Libya the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. With an area of 1.8 million square kilometres, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world; the largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, located in eastern Libya. Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age; the Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Carthaginians, Persians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire.
Libya was an early centre of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, when invasions brought Islam to the region. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire and the Knights of St John occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued until the Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1947. During the Second World War, Libya was an important area of warfare in the North African Campaign; the Italian population went into decline. Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I; the "bloodless" coup leader Muammar Gaddafi ruled the country from 1969 and the Libyan Cultural Revolution in 1973 until he was overthrown and killed in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Two authorities claimed to govern Libya: the Council of Deputies in Tobruk and the 2014 General National Congress in Tripoli, which considered itself the continuation of the General National Congress, elected in 2012.
After UN-led peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, a unified interim UN-backed Government of National Accord was established in 2015, the GNC disbanded to support it. Parts of Libya remain outside either government's control, with various Islamist and tribal militias administering some areas; as of July 2017, talks are still ongoing between the GNA and the Tobruk-based authorities to end the strife and unify the divided establishments of the state, including the Libyan National Army and the Central Bank of Libya. Libya is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC; the country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims. The Latin name Libya referred to the region west of the Nile corresponding to its central location in North Africa visited by many Mediterranean cultures which referred to its original inhabitants as the "Libúē." The name Libya was introduced in 1934 for Italian Libya, reviving the historical name for Northwest Africa, from the ancient Greek Λιβύη.
It was intended to supplant terms applied to Ottoman Tripolitania, the coastal region of what is today Libya having been ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1551 to 1911, as the Eyalet of Tripolitania. The name "Libya" was brought back into use in 1903 by Italian geographer Federico Minutilli. Libya gained independence in 1951 as the United Libyan Kingdom, changing its name to the Kingdom of Libya in 1963. Following a coup d'état led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969, the name of the state was changed to the Libyan Arab Republic; the official name was "Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from 1977 to 1986, "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from 1986 to 2011. The National Transitional Council, established in 2011, referred to the state as "Libya"; the UN formally recognized the country as "Libya" in September 2011, based on a request from the Permanent Mission of Libya citing the Libyan interim Constitutional Declaration of 3 August 2011. In November 2011, the ISO 3166-1 was altered to reflect the new country name "Libya" in English, "Libye" in French.
In December 2017 the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations informed the United Nations that the country's official name was henceforth the "State of Libya". The coastal plain of Libya was inhabited by Neolithic peoples from as early as 8000 BC; the Afroasiatic ancestors of the Berber people are assumed to have spread into the area by the Late Bronze Age. The earliest known name of such a tribe was the Garamantes, based in Germa; the Phoenicians were the first to establish trading posts in Libya. By the 5th century BC, the greatest of the Phoenician colonies, had extended its hegemony across much of North Africa, where a distinctive civilization, known as Punic, came into being. In 630 BC, the ancient Greeks colonized the area around Barca in Eastern Libya and founded the city of Cyrene. Within 200 years, four more important Greek cities were established in the area that became known as
Libyan Civil War (2011)
The First Libyan Civil War referred to as the Libyan Revolution or 17 February Revolution, was an armed conflict in 2011 in the North African country of Libya fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Zawiya on 8 August 2009 and ignited by protests in Benghazi beginning on Tuesday, 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security forces that fired on the crowd; the protests escalated into a rebellion that spread across the country, with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing an interim governing body, the National Transitional Council. The United Nations Security Council passed an initial resolution on 26 February, freezing the assets of Gaddafi and his inner circle and restricting their travel, referred the matter to the International Criminal Court for investigation. In early March, Gaddafi's forces rallied, pushed eastwards and re-took several coastal cities before reaching Benghazi. A further UN resolution authorised member states to establish and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, to use "all necessary measures" to prevent attacks on civilians, which turned into a bombing campaign by the forces of NATO against military installements and civilian infrastructure of Libyia.
