The Maghreb region is situated in the North of Africa, and it encompasses Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, and Tunisia. It also includes some parts of Western Sahara that are considered Moroccan territories, and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. The area had a population of about 100 million in 2017. The Maghreb countries put a Maghreb Union in place in 1989 to encourage economic amalgamation and cooperation. The Union put to rest the animosity between Morocco and Algeria over areas in Western Sahara, but then the Union did not make much progress, and it is inactive today. The majority of people occupying the Maghreb region are of Berber origin.
The people residing in the Maghreb region are mostly of Berber origin. The Berbers are indigenous to Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco and they make up more than 60% of the population in the countries. The Arabs, French, Jews, and West Africans also make up a part of the Maghreb population. The region once had a significant number of Jews named Maghrebim before it transformed into an Islamic area. The region has a substantial number of Turks mostly in Tunisia and Algeria, whose descendants immigrated to the region during the Ottoman Empire expansion. Before the 9th century, Christianity was the dominant religion in the region, but with widespread conversion of the population to Islam, the religion became dominant in the 10th century. A majority of the Muslims in the Maghreb region are Sunni Muslims. Currently, only a small portion of the general population makes up the Jewish and Christian communities. The countries in the Maghreb region share most of their cultural practices, and couscous is regarded as the staple food in the region.
The major languages spoken in the region include Berber and Arabic (Maghrebi Arabic). The Berber speakers in North Africa come close to 30 million. The Berber speaking population makes up around 60% of Morocco’s population and 35% of the population in Algeria. They make up a minority in the other countries of the Maghreb. The Shilha and the Kabyles make up the major Berber groups. Spanish and French are at times used in Morocco and Algeria.
The Maghreb region has two climate types, an arid Sahara climate in the south and the Mediterranean climate in the north. The Mediterranean areas include areas between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains and the coastal Cyrenaica and Tripolitania in Libya. The areas in the Sahara region include regions of North Africa from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean; this covers part of the Sahara desert. The Maghreb region was divided into three regions by Muslim historians al-Maghrib al-Adna (near Maghrib), al-Maghrib al-Aqsa (far Maghrib), and al-Maghrib al-Awsat (Middle Maghrib).