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Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of societies and ancestries.
The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history.
Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are probably still related to the modern Amazigh.
The Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field.
Small Berber populations are also found in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Egypt, as well as large immigrant communities living in France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and other countries of Europe.
The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa.
In historical times, the Berbers expanded south into the Sahara (displacing earlier populations such as the Azer and Bafour).This dispute, however, is based on a lack of understanding of the Berber language as "Am-" is a prefix meaning "a man, one who is […]" Therefore, the root required to verify this endonym would be (a)zigh, "free", which however is also missing from Tamazight's lexicon, but may be related to the well attested aze "strong", Tizzit "bravery", or jeghegh "to be brave, to be courageous".The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) in the areas where Berbers were later found.Historically, they spoke Berber languages, which together form the Berber branch of the Afroasiatic family.
Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, a large number of Berbers inhabiting the Maghreb (Tamazgha) have acquired different degrees of knowledge of varieties of the languages of North Africa.
The Ottomans did penetrate the Kabylie area, and to places the Phoenicians never penetrated, far beyond the coast, where Turkish influence can be seen in food, clothes and music.