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MENSA and MAREA, semi-nomad pastoral tribes of Africans occupying part of the Abyssinian highlands included in the Italian colony of Eritrea, and the adjacent coast plains of the Red Sea. They have for neighbours the Habab and BeniAmer tribes, as well as Abyssinians. The Marea are found chiefly in the valley of the Khor Anseba, the Mensa dwelling farther north. These tribes claim Arab origin, tracing their descent from an uncle of the Prophet. Under Abyssinian rule they were Christians, but became Mahommedans in the 19th century. They speak a dialect of Tigrin (Abyssinian). On the death of a Marea the head of every dependent ligre or slave family must give his heirs a cow. The tribes avenge an illegitimate birth by putting parents and child to death.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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