1902 Encyclopedia > Africa > The Tibbus

(Part 16)


(d) The Tibbus

The country of the Nubians is limited on the west by that of the Tibbus, who are spread over the eastern portions of the Sahara, as far as Fezzan and Lake Chad. Dr Latham considers it probable that their language belongs to the Nubian class. They inhabit the locality of the ancient Libyans or Libyes. Their colours is not uniform. In some it is quite black, but many have copper-coloured faces. They are slim and well made, have high cheekbones, the nose sometimes that like that of the Negro, and sometimes aquiline. Their mouth is in general large, but their teeth fine. Their lips are frequently formed like those of European; their eyes are expressive, and their hair, though curled, not woolly. The females are especially distinguished by a light and elegant form, and in their walk and erect manner of carrying themselves are very striking. Their feet and ankles are delicately formed, and not loaded with a mass of brass or iron, as is the practice in other countries of Northern Africa, but have merely a light anklet of polished silver or copper, sufficient to show their jetty skin to more advantage; and they also wear neat red slippers. The Tibbus are chiefly a pastoral people. They keep horses, cattle, sheep, and goats, but camels constitute their principal riches. The villages of the Tibbus are very regularly built in a square, with a space left on the north and south faces of the quadrangle for the use of the cattle. The huts are entirely of mats, which exclude the sun, yet admit both the light and the air. The interior of these habitations is singularly neat: clean wooden bowls for the preservation of milk, each with a cover of basket-work, are hung against their walls. They are greatly exposed to predatory incursions into their country by the enemies who surround them. The Tibbus of Tibesti are described by Dr. Nachtigal as of medium stature, well made, of elegant though muscular frame; in colour they vary between a clear bronze and black: the greater number are dark bronze-coloured, yet without the slightest trace of what is generally recognized as the Negro physiognomy. They carry on a considerable traffic in slaves between Sudan, Fezzan, and Tripoli.

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