Who Are The Morocco Berbers?

You are headed to the African nation of Morocco. Your Moroccan tour operator has told you about visiting Berber villages. You have heard all about the Berber craftsmen, their knowledge of the land, some of their indestructible history and maybe a bit more. Or perhaps you’ve never heard of them at all. Just who are these Berber people? A Moroccan pre-Arab culture has ruled unperturbed and unconquered for hundreds of years. Let’s take a look at this amazing people.

Morocco Berber History

Believe it or not, Berber history goes back to prehistoric times. They’ve been around for at least 4000 years or maybe more. Calling themselves Amazigh, the proud raiders, they fought against the Romans, Arab, and French invaders. Even though the Romans and others have tried to colonize the Berber people, they have managed to preserve their own language and culture and in reality were never beaten!

Berber language is primarily oral in nature, although they have had their own writing system for more than 2500 years. Sometimes hard to find, the writing can be seen catalogued in the small museums throughout the south.

About Morocco Berbers

A light skinned people, they have been called by many names: Libyans by the ancient Greeks, Numbians, and Africans by the Romans and Moors by medieval Europe. In fact, it was the Arabs who came up with the Berber name. Islam came to the Berbers in the ninth and tenth centuries. Prior to then, most Berbers across Africa were Christian or Jewish. Two great Islamic Berber dynasties, Almoravids and Almohads, ruled large parts of Spain and northwest Africa.

Today, most of the twenty-seven million Moroccans are either Berbers, Arabs, or Moors (people of Berber/Arab decent). Their ancestors became the Almoravids and Almohads that built the mighty Moorish empire that ruled Spain, Portugal and Northern African.

Most of today’s Berbers live in the mountains of Morocco while the Arabs and Moors live in the cities, though it is very common these days to see Berbers running, owning and operating small shops and other commerce endeavors.

The west has characterized Berbers as nomads using camels to cross the Sahara desert. Most today are farmers of the mountains and valleys in Morocco. They were traders in the earlier days. Berber’s long recorded influence affected commerce by establishing trading routes between the West African and the Sub-Saharan region. They transported goods from beyond the Sahara desert to the Northern Moroccan cities. Merchants were considered in a higher class than the farmers, however, through history the roles have mostly been reversed.

Morocco Berbers

Different tribes of Berbers inhabit different regions in Morocco. Drawa Berbers are found in the Draa Valley. The Dades live in the North East, The Mesgita, Seddrat and Zeri tribes are along the rives of the North West. Moroccan Rif region is home to the Ghomara.

To better know the Berbers of Morocco, book a Morocco tour with a local tour operator and be sure to spend some of your time trekking in the Atlas mountains. Visit the palm oasis’s of the Draa Valley or explore the Sahara by camelback, just to mention a couple. You’ll visit the many villages along the way. The Berber people are incredibly friendly and will offer to share a glass of famous Moroccan mint tea or cook you a traditional Moroccan dish for your dinner.

Your Moroccan tour guide will help you chose the best route for you. Visit the markets of Marrakech or Fez and you will find many examples of Berber craftsmanship. Stunning silver jewelry by Tuareg and Amazigh artists, handmade babouches or belga made in the workshops are among the treasures you will find. If your tastes run to elegant embroidered caftans, or textiles such as Berber carpets, pillows, kilims and so forth you will find them too.

Talk to your Moroccan tour guide and operator and find your self on a vacation of your dreams. A Moroccan adventure will take you from the modern cities on the coast to Berber villages high in the Atlas or Rif Mountains where you can even trek in Chefchaouen.

You can go trekking or visit during one of the many festivals to see age-old Berber customs being practiced in today’s world. Stay in a modern riad or an ancient Kasbah. It matters not where you go in this magical land as you will find the adventure of a life time. You can customize your tour to suit your interests and needs. Book your Morocco tour and begin your adventure today.

by Carole Morris, Morocco Enthusiast, & Writer & Columnist for the JBT Team

Carole Morris

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • mohamed September 26, 2011, 3:56 pm

    I have two questions I need answers to
    how many Berbers in Morocco, there are today?
    is it more Berber than Arabs?
    there are many Arabs with Berber roots of what I know

    thanks in advance

  • Mehad January 26, 2012, 11:46 pm

    Hi can you send me email about The Morocco Berber people?

  • Souleyman May 9, 2012, 7:57 am

    Midar .. one of the most oldest cities of the berbers ( amazigh ) .. <3

  • Amine June 3, 2012, 10:17 pm

    I love my Berber brothers. In Islam, we re all equal brothers forever.

  • mohmmed June 28, 2012, 10:06 am

    my name is mohammed born and raised berber in high atlas in morocco now i live in small town in state of virginia and i love it any one has any quition about beber feel free to ask

  • keith July 24, 2012, 12:00 am

    pbs channel had a documentaru om these humble people and if their humble way of live was found in the USa i want to be living with them , i think alot like Amish farmers in the US in a way
    if love GOd ,honor one another and love their country and live a moral righteous life that to me is paradise , kc

  • N July 28, 2012, 4:42 pm

    I do have a question ; is there any sifference between moorish and Berber? I wanna know my histoy. I live in Europe now. My parenta orignate from North-morocco ( imazighen) can someone help me?

  • said August 24, 2012, 7:58 pm

    i eed to know where imazighn come from ? and some notion about imazighn n boumia tounfit zayda midelt … ,?

  • new lbacha October 7, 2012, 6:25 pm

    we are not berbers friends.we are Imazighne.please search meaning of berbers.

