- One of the large historic Zanata dynasties that in pre-Islamic times migrated from present-day Libya and Tunisia into Algeria with Tahart as a center. Many of its members then moved on into eastern and central Morocco, gradually expanding in the Malwiyya valley and further into the Rif Mountain lands as well as toward the plains bordering the Atlantic coasts. Some of their clans were among the troops that in the seventh century under Tariq Ibn Ziyad set out for the conquest of Spain. These groups settled the socalled Fahs al-Bullut (Highland of the Acorn Fields, today Los Petroches) north of Cordoba and in the region of Saragossa, where the place name of Mequinensa still recalls its one-time inhabitants. In Morocco, the Maknassa laid out in a fertile countryside an agglomeration of settlements that were to develop into the cities of Meknes and Taza. They also founded in the oases of Tafilalet, on the border of the Sahara, the town of Sijilmassa. Masala Ibn Habus, an outstanding Maknassa chieftain who had espoused the Kharijite doctrine, subdued in 912 Tahart, the former Rustumid imamate, and was entrusted with the governorship of the town and the surrounding area. Next he conquered the Salihids (an Arab dynasty) principality of Nakur in 917. Then he took the Idrisid capital of Fès and the mountain region as far as Tlemcen in 922. Finally, he occupied Sijilmassa. Among all the tribes in central and northern Morocco, the various Maknassa groups put up the most tenacious resistance to the advancing Almoravid armies impelled by the force of their great leader Yusuf Ibn Tashafin (1061-1107). After several battles against the Almoravids, the Maknassas' élan was forever broken, but down to this day a tribal group in the area of Taza still bears their name.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.