Berbers" or "Imazighen" are the original inhabitants of North and Northwest Africa. Actually, the term "Berber" refers more to the language spoken in the area than to the ethnic groups. "Imazighen" is the plural of "Amazigh", a word which means "a free man". The Berber people are a mixture of different ethnic groups and no one really knows where they came from. Genetic evidence seems to indicate that their ancestors came from East Africa and/or the Middle East. The arabization of the Berbers which began with the Islamic conquest in the 7th century AD, led to the predominance of the Arabic language in North Africa. Nowadays, about 40 % of the Moroccans and 25 % of the Algerians still speak Berber.