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North Africa

North Africa Collection

History Archive - North Africa Collection

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others[Like whom?] have limited it to the countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by Arabs as the Maghreb ("West", The western part of Arab World).

The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.

North Africa includes a number of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, Plazas de soberania, Ceuta and Melilla and the Canary Islands and Madeira.[2] The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity that is unique to this region. Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians.

Between the A.D. 600s and 1000s, Arabs from the Middle East swept across the region in a wave of Muslim conquest. These peoples, physically quite similar, formed a single population in many areas, as Berbers and Egyptians merged into Arabic and Muslim culture. This process of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa ever since.

Geography

North Africa has three main geographic features: the Sahara desert in the south, the Atlas Mountains in the west, and the Nile River and delta in the east. The Atlas Mountains extend across much of northern Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. These mountains are part of the fold mountain system that also runs through much of Southern Europe. They recede to the south and east, becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert, which covers more than 75 percent of the region. The tallest peaks are in the High Atlas range in south-central Morocco, which has many snow-capped peaks.

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South of the Atlas Mountains is the dry and barren expanse of the Sahara desert, which is the largest sand desert in the world. In places the desert is cut by irregular watercourses called wadis-streams that flow only after rainfalls but are usually dry. The Sahara’s major landforms include ergs, large seas of sand that sometimes form into huge dunes; the hammada, a level rocky plateau without soil or sand; and the reg, a level plain of gravel or small stones. The Sahara covers the southern part of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and most of Libya. Only two regions of Libya are outside the desert: Tripolitania in the northwest and Cyrenaica in the northeast. Most of Egypt is also desert, with the exception of the Nile River and the irrigated land along its banks. The Nile Valley forms a narrow fertile thread that runs along the length of the country.

Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, and the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of fertile farming land. A wide variety of valuable crops including cereals, rice and cotton, and woods such as cedar and cork, are grown. Typical Mediterranean crops, such as olives, figs, dates and citrus fruits, also thrive in these areas. The Nile Valley is particularly fertile, and most of the population in Egypt live close to the river. Elsewhere, irrigation is essential to improve crop yields on the desert margins.

People and Customs

The inhabitants of North Africa are roughly divided in a manner corresponding to the principal geographic regions of North Africa: the Maghreb, the Nile valley, and the Sahel. The Maghreb or western North Africa on the whole is believed to have been inhabited by Berbers since at least 10,000 B.C.,[19] while the eastern part of North Africa or the Nile Valley has mainly been home to the Egyptians.

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Ancient Egyptians record extensive contact in their Western desert with people that appear to have been Berber or proto-Berber. As the Tassili n'Ajjer and other rock art findings in the Sahara have shown, the Sahara also hosted various populations before its rapid desertification in 3500 B.C and even today continues to host small populations of nomadic trans-Saharan peoples.

The people of the Maghreb and the Sahara regions speak Berber languages and several varieties of Arabic and almost exclusively follow Islam. The Arabic and Berber languages are distantly related, both being members of the Afroasiatic language family. The Tuareg Berber languages are notably more conservative than those of the coastal cities.

Over the years, Berbers have been influenced by contact with other cultures: Greeks, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Europeans and Africans. The cultures of the Maghreb and the Sahara therefore combine indigenous Berber, Arab and elements from neighboring parts of Africa and beyond. In the Sahara, the distinction between sedentary oasis inhabitants and nomadic Bedouins and Tuaregs is particularly marked.

The diverse peoples of North Africa are usually categorized along ethno-linguistic lines. In the Maghreb, where Arab and Berber identities are often integrated, these lines can be blurred. Some Berber-speaking North Africans may identify as "Arab" depending on the social and political circumstances, although substantial numbers of Berbers (or Amazighen) have retained a distinct cultural identity which in the 20th century has been expressed as a clear ethnic identification with Berber history and language.

