Tigre People
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Tigre People
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Horn of Africa
Tigre, Arabic
Predominantly Islam (Sunni); minority Christianity (Eritrean Orthodox)
Related ethnic groups
Afar o Agaw o Amhara o Beja o Beta Israel o Bilen o Gurage o Jeberti o Saho o Somali o Tigrayans o and other Ethiosemitic and Cushitic peoples[2]

The Tigre people are an ethnic group inhabiting Eritrea. 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 very likely members of Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church) 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 were converted in the seventh century. Mainland Tigre were not converted to Islam until the nineteenth 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 in 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. ^ "Eritrea". CIA. Retrieved 2017. : 30% of total Eritrea population of 5,869,869.
  2. ^ Joireman, Sandra F. (1997). Institutional Change in the Horn of Africa: The Allocation of Property Rights and Implications for Development. Universal-Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 1581120001.
  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

  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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