Two thirds of the Sahara's estimated 2 million inhabitants (excluding those in the Nile valley) are concentrated in oases where date palms, fruits, vegetables, grains, and other crops are produced under irrigation. Nomads, with herds of sheep and goats and with camels for transportation, predominate in drier areas and continue to use oases (including modern oases created by the drilling of wells), as in centuries past, for water, trade, and provisioning stops. The principal ethnic groups of the Sahara are the Tuareg (of Berber origin), who dominate the mountains of the central Sahara; the peoples of mixed Berber and Arab origin in W Sahara; and the Tibu (Tébu), who dominate the Tibesti Massif.

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: African Physical Geography