Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Zlomke

Second Advisor

Dr. Trey Berry

Third Advisor

Dr. Barbara Pemberton

Abstract

Man has ever invaded, pushing aside previous owners to claim possession. Thus history tells us: of nations conquered, peoples displaced, and foreigners that become inhabitants, who will in tum be conquered, displaced, and replaced. In this telling of history, however, a position exists for those whose story knows no previous inhabitants. These people are called indigenous. The shore of North Africa is a vast land that has known countless invasions and times of foreign rule. It has also known the continuation of a single people group, indigenous to its soil for as long as history can recall. These people are known as the Berbers.

How the Berbers of North Africa acquired the agnomen that serves them today is a disputed segment of their history. Some regard the name as derivative from the Roman term "Barbare" meaning barbarian. Others, like Ibn Khaldun, the Arab historian, record the name Berber as coming from an Arab. The Berber language is "highly distinct from any other language spoken of in the Mediterranean," and Khaldun relates the tale of lfriqish, an Arab conqueror, who calls the Berber tongue "barbara" when he first encounters it. Title, however, is of little consequence to a people who have endured many names under many rulers. Such is the case of the Berbers who have been known as Libyans or Garamantes to the Egyptians, Numidians to the Carthaginians, and finally Berbers in both Roman and Arab tongues, and to the world after them.

 
 

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