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Related to Tuaregs: Berbers, Fulani, Kel Tamasheq




(both: twä`rĕg), BerbersBerbers,
aboriginal Caucasoid peoples of N Africa, called Imazighen in the Tamazight language. They inhabit the lands lying between the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea and between Egypt and the Atlantic Ocean.
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 of the Sahara, numbering c.2 million. They have preserved their ancient alphabet, which is related to that used by ancient Libyans. The Tuaregs traditionally maintained a feudal system consisting of a small number of noble families, a large majority of vassals, and a lower class of black non-Tuareg serfs, who performed the agricultural tasks. The upper classes, organized in tribes, convoyed caravans and, until subdued by France, were feared as raiders. The fiercely independent Tuareg resented European hegemony in Africa, and they long resisted conquest.

Tuareg men go veiled, while the women are unveiled. Women enjoy respect and freedom, and descent and inheritance are through the female line. Though nominally Muslim, the people still retain many pre-Islamic rites and customs, but the traditional way of life for the Tuaregs (e.g., raiding neighboring tribes, leading caravans, and exacting taxes from trans-Sahara travelers) has changed. Since the 1970s droughts and famines have forced many Tuaregs from their desert homes into urban areas; many have become farmers.

In the 1990s political tensions caused further relocation. Groups of Tuaregs fought for autonomy from Niger and Mali, but cease-fires were signed in both nations in the mid-1990s and largely held in the following decade. Beginning in 2006, however, there were Tuareg attacks against government forces in Mali despite cease-fires in subequent years; in early 2009 Mali's military gained significant victories against the rebels. The collapse of the Qaddafi regime in Libya (2011) revived Mali's Tuareg rebels when Tuaregs who had fought in Qaddafi's army returned to Mali. Following the 2012 coup in Mali, Tuareg and Islamist rebels seized control of much of N Mali, but Islamists subsequently marginalized non-Islamist Tuaregs, and then French-led forces reestablished (2013) government control over most of the region. A peace agreement with the main Tuareg rebel alliance was signed in 2015, but there has been fighting between pro- and antigovernment Tuareg groups since then. A peace accord between the Tuareg groups was signed in 2017. In 2007 a new Tuareg rebel group began mounting attacks in Niger, claiming that the government had failed to honor promises made in the 1995 peace accord. In 2009 negotiations with two of the three Tuareg rebel groups in Niger led to a cease-fire.


See F. J. Rennell, People of the Veil (1926, repr. 1966); P. Fuchs, The Land of Veiled Men (tr. 1956).



(self-designation, Imochag), a people living in Niger, Mali, Upper Volta, and the desert regions of Algeria. They originally inhabited the more northerly regions of Africa, but were forced into their present regions by the Arab conquests. They number about 1 million (1973, estimate).

The Tuareg speak a Berber language, and they are Sunni Muslims. Their main occupation is hoe farming of cereals, legumes, and vegetables, combined with the raising of sheep and goats. A small group of Tuareg living in the Algerian Sahara are nomadic herders of camels and goats. The Tuareg have retained their tribal divisions and significant elements of a patriarchal feudal system, with some traits of matrilinearity; the largest tribal groups are the Aulliminden, Ifora, Kel Geres, Kel Ahaggar, and Kel Air.


Narody Afriki. Moscow, 1954.
Murdock, G. P. Africa: Its Peoples and Their Culture History. New York-Toronto-London, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
Aware of the fact that one of the major issues which led to the success of the jihadists in 2012 was the internal struggle between some Tuaregs and the Malian government, the French avoided the deadly trap of feeding a local insurgency by turning Tuaregs against the forces of Operation Serval.
She was covering the Cure Salee, or Festival of the Nomads, an annual gathering of the Tuareg and Wodaabe peoples in the northern Niger town of Ingall.
Local media also reported that some Tuaregs have sided with the Misratans and the Islamist Operation Dawn, and that some members of the Tubu have sided with the anti-Islamist forces.
Complaining against corruption in the Government and senior ranks of the military in late March 2012, matters came to a head when (yet another) Tuareg rebellion in Northern Mali pitted the poorly armed Malian Army against Islamist rebels, flush with abundant supplies of weapons and transport from the arsenals of the recently deposed Colonel Qaddafi.
Mali's Tuareg community has for decades demanded greater political autonomy from the Southern capital of Bamako and more spending on development for the impoverished region, which they call Azawad.
The coup's orwinfrers were unhappy with the government's handling of the Tuareg rebellion crisis in the north, which had flared up again in January 2012.
In the early 2000s, Gadhafi began offering his Tuareg mercenaries privileges, including residency permits.
BAMAKO (CyHAN)- The French military's plans to wrap up its operation in Mali within weeks are overly optimistic, judging by past Tuareg uprisings in the country, a prominent expert on Mali and a former Russian envoy to the country said on Thursday.
The Tuaregs and Islamists groups including MUJAO were allies in their original bid to seize northern Mali in the chaotic aftermath of a coup in March in Bamako.
However, the Tuareg rebellion led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad has not been loosening its grip of captured areas and continues to proclaim loud and clear its desire for independence.
Timbuktu hotel owners Neil Whitehead and Diane English fled the African state for neighbouring Mauritania after Tuareg rebels seized control of the north of the country.
The military, concerned about the security of Mali, staged a coup de etat and removed the president who, they claimed, was unable to provide them with the means to fight the rebellion of Tuareg and Islam-extremists successfully.