kabyle paris arab race
KABYLES, or more correctly KAnim, a number of tribes in the Algerian region of northern Africa, of special interest to the politician from the peculiarity of their institutions and from the part they will probably play in the development of the French colony, and to the ethno logist as the best known branch of the great Berber race. In 1864 it was estimated that they amounted to 2,200,000. The country which they inhabit is usually regarded as consisting of two divisions - Great Kabylia and Lesser Kabylia - the former being also known as the Kabylia of the Jurjura (also called Adrar Budfel, " Mountain of Snow "). It is admitted on all hands that the Berbers form the main aboriginal element in the population of northern Africa, that at one time or other they have occupied the whole tract of country from Egypt in the east to the Canary Islands in the west, and that they are still represented not only by the Tuareg (Amashir, &c.), who retain their native speech, but by many tribes that have become altogether Arab in langudge. In regard to their real ethnic relations, however, there has been much discussion and theory : Kaltbruuner includes the Berbers in the Mediterranean race in which Hacckel places the Semites, Iberians, &c. M. G. Olivier 1 recognizes the Berbers as Aryans, and Faidherbe regards them as the indigenous Libyans mingled with a fair-skinned people of European origin; while Pruner Bey and Duveyrier maintain the close relation of the Berbers with the ancient Egyptians, and consider them as forming together the white African race.2 Be this as it may, the Kabyles are a Berber stock, and more particularly correspond to that part of the race which was known to the Romans as Numidiaus. Physically they do not present any very prominent contrast to the Arabs of Algeria. Both Kabyle and Arab are white at birth, but rapidly grow brown through exposure to air and sunshine. Both have general brown eyes and wavy hair of coarse quality, varying from dark brown to jet black. In stature there is perhaps a little difference in favour of the Kabyle, and he appears also to have a stouter trunk and bulkier muscles. Both are clearly dolichocephalic. Among the Kabyles, it is worthy of particular notice, there exists a varying proportion of individuals with fair skins, ruddy complexions, and blue or grey eyes. As to the ethnic origin of this peculiar element many conjectures have been hazarded, - one theorist seeing in them the Vandals, another the Gallic mercenaries of Rome, another an aboriginal fair-skinned race, another the dolmen-building people from Europe. In the whole domain of life and character the contrasts between Arab and Kabyle are of the most radical and striking kind. The Kabyle lives in a house of stone or clay, forming part of a fixed village or hamlet ; the Arab's tent is moved from place to place. The Kabyle enjoys the individual proprietorship of his garden and his orchards ; with the Arab the ownership of the soil is an attribute of the tribe. While cereals alone are cultivated by the Arab, the Kabyle has his fig trees, olives, and vines, vegetables and tobacco. Active, energetic, and enterprising, the Kabyle is to be found far from home - as a soldier in the French army, as a workman in the towns, as a field labourer, or as a pedler or trader earning by steady effort the means of purchasing his bit of ground in his native village. Nor, however insignificant they may appear when measured by a high European standard, are the native industries to be despised. Not only do they comprise the making of lime, tiles, woodwork for the houses, domestic utensils, and agricultural implements, but also the weaving and dyeing of several kinds of cloth, the tanning and dressing of leather, and the manufacture of oil and soap. Without the assistance of the wheel, the women turn out a variety of earthenware articles ; before it became a sort of proscribed industry the production of gunpowder was its administrators the Kabyles are essentially democratic. In the words of Renan,' "the people is everything and suffices for everything ; government, police, administration of justice, cost nothing to the community. It is the ideal speech, while others have more or less completely adopted Arabic. The best known dialect is that of the Igaouaouen, or Zouaoua,2 who, at least from the time of Ibn Khaldoun, have been settled on the northern side of the Jurjura; it is the principal basis of Hanoteau's Essai de Grammaire Kabyle (Paris, 185S). Unlike their southern brethren, the Kabyles have no alphabet, and their literature is still in the stage of oral transmission for the most part by professional reciters, Hauoteau's Poesies populaires de la Kabylie du Jurjura (Paris, 1867) gives the text and translation of a considerable number of historical pieces, proverbial couplets and quatrains, dancing songs, &c.
The best resume of ascertained facts in regard to the Kabyles is the Instructions sur 1' Anthropologie de lAlgerie, by General Faidherbe and Dr Paul Topinard, Paris, 1874. See also Daumas, Le Sahara Algerien, Paris, 1845 ; De Slane's translation of Ibn Khaldoun's Mist. des Berbares, Algiers, 1852; Aucapitaine, Les Kabyles et la Colon. de l' Algerie, Paris, 1864, and Les Beni M'zab, 1868; Hanoteau and Letonrneaux, La Kabylie et les Coutumcs Kabyles, Paris, 1873; a paper by Charmetant, the head of the Roman Catholic mission, in Jahrbileher der Verbreitung des Glauberm, 1874 ; Dugas, La Kabylie et le people Kabyle, Paris, 1878; Recoux, La demographic de l'Algerie, Paris, 1880.