The Ababda (or Ababde) (the Gebadei of Pliny, and possibly the
Troglodytes of other classical writers), are nomads living in the area between the Nileand the Red Sea, in the vicinity of Aswanin Egypt. They are a subgroup of the Beja peoplewho are bilingual in Beja and Egyptian Arabic.
They extend from the
Nileat Aswanto the Red Sea, and reach northward to the Qena-Quseir road, thus occupying the southern border of Egypteast of the Nile. They call themselves "sons of the Jinns." With some of the clans of the Bisharinand possibly the Hadendoa, they represent the Blemmyesof classic geographers, and their location today is almost identical with that assigned them in Roman times.
They were constantly at war with the Romans, who eventually conquered them. In the Middle Ages, they were known as Beja, and convoyed pilgrims from the Nile valley to Aidhab, the port of embarkation for
Jedda. From time immemorial, they have acted as guides to caravans through the Nubian desert and up the Nile valley as far as Sennar.
They intermarried with the Nubians, and settled in small colonies at
Shendiand elsewhere up to Mehmet Ali's conquest of the region in the early 19th century. They are still great trade carriers, and visit very distant districts.
* [http://puck.wolmail.nl/~kosc/Ababda%20folder/ababda.html Zbigniew Kosc: Ababda Bedouins of the Eastern Desert]
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