North Africa has massive mountain ranges dominating much of Morocco and Algeria, vast fertile valleys yielding vegetables, fruit, and grains, and the Sahara in the south. The beautiful beaches, ancient Arab cities, and Roman ruins attract countless tourists.
Though the climates vary widely, all but the desert regions are quite livable. Known as the Maghreb (Arabic for “the west”), North Africa was first conquered by the Phoenicians, then the people of Carthage, and then the Romans in 44 AD.
Muslim expansion in the 7th century led to successive local Berber Muslim kingdoms controlling the region for more than a thousand years. French, Spanish, and Italian colonial powers dominated from the 18th century until the modern nation states became independent after World War II.
North Africans are amazingly friendly, open, hospitable, and resilient people. They are mostly Mediterranean peoples who share much in common ethnically, culturally, and historically with the peoples of southern Europe. There are still millions of indigenous people – the Berbers – despite the early dominance of the region by Arabs.
Large minority groups speaking several Berber dialects thrive in the mountainous and other remote areas. Local dialects of Arabic prevail in the cities. French is widely spoken everywhere except Libya, especially in the cities.
Republished from Prayercast