Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and occupied by neighboring Morocco. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres, it is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world consisting of desert flatlands. The population is estimated at just over 500,000, of which nearly 40% live in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara. Occupied by Spain until the late 20th century, Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since 1963 after a Moroccan demand, it is the most populous territory on that list, by far the largest in area. In 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Western Sahara, asking Spain to decolonize the territory. One year a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly requesting that a referendum be held by Spain on self-determination. In 1975, Spain relinquished the administrative control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania.
A war erupted between those countries and a Sahrawi nationalist movement, the Polisario Front, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with a government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria. Mauritania withdrew its claims in 1979, Morocco secured de facto control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources; the United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, maintains that the Sahrawis have a right to self-determination. Since a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire agreement in 1991, two thirds of the territory has been administered by the Moroccan government, with tacit support from France and the United States, the remainder by the SADR, backed by Algeria. Internationally, countries such as Russia have taken a ambiguous and neutral position on each side's claims, have pressed both parties to agree on a peaceful resolution. Both Morocco and Polisario have sought to boost their claims by accumulating formal recognition from African and Latin American states in the developing world.
The Polisario Front has won formal recognition for SADR from 46 states, was extended membership in the African Union. Morocco has won support for its position from several African governments and from most of the Muslim world and Arab League. In both instances, recognitions have, over the past two decades, been extended and withdrawn according to changing international trends; as of 2017, no other member state of the United Nations has officially recognized Moroccan sovereignty over parts of Western Sahara. However, a number of countries have expressed their support for a future recognition of the Moroccan annexation of the territory as an autonomous part of the Kingdom. Overall, the annexation has not garnered as much attention in the international community as many other disputed annexations. Western Sahara is located on the northwest coast in West Africa and on the cusp of North Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, Morocco proper to the north-northeast, Algeria to the east-northeast, Mauritania to the east and south.
The land is some of the most inhospitable on the planet. The land along the coast is low flat desert and rises in the north, to small mountains reaching up to 600 metres on the eastern side. While the area can experience flash flooding in the spring, there are no permanent streams. At times a cool off-shore current can produce heavy dew; the interior experiences extreme summer heat with average highs reaching as high as 43–45 °C in July and in August. The earliest known inhabitants of Western Sahara were the Gaetuli. Depending on the century, Roman-era sources describe the area as inhabited by Gaetulian Autololes or the Gaetulian Daradae tribes. Berber heritage is still evident from regional and place-name toponymy, as well as from tribal names. Other early inhabitants of Western Sahara may be the Bafour and the Serer; the Bafour were replaced or absorbed by Berber-speaking populations which merged in turn with the migrating Beni Ḥassān Arab tribes. The arrival of Islam in the 8th century played a major role in the development of the Maghreb region.
Trade developed further, the territory may have been one of the routes for caravans between Marrakesh and Tombouctou in Mali. In the 11th century, the Maqil Arabs settled in Morocco. Towards the end of the Almohad Caliphate, the Beni Hassan, a sub-tribe of the Maqil, were called by the local ruler of the Sous to quell a rebellion. During Marinid dynasty rule, the Beni Hassan rebelled but were defeated by the Sultan and escaped beyond the Saguia el-Hamra dry river; the Beni Hassan were at constant war with the Lamtuna nomadic Berbers of the Sahara. Over
The Bedouin or Bedu are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East, they are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans, share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The vast majority of Bedouin adhere to Islam. Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and Arabaa by the Assyrians, they are referred to as the ʾAʿrāb in the Quran. While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for a modern urban lifestyle, many retain traditional Bedouin culture such as retaining the traditional ʿašāʾir clan structure, traditional music, poetry and many other cultural practices and concepts.
Urbanised Bedouins organise cultural festivals held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in and learn about various Bedouin traditions—from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances to playing traditional instruments and classes teaching traditional tent knitting. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are still popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas; the English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. The word bādiyah means visible land, in the sense of "plain" or "desert"; the term "Bedouin" therefore means "those in bādiyah" or "those in the desert". In English usage, the form "Bedouin" is used for the singular term, the plural being "Bedouins", as indicated by the Oxford English Dictionary, second edition; the term "Bedouin" uses the same root word as the Arabic noun for "the beginning".
