List of Major Tribes in the World: Famous, Dangerous and Oldest Tribes

Around the world, different definitions are used to describe what is a tribe. However, the most excepted definition is that “tribe is a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader”. In more simple words, we can say a tribe is a group of people who live and world together in a shared geographical area. There are a lot of minor and major tribes in the world.

It is important to know about tribes in order to understand the culture of different countries. Questions are often put up in different competitive exams related to various tribes around the globe. Go through this post to check out the list of major tribes in the world along with necessary details.

List of all Major Tribes in the world 2023

Check below all the major tribes or indigenous people of different regions around the world.

South African Tribes

South African Tribes
  • Zulu

    • Total Population – 14,159,000
    • Regions with Significant Population – South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique
    • Language – Zulu
    • Religion Followed – Christianity, Zulu religion
    • Overview – Zulu tribe is a part of Nguni ethnic group in the southern part of Africa. It is one of the largest tribes in Africa with a population of roughly more than 14 million. Most Zulu people follow Christianity. However, some also follow their indigenous Zulu religion.
  • Makua

    • Total Population – 7,400,000
    • Regions with Significant Population – Mozambique
    • Language – Makhuwa
    • Religion Followed – Traditional African religions, Islam (Shafi‘i)
    • Overview – Makua people are generally found in the region around Mozambique. The total Makua population is estimated to be about 3.5 million. They speak variants of the Makua language called Emakua.
  • Tswana

    • Total Population – 7,107,500
    • Regions with Significant Population – Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe
    • Language – Setswana
    • Religion Followed – Christianity, African Traditional Religion.
    • Overview – Ethnic Tswana people made up approx. 85% of the total population of Botswana as per the census of 2011. They descended mainly from Bantu-speaking tribes who migrated southward of Africa around 600 AD.

North Africa Tribes

North Africa Tribes
  • Berbers

    • Total Population – 50–70 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, France, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Belgium, Netherlands, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Canada, Norway, Israel, United States, Canary Islands
    • Language – Berber languages
    • Religion Followed – Predominantly Sunni Islam. Minorities Ibadis, Shias, Christianity (chiefly Catholicism), Judaism, and traditional faith
    • Overview – Berbers is a tribe that is indigenous to North Africa. Traditionally, they speak Berber languages, which are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family.
  • Haratin

    • Total Population – 1.5 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – Mauritania, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Western Sahara.
    • Language – Maghrebi Arabic, Berber languages
    • Religion Followed – Sunni Islam
    • Overview – Haratin is a northern Africa tribe that distinct from modern Sub-Saharan Africans and speaks Maghrebi Arabic dialects as well as various Berber languages. The majority of these people follow the Sunni Islam religion.

Western Africa Tribe

Western Africa Tribe
  • Dogon

    • Total Population – 1,591,787
    • Regions with Significant Population – Mali
    • Language – Dogon languages, French
    • Religion Followed – African traditional religion, Islam, Christianity
    • Overview – Dogon is a very popular tribe in Western Africa. They are best known for their colorful clothes, mask dances, sculptures, and architecture.

Asian Tribes

Asian Tribes
  • Assyrians

    • Total Population – 2 – 5 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey,
    • Language – Aramaic
    • Religion Followed – Syriac Christianity, Judaism, Protestantism, Islam
    • Overview – Assyrians is a tribe that is indigenous to the Middle East. They are often considered part of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Most of them follow Christianity.
  • Armenians

    • Total Population – 7 million to 10 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – Armenia, Russia, United States, France, Georgia
    • Language – Armenian
    • Religion Followed – Christianity
    • Overview – Armenian is an ethnic group that hails from the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Most of the Armenian people are Christians by religion. Please note that Armenian people are found in many other countries including Russia, and United States, apart from Armenia.
  • Kurds

