was a racial aspect to the rebellion of Andalusians against the Berbers.
"The fitna in Cordoba between the Berbers and the people flared up. The mob was given free reign to attack the Berber suburbs. They burnt houses and killed their women about 70 men from Tlemecen, and others from Khurasan and Egypt. It was presumably in this pogrom that Abd Al Malik al Muzaffar's old teacher Ahmad bin Abda'l Azziz bin Faraj Ibn al-Hubab, a grammarian had died. Ibn Bashkuwal tells us that he was a Berber of the Masmuda tribe.  It would seem that the murder of North Africans encouraged by Muhammed al-Mahdi's request to be brought Berber heads was not restricted to the capital" (Scales, P., p. 70).
  { In this period the northern Algerian town of Tlemcen in northern Algeria mentioned above was occupied by the Banu Yifren, Ifren or Iferuan, a major clan of the Zenata Berbers and the same as the modern Iferouan or Ferwan Tuareg.  They were also known as Ait Ifran or Iforaces.  The name Iferouan, an oasis in Niger is named for them, and the Kel Ferouan still reside there in Air.}
     Later we read Ibn abdal Jabbar “a Hispano-Muslim ordered any who had a similar appearance to a Berber to be killed” (Scales, p. 74). Ibn al-Raqiq spoke of this racial animosity that existed in Spain between Berbers and Muslim Hispano-Cordobans, and of Berbers that were killed because they were looking like Berbers, i.e. blacks.
   “After the defeat of al-Mahdi at Guadiaro, it is again Ibn al Raqiq whom Ibn al-Idhari uses for anecdotal references to the punishment metted out to any Berbers by Ibn  'Abd al Jabbar, in vengeance for his defeat.  He ordered any who even had a similar appearance to a Berber to be killed...We are told of a woman, returning from the oven with a pot, which she dropped thus attracting attention to herself. On noticing that she was black the Cordobans shouted. 'There is a black Berber', and she was killed" (Scales, P., p. 75).
      We are also informed in Scales text of the fate of another Berber man of the Jarawa called “Wangara” and “Wakore” further south in sub-Saharan Africa.  “There are certainly 2 instances documented of innocent Maghrebis being caught up in the racial animosity vented by the local populations in the south of al-Andalus. In Elvira a pilgrim from Ceuta, a certain Khalaf b. Ali b. Nasir b. Mansur al Balawi al Sabti, was set upon while trying to flee from Elvira as he was planning to return to Mecca fleeing from the fitna....
    "Another Khalaf (b. Masud al-Jarawi) a faqir from Melilla was murdered by the people of Malaga 'during the Andalusi revolt against the Berbers at the time of the al-Mahdi's uprising.'" (p. 70 ).
     Thus, people of the Djerawa or Djawara tribe (i.e. Garawan or Wangara in Sudan)  who were a great portion of the tribe of Zanata  (along with Tuareg Iforas and Maghrawa) were among those who lost their lives in the uprising.
     In fact an al-Qasim b. Hammud a caliph of 1020 AD “set out to try and pacify the war-torn peninsula”.  Scales adds, “He executed those who had abused their positions and sent out a proclamation, promising protection to all 'whether fair-skinned or dark-skinned'” (Scales, P.,  1993, 102).
    What happened in Spain may be reminiscent of what happened in time more recent times in Libya when many fair-skinned Libyans began to attack many “black Africans” that were actually autocthonous Berbers who had had the support of the leader Qaddafi.


Photo of son of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi with the Tuareg (found on-line ; ) 

      It was not long afterwards in 1062 that a group of Tuareg men from the Auelimmiden or “Lamtuna” of the Sanhadja took power in Africa including a large part of the Maghreb extending into the Sudan and brought a number of other Tuareg clans along with their vassal or client groups and slaves along with them to Andalusia. These men - called Almoravids - invaded Spain, “complete with camel and drums”, taking control over the region by 1090 and proceeded to distribute different portions of it to various tribes akin to themselves. Some of the Sanhaja received Elvira (in Grenada), the Maghrawa branch of the Zanata received areas north of Cordoba. The Banu Yafran or Ifren just mentioned received Jaen. Other Zanata received other fiefs. After this time the Berbers had obtained control over all of Andalusia.
    Later came to power a number of leaders from the African or Berber group of Masmuda forming the dynasty of the Al-Muwahhid'un or “Almohades”. Ibn Khaldun says during that time a ruler named Abd'Al-Mumin, a Zanata member of the mostly Masmuda ruled dynasty had hired a poet (non-Berber) named Abd' al-Ghafar.  Al-Mumin's son was in love with the girl that al-Ghafar was smitten by. He had been working for Abd-al Mumin, but had complained about his employer in his writings, and finally made the mistake of mockingly insulting Abdal-Mumin's son saying "What do you see in that black fellow? If you wish, I could buy you ten better ones in the slave market" (Monroe, James T., 1974, p. 323). The author of Hispano-Arabic Poetry James Monroe informs, “hearing that he was to be imprisoned the poet fled to Malaga" where he was not long afterwards executed.


To be continued in "THE AFRICAN HIMYARITES"



NOTES


* Tuarek (Tuwarek or Tuareg) people refer to themselves by the name Imoshagh, but for the purposes of this book we are using it to refer to all veiled Berber nomads as do many Western observers. They are closely related groups biologically and culturally.


**...who to my recent surprise according to ancestry.com and books on British peerage are many times over the same individuals I've been referencing in Spain, France and Italy that expelled the Moors.
    And finally to my ex-husband's Kabyle ancestors and grandfather from the Djurjura mountains who told him his people came in early times from Sicily. His grandfather adopted and groomed one of the leaders of Algeria's National Liberation Front helping to expel colonialists from their ancient Kabyle homeland and regain their country's independence.


I thank them all for their guidance and may they be always reconciled and find happiness, peace and harmony in forthcoming lives. : )       



 
Mohammed Cherif Mesaadiya - a modern Kabyle from Souk Ahras, Algeria (1924-2002)
  
  


***  Along with eyewitness accounts, genetic studies on male dna in southern populations have confirmed the presence of men from early Mauritania with east African lineages in southern Europe, and in particular Iberia and Sicily.


Another study says the following about North African inhabitants of southern Europe:   


We screened more than 2300 South European samples (Figure 1; Table 1) to identify those haplotypes which are evolutionary close to NW African chromosomes. Total frequencies for these chromosomes range between 0 and 19% across southern Europe, the highest being in Cantabria and comprising a sample from the Pas Valley, previously shown to have an extremely high frequency of the North African haplogroup E1b1b1b. Our estimates of NW African chromosome frequencies were highest in Iberia and Sicily, in accordance with the long-term Arab rule in these two areas. “Moors and Saracens in Europe: Estimating the North African Male Legacy in Southern Europe". European Journal of Genetics,  June 2009,


**** Translated from the original in Spanish "topónimos derivados del nombre Zanâta se encuentran también en Alicante -L´Atzeneta y L´Atzaneta-, en Valencia -L´Atzaneta d´Albaida- y en Mallorca -las alquerí- as Azenet o Atzenet y Azenet-en los distritos de Canarrosa y Manacor, respectivamente, documentados en el siglo XIII" 


 
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