Arabic-speaking Northwest Africans, regardless of ethnic background, often identify with Arab history and culture and may share a common vision with other Arabs. This, however, may or may not exclude pride in and identification with Berber and/or other parts of their heritage. Berber political and cultural activists for their part, often referred to as Berberists, may view all Northwest Africans as principally Berber, whether they are primarily Berber- or Arabic-speaking.

Egyptians over the centuries have shifted their language from Egyptian (in its late form, varieties of Coptic) to modern Egyptian Arabic while retaining a sense of national identity that has historically set them apart from other people in the region. Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslim, although there is a significant minority of Coptic Christians.

Available Books

Book Title Date
North Africa - The Cruelties of the Algerine Pirates The Cruelties of the Algerine Pirates 1816
North Africa - A Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa A Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa 1821
North Africa - Narrative of a Ten Years Residence at Tripoli in Africa Narrative of a Ten Years Residence at Tripoli in Africa 1816
North Africa - Algiers: Being a Complete Picture of the Barbary States Algiers: Being a Complete Picture of the Barbary States 1817
North Africa - Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt Vol. 1 Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt Vol. 1 1809
North Africa - Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt Vol. 2 Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt Vol. 2 1809
North Africa - Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt Vol. 3 Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt Vol. 3 1809
North Africa - Twenty-Four Views Taken in St. Helena, the Cape, India, Ceylon, Abyssinia, and Egypt Twenty-Four Views Taken in St. Helena, the Cape, India, Ceylon, Abyssinia, and Egypt 1809
North Africa - A Voyage to Abyssinia A Voyage to Abyssinia 1814
North Africa - Picturesque Views in Spain and Morocco Vol. 1 Picturesque Views in Spain and Morocco Vol. 1 1838
North Africa - Picturesque Views in Spain and Morocco Vol. 2 Picturesque Views in Spain and Morocco Vol. 2 1838
North Africa - The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 1 & 2 The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 1 & 2 1855
North Africa - The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 3 & 4 The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 3 & 4 1855
North Africa - The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 5 & 6 The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 5 & 6 1855
North Africa - Proceedings of the Expedition to Explore the Northern Coast of Africa Proceedings of the Expedition to Explore the Northern Coast of Africa 1828
North Africa - Story of the Barbary Corsairs Story of the Barbary Corsairs 1890
North Africa - Vanished Cities of Northern Africa Vanished Cities of Northern Africa 1900
North Africa - Narrative of a Residence in Algiers Narrative of a Residence in Algiers 1818
North Africa - Morocco, Painted and Described Morocco, Painted and Described 1904
North Africa - Algeria and Tunis, Painted and Described Algeria and Tunis, Painted and Described 1906
North Africa - In the Track of Moors In the Track of Moors 1905
North Africa - Notes in North Africa Notes in North Africa 1862
North Africa - Costumes, Moeurs et Usages des Algeriens Costumes, Moeurs et Usages des Algeriens 1837
North Africa - Kitab-ı Bahriye [Book of Navigation] Kitab-ı Bahriye [Book of Navigation] 1525
North Africa - The Present State of the Empire of Morocco Vol. 1 The Present State of the Empire of Morocco Vol. 1 1788
North Africa - The Present State of the Empire of Morocco Vol. 2 The Present State of the Empire of Morocco Vol. 2 1788
North Africa - Alger : Vues Dessinées d'Après Nature Alger : Vues Dessinées d'Après Nature 1840
North Africa - Tunis, Kairouan & Carthage Tunis, Kairouan & Carthage 1908
North Africa - Tunis et ses Environs Tunis et ses Environs 1892

