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After the colonization of North Africa by France, "the French government succeeded in integrating the French language in Algeria by making French the official national language and requiring all education to take place in French." Foreign languages, mainly French and to some degree Spanish, inherited from former European colonial powers, are used by most educated Berbers in Algeria and Morocco in some formal contexts, such as higher education or business.

Today, most Berber people live in North Africa, mainly in Libya, Algeria, and Morocco; Small Berber populations are also found in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Tunisia, Burkina Faso and Egypt, as well as large immigrant communities living in France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and other countries of Europe.

Other rock art has been observed in Tadrart Acacus in the Libyan desert.

A Neolithic society, marked by domestication and subsistence agriculture, developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean region (the Maghreb) of northern Africa between 60 BC.

The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history.

There are some twenty-five to thirty million Berber speakers in North Africa.

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The English term was introduced in the 19th century, replacing the earlier Barbary.The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa.Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of societies and ancestries.According to Leo Africanus, Amazigh meant "free man", though this has been disputed, because there is no root of M-Z-Gh meaning "free" in modern Berber languages.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".In historical times, the Berbers expanded south into the Sahara (displacing earlier populations such as the Azer and Bafour).

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