The Gaddafi government announced a ceasefire, but fighting and bombing continued. Throughout the conflict, rebels rejected government offers of a ceasefire and efforts by the African Union to end the fighting because the plans set forth did not include the removal of Gaddafi. In August, rebel forces launched an offensive on the government-held coast of Libya, backed by a wide-reaching NATO bombing campaign, taking back territory lost months before and capturing the capital city of Tripoli, while Gaddafi evaded capture and loyalists engaged in a rearguard campaign. On 16 September 2011, the National Transitional Council was recognised by the United Nations as the legal representative of Libya, replacing the Gaddafi government. Muammar Gaddafi evaded capture until 20 October 2011, when he was killed in Sirte; the National Transitional Council "declared the liberation of Libya" and the official end of the war on 23 October 2011. In the aftermath of the civil war, a low-level insurgency by former Gaddafi loyalists continued.
There have been various disagreements and strife between local militia and tribes, including fighting on 23 January 2012 in the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, leading to an alternative town council being established and recognized by the National Transitional Council. A much greater issue has been the role of militias which fought in the civil war and their role in the new Libya; some have refused to disarm, cooperation with the NTC has been strained, leading to demonstrations against militias and government action to disband such groups or integrate them into the Libyan military. These unresolved issues led directly to a second civil war in Libya. Muammar Gaddafi was the head of the Free Officers, a group of Arab nationalists that deposed King Idris I in 1969 in a "bloodless coup." He abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951. From 1969 until 1975 standards of living, life expectancy and literacy grew rapidly. In 1975 he published his manifesto The Green Book, he stepped down from power in 1977, subsequently claimed to be a "symbolic figurehead" until 2011, with the Libyan government up until also denying that he held any power.
Under Gaddafi, Libya was theoretically a decentralized, direct democracy state run according to the philosophy of Gaddafi's The Green Book, with Gaddafi retaining a ceremonial position. Libya was run by a system of people's committees which served as local governments for the country's subdivisions, an indirectly elected General People's Congress as the legislature, the General People's Committee, led by a Secretary-General, as the executive branch. According to Freedom House, these structures were manipulated to ensure the dominance of Gaddafi, who continued to dominate all aspects of government. WikiLeaks' disclosure of confidential US diplomatic cables revealed US diplomats there speaking of Gaddafi's "mastery of tactical maneuvering". While placing relatives and loyal members of his tribe in central military and government positions, he skillfully marginalized supporters and rivals, thus maintaining a delicate balance of powers and economic developments; this extended to his own sons, as he changed affections to avoid the rise of a clear successor and rival.
Both Gaddafi and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, however denied that he held any power, but said that he was a symbolic figurehead. While he was popularly seen as a demagogue in the West, Gaddafi always portrayed himself as a statesman-philosopher. According to several Western media sources, Gaddafi feared a military coup against his government and deliberately kept Libya's military weak; the Libyan Army consisted of about 50,000 personnel. Its most powerful units were four crack brigades of equipped and trained soldiers, composed of members of Gaddafi's tribe or members of other tribes loyal to him. One, the Khamis Brigade, was led by his son Khamis. Local militias and Revolutionary Committees across the country were kept well-armed. By contrast, regular military units were poorly armed and trained, were armed with outdated military equipment. By the end of Gaddafi's 42-year rule, Libya's population had a per capita income of $14,000, though a third was estimated to still live below the poverty line.
A broadly secular society was imposed. Child marriage was banned, women enjoyed equality of equal pay for equal work, equal rights in divorce and access to higher educa
Dixon Denham was an English soldier, explorer of West Central Africa, Governor of Sierra Leone. Dixon Denham was born at Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, London on New Year's Day, 1786, the son of James Denham, a haberdasher, his wife Eleanor, née Symonds; the youngest of their three sons, Denham was educated at Merchant Taylors' School from 1794 to 1800. In the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers, the 54th Foot, Denham served in the campaigns in Portugal, Spain and Belgium, receiving the Waterloo Medal. Denham was considered a brave soldier, who had carried his wounded commander out of the line of fire at the Battle of Toulouse, had become a close acquaintance of the Duke of Wellington, with whom he corresponded. At the end of hostilities, Lieutenant Denham served with the occupation of Paris. Placed on half pay in 1818, he travelled for a time in Italy. In 1819, Denham entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as a student, intending to become a staff officer in the Senior Department of the Royal Military College.
