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Banu Hillal
Other spellings: Bani; Hilal

Bedouins immigrating to Maghreb, mainly Algeria and Tunisia, in 11th century, coming from Egypt. Around 250,000 people are believed to have migrated, which represent sthe largest influx of Arabic settlers in Maghreb.
The entering of the Banu Hillal is believed to have had dramatic and destructive effects on the old social and governmental structures. However, local structures were already in decline, and it is quite possible that the "success" of the Banu Hillal was principally shaped by weakened communities, more than the strength of the Banu Hillal themselves. The Banu Hillal were in reality on good terms with the local rulers. Their influx changed the use of land from agriculture to pastoralism, even if the Banu Hillal were not hostile to settled life.
It also had as its effect that the local population was Arabized in large areas. This is evident in Tunisia, which received the largest immigration and where a Berber identity is almost extinct.

By Tore Kjeilen