The Berber or Amazigh people are an indigenous ethnic group to North Africa. Their language belongs to a sub-grouping known as Afro-Asiatic languages. They are found scattered around in Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Not only do they represent one of Africa’s largest minority groups but they also share much history with other indigenous communities across various continents.
For example, there is a certain amount of uncertainty concerning how long they have existed as a distinct ethnicity although some records suggest that they predate Phoenician settlers who brought their alphabet to north Africa in 1000 B.C. Many believe that it was during Phoenician rule (circa 1100 B.C.
Tifinagh is believed to be among one of many indigenous writing systems used by North African Berber people. Though it has been hypothesized that they derive from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, scholars now believe that Tifinagh shares more similarities with a southern Libyan alphabet. The Libyco-Berber script first appeared in the 3rd century BC as a series of symbols engraved on rocks throughout present-day Libya and Algeria, but fell out of use sometime between 100 AD and 400 AD.
The influence of the Arab language has been such that the Berber language disappeared in many areas where it was once spoken. Nevertheless, Berber-speaking groups remain culturally distinct.
The Amazigh culture in Morocco is a singular charm that reinforces the mixing of identity in the Kingdom.
This cultural diversity is enriched by continuous interchanges with neighboring cultures, namely sub-Saharan Africans, Europeans, Arabs, and Andalusians who have all left their mark.