  • bob November 13, 2012, 5:29 pm

    Berber were mostly Jewish in origin. A Jewish queen roamed the land of North Africa fighting Arab invasion. most of the population in Israel today are of Berber origin from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya…

  • zazlox March 25, 2013, 12:11 am

    Mr bob :

    Most Berbers are at least nominal followers of Islam, and many strictly observe Islamic traditions. Most of the feasts are observed and celebrated, but the fasting that is required during Ramadan is often excused for those who travel. Like most followers of Islam in northern Africa.

  • husayn March 25, 2013, 6:40 pm

    One of the berbers are from Imliq imliq is referring to arabs that mixed with the canaanites
    the phoenicians being one who are just another branch of the dravidians and the other branch is known as the sumerians and also there is another canaanite people like pure aboriginal people of North America the amorites were a mix between the Imliq and these canaanites
    both are known as Imliq and Imliq mixed with the Adites and are successors to them a mix so long before any romans,before greeks before vikings before french ect

  • husayn March 25, 2013, 6:52 pm

    on 08/15/12 I dreamt there is no such thing as the amalekites the Imliq are from the Ad

    According to Arab historians such as Ibn Khaldun and Ali ibn al-Athir, Amalek is a name given to the Amorites and the Canaanites
    Ibn Khaldun
    Historian and scholar, Ibn Khaldun also mentions the Thamud several times in his great universal history al-Kit?bu l-?ib?r (“Book of Evidence”), but only in passing, seldom giving much information.
    Some examples from the Muqaddimah (“Introduction”):
    This can be illustrated by what happened among the nations. When the royal authority of ‘Ad was wiped out, their brethren, the Thamud, took over. They were succeeded, in turn, by their brethren, the Amalekites. The Amalekites were succeeded by their brethren, the Himyar. The Himyar were succeeded by their brethren, the Tubba’s, who belonged to the Himyar. They, likewise, were succeeded, by the Adhwa’. Then, the Mudar came to power.

    —Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah Chapter II Bedouin civilization, savage nations and tribes and their conditions of life, including several basic and explanatory statements, 21 As long as a nation retains its group feeling, royal authority that disappears in one branch will, of necessity, pass to some other branch of the same nation ( note amalekites are the Imliq) ”
    ‘Imliq is the father of the Amalekites from whom came the berbers,who are children of Thamila bin Maarib bin Faaraan bin ‘Amr bin ‘Imliq bin Lud bin Sam(Shem) bin Nuh (Noah)PBH
    prophets and patriarchs
    To Lud bin Shem was born Tasm and Judays?who dwelt in al Yamaamah.Lud also begot ‘Imliq whose dwelling place was the holy area(al haram) and the outskirts of Makka. Some of his descendant’s reached Syria among these are the Amalekites from whom the Pharaohs of Egypt came. To Lud to was born Umaym who had many offspring some of these broke away to join Gomer bin Japheth in East.
    from prophets and patriarchs
    I have also dreamt of the people of Lud in saudia arabia and i saw nur. on 23/11/11 i dreamt the amlaq(imliq) were the giant people
    on 02/09/12

    I dreamt of north africa and the berbers come from the Hittites who come from the Adites MashaaAllaah

  • husayn March 25, 2013, 6:54 pm

    on 30/08/12

    I have dreamt the greeks and Kurds are same and that the Kurds are from the Edomites(Idumeans,Adites)
    no date 2 times i dreamt the Lydians were in North africa and 1 time they are the Hittites!
    on 09/30/12 i dreamt the kurds are from hittite royalty and Indians(india)

  • husayn March 25, 2013, 6:59 pm

    on 10/10/2012
    I dreamt of north africa Morocco and I saw the face of my Moroccan friend and that the berbers are from the Imliq (are from the Ad)
    On a spiritual side I have seen Prophet Muhammad PBH 10times and I say it with no boasting I dreamt of the Prophet PBH and I am standing besides him and I was told I am not a sayyid and I ask the Prophet PBH about the Indian people, he PBH had a big smile on his face this is why I started to find out about the Indian people particularly the dark ones 2times I dreamt the dravidians are the sumerians and 1time they are from Canaan and that the blacks and ethiopians are from cush ibn ham

    and after a yr I came across something in Prophets and Patriarchs which it said 2times Nimrod(disbeliever was son of cush son of canaan son of ham There is two cush’s and people have gotten them mixed up

    i dreamt a explanation of the dravidians i was told in the dream (hamitic) in type with straight hair and were also egyptians then after some time i dreamt the dravidians came from the fertile crescent in syria close to the sea and after this i dreamt they came from egypt close to the sea and i see arrows showing their travel one arrow goes up into the fertile crescent in syria and the other goes east through south iraq and southern iran until the arrow reached northwest india! also i dreamt of a migration in the shape of a U on the river nile nowhere did i see anything to do with the horn of africa . also i dream the migration came from the east. On 13/11/11 I dreamt the dravidians are Phoenicians( A branch of Dravidians ) on the 28/12/11 i dreamt the phoenecians in north africa and i saw italy and there is interaction between them both

  • Will February 20, 2014, 5:52 pm

    What do you mean 4,000 years or? Genetics have established that they are the indigenous people of North Africa, more like 40,000 years or more…check into it.

  • Thomas Hollowell February 23, 2014, 7:13 am

    Hey Will, we will check into this! Thanks for fact checking this and we’ll correct it pronto.

  • sam May 29, 2014, 1:44 am

    It is not true that the majority of the berbers lives in the mountain and the arabs in the cities, the arabs actually invaded the majority of the areas including mountains.

  • Sam May 29, 2014, 1:47 am

    the Ghomora actually are mixed arab-berbers, in the past were just berbers but now ara mostly arabs o arab-berber.