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The Near WestMedieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial Age$
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Allen Fromherz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748642946

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748642946.001.0001

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Introducing North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean

(p.13) 1 Bèjaïa
The Near West

Allen James Fromherz

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on the city of Bèjaïa, the capital of the region of Kabylia, a province that has maintained a largely self-professed Berber, as opposed to Arab or French, identity. The surrounding countryside was heartland of the ‘Berber Spring’, an uprising against Arabization in the 1980s. In terms of political power, Bèjaïa was slightly under the control of the vast and powerful Almohad Empire. Although Arabs comprised part of their army and administration, and many claimed Arab blood, the Almohads were primarily Berbers. This coming of the Almohads corresponded with the Commercial Revolution — a great increase in trade and commerce. However, North Africa contributed far more than raw goods; it also shared with Europe some of the most advanced spiritual ideas.

Keywords:   Bèjaïa, Kabylia, Berber identity, Arabization, Almohad Empire, Commercial Revolution

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