    • Total Population – 30 to 40 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, France, Netherlands, Sweden
    • Language – Kurdish
    • Religion Followed – Islam (majority), Kurdish Alevism (minority)
    • Overview – You must have heard in the news about Kurds fighting for Kurdistan. It is a native ethnic group of mountainous regions in western Asia. This region spans from southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria.
  • Tibetan

    • Total Population – 6.7 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – China, Pakistan, India, Nepal, United States, Canada, Bhutan
    • Language – Tibetic languages
    • Religion Followed – Tibetan Buddhism (Majority)
    • Overview – Tibetan tribal people are the natives of Tibet. Most of them live in the Tibet autonomous Region of China. Apart from this, you can also find these people in Pakistan (majorly in Baltistan), India, and Nepal as well.
  • Pashtuns

    • Total Population – 60 – 70 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – Pakistan, Afghanistan, India (Primarily Non-Pashto speakers, UAE, United States)
    • Language – Pashto
    • Religion Followed – Islam (Majority)
    • Overview – Historically known as Afghans, Pashtuns (Pathans) are an Iranian ethnic group native to Central and South Asia. These people are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan constituting around 48% of the country’s total population. Apart from this a large number of Pashtuns also live in Pakistan.

List of Major Indian Tribes

Indian Tribes
  • Dravidian

    • Total Population – 245 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka.
    • Language – Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu, Brahui, Gondi, and Coorg
    • Religion Followed – Hindu (Majority)
    • Overview – Dravidian is a major ethnic group found in southeast Asia. There is a lot of debate going on about the origin of Dravidians. Many of the scholars considered Dravidians as natives of the Indus Valley Civilization. Present, the majority of Dravidians live in South India.
  • Mizo

    • Total Population – 4,000,000
    • Regions with Significant Population – India
    • Language – Mizo languages
    • Religion Followed – Protestantism (Presbyterian majority, large Baptist minority, others)
    • Overview – Mizo is an ethnic group of people that is native to the north-east India. Most of these people are found in the Indian state of Mizoram and neighboring areas. All Mizo tribes and clans claim in their folk legends that Sinlung (alternatively called Chhinlung or Khul) was the cradle of the Mizos
  • Naga

    • Total Population – 2.8 million
    • Regions with Significant Population – India and Myanmar
    • Language – Naga, Northern Naga, Southern Naga, Nagamese Creole, English
    • Religion Followed – Christianity, Animism, Theravada Buddhism, Animism, Heraka
    • Overview – Naga is actually a combined term that is used to define various ethnic groups native to northeastern India and northwestern Myanmar. Most of the nagas follow Christianity. However, there are many followers of Theravada Buddhism; Animism; Heraka religion as well.
  • Karbi

    • Total Population – 528,503
    • Regions with Significant Population – India (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland)
    • Language – Karbi language, Amri language
    • Religion Followed – Hinduism, Animism, Christianity
    • Overview – Karbi is one of the major ethnic groups in north-east India especially in the region of Assam. Linguistically, Karbis belong to the Tibet – Burman group. Most of the Karbis follow Animism.

Other Popular Tribes around the world (Australia, Europe, South America, North America, Asia, Africa)

Here is the list of tribes around the world:

Names of the TribeCountry
BedouinSahara and Middle East
Bindibu or AboriginesAustralia
ChukchiNorth-East Asia, Russia, North Siberia
FulaniWestern Africa
EskimosGreenland, North Canada, Alaska, North Siberia
MongolsGobi Mangolia
GuicasAmazon forest area
HausaNorth Nigeria
TapiroPapua New Guinea
Red IndianNorth America
SemangsEast Sumatra
PygmiesCongo basin, Zaire
Orang AlsiMalaysia
MasaiEast & Central Africa
MaorisNew Zealand
Hotten totsHot tropical Africa
KalmukCentral Asia
IbanasEquatorial rain forest region of South-East Asia
India TribesAmazon basin
KirghizAsiatic steppes
KoryakasNorth Siberia, Eurasian
LappsNorth Finland, Scandinavian country
Categories GK

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