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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

for the article about the commune see Zenata, Algeria

According to the French historians Emile Felix Gautier and Gabriel Camps, Zenata tribes entered in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia from the east of Africa in pre-Islamic times and grouped themselves with the tribes of Maghrawa, Miknasa and Banu Ifran etc....

According to Ibn Khaldoun, arabic historian of the 14th century, there were Zenata tribes dispatched in all North Africa (current Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania); Probably, some of them lived in current Sudan or Egypt.

According to Ibn Khaldoun, the Zenata are one of the main divisions of the medieval Berbers, along with Senhaja and Masmuda etc...He added that these tribes, traditionally nomads, were concentrated in Middle Maghreb (part of the current Algeria); it's why he called " Middle Maghreb " home of Zenata.

The hypothesis of Ibn Khaldoun about the origin of this Berber group or ethnicity is not widely accepted by the modern historians like Emile Felix Gautier or Gabriel Camps.

About the origin of this Berber group the arabic historian Ibn Hazm have supposed an origin from Yemen, but the hypothesis is shown by some historians like a political hypothesis.

Zenata would come from Gaetulia (Berber people group from North Africa) [1] [2]

According to some hypothesis, yet to prove, some of berber tribes called Garamantes would be also probaly Zenata [3]

According to the very discussed hoypthesis of Ibn Khaldoun, Madghacen was the Patriarch of Zenata.[4]

The oldest mausoleum (between -12 at -3 B.C) in current Algeria is Madghacen mausoleum,(Madghis town near Batna). Madghacen was probably a zenata king of Numidia [5] [6]



Their varieties of Berber, collectively termed Zenati, are spread over a wide area; for this reason, several languages are termed "Zenati" or in some cases are spoken by people who call themselves Zenata.

Among these are Beni Snassen (or Ait Iznassen in Tamazight), a tribe that lives in Northern Morocco and Algeria, mostly in the mountains near Berkane called the Beni Snassen mountains; Sened (now extinct), and some Saharan oasis languages.

The Zenata are also recalled in several placenames across the Maghreb, notably Oued Zenati in Algeria.


Some of these tribes surrendered quickly to the Muslims in the 7th century, while others, like the Jarawa under al-Kahina, put up a successful resistance for a long time.

In the 8th century most Berber and Zenata were Kharijites and took part in the Maysara revolt against Umayyad rule. The last Kharijite rebellion was in the 10th century under Abu Yazid, and was defeated by the Fatimids.

During the 10th century some Zenata from Ifriqiya were predominantly allied with the Caliphate of Cordoba, which fought for control of a aprt of current Morocco with the Fatimids. In the process the Zenata were pushed out of Morocco by the Sanhaja tribe, allies of the Fatimids.

In the 13th century the Zenata regained political importance with the Abdalwadids (Zayyanids of Tlemcen) in western Algeria.

In the 15th century, in Morocco, the Marinids and the Wattasids ruled the country.

See also


  1. ^ Recueil des notices et mémoires de la Société archéologique de la province ... De Société archéologique
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Ibn khaldun, History of berbers
  5. ^ The past of Africa's dark centuries Nordles Emile De Felix Gautier
  6. ^

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ZENATA, or Zanata, a Berber tribe of Morocco in the district of the central Atlas. Their tribal home seems to have been south of Oran in Algeria, and they seem to have early claimed an Arab origin, though it was alleged by the Arabs that they were descendants of Goliath, i.e. Philistines or Phoenicians (Ibn Khaldun, vol. iii. p. 184 and vol. iv. p. 597). They were formerly a large and powerful confederation, and took a prominent part in the history of the Berber race. The Beni Marin and Wattasi dynasties which reigned in Morocco from 1213 to 1548 were of Zenata origin.

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