Nation profile

Amazigh people
Imazighen

General information
Population
Between 22 and 40 million
Area
With no defined borders
Institutions
None
Major cities
Tizi-Ouzou, Batna (Bathenth), Tamanghasset (Tamenghest), Agadez, Tombouctou (Tin Bektu), Nador, Melilla (Tamelilt), Al Hoceima, Houmt Souk.
Administració estatal
Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Niger and Egypt
Territorial languages
Amazigh, which some linguists believe to be one single language and others, several ones
Official languages
Arabic and Amazigh (Morocco, Algeria), Arabic (Tunisia, Libya, Egypt), French (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso)
Major religion
Sunni Islam (majority), Shi'a and Ibadi Islam, Christianity
National day
Yennayer, or Amazigh New Year (14 January)

The traditional territory of the Amazigh people —which spans most of North Africa, from the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts up to the Sahel— is called "Tamazgha" in the Amazigh language. Many of the region's inhabitants have Amazigh ancestors, but after centuries of Arabization, not all of them have preserved an Amazigh cultural and linguistic heritage. As a result, as of today, those territories of Tamazgha where significant populations recognize themselves as Amazigh do not have territorial continuity, being separated by areas where most of the people consider themselves to be culturally and linguistically Arab.

Thus Rif, Atlas and Souss (Morocco), Kabylia, Mzab and Aurès (Algeria), Djerba (Tunisia), the Nafusa mountains (Libya), the Siwa oasis (Egypt) and the Tuareg-populated Saharan and Sahelian regions —including Azawad—  spanning Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso can be named among Tamazgha's most prominent territories where a cultural and linguistic Amazigh character has been preserved. In some of those cases, an Amazigh-based political movement has also developed.

While Amazigh political and cultural movements share a consensus over the cultural and linguistic unity of the Amazigh world, its political unity and the consideration of the Amazigh as a nation is more controversial. A part of the Amazigh movement advocates the concept of the Amazigh people as one single nation living within a more or less defined territory —Tamazgha—, while another part argues that each of Tamazgha's major regions are separate nations by themselves, having their own, distinct political projects —this is mostly true for the Kabyle and Tuareg sovereignty movements. In this latter case, the notion of "Amazigh peoples," rather than "the Amazigh people," is sometimes used.