Imazighen / ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵗⴻⵏ
Berber flag.svg
The Berber ethnic flag
Total population
20–30 million[1][2][3] – 50 million[4]
Regions with significant populations
 Moroccofrom ≈ 14 million[2] to ≈ 20 million[5][6][7]
 Algeriafrom 9[2] to ≈ 13 million[7][8]
 Tunisia110,000[9] or >9,589,652[4]
 Francemore than 2 million[10]
 Mauritania2,883,000 (2,768,000[11] & 115,000[12])
 Belgium500,000(Including descendants)[15]
 Netherlands367,455(Including descendants)[16]
 Burkina Faso50,000[17]
 Egypt34,000[18] or 1,826,580[4]
 Canada37,060 (Including those of mixed ancestry)[19]
 United States1,327[21]
Berber languages (Tamazight), traditionally written with Tifinagh alphabet, also Berber Latin alphabet;
Maghrebi Arabic dialects (among Arabized Berbers)
Predominantly Sunni Islam.
Small minorities adhere to other Islamic denominations (Shia, Ibadi), Christianity (chiefly Protestantism),[22][23] Judaism, and traditional faith
Related ethnic groups
other Afro-Asiatic peoples[24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

Berbers, or Amazighs (Berber languages: ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵗⴻⵏ, Imaziɣen; singular: ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵗ, Amaziɣ), are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa, primarily inhabiting Algeria, northern Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, northern Niger, Tunisia, Libya and a part of western Egypt.

Berbers are distributed in an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis in Egypt and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River in West Africa. Historically, they spoke Berber languages, which together form the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family. Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the 7th century, a large number of Berbers inhabiting the Maghreb (Tamazgha) have in varying degrees used a lingua franca, which in most cases is a Maghrebi Arabic dialect. After the colonization of North Africa by France, "the French government succeeded in integrating the French language in Algeria by making French the official national language and requiring all education to take place in French."[31] Foreign languages, mainly French and to some degree Spanish, inherited from former European colonial powers, are used by most educated Berbers in Algeria and Morocco in some formal contexts, such as higher education or business.

Most Berber people live in North Africa, mainly in Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.[4] Small Berber populations are also found in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Egypt as well as large immigrant communities living in France, Spain, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries of Europe.[32][33]

The majority of Berbers are Sunni Muslim.[34] The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity, and they encompass a range of societies and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history.

There are some 25–30 million Berber speakers in North Africa.[3] The number of ethnic Berbers (including non-Berber speakers) is far greater, as a large part of the Berbers have acquired other languages over the course of many decades or centuries and no longer speak Berber today. The majority of North Africa's population is believed to be Berber in origin, although due to Arabization most ethnic Berbers identify as Arabized Berbers.[35][36]

Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en (singular: a-Mazigh), possibly meaning "free people" or "noble men".[32] The name probably had its ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for Berbers, Mazices.[37] Some of the best known of the ancient Berbers are the Numidian king Masinissa, king Jugurtha, the Berber-Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the Berber-Roman general Lusius Quietus, who was instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117. Dihya, or Kahina, was a religious and military leader who led a fierce Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in Northwest Africa. Kusaila was a 7th-century leader of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and King of the Sanhadja confederation. Yusuf ibn Tashfin was king of the Berber Almoravid dynasty; Tariq ibn Ziyad the general who conquered Hispania; Abbas Ibn Firnas, a prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation; Ibn Battuta, a medieval explorer who traveled the longest known distances of his time.


The name Berber derives from an ancient Egyptian language term meaning "outlander" or variations thereof. The exonym was later adopted by the Greeks, with a similar connotation. Among its oldest written attestations, Berber appears as an ethnonym in the 1st century AD Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.[38]

Despite these early manuscripts, certain modern scholars have argued that the term only emerged around 900 AD in the writings of Arab genealogists,[39] with Maurice Lenoir positing an 8th or 9th century date of appearance.[40] The English term was introduced in the 19th century, replacing the earlier Barbary.

