This is the name of one of the great historic Berber families of tribes. Before the Arab invasion, the Zanata confederation migrated from southern Tunisia and Tripolitania through the Saharan fringes, then further on to the Algerian highlands. Some remained in Tiaret and Tlemcen, and others moved on westward to the Moulwiya valley in Morocco. Some Zanata groups are also found in the Sous and the Marrakech area. From the 8th to the 11th century, Zanata tribes-the Maghrawa, Maknassa, and Banu `Ifran-played key roles in shaping history in North Africa except for short periods when they were displaced by the Idrisids and the Fatimids. In 711, Maknassa tribesmen fought under Tariq Ibn Ziyad, and this ushered in the Arab period in Spain. The history making of Zanata was one of intense rivalries with their kindered Sanhaja. The Almohads, however, put an end to their power aspirations in northern Morocco. From the 13th to the 16th century, particularly after the disintegration of the Almohad dynasty, a series of Zanata tribal reconfigurations merged as a force capable of taking the reigns of power in North Africa. These include `Abd al Wadids (1236-1550) in present-day western Algeria and the Marinids (1244-1465) and the Wattasids (1465-1549) in Morocco. The Zanata political formations were supplanted by the Sa`diyin, an Arab dynasty of Shorfa lineage claims. Today, most of the Rif Berber groups are said to be of Zanata ancestry.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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