He attracted the favourable attention of the Commandant of the College, Sir Howard Douglas, but became bored. Alas, he was domineering, insecure and possessed of a mean streak. Denham had met the explorer Captain George Lyon on the latter's return to London from Africa, became determined to join the British government's second mission to establish trade links with the west African states; because of his influential acquaintances, Denham's wish was granted and, now promoted to Major, he was despatched by Lord Bathurst in the autumn of 1821 to join the other members of the mission, Dr Walter Oudney and Lt. Hugh Clapperton, arriving at Tripoli aboard the schooner Express on 19 November. Denham brought with him instructions from the Colonial Office indicating that Oudney should remain at Bornu as Vice-Consul, while Denham and Clapperton were to'explore the Country to the Southward and Eastward of Bornu, principally with a view to tracing the course of the Niger and ascertaining its Embouchure'.
For reasons unknown, Denham was detained in Tripoli, the mission proceeded to Murzuk, in Fezzan, without him on 23 February 1822. Denham left Tripoli on 5 March with an escort of 210 mounted Arab tribesmen, reaching Murzuk only to find his two compatriots in a wretched condition, Clapperton ill of an ague, Oudney with a severe cold. Moreover, he discovered that the local bey had forbidden their departure from the Fezzan while he was absent on a slave-raiding expedition, a restriction enforced by the removal of the mission's camels. Denham soon returned to Tripoli, to seek further funds, to persuade the bashaw, Yusuf Karamanli, to provide the essential escort to protect the mission on its journey south to Bornu, he arrived back in Tripoli on 13 June 1822, his departure from the mission unlamented. He had made himself unpopular, leading Clapperton to write to Sir John Barrow:'His absence will be no loss to the Mission, a saving to his country, for Major Denham could not read his sextant, knew not a star in the heavens, could not take the altitude of the sun'.
Denham was to find the bashaw as obdurate as Murzuk's bey. Outraged, he decided to return to London to report the situation to Lord Bathurst and seek promotion, so that he could return as commanding officer of the expedition. Boarding a ship bound for Marseilles, he warned the bashaw's lieutenants of his government's displeasure when it learned of the bashaw's'duplicity'. Duly alarmed, the bashaw wrote to him, proposing that the 300 – man escort of a wealthy merchant about to depart for Bornu could, for a fee of 10,000 dollars to be shared with him, be persuaded to protect the mission as well. Denham received the letter while in quarantine in Marseilles. Still angry, he sent an ill-judged letter to Bathurst complaining of Oudney's incompetence; the missal was not well received in London, Denham found a letter awaiting him on his return to Tripoli, rebuking him for his lack of diplomacy, although acknowledging the frustrations he had endured. News of Denham's conduct left his compatriots at Murzuk dumbfounded.
Oudney wrote a bitter letter of complaint about Denham to Hanmer Warrington, the British Consul in Tripoli, comparing Denham to a snake hidden in the grass. In an unfortunate breach of confidence, Warrington showed the letter to Denham, thereby souring relations within the mission party still further. By the end of September 1822, Denham was on his way back to Murzuk with the merchant and the promised escort. Recognizing that matters had been aggravated by the absence of any official instruction regarding leadership of the expedition, the Colonial Office wrote that Clapperton should become Oudney's aide, not Denham's; the mission, now comprising four Britons, five servants, four camel drivers left Murzuk for Bornu on 19 November 1822. Clapperton and Oudney were in poor health, having succumbed to fevers, all were overwrought as they made their way due south across the Sahara, the route littered with the skeletal remains of slaves that had perished of thirst; the mission reached the northern shore of Lake Chad on 4 February 1823, the Britons becoming the first white men to see the lake.
