You are traveling to an African country in Morocco. Your Morocco tour operator informs you of a visit to the Berber village. You’ve heard all about the Berber craftsmen, their knowledge of the land, some of their indestructible history and maybe a little bit more. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it before. Who is this Berber? In short, in Morocco the Berbers were a pre-Arab culture that had ruled uninterrupted and invincible for thousands of years. Let’s take a look at these wonderful people!
History of Moroccan Berber
Believe it or not, Berber history dates back to prehistoric times. Morocco is home to the oldest Homo Sapiens ever found and is nearly 300,000 years old! This means that the indigenous Moroccan people have been here for a long time. Longer than any other known group of people in the world. Much of what we know about the first humans in Morocco comes from archaeological evidence. Many of these stories were spoken from the Berbers themselves. In fact, calling them “hairdressers” is probably a mistake!
Berbers proudly call themselves Amazigi, “free people”. The name “barber” comes from “Barbaria”, which is from the Greek Barbaria. Although “Berber” is widely used in Morocco, by both those who are considered admirable and by other Moroccans, it is perhaps not the best or most accurate name.
Thousands of years ago, the Amazig people ruled all of North Africa, mostly through different tribes. You will cross the Sahara and the entire southern Mediterranean basin to trade and travel. Over the centuries they have been given many names: the ancient Greeks called them “Libyans”; The Romans called them “Numbian” and “African” in different ways, while much of medieval Europe referred to this group of tribes in North Africa as “Moors”. In fact, the Arabs coined the name Berber: Al-Barbarian. This may be an adaptation of the ancient Greek term “barbaric”. However, there are some thoughts, as written by the Arabic scholar Ibn Khaldun, that in some texts there may have been an ancient person named “Barbara”, a mother named “Barbara” who gave the name of their tribe, perhaps in Somalia.
When Moulay Idris, the founder of modern Morocco, fled the Abbasid dynasty, he took Islam with him, peacefully converted Arab tribes, and founded the Idrisid dynasty. Previously, most of the Berbers in North Africa were Anamists, Christians, or Jews. Islam spread rapidly in the region, although it is slightly different in the Middle East. Two of Morocco’s greatest historical dynasties, Almoravid and Almohad, were Islamic Berber dynasties that controlled much of Spain and northwest Africa.
Over the years the Amazighs fought, traded, negotiated and hosted the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Spaniards and French. Although the Romans and others tried to colonize the Berbers, they managed to maintain their own language and culture and they were never completely conquered!
Berber languages are mostly spoken, although they have had their own written system for at least 2,500 years. Sometimes hard to find, the earliest writings can be found in a small museum in the south. Recently, the language has been officially codified and is one of the two official languages of Morocco along with classical Arabic.
About Morocco Berbers Today
Today, most of the thirty-six million Moroccans are likely a combination of Berbers and Arabs. You will see Berber Pride stickers, doodles, t-shirts and hats almost everywhere. In recent years, many Moroccans have emerged who are very proud of their ethnicity and heritage. In fact, in 2014 the state lifted the ban on the name Amazig and adopted such pride at the state level.
In recent history, it is believed that the land was roughly divided by the Berbers, who lived mainly in the highlands of the High Atlas, Middle Atlas, and Coral Reefs of Morocco, whereas the Arabs owned cities and valleys, although this division occurred in the country. we. unclear. Day. Moroccans living in the mountains are more likely to identify as “Amazigs”, while in cities the identity is more varied.
In some parts, the West mistakenly characterizes Berbers as nomads who use camels to cross the Sahara. While this is true for some tribes, it is a kind of stereotype that has played out all over the Berber world. It must be said that Amazigh has long had a registered influence on trade by establishing trade routes between West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. They transport goods through the Sahara to cities in northern Morocco, specifically to Fez and Marrakech. The paths in the desert are of course traversed by nerves, knowledge and dromedaries. In Morocco, most Berbers are farmers living in the mountains and valleys. Others are traders and traders. Merchants were considered a higher class than peasants, but over the years the roles were largely reversed.
A little bit more about Berbers from Morocco
Different Berber tribes live in different regions of Morocco. Drawa Berber is located in the Draa Valley. The fathers lived in the northeast, the Mesgita, Sedrat and Zeri tribes were on the river to the northwest. Ghomara is located in the Rif region of Morocco.
To get to know the Berbers of Morocco better, book a tour in Morocco with a local tour operator and don’t forget to spend your time hiking the Atlas Mountains. Visit the Draa Valley palm oasis or explore the Sahara on camel back, to name a few. You will visit many villages along the way. The Berbers are very welcoming and offer you the option of sharing a cup of Moroccan famous mint tea or preparing traditional Moroccan dishes for your dinner.
Your Morocco guide will help you choose the best route for you. Visit the Marrakech or Fes markets and you’ll find many examples of Berber handicrafts. Stunning silver jewelery from Tuareg and Amazig artists, handmade grandmothers, or Belga from workshops are among the treasures you will find. If your taste is focused on cafés or elegant embroidered textiles like Berber rugs, pillows, rugs, etc., you’ll find this one. Although it should be mentioned that when you shop in Morocco it is better for the community and the economy if you shop fairly.
Talk to your Moroccan tour guide and operator and find the vacation of your dreams! A Moroccan adventure will take you from a modern coastal town to the Amazigh village of the High Atlas, Middle Atlas or the Reef Mountains … where you can even take a stroll in Chefchaouen!
You can go hiking or try to visit it during one of the many festivals to see the centuries-old Amazigh customs that are still practiced today. Stay in a modern riad or an old kasbah. It doesn’t matter where you go in this magical land because you will find the adventure of a lifetime. You can tailor your tour to your interests and needs. Book your tour of Morocco and start your adventure today.0