BY the “People of the Veil” are meant the Tuareg, whose country extends from the eastern edge of the central Sahara to the far edge of the western deserts of North Africa before the Atlantic zone begins, and from southern Algeria in the north to the Niger and the equatorial belt between the river and Lake Chad in the south. The name ‘Tuareg’ is not used by the people themselves; it is really a term of opprobrium originally applied to them by their enemies. They became known to the Arabs as the ‘Veiled People,’ because their men after reaching a certain age were, as they still are, in the habit of wearing a strip of thin cloth wound around their heads in such a manner as to form a hood over the eyes and a covering over the mouth and nostrils, only a narrow slit being left open for the eyes; and, in default of a national name, they themselves use the same locution in their own tongue to describe the whole society of different castes which compose their community. They are usually included among the Berbers of North Africa; but Mr. Francis Rennell Rodd, the author of the latest book dealing with them, prefers to use the geographical term Libyans, and even doubts whether FIG. 1.-Tuiareg camel-driver. From “People of the Veil.” the Tuareg are Berbers at all, like the other people so called in Algeria and Morocco. There are to-day four principal divisions of them. One of these groups consists of the people inhabiting Air, which is a mountainous oasis situated on a great caravan road from the Mediterranean to central Africa; and it is chiefly with this people and their country that Mr. Rodd's book deals in detail, as a result of a nine months' journey in the Tuareg country.
People of the Veil: being an Account of the Habits, Organisation and History of the Wandering Tuareg Tribes which inhabit the Mountains of Air or Asben in the Central Sahara.
By Francis Rennell Rodd. Pp. xvi + 504 + 51 plates. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1926.) 30s. net.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 51 print issues and online access
$199.00 per year
only $3.90 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Get just this article for as long as you need it
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
WESTERMARCK, E. People of the Veil: being an Account of the Habits, Organisation and History of the Wandering Tuareg Tribes which inhabit the Mountains of Air or Asben in the Central Sahara . Nature 119, 551–553 (1927). https://doi.org/10.1038/119551a0