It was from Kuka that Denham, against the wishes of Oudney and Clapperton, accompanied a slave-raiding expedition into the Mandara Mountains south of Bornu. The raiders were defeated, Denham escaped with his life. By this time, a deep
The Murzuq Desert, Idehan Murzuq, Idhan Murzuq, is an erg in southwestern Libya with a surface of 58,000 km2. It is named after the town of Murzuk in the Fezzan. Like the Idehan Ubari further north, the Idehan Murzuq is part of the greater Sahara Desert region, it is separated from the southern Sahara Desert by the Tassili n'Ajjer. The “Draa” dunes are large masses of sand in the western part of Libya's vast Murzuq Desert, they appear in satellite images as a broad network of yellow-orange sand masses, with smooth-floored sand-free basins between them. Geologists think that the draa of the Marzuq were formed by winds different from the prevailing north-northeast winds of today. Numerous smaller dunes have developed on the backs of the draa. Three distinct dune types are visible in satellite images of the region: Longitudinal dunes, more or less parallel with the north winds. Transverse dunes more curved and formed at right angles to the wind. Star dunes, in which several linear arms converge towards a single peak.
The upwind sides of the sand masses appear smoother than the downwind side. Wind is moving sand grains all the time; this means that the draa and the dunes are all moving as sand is added on the upwind side and blown off the downwind side. Small sand masses move much faster than large sand masses; the draa are stationary, but the smaller dunes move quickly across their backs. When the smaller dunes reach the downwind side of the draa, they are obliterated. Since oil exploration began in 1957, eleven oil fields have been discovered in the Murzuq Basin. Two of the fields are considered giants, altogether there are more than 2 billion barrels of oil in reserves under the desert there. Geography of Libya List of ergs View of the entire Murzuq Desert seen from the International Space Station
Lake Chad is a large, endorheic lake in Africa, which has varied in size over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank by as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998, but "the 2007 image shows significant improvement over previous years." Lake Chad is economically important, providing water to more than 30 million people living in the four countries surrounding it on the edge of the Sahara. It is the largest lake in the Chad Basin. Lake Chad is a freshwater lake located in the Sahelian zone of west-central Africa, it is located in the interior basin which used to be occupied by a much larger ancient sea sometimes called Mega Chad. The lake is ranked as one of the largest lakes in Africa. However, its surface area varies by season and as well as from year to year. Lake Chad is in the far west of Chad, bordering on northeastern Nigeria; the Chari River, fed by its tributary the Logone, provides over 90% of the lake's water, with a small amount coming from the Yobe River in Nigeria/Niger.
Despite high levels of evaporation, the lake is fresh water. Over half of the lake's area is taken up by its many small islands and mud banks, a belt of swampland across the middle divides the northern and southern halves; the shorelines are composed of marshes. Because Lake Chad is shallow—only 10.5 metres at its deepest—its area is sensitive to small changes in average depth, it shows seasonal fluctuations in size. Lake Chad has no apparent outlet; the climate is dry most of the year, with moderate rainfall from July through September. Lake Chad gave its name to the country of Chad; the name Chad is a local word meaning "large expanse of water", in other words, a "lake". Lake Chad is the remnant of a former inland sea, paleolake Mega-Chad, which existed during the African humid period. At its largest, sometime before 5000 BC, Lake Mega-Chad was the largest of four Saharan paleolakes, is estimated to have covered an area of 1,000,000 km2, larger than the Caspian Sea is today, may have extended as far northeast as within 100 km of Faya-Largeau.
At its largest extent the river Mayo Kébbi represented the outlet of the paleolake Mega-Chad, connecting it to the Niger River and the Atlantic. The presence of African manatees in the inflows of Lake Chad is an evidence of that history. Romans reached the lake in the first century of their empire. Indeed, during the time of Augustus Lake Chad was still a huge lake and two Roman expeditions were performed in order to reach it: Septimius Flaccus and Julius Maternus reached the "lake of hippopotamus", they passed near the Tibesti mountains. Both expeditions passed through the territory of the Garamantes, were able to leave a small garrison on the "lake of hippopotamus and rhinoceros" after three months of travel in desert lands. Lake Chad was first surveyed from shore by Europeans in 1823, it was considered to be one of the largest lakes in the world then. In 1851, a party including the German explorer Heinrich Barth carried a boat overland from Tripoli across the Sahara Desert by camel and made the first European waterborne survey.
