The faces of North Africa; from rock art to the age of the Moors

Not including dynastic Egyptians, which I have on a separate page, here.

Saharan rock art.

Two pictures from Tassili, then a few from Uan Fathi, hair-washing scene from Uan Amil and finally the Tassili ladies. At least two of the images seem to depict blondes and red heads, hair colours uncommon but not unknown in North Africa. The black ladies are examples of Roundhead art from the central Sahara about 9,000 BP-possibly a Nilo Saharan speaking people ethnically quite different to the coastal Capsian culture who were Eurasian in ancestry. The rest are examples of Neolithic art from the Pastoral era.

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Egyptian depictions of North Africans

From various sources. The last image is an illustration copied from a now badly damaged wall painting in the Tomb of Ramses depicting the races as the Egyptians knew them. I have an image of the damaged frieze stored, and it’s a faithful reproduction. The pasty face third in is a Libyan’s head from the crook of  Tutankhamen. The two in the same picture are Libyan ambassadors.

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Roman era mosaics from North Africa

The first two are ‘the goddess Africa’.These are crops from many mosaics, mainly from North African museums like El Djem. Some of these are deities, but since they don’t appear to be depicted any differently to the general population I’ve included many of them here, although I’ve omitted the mermaids and centaurs. The slaves, nobles, dancers, gladiators and gods are all depicted similarly, so I’m assuming this is pretty close to the norm for North Africans of the era.

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Coinage portraits

Mostly from Carthage

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Byzantine images from North Africa

This is the post-Roman Christian era, for about 200 years prior to the arrival of Islam.

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Moorish Era  depictions of the Moors

These are taken from the tale of Bayad and Riyad, a book written in a North African dialect. It’s unclear whether it is North African or Spanish in origin.

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These are from ‘the Book of Games’, commissioned by King Alfonso X. In this book Moors are also referred to as Arabs on occasion. A look at one of the lady’s hands shows the use of henna, and c couple of the white beards look suspiciously red tinted too; dyeing beards with henna happens too.

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From Cantigas de Santa Maria, 13th century, reign of King Alfonso X

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From the 12th century  Skylitzes Chronicle

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Other Moorish portraits.

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This is meant to be a contemporary image of the Moorish leader Tariq Ibn Ziyad, after whom the rock of Gibraltar is named. I’ve been told that others exist, but I’m having a hard time locating them!

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31 responses to “The faces of North Africa; from rock art to the age of the Moors

  1. I’ve live in Morocco, and most of these look pretty typical of the Berbers and Moroccans of today. Most are clearly Caucausian, although you do see traces of Negroid traits mixed in here or there. We also have some black Moroccans, but most of their ancestors came to Morocco far more recently.

    • It’s so nice not to get yelled at for this kind of thing….

      You wouldn’t believe how many people insist all Africans before Barbary slavery were all black, in spite of the mass of art and anthropology and history that shows it to be otherwise.

      I’ll be adding to this site when I find more images. Unfortunately Islam doesn’t like portraits, so actual Moorish portraits are nearly non existant.

  2. elementaryteacher

    Matilda,

    I came across this website today (posted on another teacher’s website). It has some really interesting maps in terms of volume and location of the slave trade. I found their map on Africa interesting, and it shows very small (comparatively) arrows going to Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. I would say the size of the arrows is pretty representative of the proportion of black population (or Negroid features present within a Caucasian population) we see in those areas.

    slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces

    Anyway, it looks like a good website.

    I have resided 17 years in Morocco, and spent considerable time throughout most areas of Egypt. I can assure you that what you are saying is correct. Most of the people who are insisting North Africa is black have probably never even visited the place!

    Eileen

  3. elementaryteacher

    Actually, it seems to me that I’ve seen a fair number of Moorish portraits (mainly of rulers and important people). It’s a tradition to hang pictures of those people everywhere. People also have family portraits and pictures. I’m not sure where to steer you for this information (perhaps try the French Amazon.com for books on “histoire du Maroc” meaning history of Morocco). There seem to be a lot more books on Morocco and North Africa generally in French, than in English. You could also try to find some Italian books on the history of Libya. If you know any Italians, or friends visiting Italy, they could check out a couple bookstores and see if they could find books on Libyan history with pictures.

    Eileen

  4. Mathilda37,

    Beautiful pictures indeed!
    I agree with wpm1955, I know a bit Morocco where I go regularly for vacation.
    People are splendid! I recommend at all of those who can, to go to see by themselves.

