The Hassane is a name for the traditionally dominant warrior tribes of the Sahrawi-Moorish areas of present-day Mauritania, southern Morocco and Western Sahara. Although lines were blurred by intermarriage and tribal re-affiliation, the Hassane were considered descendants of the Arab Maqil tribe Beni Hassan (hence the name). They held power over Sanhadja Berber-descended zawiya (religious) and znaga (servant) tribes, extracting from these the horma tax in exchange for armed protection.[1]

Occasionally, such as in the case of the important Reguibat tribe, Zawāyā Berber groups would rise to Hassane status by growing in power and prestige and taking up armed raiding; they would then often Arabize culturally to fit the prevailing image of Hassane tribes as "original" Arabs.

A good example of a Hassane tribe is the Río de Oro-centered Oulad Delim, which is considered as among the purest descendants of the Beni Hassan.

See alsoEdit

Tribal castes and terms


Further readingEdit

  • John Mercer (1976), Spanish Sahara, George Allen & Unwid Ltd (ISBN 0-04-966013-6)
  • Anthony G. Pazzanita (2006), Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara, Scarecrow Press
  • Virginia Thompson and Richard Adloff (1980), The Western Saharans. Background to Conflict, Barnes & Noble Books (ISBN 0-389-20148-0)