Most Arabs believe the Bedouins to be the predecessors to settled Arabs, including the Nabataeans Arabs of the more westerly Levant region. According to a hadith, Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab said of the Bedouin, "hey are the origin of the Arabs and the substance of Islam." and the word for the ethnicity itself may be influenced by that. A quoted Bedouin apothegm is "I am against my brother, my brother and I are against my cousin, my cousin and I are against the stranger" sometimes quoted as "I and my brother are against my cousin, I and my cousin are against the stranger." This saying signifies a hierarchy of loyalties based on the proximity of male kinship, beginning with the nuclear family through the lineage and the paternal tribe, and, in principle at least, to an entire genetic or linguistic group. Disputes are settled, interests are pursued, justice and order are dispensed and maintained by means of this framework, organized according to an ethic of self-help and collective responsibility.
The individual family unit consisted traditionally of three or four adults and any number of children. When resources were plentiful, several tents would travel together as a goum. While these groups were sometimes linked by patriarchal lineage, others were just as linked by marriage alliances. Sometimes, the association was based on acquaintance and familiarity, or no defined relation except for simple shared membership within a tribe; the next scale of interaction within groups was the ibn ʿamm or descent group of three to five generations. These were linked to goums, but where a goum would consist of people all with the same herd type, descent groups were split up over several economic activities, thus allowing a degree of'risk management'. Whilst the phrase "descent group" suggests purely a lineage-based arrangement, in reality these groups were fluid and adapted their genealogies to take in new members; the largest scale of tribal interactions is the tribe as a whole, led by a Sheikh, though the title refers to leaders in varying contexts.
The tribe claims descent from one common ancestor—as mentioned above. The tribal level is the level that mediated between the Bedouin and the outside governments and organizations. Distinct structure of the Bedouin society leads to long lasting rivalries between different clans. Bedouin traditionally had strong honor codes, traditional systems of justice dispensation in Bedouin society revolved around such codes; the bisha'a, or ordeal by fire, is a well-known Bedouin practice of lie detection. See also: Honor codes of the Bedouin, Bedouin systems of justice. Urbanized Bedouin are less to continue such traditions, instead opting for the codes of behavior that govern the wider settled community to which they belong. Livestock and herding, principally of goats and dromedary camels comprised the traditional livelihoods of Bedouins; these two animals were used for meat, dairy products, wool. Most of the staple foods that made up th
Arab-Berbers are an ethnic group native to Maghreb, a North African region along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Arab-Berbers are people of mixed Berber and Arab origin and whose native language is a variant of Maghrebi Arabic. Many Arab-Berbers identify as Arab and secondarily as Berber. While some Arab-Berbers claim West Asian descent, genetic studies there have determined that Arab and non-Arab Berbers are genetically nearly identical; this suggest that the processes of "Arabization" in the Maghreb was mainly cultural rather than genetic. The Arab-Berber identity came into being as a direct result of the Arab conquest of North Africa, the intermarriage between the Arabian and Persian people who immigrated to those regions and local Roman Africans and other Berber people. Alongside Berber speakers, arabized Berbers form the core of the native populations of the Maghreb, namely Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. Arab-Berbers speak variants of Maghrebi Arabic known as (Darija or Derja, which means "everyday/colloquial language".
The variants of Maghrebi derja have a significant Berber and Neo-Punic substratum. However, they have many loanwords from French, Turkish and the languages of Spain. Medieval Arabic sources refers as Bilad Al Barbar; this designation may have given rise to the term Barbary Coast, used by Europeans until the 19th century to refer to coastal Northwest Africa. Since the populations were affiliated with the Arab Muslim culture, Northwest Africa started to be referred to by the Arabic speakers as Al-Maġrib, the Maghreb as it was considered as the western part of the known world. For historical references, medieval Arab and Muslim historians and geographers used to refer to Morocco as Al-Maghrib al Aqşá, disambiguating it from neighboring historical regions called Al-Maghrib al Awsat and Al-Maghrib al Adna; the Maghreb was arabized with the spread of Islam in the 7th century AD, when the liturgical language Arabic was first brought to the Maghreb. However, the bulk of the population of northwestern Africa remained Berber or Roman Africans at least until the 14th century.
