16 Pages

Precolonial Rifian Communities Outside the Moroccan Rif: Battiwa and Tangier

The twin factors of energy and motion as being important ones in Moroccan history have been commented upon at the macro-level by Geertz (1977) as well as by ourselves, in a context both larger than and quite different from that to be examined here (Hart 1993). But they can be made to apply equally well at the micro-level, for Moroccans, and North Africans generally, have never been strangers to movement, even in the form of travel , as the massive and ever-increasing labour migration of Maghribine workers to the countries of the EU and Western Europe has come today to bear eloquent witness. In this article our inquiry is restricted entirely to the micro-level , that of Rifian and hence originally Berber-speaking individuals or groups who established colonies outside their homeland of the Rif mountain region of north-eastern Morocco in the precolonial period, insofar as known, with the subsequent relations of these communities with the homeland in question. We will use our own work on the ethnography of one of the most representative Rifian tribal groups, the Aith Waryaghar (or Bni Waryaghal: cf. Hart 1976) and of the six other tribes that border them (cf. Hart, in preparation), as a sociocultural yardstick, even though in this article our orientation is largely sociohistorical, in the sense that as it focuses predominantly on the immediate precolonial period, considerably more use is made of earlier source materials than of near contemporary ones.