  5. elementaryteacher

    Matilda,

    Next time you are in Morocco, check out some of the larger bookstores, as they will have some of the history books and surely you’ll find books containing portraits. There are a fair amount of postcards around with portraits (new and old), too (including in bookstores).

    Eileen

  6. elementaryteacher

    I forgot to say that some bookstores specialize in French-language books, and others in Arabic-language books. Make sure you go to one that carries modern FRENCH books.

    Eileen

  7. I’d say that the misconception that North Africa was once black (or mostly so) is a modern Afrocentric creation (which may be colluded by Nordicist racialist neo-myths as well).

    North Africans may have a somewhat complex ancestry, including surely some possibly “black” or “mixed” from NE Africa (rather than West Africa) but overall genetics show they are mostly Caucasoids.

    IMO the first (or maybe second, if some Aterian peoples survived) colonists of North Africa (Oranian or Iberomaurusian culture) arrived from southern Iberia with a hybrid Gravetto-Solutrean culture (and a Cro-Magnon variant type). A counter-tide may have come from Upper Egypt and Nubia with the Cpasian, bringing surely Afroasiatic language with them, as well as Y-DNA E1b1b, now dominant in the region (and possibly most of the L1-L3 mtDNA found among North Africans). Both Barbary piracy and trans-saharan slave trade may have caused some minor genetic movements but they cannot really account for the vast majority of North African ancestry, which is quite obviously prehistoric.

    On the portraits, something that called my attention, specially in the Phoenician coins, was the extremely high nasion, which I’d say is more typical of Eastern Mediterraeans (it’s sometimes called “Greek nose” because it was part of the classical Greek beauty standards) than of Western peoples, including possibly most North Africans.

  8. Parts of Northern Africa along the coast have received influxes of migrants from Eurasia over the last 3,000 years, from the Sea People and Asiatics of ancient Egypt, the Greeks, the Romans (who completely destroyed and repopulated Carthage), to the Arabians and European slaves of the Islamic and Ottoman period. But these are non African peoples migrating to Africa and does not mean that North Africa was ever devoid of blacks or that blacks are not native to North Africa.

    On top of that the Moorish period in Spain consisted mainly of groups from the Sahara who are directly descended from the blacks in the Saharan paintings and who are the ONLY people who can be called aboriginal to North Africa. And among these were notable black dynasties who occupied Spain, including the Almoravids and Almohades, who originated in Mauretania and Senegal. And even today, you will see many blacks in the Southern parts of Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia and it is laughable in the least to pretend that somehow they are “recent” migrants to Africa when blacks were the FIRST people of North Africa.

    Yes, there have been migrations of whites into North Africa but these are not the original North Africans and they were not there before black Africans. Such a claim is absurd to say the least. And if you bring up slavery then you should mention that the predominant pattern of slavery in North Africa during the Medieval and Ottoman period was of European whites, as Eastern European females were a prized commodity in Ottoman harems.

    To put these photos in context, the GrecoRoman portraits reflect a partly GrecoRoman population which does not suggest anything other than migrations from Europe. The Moorish paintings simply reflect the fact that most Muslims in Spain were native Spaniards, while the actual Moorish population was a relative minority, whether African, Syrian or Arabian. The Egyptian portraits are not the first images of people to the West, but there are oasis tombs from Western Egypt from the “libyan” period of dynastic Egypt that do not portray such features among the people interred there. And such portraits only reflect the appearance of some coastal populations in ancient “Libya” as opposed to the appearance of all people throughout the Sahara and North Africa which is an expanse of territory larger than the United States of America.

    • Again Don, let me just correct a few points.

      when blacks were the FIRST people of North Africa

      Eurasian people populated North Africa about 35,000 years ago. Ask a geneticist or an anthropologist. Both of whom would laugh their nads off at that mini essay of yours.

      You apparently failed to notice that the Egyptians depicted Libyans as whiter than a sheet (from about 6,000 years ago). They commonly describe them as having fair and red hair in their texts too.

      Arab slavery….European slaves 1.5 million; Black African slaves about 14 million.

      DNA traceable to Europe anytime in the past few thousand years is less than four percent.

      The Roman era portraits depict normal coastal North Africans. The fisherman, slaves, farm workers and servants are all white too. Same as the Libyan nobles. As you move further into the Sahara you get some black Berbers, but even these have a lot of Eurasian ancestry, right into Mauretania.

