Kabylia, derived from the French Kabylie, is based on the Arabic qabila (tribe; pl., qabail ). The region is traditionally divided into two parts: the Djurd-jura Mountains (highest point 7,565 ft.) separating the Great Kabylia, to the north and centering on the regional capital, Tizi-Ouzou, and the Lesser Kabylia, to the south and east. Population density in this very hilly and not very fertile region is quite high. Though the area produces much of Algeria's olive oil and dried figs, the agricultural economy cannot support the total population. Thus historically the Kabylia has been a region of emigration to the Algerian port cities and the manufacturing centers of France. Although difficult to count accurately, the current Berber (Tamazight)-speaking population of the region is estimated at roughly four million.
Kabyle participation in Algeria's war of independence (1954–1962) was strong and determined. Upon independence, however, the Arab leadership of the National Liberation Front declared Algeria to be an Arab-Muslim nation. It broke up Berberist organizations and repressed the use of Tamazight, deeming it a threat to national unity. In 1980 largely peaceful, student-led demonstrations protesting the government's suppression of Berber cultural events broke out at Tizi-Ouzou—the administrative, commercial, and cultural center of the region—and then spread to other parts of the Kabylia. Violently repressed by the regime, these events came to be known as Berber Spring. Since then, and despite the strong opposition of Muslim fundamentalists and dominant sectors of the Algerian regime, Kabyles slowly have been able to obtain limited recognition for their cultural traditions and language: Tamazight was recognized as one of the languages of the country in 1989, and a Berber culture curriculum has been developed at the University of Tizi-Ouzou. However, censorship against Berber cultural demonstrations continues at different levels. Kabyles pride themselves in their distinct cultural achievement and traditions, which include poetry, jewelry, and music.
During the events known as the Black Spring of April 2001, Kabyle youth protested the hogra, a Tamazight word signifying the abuse of authority and the violation of citizens' rights on the part of the authorities. Structural unemployment fueled by International Monetary Fund policies, continued Islamist and state-sponsored violence, and lack of prospects for the youth contributed to the revolt.
In March 2002 the Algerian government finally decided to include Tamazight as a national language. Nevertheless, under the slogan "no forgiveness, no vote," the Kabyle citizens' movement called for a boycott of the Algerian legislative elections of May 2002; voter turnout in Tizi-Ouzou was 2 percent. In another concession in 2003, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika agreed to include the Tamazight language in the national education system.
see also berber spring; black spring.
Movement for the Autonomy of the Kabylia (MAK). Available from <http://www.makabylie.info>.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. "Unıted Natıons Commıttee on Economıc, Socıal and Cultural Rıghts Starts Revıew of Report of Algerıa." Press Release. Available from <http://www.unhchr.ch>.
thomas g. penchoen
updated by vanesa casanova-fernandez
"Kabylia." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kabylia
"Kabylia." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved March 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/kabylia
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.