Images

Image Name
Entrance to the Tomb of the Kings
Camel Conveying a Bride to Her Husband
Ramla, Ancient Arimathea
Aqueduct near the City of Tripoly
Jerusalem from the North
Entrance to the Tombs of the Kings, Baban-El-Molook
La Porte Bab-el-Oued
A Road in Gibraltar
Maxula-Rades, where Regulus landed in 256 B.C.
A Minstrel
Moissonneurs tunisiens
A House Interior, Marrakesh
Chefs de tribus en Kkroumirie
View at Luxor, Thebes
Chapter Header
Les cadeaux de noces
Pagoda at Conjeveram
Title Page
A Street in Tunis
The Rumi Derwazah, & the New Palace at Lucknow
Portion of the Eastern Portico, Baalbec
Ruines byzantines
Villa Djenan El Mufti, Algiers
Pompey's Pillar, Alexandria
Chancel of the Church of St. Helena, Bethlehem
Femme Maure a la Maison
Sketch of a Daro-Tree at the bottom of Taranta
Pyramids of Geezeh
A River of the Sahara
Spine
Title Page
The Minaret of the Great Mosque of Tangiers
Lieutenant Colonel Marey, Commandant des Spahis
Minaret of the Mosque El Rhamree
Tibboo Woman in Full Dress
Corsaires Algeriens
Courtyard and Fountain of the Great Mosque, Algiers
Fantasia
Petit marchand d'eau
Mosque of Sidi Ben Ziad, Tunis - the Auction Day
A Desert Afterglow
Chart of the Red Sea
Beil Jebrin, or Eleutheropolis
Title Page
A Colossal Statue at the Entrance to the Temple of Luxor
Convent of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai
Sebaste, Ancient Samaria
La Grande Rue, Kairouan
Hog Shooting on the Banks of the Quad El Ahwena, in Tunisia
Boutique de parfumeur
Portrait of Rit Aurari Zogo Attacking a Foot Soldier
Costume of Soudan
Sketch of the Sanga or Galla Oxen
Vue de Tunis, prise de la Kasbah
Front Cover
Pagodas at Talicut
The Colossal Statues in the Plain of Thebes, seen during the Inundation of the Nile
A Street in Biskra
Entrance to the Grand Mosque from the Souk-el-Attarin, Tunis
Lower Portion of El Khasne, Petra
Rue Souk-el-Belat - Marchand de hallouna - Fontaine
Cana, General View
In Tangier
Sarepta
Title Page
Jeune fille devant le puits de Batéo
Boutique du Souk des Orfèvres
Title Page
The Old Porte de Tunis, Kairouan
Armes et Ustensils de Menage
Title Page
Mosque Domes at Tunis
General View of Tyre
La mosquee de Dar-el-Bey
Shopping in the Souk-el-Trouk, Tunis
A Corner in the Rue Belat, Tunis
Moorish Woman and Child
Vue D'Alger
The Road to the Kasbah, Tangier
Fontaine aux Environs D'Alger
A Schehch's Tomb in Arabia
Le marabout des selliers
The Necropolis, Petra
Tiberias, looking towards Hermon
Bab-el-Khadra
Travellers by Night
View from Under the Portico of the Temple of Edfou, Upper Egypt
In Cordova Cathedral
Chanteuses juives
The Archeviche, Algiers
View Under the Grand Portico of the Temple, Philae, in Nubia
Chart of Port Mornington
Obelisk at Axum
Temple of Dakke, in Nubia
Cavalier coiffé du bonnet en plumes d'autruche, que le meilleur cavalier de la tribu a le droit de porter
A Marabout Near Tangiers

Maps

Map Name
Algiers: Being a Complete Picture of the Barbary States - Map of Barbary (1817)
Narrative of a Ten Years Residence at Tripoli in Africa - Map of the Regencies of Tripoly and Tunis (1816)
The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 3 & 4 - Map to Illustrate Mr. Robert's Route (1855)
Costumes, Moeurs et Usages des Algeriens - Carte de la Regence D'Alger (1837)
A Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa - Map of a Route through the Regency of Tripoli and Kingdom of Fezzan (1821)
The Holy Land : Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia Vols. 5 & 6 - Map of the Valley of the Nile  (1855)

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