Arabization was at least strengthened in the rural areas in the 11th century with the emigration of the Banu Hilal tribes from Egypt. However, many parts of the Maghreb were only arabized recently in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the area of the Aurès mountains. Lastly, the mass education and promotion of Arabic language and culture through schools and mass media, during the 20th century, by the maghrebis governments, is regarded as the strongest contributor to the Arabization process in the Maghreb. Various population genetics studies along with historians such as Gabriel Camps and Charles-André Julien lend support to the idea that the bulk of the gene pool of modern Maghrebis, irrespective of linguistic group, is derived from the Berber populations of the pre-Islamic period. Maghrebis Arabs Banu Hilal Banu Sulaym Beni Hassan North Africa Maghreb Kouloughlis
The Maghreb known as Northwest Africa or Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb or Greater Maghreb, or by some sources the Berber world and Berbery, is a major region of North Africa that consists of the countries Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara and the cities of Melilla and Ceuta; as of 2018, the region has a population of over 100 million people. In historical English and European literature, the region was known as the Barbary Coast or the Barbary States, derived from the native Berbers. Sometimes it was referred to as the Land of the Atlas, derived from the Atlas Mountains. In current Berber language media and literature, the region is part of; the region is defined as much or most of northern Africa, including a large portion of Africa's Sahara Desert, excluding Egypt, part of Mashriq. The traditional definition of the region that restricted it to the Atlas Mountains and the coastal plains of Morocco, Algeria and Libya was expanded by the inclusion of Mauritania and of the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
During the era of Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula, the Maghreb's inhabitants, the Muslim Berbers or Maghrebis, were known by Europeans as "Moors", or as "Afariqah". Morocco transliterates into Arabic as "al-Maghreb". Before the establishment of modern nation states in the region during the 20th century, Maghreb most referred to a smaller area, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains in the south, it also included the territory of eastern Libya, but not modern Mauritania. As as the late 19th century, Maghreb was used to refer to the Western Mediterranean region of coastal North Africa in general, to Algeria and Tunisia, in particular; the region was somewhat unified as an independent political entity during the rule of the Berber kingdom of Numidia, followed by the Roman Empire's rule or influence. That was followed by the brief invasion of the Germanic Vandals, the brief re-establishment of a weak Roman rule by the Byzantine Empire, the rule of the Islamic Caliphates under the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate.
The most enduring rule was that of the local Berber empires of the Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Hammadid dynasty, Zirid dynasty, Marinid dynasty, Zayyanid dynasty, Wattasid dynasty - from the 8th to 13th centuries. The Ottoman Empire for a period controlled parts of the region. Mauritania, Tunisia and Libya established the Arab Maghreb Union in 1989 to promote cooperation and economic integration in a common market, it was envisioned by Muammar Gaddafi as a superstate. The union included Western Sahara implicitly under Morocco's membership, putting Morocco's long cold war with Algeria to a rest. However, this progress was short-lived, the union is now dormant. Tensions between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara re-emerged, reinforced by the unsolved border dispute between the two countries; these two main conflicts have hindered progress on the union's joint goals and made it inactive as a whole. However, the instability in the region and growing cross-border security threats revived the calls for regional cooperation, with foreign ministers of the Arab Maghreb Union declaring a need for coordinated security policy in May 2015 at the 33rd session of the follow-up committee meeting, which revived hope of some form of cooperation.
In classical antiquity, the Maghreb or portions of the region were known by various toponyms, including Barbary, Mauretania, Libya and the Land of the Atlas. The toponym maghrib is a geographical term that the Muslim Arabs gave to the region extending from Alexandria in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Etymologically it means both the place where the sun sets, it is composed of the prefix m−, which makes a noun out of the verb root, غرب. Muslim historians and geographers divided the region into three areas: al-Maghrib al-Adna, which included the lands extending from Alexandria to Tarabulus in the west, they disagreed, over the start of the eastern boundary. Some authors extend it as far as the sea of Kulzum and thus include Egypt and the country of Barca in the Maghrib. Ibn Khaldun does not accept this definition because, he says, the inhabitants of the Maghreb do not consider Egypt and Barca as forming part of Maghrib; the latter commences only at the province of Tripoli and includes the districts of which the country of the Berbers was composed in former times.
