1902 Encyclopedia > Africa > The Nubians

(Part 15)


(c) The Nubians

The countries above Egypt are inhabited by two tribes of people resembling each other in physical characters, but of distinct language and origin. One is, perhaps, the aboriginal or native, the other a foreign tribe. Dr Prichard terms them Eastern Nubians, or Nubians of the Red Sea, and Nubians of the Nile, or Berberines. All these tribes are people of a red-brown complexion, their colour in some instances approaching to black, but still different from the ebony hue of the Eastern Negroes. Their hair is often frizzled and thick, and is described as even woolly; yet it is not precisely similar to the hair of the Negroes of Guinea. The Eastern Nubians are tribes of roving people who inhabit the country between the Nile and the Red Sea; the northern division of this race are the Ababdeh, who reach northward in the eastern desert as far as Kosseir, and, towards the parallel of Deir, border on the Bidshari. The Bishari reach thence towards the confines of Abyssinia. The latter are extremely savage and inhospitable: they are said to drink the warm blood of living animals; they are for the most part nomadic, and live on flesh and milk. They are described as a handsome people, with beautiful features, fine expressive eyes, of slender and elegant forms their complexion is said to be a dark brown, or a dark chocolate colour. The Barabra or Berberines are a people well known in Egypt, whither they resort as laboruers from the higher country of the Nile. They inhabit the valley of that name from the southern limit of Egypt to Sennaar. They are a people distinct from the Arabs and all the surrounding nations. They live on the banks of the Nile; and wherever there is any soil, they plant date trees, set up wheels for irrigation, and sow durra and some leguminous plants. At Cairo, whither many of this race resort, they are esteemed for their honesty. They profess Islam. The Barabra are divided into three sections by their dialects, which are those of the Nuba, the Kenous, and the Dongolawi. According to Dr Prichard, it is probable that the Berberines may be an offset from the original stock which first peopled Egypt and Nubia.

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