British expedition leader James Richardson died just days before reaching the lake. In Winston Churchill's book The River War: An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan, published in 1899, he mentions the shrinking of Lake Chad, he writes: Altogether France has enough to occupy her in Central Africa for some time to come: and when the long task is finished, the conquered regions are not to be of great value. They include the desert of the Great Sahara and wide expanses of profitless scrub or marsh. Only one important river, the Shari, flows through them, never reaches the sea: and Lake Chad, into which the Shari flows, appears to be leaking through some subterranean exit, is changing from a lake into an immense swamp. Lake Chad has shrunk since the 1960s, when its shoreline had an elevation of about 286 metres above sea level and it had an area of more than 26,000 square kilometres, making its surface the fourth largest in Africa. An increased demand on the lake's water from the local population has accelerated its shrinkage over the past 40 years.
The size of Lake Chad varies seasonally with the flooding of the wetlands areas. In 1983, Lake Chad was reported to have covered 10,000 to 25,000 km2, had a maximum depth of 11 metres, a volume of 72 km3. By 2000, its extent had fallen to less than 1,500 km2. A 2001 study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research blamed the lake's retreat on overgrazing in the area surrounding the lake, causing desertification and a decline in vegetation; the United Nations Environment Programme and the Lake Chad Basin Commission concur that at least half of the lake's decrease is attributable to shifting climate patterns. UNEP blames human water use, such as inefficient damming and irrigation methods, for the rest of the shrinkage; as late as December 2014, Lake Chad was still sufficient in size and volume such that boats could capsize or sink. The European Space Agency has presented data showing an actual increase in lake extent of Lake Chad between the years of 1985 to 2011. Referring to the floodplain as a lake may be misleading, as less than half of Lake Chad is covered by water through an entire year.
The remaining sections are considered as wetla
Chad the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in north-central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south and Nigeria to the southwest, Niger to the west, it is the second-largest in Central Africa in terms of area. Chad has several regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa; the capital N'Djamena is the largest city. Chad's official languages are French. Chad is home to over 200 different linguistic groups; the most popular religion of Chad is Islam, followed by Christianity. Beginning in the 7th millennium BC, human populations moved into the Chadian basin in great numbers. By the end of the 1st millennium AD, a series of states and empires had risen and fallen in Chad's Sahelian strip, each focused on controlling the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region.
France incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1960, Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979 the rebels put an end to the south's hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves, he was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Since 2003 the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad. An uneven inclusion into the global political economy as a site for colonial resource extraction, a global economic system that does not promote nor encourage the development of Chadian industrialization, the failure to support local agricultural production has meant that the majority of Chadians live in daily uncertainty and hunger. While many political parties are active, power lies in the hands of President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement.
Chad remains plagued by recurrent attempted coups d'état. Since 2003, crude oil has become the country's primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry. In the 7th millennium BC, ecological conditions in the northern half of Chadian territory favored human settlement, the region experienced a strong population increase; some of the most important African archaeological sites are found in Chad in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region. For more than 2,000 years, the Chadian Basin has been inhabited by agricultural and sedentary people; the region became a crossroads of civilizations. The earliest of these were the legendary Sao, descendants of the Hyksos who conquered Ancient Egypt known for skills in designing weapons and artifacts, they are known for their oral histories. After a century of rule, the Sao fell to the Kanem Empire, the first and longest-lasting of the empires that developed in Chad's Sahelian strip by the end of the 1st millennium AD. Two other states in the region, Sultanate of Bagirmi and Wadai Empire emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The power of Kanem and its successors was based on control of the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region. These states, at least tacitly Muslim, never extended their control to the southern grasslands except to raid for slaves. In Kanem, about a third of the population were slaves. French colonial expansion led to the creation of the Territoire Militaire des Pays et Protectorats du Tchad in 1900. By 1920, France had secured full control of the colony and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. French rule in Chad was characterised by an absence of policies to unify the territory and sluggish modernisation compared to other French colonies; the French viewed the colony as an unimportant source of untrained labour and raw cotton. The colonial administration in Chad was critically understaffed and had to rely on the dregs of the French civil service. Only the Sara of the south was governed effectively; the educational system was affected by this neglect. After World War II, France granted Chad the status of overseas territory and its inhabitants the right to elect representatives to the National Assembly and a Chadian assembly.
