Algeria. The Shawia people, or Chaouis (شاويه) are a Berber people who live mainly in the Aurès, Nememcha, and Belezma regions surrounded by the Aurès Mountains, a large part of eastern Algeria known in ancient times as Numidia. They call themselves Išawiyen Icawiyen and speak Shawiya. Historically, the Aurès Mountains served as a refuge for Berber peoples, forming a base of resistance against the Roman Empire, Vandals, the Byzantine Empire, and the Arabs. Aurès was also a district that existed during and after the Algerian War from 1954-1962. It was in this region that Berber freedom fighters started the war.
The patriarch of Berbers is believed to be Madghacen, common ancestor of the Zenata and the Botri. Ibn Khaldun identified the Zenata as Berbers. Modern historians rank this region within the group of Numidians and Gaetuli or the much more ancient such as Meshwesh, Maesulians, and Mazaxes, from whom formed the Zenata, main inhabitants of the Aurès in the Middle Ages. Chaoui clans known by Ibn Khaldoun were the Ifren, Maghrawa, Djerawa, Abdalwadides, Howara and Awarba. The term Chaoui/Shawi derives from the word “horn”, allegedly a reference to the national god of the Numidians, Amun, who is depicted as a human head with the horns of a ram. After the independence of Algeria, the Chaouis remained localized mainly in the Auresian region. They represent the 1st ethnic group in Algeria and 2nd Berber-speaking group, first being the Kabyle. Shawiya Berbers are defined as Nordic since 1939. The mountain agriculturalists are best represented by 2 groups: Shawia and Kabyles. Both are noted for their European-like features and fair skin; blondism of a high order is frequently attributed to them in the non-statistical literature. The notable fact about the Shawia is that, in a metrical sense, they are identical with northwestern European Nordics. One could substitute the means of the Shawia sample of Randall-MacIver and Wilkin for those of a characteristic eastern Norwegian province without serious discrepancy. The Nordic presence in northern Africa is ancient as the Egyptian monuments of the Middle Kingdom, and perhaps older. They survive today mostly in the Aures mountains of Algeria, the mountains of the Rif and the Djurdjura; others are found in the Canary Islands.
Chaoui music is a specific style of Northern Africa. The Shawia dance is called Rahaba; men and women dancing at weddings. There are many 20th century singers, such as Aïssa Djermouni, Ali Khencheli, Massinissa, Ishem Boumaraf, Djamel Sabri, Houria Aïchi, etc. Chaoui painters and sculptors include Cherif Merzouki, Abdelkhader Houamel, Hassane Amraoui, Adel Abdessemed, and Mohamed Demagh. The Fantasia is a traditional exhibition of horsemanship in the Aurès performed during cultural festivals.