Black Admixture and Presence in North Africa

James Schipper: Many people believe that the Moors, that is Northern Africans, are black. Of course, the Moors are the Berbers and Arabs, who are definitely not black. Before the Arab conquest of all of Northern Africa, there were various people white peoples there and they were all Christianized.

The Romans possessed all of Northern Africa. They didn’t refer to that part of their Empire as black. Were the inhabitants of Carthage black? Was Cleopatra black?

If we look at the inhabitants of the 5 Northern African countries today, we will find that they vary between white and brown. Anwar Sadat could be described as brown, and el-Sisi could easily be Italian or Portuguese. This is surprising since the Arabs imported so many slaves from black Africa.

I believe moor just meant “dark.” And the Berbers were quite probably darker than the average Spaniard. They average 1

Egypt has quite a bit of Black blood. 3

Libya also has a lot of Black blood, especially in the south. The south of Algeria is very Black, as is the south of Morocco. Most of those countries get a lot Blacker as you get into their southern regions.

The Sheltering Sky is an excellent movie by Bernardo Bertolucci, adopted from a novel by the great Paul Bowles.

In the movie, a European couple go to Tangier. The husband gets sick of some disease, maybe cholera, and dies. The wife becomes lost and takes up with a camel caravan heading south. They head down into lower Morocco, Algeria, and Niger. In the movie, that area is very Black. It’s also deeply Islamic. The photography and the movie in general is spectacular. Highly recommended.

Anyone here read Paul Bowles?

I read a book of his short stories. They’re too much! He was basically gay and his wife Jane Bowles was basically lesbian. Nonetheless they stayed married for a long time. Jane Bowles only wrote one novel and a book of short stories, but they are both said to be excellent. He spent his time picking up teenage Moroccan boys to have sex with.

William S. Burroughs lived in Tangier too for quite some time. In fact, that was where he wrote the famous Naked Lunch. Anybody read it? It’s bad, man!

Burroughs also spent his time smoking hashish and picking up teenage Moroccan boys to have sex with. This behavior is somewhat tolerated in Morocco because women are not accessible to most men, hence there is a lot of situational homosexuality. Nevertheless, the neighbors didn’t take kindly to Burroughs having sex with all those teenage boys, and they used to yell and throw things at him when he was out in the street.

There’s a lot of situational homosexuality in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Syria. Homosexuality is very much proscribed in the region, especially in the Shia parts of the Middle East. Nevertheless, in many Sunni countries, if you keep it on the “down low,” people look the other way.

Bowles spent a lot of time smoking hashish, or kif, as it is called. I had some kif for a while and I was selling it, of course. What else does a drug dealer do with any dope he gets? It was a light green powder, unlike most hashish which comes in blocks that have the consistency of extremely hard chocolate. You carve off pieces of the stuff with a knife and put it in a  “hash pipe.” I had a special hash pipe like the kind they use in Morocco.

The stuff’s practically legal in Morocco. If you go to the Atlas Mountains in the north where the Berbers grow the stuff, you will find it everywhere. Photos of Berbers in that part of Morocco show that they are very White.

The  Bowles’ both lived in Morocco, mostly in Tangier. This was during a time when Tangier was an “international city” under some sort of “international administration.” As such, there was not much police presence, and it was a haven for drug users and addicts, smugglers, and other low level criminals, street people, beatniks, fugitives, etc. It was a pretty shady place!

The Beats, including Ian Summerville, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, and Burroughs, used to go to Tangier in the 1950’s to visit Paul Bowles. Most of those men were either gay or bisexual. Burroughs and Ginsberg were gay, Kerouac was definitely bisexual, and Ian Summerville looks suspect to me. The Beats were gay as Hell! Far gayer than the hippies, most of whom looked down on homosexuality.

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4 thoughts on “Black Admixture and Presence in North Africa”

  1. Happy New Year!

    Thanks for the info. It remains true that to call Northern Africans black is quite erroneous in nearly all cases. There are over 300,000 Moroccans in the Netherlands. I have seen many pictures of them, and none of them could be called black.

    Check out the pictures of Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam, and of Khadija Arib, the Moroccan-born speaker of the Tweede Kamer, the Dutch Lower House. They are neither black nor brown.

