Tigre People
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Tigre People
Total population
c.1.8 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United Kingdom15,000
Tigrayit, Arabic
Star and Crescent.svg Islam (97%)
Christian cross.svg Christianity (3%)
Related ethnic groups

The Tigre people (Tigre: tigre or tigr?) are an ethnic group indigenous to Eritrea. They mainly inhabit the lowlands of Eritrea and the Sudanese states of Kassala and Red Sea. They are closely related to the Tigrayans and Beja. The Tigre speak the Tigre language, which belongs to the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic family.


The Tigre are a nomadic pastoralist community living in the northern, western, and coastal lowlands of Eritrea (Gash-Barka, Anseba, Northern Red Sea regions of Eritrea and other regions too), as well as areas in eastern Sudan. 95.5% of the Tigre people adhere to Islam (Sunni), but there are a small number of Christians (who are members of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea) among them as well (often referred to as the Mensaï in Eritrea).[3]

The first Tigre converts to Islam were those who lived on islands in the Red Sea and adopted Islam in the 7th century during the religion's earliest years. Mainland Tigre adopted Islam much later on including as late as the 19th century.[4]

The Tigre are closely related to the Tigrayans of Eritrea,[4] as well as the Beja (particularly the Hadendoa).[5]

There are also a number of Eritreans of Tigre origin living across the Middle East, North America, the United Kingdom and Australia.


The Tigre language is an Afroasiatic language of the Semitic branch. Like Tigrinya, it is a member of the Ethiopian Semitic group, and is similar to ancient Ge'ez.[6] There is no known historically written form of the language. The Eritrean government uses the Ge'ez writing system (an abugida) to publish documents in the Tigre language.

Tigre is the lingua franca of the multi-ethnic lowlands of western and northern Eritrea, including the northern coast. As such approximately 75% of the Western Lowlands Eritrean population speaks Tigre.

Since around 1889, the Ge'ez script (Ethiopic script) has been used to write the Tigre language. Tigre speakers formerly used Arabic more widely as a lingua franca.[7] Due to most Tigre speakers being Muslim, the language is also written in the Arabic alphabet.[8]

The Tigre people, language and their area of inhabitation should not be confused with that of the Tigrayans, who live in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia and speak Tigrinya, a closely related Semitic language.

Notable Tigre people


  1. ^ "Africa :: Eritrea -- the World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency".
  2. ^ Pagani, Luca; Kivisild, Toomas (July 2012). "Ethiopian Genetic Diversity Reveals Linguistic Stratification and Complex Influences on the Ethiopian Gene Pool". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 91 (1): 83-96. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.05.015. PMC 3397267. PMID 22726845.
  3. ^ Yakan, Mu?ammad Zuhd? (1999). Almanac of African peoples & nations. Transaction. p. 667. ISBN 978-1-56000-433-2.
  4. ^ a b Olson, James Stuart (1996). The peoples of Africa: an ethnohistorical dictionary. Greenwood. pp. 557-58. ISBN 978-0-313-27918-8.
  5. ^ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Royal Anthropological Institute. p. 609. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Allen, H (1888). Th Encyclopedia of Britannica. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Tigré". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Weekes, Richard V. (1978). Muslim peoples: a world ethnographic survey. Greenwood Press. p. 418. ISBN 0837198801.

External links

Further reading

  • Lusini, Gianfrancesco, ed. (2010). History and language of the Tigre-speaking peoples : proceedings of the International Workshop, Naples, February 7-8, 2008. Università degli studi di Napoli "L'Orientale," Dipartimento di studi e ricerche su Africa e paesi arab. ISBN 8895044681.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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