      You’ve also decided to repeat this bollocks for a second time from another page, so I know you’ve seen the 12,000 year old DNA studies from Morocco that show typically Eurasian DNA in ancient paleo-Berbers.

      Also, the people that show highest for North African mt DNA look like this..

  9. White Eurasian people could not have populated North Africa 35,000 years ago. First because there were no white Eurasian people 35,000 years ago. Second, you keep harping on these Eurasians as some way of implying that they must have been white Eurasians, but you omit the fact that these Eurasians were descended from Africans who migrated out of Africa only 40,000 years ago. Hence you hype up the so-called the Eurasian origins of these hypothetical North African migrants, but omit the fact that they were only 5,000 years removed from being Africans. So if supposed Eurasian migrants make the North Africans Eurasian whites, then do the black African migrants to Eurasia make the first Eurasians Africans? Of course. The point being that if there was a migration from Eurasia into North Africa 35,000 years ago, they would not have been white Eurasians as no geneticist or anthropologist would claim that such white Eurasians existed in their current form at the time. Therefore, you are confusing genotype with phenotype and the genotype of ancient migrants 35,000 years ago have nothing to do with phenotype, meaning that calling someone from 35,000 years ago a Eurasian has nothing to do with being white or Caucasian. And even with this supposed migration of “Eurasians” 35,000 years ago, that does not change the fact that the first people of North Africa were black Africans who have been there for more than 35,000 years.

    The Egyptians did not portray all people from their western borders the same way. The earliest images of “Libyans” was much more like the Egyptians except for their style of dress. The blonde haired images of “Libyans” did not come about until the Middle Kingdom. But that does not prove that the primary population of the Sahara which is larger than the entire United States, was ever anything other than black African. The only places where white skin became predominant was on the coast and of course by the time of the Romans and Greeks there would have been plenty of such people along the coast with such a phenotype. But that is not even 10% of what constitutes North Africa. Sudan is part of North Africa.
    That is where you are misleading and distorting as opposed to educating.

    Not only that but expeditions into the Sahara have shown clearly that even up until the last wet phase blacks were the primary occupants of the Sahara. So if the Sahara is North Africa and the artifacts show a continuous presence of black Africans, how on earth do you explain these white Eurasian migrants then? Not to mention things like the “black Mummy” from Libya.

    The only aboriginal population of North Africa is black African any other phenotype is a relatively recent arrival.

    • but you omit the fact that these Eurasians were descended from Africans who migrated out of Africa only 40,000 years ago

      As always Don you are hilariously badly informed (I let your comments through because I needed a laugh now and then). Modern human reamins have been found in Israel about 95,000 years old, and Aborigines entered Oz about 65 K ago. The people from West Asia that entered North Africa were Cro Magnon-like early Caucasoid people.

      The point being that if there was a migration from Eurasia into North Africa 35,000 years ago, they would not have been white Eurasians as no geneticist or anthropologist would claim that such white Eurasians existed in their current form at the time

      Also, the Taforalt remains are described as Caucasoid in skull shape, and plenty of anthropolgists ahve commented on the typically Caucasoid structure of North Africans for the past 20,000 years. You lot make these statements apparently unaware, or in your case just deliberately ignoring, the crania studies of North Africa that have the word ‘Caucasoid’ in them. Same forthe Egyptians, who always show up as being very similar to modern Egyptians.

      The Egyptians did not portray all people from their western borders the same way. The earliest images of “Libyans” was much more like the Egyptians except for their style of dress.

      Feel like providing me with an image or two for this claim? I have Egyptian images of Libyans. Show me yours/ Or was that just something you read of an Afrocentrist site? Besides, like I said we have plentiful mummies and art that show Egyptians to be mainly typical North African Caucasoid people.

      Also, only Europeans have had thier skin lightened by recent mutations. North Africans don’t appear to have that gene much. They are as pretty they have been for about the past 40,000 years.

      The blonde haired images of “Libyans” did not come about until the Middle Kingdom

      BUllshit!
      Those red and blod haired images from the rock art in Tassili is about 5,000 years old plus. Talking out of your arse again. Only very blond hair is a recent mutation. Red and fair hair have variants over 250k old (which is why we suspect a Neanderthal contribution).

      That is where you are misleading and distorting as opposed to educating

      No, I’m faithfully reproducing the DNA and crania studies. You are massively ill informed as to both the genetics of north Africa, timing of the OOA date, and desciptions by respected anthropologists of North African people through the eras.

