The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular Arabic: عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: arabīyun, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈʕarabiːjun], plural Arabic: عَرَب, DIN 31635: ʿarab, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈʕarab] (listen)), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group[lower-alpha 1] who carry that ethnic identity, share a common ancestry, culture, history and language, mainly inhabiting the Arab world in Western Asia and North Africa, and to a lesser extent the Horn of Africa, and the western Indian Ocean islands (including the Comoros). An Arab diaspora is also present around the world in significant numbers, most notably in the Americas, Western Europe, Turkey, Indonesia, and Iran.
|c. 400 million to 420+ million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Brazil||1.9–20 million (partial origins)|
|France||4–7 million to 5.5 million people of North African (Arab or Berber) descent|
|Turkey||1–2 million (native Arabs) |
3,650,000 (Syrian refugees)
|Argentina||3,500,000 of full or partial Arab ancestry|
|Italy||705,968 (native Arabs)|
|Malaysia||More than 500,000|
|El Salvador||More than 100,000|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Afro-Arabs, Berbers, Kurds, Persians, Jews, Samaritans, Assyrians, Copts, and other Afro-Asiatic speakers|
a Arab ethnicity should not be confused with non-Arab ethnicities that are also native to the Arab world. But there are instances in which some non-Arab ethnicities native to the Arab world simultaneously identify as Arab and another non-Arab ethnicity through either cultural assimilation (partial/incomplete Arabization within certain communities), or as a pan-ethnic identity, as well as partially Arabized communities.
The first mention of Arabs appeared in the mid-9th century BCE, as a tribal people in eastern and southern Syria and the northern Arabian Peninsula. The Arabs appear to have been under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, as well as the succeeding Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid, Seleucid, and Parthian empires. The Nabataeans, an Arab people, established a kingdom centered in Petra (modern-day Jordan) in the 3rd century BCE. Arab tribes, most prominently the Ghassanids and the Lakhmids, appeared in the southern Syrian Desert from the mid-3rd century CE onward, during the middle to later stages of the Roman and Sassanid empires. Before the expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate, the term "Arab" referred to any of the both largely nomadic and settled Arabic-speaking people from the Arabian Peninsula, the Syrian Desert, and Lower Mesopotamia, with some even reaching what is now northern Iraq. With the spread of Islam and the early Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, Arab culture and civilization experienced a period of significant expansion and influence across the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe and Asia.
The Arabs forged the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, and Fatimid caliphates, whose borders at their zenith reached southern France in the west, China in the east, Anatolia in the north, and Sudan in the south, forming one of the largest land empires in history. In the early 20th century, World War I signalled the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled much of the Arab world since its conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate in 1517. The Ottoman defeat in World War I culminated in the 1922 dissolution of the empire and the subsequent partitioning of Ottoman territories, which formed some of the modern Arab states in the Mashriq. Following the adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945. The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of a unified Arab homeland.
The ties that bind Arabs together are ethnic, linguistic, cultural, historical, identical, nationalist, geographical, and political. The Arabs have their own customs, language, literature, music, dance, media, cuisine, dress, society, sports, and mythology, as well as significant influence on architecture and Islamic art. Arabs have greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably architecture and the arts, language, philosophy, mythology, ethics, literature, politics, business, music, dance, cinema, medicine, science, and technology in ancient and modern history.
Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious affiliations and practices, in the pre-Islamic era, most Arabs followed polytheistic religions. However, some tribes had adopted Christianity or Judaism and a few individuals, known as the hanifs, apparently observed another form of monotheism. Nowadays 93 percent of Arabs are Muslims (the remainder consisted mostly of Arab Christians), while Arab Muslims are only 20 percent of the global Muslim population. Presently, Arab Muslims primarily belong to the Sunni, Shia, Ibadi, and Alawite denominations. Arab Christians generally follow Eastern Christianity, such as those within the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, or the Eastern Protestant Churches.