Bird's-Eye View of African Tribes
stock. The bulk of the Africans speaking the Hamitic languages are more or
less colored, and many Galla and Somal come nearer the negro than the
Most writers believe that the Hamites, like the Semites, passed into Africa
from Asia, but in prehistoric times. The ancient Egyptians were Hamites,
and are supposed to have closed the march of Hamitic migration into Africa.
Moses says that " the sons of Ham were Cash, and Mizraim, and Phut, and
Canaan," and the present scientific division of the Hamites still rests on the
genealogic table of Moses.
Mizraim was Egypt, the present Lower Egypt. There, was developed the
first great civilization. From Egypt came the Libyans, who spread over North
Africa, the oases of the great desert, and even to the Canary Islands. The
Christian descendants of the ancient Egyptians are the Kopts. The descen¬
dants of the Libyans are the Berbers.
The ancient Carthaginians, though speaking a Semitic language, were also
originally Hamites of the Punic branch.
Cush represents the inhabitants of Abyssinia and Upper Egypt, known to
the Greeks and Romans as Ethiopians. This term Ethiopian comprehended also
the Negroes ; but the Egyptians, who were in immediate contact with both,
had a special name for the Negroes, calling them nahasi.
The Phut of Moses and the Puna of the Egyptians were probably the red-
brown people of both coasts of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, about the gulf
of Aden. Vestiges of Hamitic tribes have recently been found in Southern
Arabia. Probably the modern Somal and Galla are the descendants of the
ancient Puna, from whom the Egyptians obtained incense, gold, ivory and
The Berbers, though whites by race, and cousins of the Egyptians and
Carthaginians, have never united into a powerful nation nor developed a
culture decidedly superior to that of the Negroes south of the Sahara. Some
inhabit the oases Siwa and Djala and parts of Tripoli and Tunis. Those of
Algeria and Morocco are descended of the Roman Numidians and are fre¬
quently called Moors. In Algeria they number about two millions, of whom
seven hundred and fifty thousand speak only Berber dialects, while the other
one and a quarter mil lion speak either Arabic, in addition to Berber, or A tabic
alone. The Zouaves of the French army are a tribe of Berbers, inhabiting
the sea-board between Algiers and Constantine. In Morocco the famous Rif
pirates are Berber by race and language, and the Berber dialects Mazirgh and
Shluh are still spoken from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic coast, opposite
the Canary Islands.
The extensive, but arid region between Algeria and the northern bend of
the Niger is inhabited by the Berber tribe of the Imoshagh, whom the Arabs
call the Tuarek. Their Hamitic language is the Tamashek. Although favored
with an original system of writing, in which many inscriptions have been
preserved, the Imoshagh have failed to produce a national literature.
In the Nile Valley, between the Red Sea and the river, from lower Egypt
to Abyssinia, the Bedja or Bisharin have upheld to this day Hamitic speech
and type. The four principal tribes, the Ababde, Hadendoa, Beni-Amir and