The Zenata (Berber: Iznaten, ⵉⵣⵏⴰⵜⴻⵏ or Iznasen, ⵉⵣⵏⴰⵙⴻⵏ) are a set of Berbers tribes who inhabited in antiquity an area stretching from west of Egypt to Morocco with the Sanhaja and Masmuda. Their lifestyle was mainly nomadic or semi-nomadic.
The Zenata adopted Islam early, still in the 7th century. While other Berber tribes continued to resist the Umayyad Caliphate conquest well into the 8th century, they were quickly Islamized. They also formed a substantial contingent in the subsequent Muslim conquest of Iberia.
The 14th-century historiographer Ibn Khaldun reports that the Zenata were divided into three large tribes: Jarawa, Maghrawa, and Banu Ifran. Formerly occupying a large portion of the Maghreb (Tamazgha), they were displaced to the south and west in conflicts with the more powerful Kutama and Houara.
In the 10th century, the Zenata were allied with the Caliphate of Cordoba against the Fatimids. The Zenata regained some political power during the 13th century with the rise of the Zayyanid dynasty. Two Zenata dynasties, the Marinids and the Wattasids, ruled Morocco from the mid-13th to mid-16th century.
French linguist Edmond Destaing in 1915 proposed "Zenati" as a loose subgrouping within the Northern Berber languages, including Riffian Berber in northeastern Morocco and Shawiya Berber in northeastern Algeria.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Zenata.|