The largest political party was the Chadian Progressive Party, based in the southern half of the colony. Chad was granted independence on 11 August 1960 with the PPT's leader, Sara François Tombalbaye, as its first president. Two years Tombalbaye banned opposition parties and established a one-party system. Tombalbaye's autocratic rule and insensitive mismanagement exacerbated inter-ethnic tensions. In 1965, Muslims in the north, led by the National Liberation Front of Chad, began a civil war. Tombalbaye was overthrown and killed in 1975. In 1979 the rebel factions led by Hissène Habré took the capital, all central authority in the country collapsed. Armed factions, many from the north's rebellion, contended for power; the disintegration of Chad caused the collapse of France's position in the country. Libya moved to fill the power vacuum and became involved in Chad
Berbers, or Amazighs are an ethnic group of several nations indigenous to North Africa and in some northern parts of Western Africa. Berbers constitute the populations of Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, northern Mali, northern Niger, a small part of western Egypt. Berber nations are distributed over 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. Berber nations spoke the Berber language, a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. There are about 100 million Berbers in North Africa, but only some 25–30 million of them still speak the Berber language; the number of ethnic Berbers is far greater than the speakers of the Berber language, as a large part of the Berbers have lost their ancestral language and switched to other languages over the course of many decades or centuries. The majority of North Africa's population west of Egypt is believed to be Berber in ethnic origin, although due to Arabization and Islamization some ethnic Berbers identify as Arabized Berbers.
Most Berber people who speak Berber today live in Morocco, Libya, northern Mali, northern Niger. Smaller Berber-speaking populations are found in Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Egypt's Siwa town. There are large immigrant Berber communities living in France, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries of Europe; the majority of Berbers are Sunni Muslim. Although, since some Berbers have converted to Shia Islam and atheism; the Berber identity is wider than language and ethnicity and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not an homogeneous ethnicity, they encompass a range of societies and lifestyles; the unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history. Berbers call themselves some variant of the word i-Mazigh-en meaning "free people" or "noble men"; the name had its ancient parallel in the Roman and Greek names for Berbers such as Mazices. Some of the best known of the ancient Berbers are the Numidian king Masensen, king Yugerten, the Berber-Roman author Apuleius, Saint Augustine of Hippo, the Berber-Roman general Lusius Quietus, instrumental in defeating the major wave of Jewish revolts of 115–117 in ancient Israel.
The Berber queen Dihya, or Kahina, was a religious and political leader who led a military Berber resistance against the Arab-Muslim expansion in Northwest Africa. Kusaila was a 7th-century leader of the Berber Awerba tribe and King of the Iẓnagen confederation and resisted the Arab-Muslim invasion. Yusef U Tashfin was a Muslim king of the Berber Almoravid dynasty. Abbas Ibn Firnas was a Berber-Andalusian prolific inventor and early pioneer in aviation. Ben Bettota was a medieval Berber explorer who departed from Tanja and traveled the longest known distances of his time and chronicled his impressions of hundreds of nations and cultures; the name Berber derives from an ancient Egyptian language term meaning "outlander" or variations thereof. The exonym was 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. Despite these early manuscripts, certain modern scholars have argued that the term only emerged around 900 AD in the writings of Arab genealogists, with Maurice Lenoir positing an 8th or 9th century date of appearance.
The English term was introduced in the 19th century. 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 on the charters and chronicles of the expanding Christian Iberian kingdoms to refer to the Andalusi, the north Africans, the Muslims overall. For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo the name Amazigh could be derived from the name of the ancestor Mezeg, 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 as "Am-" is a prefix meaning "a man, one, " Therefore, the root required to verify this endonym would be zigh, "free", which however is 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".
Further, it has a cognate in the Tuareg word Amajegh, meaning "noble". This term is common in Morocco among Central Atlas and Shilah speakers in 1980, but elsewhere within the Berber homeland sometimes a local, more particular term, such as Kabyle or Chaoui, is more used instead in Algeria; the Egyptians, Greeks and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" in the areas where Berbers were found. Tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are 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, related to the Massylii and Masaesyli. All those names are similar and foreign renditions of the