The Berbers are the Mauri cited by the Chronicle of 754 during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, to become since the 11th century the catch-all term Moros (in Spanish; Moors in English) on the charters and chronicles of the expanding Christian Iberian kingdoms to refer to the Andalusi, the north Africans, and the Muslims overall.

For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo[41] the name Amazigh could be derived from the name of the ancestor Mezeg which is the translation of biblical ancestor Dedan son of Sheba in the Targum. According to Leo Africanus, Amazigh meant "free man", though this has been disputed, because there is no root of M-Z-Gh meaning "free" in modern Berber languages. This dispute, however, is based on a lack of understanding of the Berber language[neutrality is disputed] as "Am-" is a prefix meaning "a man, one who is […]" Therefore, the root required to verify this endonym would be (a)zigh, "free", which however is also missing from Tamazight's lexicon, but may be related to the well attested aze "strong", Tizzit "bravery", or jeghegh "to be brave, to be courageous".[42][original research?]

Further, it also has a cognate in the Tuareg word Amajegh, meaning "noble".[43][44] This term is common in Morocco, especially among Central Atlas, Rifian and Shilah speakers in 1980,[45] but elsewhere within the Berber homeland sometimes a local, more particular term, such as Kabyle or Chaoui, is more often used instead in Algeria.[46]

The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) in the areas where Berbers were later found. Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are probably still related to the modern Amazigh. The Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field. Scholars believe it would be the same tribe called a few centuries afterwards in Greek as Mazyes by Hektaios and as Maxyes by Herodotus, while it was called after that Mazaces and Mazax in Latin sources, and related to the later Massylii and Masaesyli. All those names are similar and perhaps foreign renditions of the name used by the Berbers in general for themselves, Imazighen.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Berbers
العربية: أمازيغ
aragonés: Pueblos berbers
arpetan: Amazigos
asturianu: Bereberes
Avañe'ẽ: Verevekuéra
azərbaycanca: Berberlər
تۆرکجه: بربر‌لر
Bân-lâm-gú: Berber Lâng
башҡортса: Берберҙар
беларуская: Берберы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бэрбэры
български: Бербери
bosanski: Berberi
català: Berbers
Чӑвашла: Берберсем
čeština: Berbeři
Cymraeg: Berberiaid
dansk: Berbere
Deutsch: Berber
eesti: Berberid
Ελληνικά: Βέρβεροι
español: Bereberes
Esperanto: Berberoj
euskara: Berbere
فارسی: قوم بربر
français: Berbères
Frysk: Berbers
Gaeilge: Beirbeirigh
galego: Bérberes
한국어: 베르베르인
հայերեն: Բերբերներ
हिन्दी: बर्बर
hrvatski: Berberi
Bahasa Indonesia: Orang Berber
íslenska: Berbar
italiano: Berberi
Basa Jawa: Wong Bèrbèr
ქართული: ბერბერები
Kiswahili: Waberberi
Latina: Mazaces
latviešu: Berberi
lietuvių: Berberai
la .lojban.: imazixen
magyar: Berberek
македонски: Бербери
മലയാളം: ബെർബർ ജനത
მარგალური: ბერბერეფი
مصرى: أمازيغ
Bahasa Melayu: Barbar
Nederlands: Berbers
日本語: ベルベル人
norsk: Berbere
norsk nynorsk: Berbarar
occitan: Berbèrs
polski: Berberowie
português: Berberes
română: Berberi
русиньскый: Берберы
русский: Берберы
sardu: Bèrberos
Scots: Berbers
sicilianu: Bèrberi
Simple English: Berber people
slovenčina: Berberi
slovenščina: Berberi
Soomaaliga: Dadka Berberiga
српски / srpski: Бербери
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Berberi
suomi: Berberit
svenska: Berber
Taqbaylit: Imaziɣen
Türkçe: Berberiler
українська: Бербери
اردو: بربر
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: بېربېرلار
vèneto: Berberi
Tiếng Việt: Người Berber
粵語: 柏柏爾人
Zazaki: Berberi
中文: 柏柏尔人