      Sudan is part of North Africa

      Not the part I am interested in. And It is a sub Saharan country, not North African. Wikipedia can’t be trusted on that one. No European would ever include Sudan in a description of North Africa. If it doesn’t have a coast on the Med, it is not a North African country.

      Not only that but expeditions into the Sahara have shown clearly that even up until the last wet phase blacks were the primary occupants of the Sahara. So if the Sahara is North Africa and the artifacts show a continuous presence of black Africans, how on earth do you explain these white Eurasian migrants then? Not to mention things like the “black Mummy” from Libya

      Again more stuff you seem to have made up. The Uan Muhuggiag Black mummy was found at a site that’s also yielded typically caucasoid skulls and skulls in between. It was found at one of the most southerly sites in Libya, right into the Sahara, in practically in Chad. And no, the Saharan sites don’t yield only ‘black Africans’ There is a paper on the Gobero burials that shows the Taforalt (described by anthropologists as Caucasoid) people expanded right into the Sahara, and about 4,000 years later were replaced by a population showing strong affinities to moder Mediterranean populations (also Caucasoid).

      To sum up, you’ve not posted one piece of accurate information in that prior comment. It’s the most perfect example of crap I’ve ever seen.

      As a response to a comment deleted for being repetetive and dumb..

      For anyone curious,

      The Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene Populations of Northern Africa.

      COLIN P. GROVES AND ALAN THORNE 1999

      Abstract:

      We studied three northern African samples of human cranial remains from the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary: Afalou-bou-Rhummel, Taforalt, and Sudanese Nubia (Jebel Sahaba and Tushka), and compared them to late Pleistocene Europeans and Africans. Despite their relatively late dates, all three of our own samples exhibit the robusticity typical of late Pleistocene Homo sapiens. As far as population affinities are concerned, Taforalt is Caucasoid and closely resembles late Pleistocene Europeans, Sudanese Nubia is Negroid, and Afalou exhibits an intermediate status. Evidently the Caucasoid/Negroid transition has fluctuated north and south over time, perhaps following the changes in the distribution of climatic zones.

      Essentially North Africa about 12k ago is caucasoid at the coast, mixed inland and black in the Sudan. Also anyone curious should read through some of Cavalli Sforzas work involving North Africa.

      The tarofalt remains in Northern Africa were descended from African populations

      No they weren’t you moron, the DNA shows them to be Eurasian and the crania studies show them to be Caucasoid. Give it up

      Mitochondrial diversity in the Taforalt population (circa 12,000 BP, Morocco): a genetic approach to the study of the peopling of North Africa.)

      ABSTRACT:

      The population exhumed from the archaeological site of Taforalt in Morocco (12,000 years BP) is a valuable source of information toward a better knowledge of the settlement of Northern Africa region and provides a revolutionary way to specify the origin of Ibero-Maurusian populations. Ancient DNA was extracted from 31 bone remains from Taforalt.The HVS1 fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region was PCR-amplified and directly sequenced. Mitochondrial diversity in Taforalt shows the absence of sub-Saharan haplogroups suggesting that Ibero-Maurusian individuals had not originated in sub-Saharan region. Our results reveal a probable local evolution of Taforalt population and a genetic continuity in North Africa.

      The genetic inheritance of Taforalt population (12,000 years) is composed of:

      Eurasiatic component (J/T, H, U et V) and North African component (U6).

      Genetic structure of Taforalt:

      Eurasiatic Component : H, U, JT, V: 90.5%

      North African component: U6: 9.5 %

      and Africa is the origin of the hominid species and all of its flavors including the erroneously labeled cromagnoid as well as caucasoid ‘types’, which are outdated terms to say the least.

      I suggest you take a look at the fact that the earliest modern human remains in Europe are only 35-36,000 years old and they do not look like your so-called Eurasian caucasoids.

      Don, Cro-Magnons measure up as very similar to northern Europeans. They were basically caucasoid in skull shape, with a few outliers. Again displaying your rampant ignorance. Caucasoid skull shapes evolved in West Asia, and a serious amount of human DNA mutations don’t come from Africa, East African are sometimes caucasoid in skull shpae as they are almost half Eurasian in some places.

      Don, for someone so astoundingly ignorant you sure do like to point it out to the world a lot..

