BARABRA, the modern inhabitants of Nubia. The work of the archaeological survey of Nubia indicates that even before the dawn of Egyptian history lower Nubia was inhabited by a proto Egyptian race, the near relatives of the pre-dynastic Egyptians whose wares they imported. By the 12th dynasty the population was heavily loaded with negro blood, and the recent discoveries at Kerma seem to carry this population south to the neighbour hood of the third cataract. Thus, apart from local fluctuations of minor importance, the population of Nubia from the i8th dynasty onwards may well have remained substantially unchanged, and the negro language now spoken by the Barabra may go back to this or an even earlier period. But although the Barabra speak a negro language, they must be regarded as predominantly Hamitic in blood and culture, and individuals of a physical type recall ing that of the proto-Egyptians are not uncommon even now.
Physical Characteristics.—The Barabra are of medium height (about 661in. ), for the most part long-headed, often of a slight, rather graceful build, which immediately distinguishes them from the Fellahin. The "finest" type, that in which there is least evidence of negro blood, is of medium or dark bronze colour, with regular features and more or less oval face. The hair is black and almost straight, wavy, or curly, but seldom tightly curled like that of a negro. The eyes are dark, often large and hand some; the nose is well formed, though generally short.
Tribal Divisions.—The Barabra are divided into a number of tribes, and although they have adopted the Arab organization the names of a number of their sections indicate affinities with the eastern desert, if not actual Beja (q.v.) origin. The following are the tribal units generally recognized : (1) the Kenuz, who often speak of themselves as Nubi, between Aswan and Korosko; (2 ) the Feyadicha, this being really a nickname; (3) the Mahas, stretching from Wady Halfa to near Dongola; (4) the Danagla, near Dongola.
Mode of Life.—The Barabra are agricultural, where their country is wide enough to permit of any considerable cultivation, and even where the desert closes in on the river they take advan tage of every strip which at low Nile is left covered with alluvium. But even with the greatest industry the country does not produce enough grain to maintain its population, and a considerable pro portion of its male inhabitants seek their livelihood elsewhere, for they are enterprising, great travellers and traders, and quick at picking up new languages. They are to be found as servants everywhere between the delta and Khartum, and provided a con siderable number of the Arab slave-raiders in the middle of last century, while for the last hundred years or mere they have been exerting a steady and increasing influence in Kordofan. This is specially true of the Danagla. Most of the men are bilingual, speaking Arabic as well as their own languages, of which there are four (according to some three) recognized dialects. The women do not usually accompany the men on their travels, the result being that few know even a word or two of Arabic. They scar their cheeks with vertical or oblique cuts on each side of the face; they circumcize their boys and infibulate their girls, as indeed do all the Hamitic and almost all Arab tribes of the Sudan. Their houses are of the ordinary rectangular Arab form. Although the women now wear the Arab robe, about 5o years ago their customary garment was a short petticoat reaching to the knee. (C. G. S.)