Maghribi writers repeated the definition of Ibn Khaldun, with a few variations in details. As of 2017 the term Maghrib is still used in opposition to Mashriq in a sense near to that which it had in medieval times, it denotes only Morocco when the full al-Maghrib al-Aksa is abbreviated. Certain politicians seek a political union of the North African countries, which they call al-Maghrib al-Kabir or al-Maghrib al-Arabi. Berber-language speakers now call this region Tamazɣa or Tama
A writing system is any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication. While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in being a reliable form of information storage and transfer; the processes of encoding and decoding writing systems involve shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script. Writing is recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may be used, such as writing on a computer display, on a blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting; the general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies. Any particular system can have attributes of more than one category. In the alphabetic category, there is a standard set of letters of consonants and vowels that encode based on the general principle that the letters represent speech sounds. In a syllabary, each symbol correlates to a syllable or mora.
In a logography, each character represents morpheme, or other semantic units. Other categories include abjads, which differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, abugidas or alphasyllabaries, with each character representing a consonant–vowel pairing. Alphabets use a set of 20-to-35 symbols to express a language, whereas syllabaries can have 80-to-100, logographies can have several hundreds of symbols. Most systems will have an ordering of its symbol elements so that groups of them can be coded into larger clusters like words or acronyms, giving rise to many more possibilities in meanings than the symbols can convey by themselves. Systems will enable the stringing together of these smaller groupings in order to enable a full expression of the language; the reading step expressed orally. A special set of symbols known as punctuation is used to aid in structure and organization of many writing systems and can be used to help capture nuances and variations in the message's meaning that are communicated verbally by cues in timing, accent, inflection or intonation.
A writing system will typically have a method for formatting recorded messages that follows the spoken version's rules like its grammar and syntax so that the reader will have the meaning of the intended message preserved. Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms and other mnemonic symbols. Proto-writing lacked the ability to express a full range of thoughts and ideas; the invention of writing systems, which dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic Era of the late 4th millennium BC, enabled the accurate durable recording of human history in a manner, not prone to the same types of error to which oral history is vulnerable. Soon after, writing provided a reliable form of long distance communication. With the advent of publishing, it provided the medium for an early form of mass communication; the creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is called romanization.
Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that a writing system is always associated with at least one spoken language. In contrast, visual representations such as drawings and non-verbal items on maps, such as contour lines, are not language-related; some symbols on information signs, such as the symbols for male and female, are not language related, but can grow to become part of language if they are used in conjunction with other language elements. Some other symbols, such as numerals and the ampersand, are not directly linked to any specific language, but are used in writing and thus must be considered part of writing systems; every human community possesses language, which many regard as an innate and defining condition of humanity. However, the development of writing systems, the process by which they have supplanted traditional oral systems of communication, have been sporadic and slow. Once established, writing systems change more than their spoken counterparts.
Thus they preserve features and expressions which are no longer current in the spoken language. One of the great benefits of writing systems is that they can preserve a permanent record of information expressed in a language. All writing systems require: at least one set of defined base elements or symbols, individually termed signs and collectively called a script. In the examination of individual scripts, the study of writing systems has developed along independent lines. Thus, the terminology employed differs somewhat from field to field; the generic term text refers to an instance of writte
Al-Andalus known as Muslim Spain, Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period occupied most of Iberia, today's Portugal and Spain. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present day southern France Septimania and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe; the name more describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed as the Christian Reconquista progressed shrinking to the south around modern-day Andalusia and to the Emirate of Granada. Following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, al-Andalus at its greatest extent, was divided into five administrative units, corresponding to modern Andalusia and Galicia, Castile and León, Aragon, the County of Barcelona, Septimania; as a political domain, it successively constituted a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, initiated by the Caliph Al-Walid I.
Rule under these kingdoms led to a rise in cultural exchange and cooperation between Muslims and Christians. Christians and Jews were subject to a special tax called Jizya, to the state, which in return provided internal autonomy in practicing their religion and offered the same level of protections by the Muslim rulers. Under the Caliphate of Córdoba, al-Andalus was a beacon of learning, the city of Córdoba, the largest in Europe, became one of the leading cultural and economic centres throughout the Mediterranean Basin and the Islamic world. Achievements that advanced Islamic and Western science came from al-Andalus, including major advances in trigonometry, surgery, pharmacology and other fields. Al-Andalus became a major educational center for Europe and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea as well as a conduit for cultural and scientific exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds. For much of its history, al-Andalus existed in conflict with Christian kingdoms to the north. After the fall of the Umayyad caliphate, al-Andalus was fragmented into minor states and principalities.
