Saturday, January 10, 2009

Modern history of the Berber people in North Africa

After gaining their independence in the 20th century, the countries of North Africa established Arabic as their official language, replacing French. As a result, most Berbers had to study and know Arabic, with no opportunity to use their own language at schools.

North African states identified themselves as Arab nations, ignoring the existence and the culture of the Berbers. Political tensions have arisen between Berber groups and governments in North Africa during the past few decades, over linguistic and cultural issues. For example, giving children Berber names was prohibited in Morocco.

In response to the demands of the Berbers, Morocco and Algeria modified their policies. Algeria defined itself in the constitution as an Arab, Berber, Muslim nation. Currently, in Algeria, Berber is a national language and is taught as a non-compulsory language in the Berber speaking areas. In Morocco, Berber is now taught as a compulsory language regardless the ethnicity.

excerpt from


1 Berber groups
2 History
3 Berbers and Islam
4 Modern history

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