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Berbers are not an entirely homogeneous ethnicity and they encompass a range of phenotypes, societies and ancestries.
The unifying forces for the Berber people may be their shared language, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.
There are some twenty-five to thirty million Berber speakers in North Africa.
Since the Muslim conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, a large number of Berbers inhabiting the Maghreb have acquired different degrees of knowledge of varieties of the languages of North Africa.
After the colonization of North Africa by France, "the French government succeeded in integrating the French language in Algeria by making French the official national language and requiring all education to take place in French." Foreign languages, mainly French and to some degree Spanish, inherited from former European colonial powers, are used by most educated Berbers in Algeria and Morocco in some formal contexts, such as higher education or business.
Today, most Berber people live in Northern African countries, mainly in Algeria and Morocco; a small Berber population is also found in Niger, Mali, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia, 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.
The Berbers or Amazighen (Berber: ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ Imaziɣen, singular: ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ Amaziɣ/Amazigh) are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa.