The Tuareg people are about one million nomadic people who live across the Sahara Desert, including in the North African countries of Mali, Niger, Libya, Algeria and Chad.
The Tuareg people trace their ancestry to the indigenous peoples of North Africa in ancient times.
Tuareg is an Arabic term meaning abandoned by God. They call themselves Imohag, translated as free men.
About the language
The language of the Tuareg is tamacheq, which is in the Berber language group. A written script called Titifinagh is used in poetry and also appears in Saharan rock art.
Although they adopted some Arab customs in connection with herding practices, Tuareg social traditions are very different.
Most are Muslims, but their traditional belief system and rituals overlap with Islam.
They believe in the continuous presence of various spirits (djinns) so most Tuaregs wear protective amulets.
Their crafts consist mainly of metalworking (silver jewelry), leather working (boxes and saddles for camels), and woodworking (delicately decorated spoons and ladles).
Among the Tuareg, women have a great freedom and participate in family and tribal decisions.
Descent and inheritance are both through the maternal line.
For thousands of years, the Tuareg economy revolved around trans-Saharan trade.
There are basically five trade routes that extend across the Sahara from the northern Mediterranean coast to the African cities on the southern edge of the desert.
Tuareg merchants were responsible for bringing goods from these cities to the north.
Because of natural disasters and political tensions, it is difficult to make a living only from nomadic herding.
Most rural Tuareg today combine different occupations, including herding, oasis gardening, caravan trading, and migrant labor. Others produce arts and crafts for the tourist trade.
The most striking attribute of the Tuareg is the indigo veil, worn by the men but not the women, giving rise to the popular name the Blue Men of the Sahara.
Tuareg men begin wearing a veil at age 25, this veil is never removed, even in front of family members.
It is believed that men began wearing the veil to protect their faces from the Sahara sands and to protect from evil spirits.
I’m in love with this indigo people, and who doesn’t? So I made a Tuareg-inspired collection, so you can wear a little of their coolness every day.