The English term was introduced in the 19th century, replacing the earlier Barbary.The Berbers are the Mauri cited by the Chronicle of 754 during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, to become since the 11th century the catch-all term Moros (in Spanish; Moors in English) on the charters and chronicles of the expanding Christian Iberian kingdoms to refer to the Andalusi, the north Africans, and the Muslims overall.

Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of societies and ancestries.

The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, or a collective identification with Berber heritage and history.

A Neolithic society, marked by domestication and subsistence agriculture, developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean region (the Maghreb) of northern Africa between 60 BC.

This type of life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer cave paintings of southeastern Algeria, predominated in the Maghreb until the classical period.

Small Berber populations are also found in Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Egypt, as well as large immigrant communities living in France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and other countries of Europe.

The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa.

Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are probably still related to the modern Amazigh.

The Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field.

Prehistorical Tifinagh scripts were also found in the Oran region.