22 Facts About Bedouin


The Bedouin originated in the Arabian Desert but spread across the rest of the Arab world in West Asia and North Africa after the spread of Islam.

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Bedouin tribes were not controlled by a central power, like a government or emperor, but rather were led by tribal chiefs.

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The structure of Bedouin tribes were held together more so by shared feelings of common ancestry rather than a tribal chief atop the hierarchy.

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Distinct structure of the Bedouin society leads to long-lasting rivalries between different clans.

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Bedouin traditionally had strong honor codes, and traditional systems of justice dispensation in Bedouin society typically revolved around such codes.

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Bedouin poetry, known as nabati poetry, is often recited in the vernacular dialect.

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Historically, the Bedouin engaged in nomadic herding, agriculture and sometimes fishing in the Syrian steppe since 6000 BCE.

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Early Medieval grammarians and scholars seeking to develop a system of standardizing the contemporary Classical Arabic for maximal intelligibility across the Arabophone areas, believed that the Bedouin spoke the purest, most conservative variety of the language.

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Plunder and massacre of the Hajj caravan by Bedouin tribesmen occurred in 1757, led by Qa'dan Al - Fayez of the Bani Sakhr tribe in his vengeance against the Ottomans for failing to pay his tribe for their help protecting the pilgrims.

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The settlement of non Arabs in the traditionally Bedouin areas was a big cause of discontent.

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In Orientalist historiography, the Negev Bedouin have been described as remaining largely unaffected by changes in the outside world until recently.

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Emanuel Marx has shown that Bedouin were engaged in a constantly dynamic reciprocal relation with urban centers.

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Similarly, governmental policies in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, oil-producing Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Libya, as well as a desire for improved standards of living, effectively led most Bedouin to become settled citizens of various nations, rather than stateless nomadic herders.

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Governmental policies pressing the Bedouin have in some cases been executed in an attempt to provide service, but in others have been based on the desire to seize land traditionally roved and controlled by the Bedouin.

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In recent years, some Bedouin have adopted the pastime of raising and breeding white doves, while others have rejuvenated the traditional practice of falconry.

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Inside Saudi Arabia the Bedouin remained the majority of the population during the first half of the 20th century.

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Today there are over a million Bedouin living in Syria, making a living herding sheep and goats.

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Bedouin who remained in the Negev belonged to the Tiaha confederation as well as some smaller groups such as the 'Azazme and the Jahalin.

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About 1,600 Bedouin serve as volunteers in the Israel Defense Forces, many as trackers in the IDF's elite tracking units.

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Famously, Bedouin shepherds were the first to discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish texts from antiquity, in the Judean caves of Qumran in 1946.

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The eastern Bedouin are camel breeders and herders, while the western Bedouin herd sheep and goats.

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In most countries in the Middle East, the Bedouin have no land rights, only users' privileges, and it is especially true for Egypt.

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