It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara mostly controlled by Morocco and the cities of Melilla and Ceuta both controlled by Spain and claimed by Morocco. As ofthe region has a population of over million people. In historical English and European literature, the region was known as the Barbary Coast or the Barbary Statesderived from " Berbers ".
The region is usually defined as much or most of northern Africa, including a large portion of Africa's Sahara Maghrib muslim datingand excluding Egyptwhich is part of Mashriq. The traditional definition of the region that restricted it to the Atlas Mountains and the coastal plains of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, was expanded by the inclusion of Mauritania and of the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Before the establishment of modern nation states in the region during the 20th century, Maghreb most commonly referred to a smaller area, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains in the south.
It often also included the territory of eastern Libya, but not modern Mauritania. As recently as the late 19th century, Maghreb was used to refer to the Western Mediterranean region of coastal North Africa in general, and to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, in particular.
The region was somewhat unified as an independent political entity during the of the Berber kingdom of Numidiawhich was followed by the Roman Empire 's rule or influence. That was followed by the brief invasion of the Germanic Vandalsthe equally brief re-establishment of a weak Roman rule by the Byzantine Empirethe rule of the Islamic Caliphates under the Umayyad Caliphatethe Abbasid Caliphate and the Fatimid Caliphate. The most enduring rule was that of the local Berber empires of the Almoravid dynastyAlmohad CaliphateHammadid dynastyZirid Maghrib muslim datingMarinid Maghrib muslim datingZayyanid dynastyand Wattasid dynasty - from the 8th to 13th centuries.
The Ottoman Empire for a period also controlled parts of the region. Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya established the Maghreb Union in to promote cooperation and economic integration in a common market. It was envisioned initially by Muammar Gaddafi as a superstate [ citation needed ]. The union included Western Sahara implicitly under Morocco's membership,  putting Morocco's long cold war with Algeria to a rest.
However, this progress was short-lived, and the union is now frozen. Tensions between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara re-emerged strongly, reinforced by the unsolved borderline issue between the two countries. These two main conflicts have hindered progress on the union's joint goals and practically made it inactive as a whole. In classical antiquitythe Maghreb or portions of the region were known by various toponyms, including BarbaryBerbery, MauretaniaNumidiaLibyaAfricaand the Land of the Atlas.
The toponym maghrib is a geographical term that the Muslim Arabs gave to the region extending from Alexandria in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Muslim historians and geographers divided the region into three areas: Certain authors had it extend as far as the sea of Kulzum the Red Sea and thus include Egypt and the country of Barca in the Maghrib.
Ibn Khaldun does not accept this definition because, he says, the inhabitants of the Maghreb do not consider Egypt and Barca as forming part of their country. The latter commences only at the province of Tripoli and encloses the districts of which the country of the Berbers was composed in former times. Later Maghribi writers repeated the definition of Ibn Khaldun, with a few variations in details.
As of [update] the term Maghrib is still used in opposition Maghrib muslim dating Mashriq in a sense near to that which it had in medieval times. It also denotes only Morocco when the full al-Maghrib al-Aksa is abbreviated. Certain politicians seek a political union of the North African countries, which they call al-Maghrib al-Kabir the grand Maghrib or al-Maghrib al-Arabi the "Maghrib muslim dating" Maghrib. Around 3, BC changes in the tilt of the Earth 's orbit may have created a rapid desertification of the Sahara and formed a natural barrier that severely limited contact between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
Partially isolated from the rest of the continent by the Atlas Mountains the Sahara desert, inhabitants of the northern parts of the Berber world have long had commercial and cultural ties to the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries of Southern Europe and Western Asiagoing back at least to the Phoenicians in the 1st millennium BC the Phoenician colony of Carthage having been founded, according to tradition, in what is now Tunisia circa Maghrib muslim dating. Berber coast ports and cities were predominantly constructed by the Berbers.
Later some Phoenicians and Carthaginians arrived for trade. They dominated the trade and intercourse of the Western Mediterranean for centuries. The Carthage defeat in the Punic Wars during BC allowed Rome to establish the Province of Africa and control many of these ports, and eventually control the Maghrib muslim dating Maghreb north of the Atlas Mountains.
Rome was greatly helped by the defection of King Massinissa and Carthage's eastern Numidian Massylii client-allies. Some of the most mountainous regions, such as the Moroccan Rifremained outside Rome's control.
The pressures put on the Western Roman Empire by the invading forces of the Barbarian invasions the Vandals and Spain in the 5th-century reduced Roman control and establishment of the Vandal Kingdom with its capital at Carthage in AD. A century later, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I sent a force under General Belisarius that succeeded in destroying the Vandal kingdom; Byzantine lasted for years.
The Berbers contested outside-the-area control. After the s— AD period the advent of Islam Maghrib muslim dating, the Arabs controlled the entire region. The Arabs reached the Maghreb in early Umayyad times.
Islamic Berber kingdoms like the Almohads expansion and the spread of Islam contributed to the development of trans-Saharan trade. While restricted due to the cost and dangers, the trade was highly profitable.