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North Africa

From Academic Kids

Map of Africa with the northern countries highlighted

North Africa is a region generally considered to include:

The Canary Islands, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Azores and Madeira are sometimes considered to be a part of North Africa, though they do not share a common culture with North Africa.

The Maghreb (also called Northwest Africa or Tamazgha) is the portion of North Africa that consititutes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya (thus excluding the Nile Valley). (In Arabic, the term can also refer to Morocco alone.)

Some North African countries, particularly Egypt and Libya, often get included in common definitions of the Middle East, not being part of the Maghreb. In addition, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is often considered part of Asia, and hence of the Middle East.

People

North Africa is often set apart from the sub-Saharan African region, as the desert serves more of an obstacle to communication than the sea itself. It is principally inhabited by Berbers and Arabs, who are scarcely distinguishable physically, with minorities of other racial groups. The Berbers are the indigenous people in the Maghreb, and are believed to have come from the east. The Berber peoples range from very fair to quite dark. The majority of people in North Africa are ultimately of Berber descent, but, outside of most of Morocco and parts of Algeria, most identify as Arab.

Culture

Though North African culture as well as its people have both Berber and Arab roots, most North Africans are either Arabic or Berber-speaking Muslims (or, in the Copts' case, Christians), though the Berber language is not officially recognized. These two languages are related, both being members of the Afro-Asiatic language family. North Africa also had a large Jewish population, a large portion of which emigrated to France or Israel when the North African nations gained independence. Prior to the modern establishment of Israel, there were about 600,000-700,000 Jews in North Africa, including both Sfardīm (immigrants from France, Spain and Portugal from the Renaissance era) as well as indigenous [[Mizrahi Jew|Template:Unicode

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