Philadelphia: Edward Stern & Co., 1882. First edition in book form. Softcover. Octavo. 14pp. Original beige wraps with black lettering on cover. Reprinted from "The Jewish Messenger" of March 11th, 1881. Publisher's advertising on back wrapper.
The Daggatun was a nomad tribe of Jewish origin living in the vicinity of Tementit, in the oasis of Tuat in the Moroccan Sahara. A first account of the Daggatun was given by Rabbi Mordechai Abi Serour of Akka (Morocco), who in 1857 travelled through the Sahara to Timbuktu, and whose account of his journey was published in the "Bulletin de la Société de Géographie." According to R. Mordecai, the Daggatun live in tents and resemble the Berber Tuaregs, among whom they live, in language, religion, and general customs. They are fairer in complexion than the generality of African Jews, and are still conscious of their origin. They are subject to the Tuaregs, who do not intermarry with them. R. Mordecai is authority for the statement that their settlement in the Sahara dates from the end of the seventh century, when 'Abd al-Malik ascended the throne and pushed his conquests as far as Morocco. At Tementit he tried to convert the inhabitants to Islam; and as the Jews offered great resistance he exiled them to the desert of Ajaj, as he did also the Tuaregs, who had only partially accepted Islam. Cut off from any connection with their brethren, these Jews in the Sahara gradually lost their Jewish practises and became nominally Muslims. These statements of R. Mordecai evidently rest upon some foundation. The Arabs driven to Ajaj are to be identified with the Mechagra mentioned by Erwin de Bary ("Ghat et les Tuareg de l'Ain," p. 181), among whom a few Jews are said still to dwell. V. J. Horowitz ("Morokko," p. 58, Leipsic 1887) also speaks of many free tribes in the desert regions who are Jews by race, but who have gradually thrown off Jewish customs and have apparently accepted Islam. Among these tribes, he says, are the Daggatun, numbering several thousands and scattered over several oases in the Sahara, even as far as the River Dialiva or Niger. He says, also, that they are very warlike and in constant conflict with the Tuaregs. According to Horowitz, the Mechagra mentioned above are also to be reckoned as one of these Jewish tribes [See Singerman 3087].
Moderate age-toning to wrappers, with closed tear along tail of spine. Small ink spot on back cover. Slight vertical folding crease top to bottom throughout. Wrappers in overall good- to good, interior in good+ condition. g to g+. Item #39383