  2. Interesting topic. However, the “Moors” of Spain were definitely not Black. They weren’t even Moorish except for the very first Muslim conquerors and settlers. The vast majority of Muslims in Spain from the time of the Cordoba Caliphate (10th century) onward were simply local Romance-speaking Spaniards and Visigoths (and even a few notable Basques) who had converted to Islam.

    Over time, these Spaniards and the Berber minority were culturally assimilated by an even smaller minority of Arab elite. In fact, during the early days of Islam in Spain, those Christians who converted were called Muwalladun – known as “Muladi” in Spanish. This means they were ethnic Europeans who had become Islamized in culture and religion.

    Over the centuries, most of the Muslim population lost their ethnic divisions and simply became called “Arabs” (or “Moors” as the Northern Christians called them). This is equivalent to how most medieval Egyptians, Syrians, Berbers, and Mesopotamians eventually adopted Islam, the Arabic language, and ultimately an Arabic identity.

    The reason the Muslims were called Moorish by the Northern Christians is due to the later Almohad and Almoravid conquerors of Andalusia who were definitely “Moorish” (i.e. Berber). This is when you really first see Blacks in Andalusia but only as foot soldiers amongst the Almoravid armies. Thus the description of some Moors as Black by a few Christians.

    Nonetheless, in painting after painting, the vast majority of Christians drew their Andalusian Muslim contemporaries as pale-skinned and sometimes even light-haired or light-eyed. Check out the “Book of Games” by the Castilian King Leo X. Out of dozens of drawings of Muslims, only 2 are Black Muslims. The rest are mostly pale-skinned and no different in appearance to the European Christians.

    Hell, if you look up the Alhambra’s medieval portraits of the Muslim kings of Granada, all of them are White and European in appearance.

    Finally, after the expulsion of the Muslims in Spain, their verifiable descendants continue to exist today in Morocco and Algeria. How do we know they are Andalusi? Well for one, they have Arabized Spanish names or placenames like Bargach (Vargas), el Gharnati (from Granada), Peres (Perez), el Qortobi (from Cordoba), etc.

    French Wikipedia has a record of a number of these families in the Moroccan city of Rabat alone

    And most of these families look White, especially as they’ve mostly kept to themselves and haven’t mixed with the local Moroccans and Algerians.

    Thus you have an idea of what the Muslims of Spain really looked like because those families are bonafide, mostly pure descendants. So the Afrocentrism claim that Andalusia (Muslim Spain) and the Andalusians were Black is pure fantasy.

    The only thing that remains to hit this out of the park is to genetically test these people. If the Andalusian families in Morocco turn out to have the haplogroup R1b and European maternal haplogroups, then we can say with 100% certainty that the Muslims of Spain were largely Islamized indigenous Spaniards, not Blacks nor North Africans or Middle Easterners.

    There is a revival of Andalusian culture right now in Spain and consciousness of it in North Africa amongst the Andalusian families since Spain has given foreign Sephardi Jews citizenship rights to atone for their expulsion, and now the Andalusian families are demanding the same. Hell, even the once-extinct Andalusian Arabic dialect/language has been revived by an ethnic Spaniard who converted to Islam.

    Many Spaniards are waking up to the Andalusian heritage and culture that was robbed from them by the Castilian and Portuguese.

    The Iberians built their nations and prosperity (which did not exist prior to the Muslim conquest) on Andalusian land and innovation while building their national legends on this silly fantasy of the “Reconquista” or the “good Christians retaking their land from Muslim occupiers” as if Romance languages are indigenous to Spain when they were brought there by foreign colonizers as well, those colonizers being Romans.

    This “Reconquista” was nothing more than a religious civil war between ethnic Spaniards of two different faiths. Finally, to say that the Muslim side was more foreign is hypocritical given that a big portion of the ruling and warrior class in Northern/Christian Spain were of foreign descent (German, French). But people tend to overlook that fact because those are “good foreigners,” aka North Europeans.

    1. One correction, the Castilian King who commissioned the Book of Games was Alfonso X. And Spain has granted an easy path to citizenship for Sephardi Jews (to clarify that sentence).

      Forgive my long post, but I am passionate about this as nothing angers me more than Afrocentrists – usually African Americans whose ancestors had nothing to do with even the few blacks that did exist in Al-Andalus – and Christian apologists distorting or stealing the history of my Andalusian ancestors.

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