  10. Don Blake.

    You are another Afrocentrist who knows nothing about North Africa. You should go and see North Africa for yourself. I saw on another site called “Topix”,that a certain Afrocentrist was claiming that the first peoples who inhabited the Americas were black Africans, not Amerindians, obviously this Afrocentrist has horse-shit for brains!
    I am a Kabyle Berber and I have never seen a black Berber in all my life; because they don`t exist.As for the Touareg they are not genetically Berbers,they are genetically closely related with the Beja peoples of the Sudan as their DNA Proves; and are also not a Negro people. As for the so called Black Touareg they are called the Haratin who are the descendants of the Touareg slaves, and who now live like the Touareg. I have travelled all over North Africa and have spent 2 years travelling with the Touareg, from Southern Algeria to Morocco, and back into libya and then further south to the Soudan all across the Sahara.I also stayed with the Southern Saharan Berbers of Morocco,who are white as any European Mediterraneans; and amongst their ranks you will find numerous blond and red haired people like my own Kabyle further North,their women are extremely beautiful as are the Kabyle girls and also the Riffian Berbers. Many archaeological finds have been found of burial sites in the Saharan desert of white skinned red haired people of Berber origin, their remains being preserved by the hot dry desert sands, which was a precurser to the Egyptian embalmers, some of these ancient remains have been found to be at least 10 thousand years old, but never has a black person been found in the Saharan desert; why not! because the aboriginal people of North Africa were/are a caucasoid people.
    You Afrocentrists like to rewrite history to suit your own ideological agenda!
    I do fully agree with Matilda`s comments, you do talk a lot of “BULLSHIT” you don`t like the truth, just your own fabrications and lies! All the archaeological evidence show you are totally “WRONG”

  11. Dear Matilda

    I have found a document about:
    Mitochondrial DNA transit between West Asia and North Africa inferred from U6 phylogeography.

    The adress is:

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=270091

    I think that you will find it quite interesting, that`s if you haven`t seen it already.

    • I think I have somewhere. .. yep. The date for the U6 moving into North Africa seems a bit young though (30k). I suspect the back migration brought the Aterian with it.

  12. Good job! I always learn something new from you! You are one of my personal heroes! Before I came across your blog I was having trouble looking for this kinda of info on the web,there’s just so much to look through! Now all I do is come here! You have already found everything. So I always look forward to reading new things on your blog! Don’t let those Afronuts bring you down!!!! You always put them in their place!

    • Hi Malissa.

      You would not believe how much Afrocentrist crap I have to wade through in the comments on a Monday. Nice to see this.
      I’m still looking for Byzantine North African art and Moorish portraits. If you see any let me know.

  13. On top of that the Moorish period in Spain consisted mainly of groups from the Sahara who are directly descended from the blacks in the Saharan paintings and who are the ONLY people who can be called aboriginal to North Africa. And among these were notable black dynasties who occupied Spain, including the Almoravids and Almohades, who originated in Mauretania and Senegal.

    The almoravids did originate near Senegal (but acually in modern Mauritania) but were Tuareg. Tuareg, even if much mixed with Western Black Africans nowadays are generally considered a Caucasoid people, at least by origin.

    Said that, they did incorporated certainly people of Negroid complexion, no doubt, even among the elites. But the Almoravid rule in North Africa and a shrinking part of Spain (most of the Reconquista was done in fact against Almoravids and Almohads, who were the Taliban of their time, in contrast to the much more illustrated Cordoba Emirate/Caliphate and the quasi-Renaissance taifa kingdoms).

    Almohads were a Berber dynasty originated in the Atlas. Nothing to do with Tropical Africa.

    Furthermore, I’d say that Black People do not need to distort History to find many truly Black civilizations to be proud of: from Nubia to Ghana, from Nok to Zimbawe, etc. Black Africa has been producing many many rich cultures that sometimes have caused the admiration of the rest of the world. But Tropical Africa is, except at the NW corner maybe, pretty much isolated naturally from the largest landmass of Eurasia, what may have hindered overall developement somewhat. Nevertheless the big hit to Black African civilization was the slave trade and the subsequent warlordization of the continent (only the most ruthless slave traders could get good weapons).

    The true cases of Black domination over white peoples (if you’re interested in that) are, AFAIK, the Nubian rule of Egypt (considered a liberation force by Egyptians) and the Ethiopian rule over Yemen (in the context of pre-Islamic religious fights between Christian and Jews in Arabia). The Almoravids cannot really be considered in this list because their core ethnicity, the Sandhaja confederacy, was Tuareg, not Peul. The Almohads are from much further North.

  14. Moroccan berber

    thx Mathilda
    yes I agree with you, Luis!
    We have a black minority called Haratin
    Haratin means (the second free men)! because they are the slaves of the Alawite dynasty until today, and some are expelled in sahara oasis!
    blacks in Morocco are just a few thousand of their numbers will comes decrease ! for social reasons as most of them suffer because of racism
    Moroccans treat black by aggressive words, they have no right to have great seats in government or have jobs!
    because of the nature of our society going back to the 17th when the first Ismail king has ordered Moroccans to kill their slaves because they think they are devils who carry deadly diseases.
    there are Moroccans who have black mothers and they look like Tuaregs not real black !
    but the slaves came to us in Morocco by the export trade of slavery that ancient Tuareg have practiced!
    the golden age of the slaves that were in Morocco at the age of the Saadian dynasty 17th century!
    slaves exported to Morocco are from Ghana and Mali and Senegal !
    the Afrocentric don’t know this reality and that the old Moorish dynasty invaded the empire of Songhai and Mali for having slaves, and steal their wealth of gold which the Spanish had cut this road through the export of slaves and gold in the Ocean Harbor.

  15. Luis : You said The almoravids did originate near Senegal (but acually in modern Mauritania) but were Tuareg.

    Actually the Almoravids were a Confederation of 3 Berber tribes (Lamtuna, Gudula, Massufa) of the Sanhaja clan. Not Tuaregs, The Tuaregs are not really Berbers, as their DNA proves, they are closely related to the Beja people of the Soudan; from whom they split away some 5000 years ago or more, and they did not conquer Spain.

  16. Moroccan berber

    exactly uraeus !
    sanhaja tribes are not touaregs tribes ! big difference …!!!
    also touaregs are more mixed with black womens !!
    but they are berbers by culture !just this!!!

    intersting map from ancient islamic north africa!
    (touaregs didn’t conquer spain or morocco)

  17. Interesting discussion on North Africans. I knew that North Africans were fundamentally Caucasoids of Mediterranean type, in particular the coastal Berbers, but I was always curious as to why the average North African tends to stick out among a crowd of people from the European side of the Mediterranean.

    I was unaware of the widescale implementation of the trans-Saharan slave trade until fairly recently when I read up on it. It appears that Arab and Berber males had many children by black African women over the course of several centuries (13th-19th or so), which was enough to somewhat alter the genetic composition of the North African population. I suppose this is why many of today’s North Africans have darker complexions and curlier hair than other Mediterranean populations, in particular those of southern Europe. For example, Tunisian immigrants in Sicily are usually easily distinguished from the Sicilians. The same applies to Moroccans in Spain.

    Apparently the patrilineal nature of Arab society permitted the children of slave mothers to be identified as Arabs, by which they were absorbed into the native population. Over the course of several centuries, it is easily understandable how this could change the genetic composition of a population.

    Still, modern average North Africans are predominantly Caucasoids, just slightly darker due to sub-Saharan admixture. I have also seen quite a few unmixed North Africans, in particular the coastal Berbers (who would’ve comprised the majority of the medieval Moorish invaders of places like Spain and Sicily), who look standard Mediterranean Caucasoid and are sometimes even blond.

    • Yes, someone thought they saw Madeleine Mccann in Morocco; North coast Berbers are probably more what North coast Africans looked like before the Arab slave era.

  18. the Afrocentric don’t know this reality and that the old Moorish dynasty invaded the empire of Songhai and Mali for having slaves, and steal their wealth of gold which the Spanish had cut this road through the export of slaves and gold in the Ocean Harbor.

    That is a curious colonial epysode truly. The death blow to maybe the most proud and fruiful civilization of West Africa and an imperial enterprise not really different from the ones carried in similar dates by European powers like Portugal, in search of the quasi-mythic “gold of Sudan”.

    Like the Portuguese intervention in other areas of Africa (Zimbabwe for instance) it was totally disruptive of the socio-political order but acomplished little. The gold was not in Timbouctou nor Djenné and the foreign disruption caused it to stop flowing along the traditional routes. In the long run Moroccan rule became less and less real and finally the locals took over.

