Kabyle people

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The Kabyles are a Berber people whose traditional homeland is highlands of Kabylie (or Kabylia) in northeastern Algeria.


  • Berbers are undoubtedly the descendants of the races known to the Greeks and Romans under the generic name of Libyans. The Kabyles of the hills between Algiers and Bougie, and the Shawia of the Aures Mountains are very similar to one another and may be taken as typical Berbers. They are distinctly white-skinned, even when sunburned. Usually they have black hair and brown or hazel eyes, some have yellow hair and blue eyes. In the royal necropolis of Thebes of about 1300 B.C., certain Libyans are depicted as having a white skin, blue eyes and fair beards. Blonds are represented on Egyptian monuments from 1700 B.C. and were noted by the Greeks in the fourth century B.C. In the east the blonds have quite died out, but there are patches of this race in the west of North Africa. This fair race still remain an unsolved problem. Some students bring them from Spain, other authors from Italy, others again from the east. Perhaps they were a sporadic invasions and formed an aristocratic class. One suggestion is that they were Proto-Nordics who formed a part of the various groups of Asiatics who raided Egypt about 1300 B.C. and moved westwards.
    • Alfred Cort Haddon, The Races of Man and Their Distribution (1924), University Press, 1924, p. 36
  • Part of my time had been passed of what is called "La Grande Kabylie", that portion of the province of Algiers which is inhabited by he Kabyles, the most direct descendants of the Ancient Libyans. They are strange people these Kabyles, both in customs and physical aspects. Native of Africa time out of mind, many of them present the purest type of the blonde races, blue or gray eyes, tawny beard, fair complexion, curly light or reddish hair, muscular in build and often tall in stature. When I came to look at the many evidently portraits busts on the tombs of the ancient Etruscans, there was something in the features, in the shape of head and face, which reminded me of these Kabyles.
    • Daniel Garrison Brinton, The Ethnologic affinities of the Ancient Etruscans, Proceedings, American Philosophical Society, vol. 26, 1889, p. 504
  • Africa north of the Sahara, from a zoological point of view, is now, and has been since early Tertiary times, a part of Europe. This is true both of animals and of the races of man.The Berbers of north Africa to-day are racially identical with the Spaniards and south Italians.
    • Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, Scribner's sons, 1916, p. 137
  • In north Africa there are large areas with a predominantly Mediterranean population : the whole of the northern edge from Egypt to Morocco, and beyond Morocco a tract along the coast southwards and reaching over to the north-west African islands. The Spaniards have always been astonished at the likeness of their Berber foes in Morocco with themselves. In all these regions of north-west Africa, however, there are found also Oriental, Negro, and (especially, it would seem, in Algeria and Morocco) Hither Asiatic strains. Among the Berbers, particularly the Kabyles in the Riff and in the Aures range, a Nordic strain shows itself clearly, and in the Canary Islands there seems to be a strain of the Cro-magnon race.
  • The Berbers, among whom even today one finds light skins and blue eyes, do not go back to the Vandal invasions of the fifth century A.D., but to the prehistoric Atlantic Nordic human wave. The Kabyle huntsmen, for example, are to no small degree still wholly Nordic (thus the blond Berbers in the region of Constantine form 10 % of the population; at Djebel Sheshor they are even more numerous).
  • Of the Berbers there is much good to be said. Whether in the olive-clad mountains of Kabylia or the terraced valleys of their Aurasian fastnesses, they are white men, and in general act like white men. Among them the virtues of honesty, hospitality, and good-nature are conspicuous. It is not their misfortune alone that the lowlands know them no more ; not their misfortune only that Mohammedanism has debarred them from entering as they would otherwise have entered on the path of European progress and liberality : it is the misfortune of the whole civilised world. Descendants of a mighty race whose culture once spread from the Atlantic to the Red Sea and the Hauran, from Crete to Timbuctoo and the Soudan, there are still to be found among them the vestiges of the arts and sciences, of the spirit of conquest, of the capacity for self-government which, if developed, would make them again a great nation.

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