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The Jebala (Arabic: جبالة, romanized: Jbāla) are a tribal confederation inhabiting an area in north-west Morocco from the town of Ketema to the west. The Jbala region (from Moroccan Arabic jbāl (pl.) (جبال ‘mountains’) thus occupies the western part of the Rif mountains. The Jbala has a population of 1,284,000 and is divided into over 40 tribes, today known as ‘rural communes’ (جماعات قروية), and adjacent to them are a small group of nine tribes called Ghmara (غمارة), who inhabit the territory between the line of mountain peaks to the north of Chefchaouen and the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to tribal heterogeneity, this region is also geographically diverse. High mountains are interspersed with hills and flatlands, and local inhabitants settle in both the high mountains and valleys. In addition to the rainy climate, which influences the way the inhabitants build their houses as well as their special agricultural practices, there are also numerous cultural characteristics that contribute to an emphasised sense of identity and make the Jbala people clearly distinguishable from their neighbours from the eastern part of the Rif Mountains (Riafa or Rwafa) where the climate is more arid, and from the former shepherds from the Atlantic coast (‘Arab). There are only a few cities in the country of the Jbala, and its population remains mostly rural. During the Middle Ages, chroniclers and historians knew the Jbala under their original name, Ghomara.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Northern Morocco, mostly concentrated in north-west Morocco and Rif|