    Actually the Almoravids were a Confederation of 3 Berber tribes (Lamtuna, Gudula, Massufa) of the Sanhaja clan. Not Tuaregs, The Tuaregs are not really Berbers, as their DNA proves, they are closely related to the Beja people of the Soudan; from whom they split away some 5000 years ago or more, and they did not conquer Spain.

    You’re right. My bad.

    I did not know the Tuareg have a different origin from other Berber peoples anyhow. They certainly speak a Berber language, not a Cushitic one.

    I was always curious as to why the average North African tends to stick out among a crowd of people from the European side of the Mediterranean.

    Tends to but it varies a lot. Many could easily pass as Mediterranean Europeans. Zidane for instance could pass absolutely unnoticed in Spain and he’s not particularly extreme. I think the differences have two basic elements: one the long time of isolation (the Mediterranean has acted as barrier for the most part) and also to the NE African (and also West Asian) component in NW Africans (Caspian, IMO – Mathilda will disagree, I know) and the Middle European component in SW European Mediterraneans (Tardenoisian, Celts, etc.) Inversely at times the Mediterranean has also favored demic flows (Megalithism, Phoenicians, Romans, Al Andalus…) but these have probably been limited to the coasts for the most part and have been minoritary, albeit accumulative.

    Yes, someone thought they saw Madeleine Mccann in Morocco; North coast Berbers are probably more what North coast Africans looked like before the Arab slave era.

    They just pictured a blond girl and though she could not be Moroccan, what is laughable. A product of archetypes and not real knowledge. Some people seem to think there are only blonds in Northern Europe and/or that any blond or redhair in the Mediterranean is descendant from Vikings or whatever – absurd.

    Bondism is anyhow a minority trait in North Africa. I still don’t think this is due to “slave trade”, at least not for the most part, but rather to the important East African influence of Capsian culture, which “Ethiopized” North Africans to some extent.

    When I realized this East African connection (apparent in genetics as well archaeology) the why behind NW African phenotypes became more clear: they do not look like typical West African “Negroids” but they do have a family air to Ethiopians and neighbour peoples. Slave trade cannot explain that, Capsian can instead.

  19. ^Thanks for the reply Luis. I’d have to agree with all of those factors. The Mediterranean did indeed to a large extent act as a barrier that allowed for genetic differentiation to accumulate, despite gene flow across it that took place later during the periods of the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Moors, etc.

    This isolation, along with the fact that the genetic compositions of both Southern Europeans and North Africans have been influenced somewhat by outside groups (Northern/Central Europeans and Middle Easterners/sub-Saharan Africans respectively), accounts for the physical differences we see today between both groups.

    However, as you also stated, gene flow across a region that has essentially the same climate has also resulted in the fact that there are many people from both sides of the Mediterranean who would pass for natives of countries on the opposite side.

    IMO however, there are many more North Africans who look like average Southern Europeans than the reverse. This is probably because there are still many coastal Berbers who have been relatively unaffected by outside migrations and hence have preserved appearances that are often quite akin to Mediterranean Europeans. Furthermore, there was very little absorption of sub-Saharan Africans into Southern European populations. The highest was in Portugal I believe, which may be explained through the fact that it was a more active participant in the slave trade.

    Finally, it’s nice to be able to discuss these things with people who do not subscribe to the extremist and also racist Nordicist/Afrocentrist philosophies. Let’s keep it that way by sticking to the facts!

  20. “Mathilda” this is a very accurate blog. with very accurate material, it really does clear things up about the whole north african race issue. I am Egyptian and sick of Black africans telling me that i have stole there culture, land and history. Thanks alot.

  21. Also, where did you find out about the percentages of genes of the Egyptian population? Can you post the link?

    • On the front page of the blog at the moment Tarrek. I did a break down of every DNA study of modern Egyptians and I’m waiting for some of the ancient DNA studies to turn up too.

      Eseentially Egyptians have more male African ancestry than Ethiopains and the men Cameroon. Ask the Afrocentrists to explain that.

  22. You said, you wouldn’t believe how many people insist all Africans before Barbary slavery were all black, in spite of the mass of art and anthropology and history that shows it to be otherwise.

    I reply, you wouldn’t believe how many people insist all European before the the Black Death were all white, in spite of the mass of art and anthropology and African history that shows it to be otherwise.

    If the civilizations originated in Egypt (North Africa) how come that the European civilized North Africa?

    • you wouldn’t believe how many people insist all European before the the Black Death were all white,

      well mainly they were, barring a few Jews and arabs and north Africans.

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