Attacks from the Christians intensified, led by the Castilians under Alfonso VI. The Almoravid empire intervened and repelled the Christian attacks on the region, deposing the weak Andalusi Muslim princes and included al-Andalus under direct Berber rule. In the next century and a half, al-Andalus became a province of the Berber Muslim empires of the Almoravids and Almohads, both based in Marrakesh; the Christian kingdoms in the north of the Iberian Peninsula overpowered the Muslim states to the south. In 1085, Alfonso VI captured Toledo. With the fall of Córdoba in 1236, most of the south fell under Christian rule and the Emirate of Granada became a tributary state of the Kingdom of Castile two years later. In 1249, the Portuguese Reconquista culminated with the conquest of the Algarve by Afonso III, leaving Granada as the last Muslim state on the Iberian Peninsula. On January 2, 1492, Emir Muhammad XII surrendered the Emirate of Granada to Queen Isabella I of Castile, completing the Christian Reconquista of the peninsula.
Although al-Andalus ended as a political entity, the nearly eight centuries of Islamic rule which preceded and accompanied the early formation of the Spanish nation-state and identity has left a profound effect on the country's culture and language in Andalusia. The toponym al-Andalus is first attested by inscriptions on coins minted in 716 by the new Muslim government of Iberia; these coins, called dinars, were inscribed in both Arabic. The etymology of the name "al-Andalus" has traditionally been derived from the name of the Vandals. In 1986, Joaquín Vallvé proposed that "al-Andalus" was a corruption of the name Atlantis, Halm in 1989 derived the name from a Gothic term, *landahlauts, in 2002, Georg Bossong suggested its derivation from a pre-Roman substrate. During the caliphate of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I, the commander Tariq ibn-Ziyad led a small force that landed at Gibraltar on April 30, 711, ostensibly to intervene in a Visigothic civil war. After a decisive victory over King Roderic at the Battle of Guadalete on July 19, 711, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, joined by Arab governor Musa ibn Nusayr of Ifriqiya, brought most of the Visigothic Kingdom under Muslim occupation in a seven-year campaign.
They occupied Visigothic Septimania in southern France. Most of the Iberian peninsula became part of the expanding Umayyad Empire, under the name of al-Andalus, it was organized as a province subordinate to Ifriqiya, so, for the first few decades, the governors of al-Andalus were appointed by the emir of Kairouan, rather than the Caliph in Damascus. The regional capital was set at Córdoba, the first influx of Muslim settlers was distributed; the small army Tariq led in the initial conquest consisted of Berbers, while Musa's Arab force of over 12,000 soldiers was accompanied by a group of mawālī, that is, non-Arab Muslims, who were clients of the
Algeria the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, to the north by the Mediterranean Sea; the country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 1,541 communes. It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries. Ancient Algeria has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Carthaginians, Vandals, Umayyads, Idrisid, Rustamid, Zirid, Almoravids, Spaniards and the French colonial empire. Berbers are the indigenous inhabitants of Algeria. Algeria is a middle power.
It supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe, energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has the 16th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa. Algeria has one of the largest defence budget on the continent. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union. On 2 April 2019, president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after nearly 20 years in power, following pressure from the country’s army after mass protests against Bouteflika's campaign for a fifth term; the country's name derives from the city of Algiers. The city's name in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazā'ir, a truncated form of the older Jazā'ir Banī Mazghanna, employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi. In the region of Ain Hanech, early remnants of hominid occupation in North Africa were found.
Neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles similar to those in the Levant. Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian; the earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian. This industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghreb as early as 11,000 BC or as late as between 6000 and 2000 BC; this life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period. The mixture of peoples of North Africa coalesced into a distinct native population that came to be called Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa. From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast.
These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages. As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing and political organization supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew, but territorial expansion resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others. By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War, they succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa. The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars.
In 146 BC the city of Carthage was destroyed. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BC, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Moulouya River in modern-day Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean; the high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium was reached during the reign of Masinissa in the 2nd century BC. After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were reunited several times. Masinissa's line survived until 24 AD, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire. For several centuries Algeria was ruled by the Romans. Like the rest of No