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Bedouin Tribes of the Middle East

Photo By Scott Kent

The term “Bedouin” is derived from an Arabic word which means “desert dweller,” and describes an Arabian ethnic group that has long been divided into tribes, or clans, across the vast Arabian peninsula.  Dating back to the 14th century, the Bedouin of Jordan are often referred to as the “backbone of the Kingdom.”
Historically, the Bedouin have  engaged in nomadic herding and agriculture as well as transporting goods and people across the desert.  This lifestyle continues today for the Bedouin people as they represent more than one-third of the entire population of Jordan.  The east Jordan Bedouin, like the young Bedouin man seen here near Wadi Musa, in southeast Jordan, are camel breeders and herders, while the western Bedouin herd sheep and goats.

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