Guelaat Bou Sbaa

Oulad Bou Sbaa

The Oulad Bou Sbaa (var. Oulad Bou Sbaâ, Oulad Bousbae, from awlād abū sib'a, children of Abu Sib'a, the "Father of the Lions") is a Chorfa/Zaouia tribe of Idrissid origins, who claim descent from Abu Sib'a, the Idrissid 16th century tribal chief. They live in Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania, with members of the tribe holding different nationalities depending on their residence and upbringing. In the 19th and 20th century, the tribe's influence in its core areas of southern Spanish Sahara was diminished and permanently weakened following defeat in bloody battles against the Reguibat tribal confederations, which were then rapidly asserting their influence over these areas. Speakers of Hassaniya Arabic, they were nomadic (Bedouin), and herded camels in today's Western Sahara and Mauritania.

The Oulad Bou Sbaa is reputed to have been the first tribe to have brought tea to the region; the green Sahrawi tea is now part of the national heritage.

Several Oulad Bou Sbaa members played a prominent role in the military and security establishment of Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya (1984-2005) in Mauritania, and have remained influential after his downfall: eg. the coup-leaders of 2005 and 2008, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Gen. Mohamed Ould al-Ghazouani and Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall.

See also


  • Mohamad Z. Yakan. Almanac of African peoples & nations (p.610)
  • Anthony G. Pazzanita. Historical Dictionary of Western Sahara (Third Edition) Historical Dictionaries of Africa, No. 96 The Scarecrow Press, (2006)
  • Virtual Museum of Canada: Oulad Bou Sbaâ carpets]

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