Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries of a female animal. In the case of non-human animals, this is also called spaying. It is a form of sterilization.

The removal of the ovaries together with the Fallopian tubes is called salpingo-oophorectomy. Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy are not common forms of birth control in humans; more usual is tubal ligation, in which the Fallopian tubes are blocked but the ovaries remain intact.

In humans, oophorectomy is most usually performed together with a hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus. Its use in a hysterectomy when there are no other health problems is somewhat controversial.

In animals, spaying involves an invasive removal of the ovaries, but rarely has major complications; the superstition that it causes weight gain is not based on fact. Spaying is especially important for certain animals that require the ovum to be released at a certain interval (called estrus or "heat"), such as cats and dogs. If the cell is not released during these animal's heat, it can cause severe medical problems that can be averted by spaying or partnering the animal with a male.

Oophorectomy is sometimes referred to as castration, but that term is most often used to mean the removal of a male animal's testicles.

See also


Total population: Between 100,000 [1] http://wwwusers.imaginet.fr/~yusuf/introduction.html and 3.5 Million [2] http://membres.lycos.fr/temoust/press_release7500.htm
Significant populations in:

These numbers are all estimates [3] http://www.ethnologue.com/ , and may exclude Tuaregs who are assimilated into the general population of these countries.
Niger (1998): 720,000
Mali (1991): 440,000
Algeria (1987): 25,000
Burkina Faso (1991): 20-30,000
Libya (1993): 17,000
Nigeria: few
Senegal: ? [4] http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/people/Tuareg.html


The Tuareg language(s) (Tamasheq/Tamajeq/Tamahaq)


Predominantly Muslim.

Related ethnic groups

West African

The Tuareg are an African ethnic group or nation. They call themselves Kel Tamasheq, Kel Tamajaq ("speakers of Tamasheq"), Imouhar, Imuhagh, or Imashaghen ("the free"). The Tuareg people also identify themselves, with the word Tamust, the nation. The meaning of the word Tuareg has been long discussed. It may have come from a Libyan region known today as Fezzan, but once called Targa. The Arabic word "Targui", for Tuareg, may have derived from the Targa valley, the main city Ubari west of Sebha . Alternatively, Tuareg may have come from a Bedouin pronunciation of the Arabic Tawariq ("abandoned by God", singular Tarqi). The Tuareg today are found mostly in West Africa, but, like many in Northern Africa, were once nomads throughout the Sahara.


History and Geography

Descended from Berbers in the region that is now Libya, the Tuareg were an identifiable nomadic people in the Sahara at the time of Herodotus, who mentions the ancient Libyan people, the Garamantes. Archaeological testimony is the ruins of Germa, the modern Tuareg descended from the Garamantes. Later, they expanded into the Sahel.

Tuareg merchants were long responsible for luxury trade and slave trade connecting the great cities on the southern edge of the Sahara via five desert trade routes to the northern (Mediterranean) coast of Africa.

In the Nineteenth Century, they resisted French colonization of what is now Mali and Niger, with Mali signing a peace treaty in 1905 and Niger only in 1917. During this period the French entered southern Algeria. The Ahaggar Tuareg, led by the Amenokal , traditional chief Moussa Ag Amastan , fought many battles against the French, before the region became finally a French protectorate. Before being dismantled by the French, the traditional Tuareg country was organized into a loose confederation. Each of the main groups had a traditional leader called Amenokal, along with an assembly of tribal chiefs: "Imgharan", singular "Amghar ." The groups were: Kel-Ahaggar, Ajjer, Kel-Ayr, Adrar N'Fughas, Iwellemidan, Kel Gres. Following the independence of African states in 1960s, the Tuareg territory was divided between the new states: Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya, and Burkina Faso.

Their long-standing conflict with other African tribes has been much exacerbated in the last century, as desertification has forced then steadily south in search of better supplies of water. Desertification has also caused a gradual abandonment of the nomadic life, as more Tuareg have become settled farmers or have moved into towns and cities.

In Mali, a Tuareg uprising began in the Adrar N'Fughas mountains, as early as the 1960s, following Mali's independence. In May 1990, in the aftermath of a clash outside a prison in Tchin-Tabaraden, Niger, Tuaregs in both Mali and Niger claimed autonomy for their regions (Tenere, capital Agadez, in Niger and the Azawad and Kidal regions of Mali). Deadly clashes with the military of both countries followed, with deaths numbering well into the thousands. Negotiations initiated by France and Algeria led to peace agreements (January 11, 1992 in Mali and 1995 in Niger). Both agreements called for decentralization of national power and guaranteed the integration of Tuareg resistance fighters into the countries' respective national armies.

Major fighting between the Tuareg resistance and government security forces ended after the 1995 and 1996 agreements, but in 2004, some limited fighting occurred in Niger between government forces and groups claiming to be again fighting for Tuareg independence.


The Tuareg are matrilineal, though not matriarchal. Unlike many Muslim societies, the women do not traditionally wear the veil, whereas the men do. The men's facial covering originates from the belief that such action wards off evil spirits, but most probably relates to protection against the harsh desert sands as well; in any event, it is a firmly established tradition (as is the wearing of amulets containing verses from the Koran). Men begin wearing a veil at age 25 which conceals their entire face excluding their eyes. This veil is never removed, even in front of family members. [5] http://wwwusers.imaginet.fr/~yusuf/introduction.htm , [6] http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/people/Tuareg.html

Traditionally, Tuareg society is hierarchal, with nobility and vassals; formerly, they also held slaves ("Iklan"), often African prisoners, darker than the generally brown-skinned Tuareg. Traditionally, the traders had a higher status than their more settled compatriots to the south. With time, that difference has eroded, corresponding to the economic fortunes of the two groups.

Many Tuareg today are either settled agriculturalists or nomadic cattle breeders; there are also still blacksmiths, camel breeders, and caravan leaders.

The Tuareg are sometimes called the "blue people" because of the indigo color of their robes and turbans.


The Tuareg speak Tamajaq/Tamasheq/Tamahaq, a Berber language or set of languages with significant variations among the different regions. The language is called Tamasheq by western Tuareg, Mail, Tamahaq among Algerian and Libyan Tuareg and Tamajaq in Azawagh and Ar regions, Niger. The Tamajaq writing system, Tifinagh (also called Shifinagh), descends directly from the original Berber script used by the Numidians in pre-Roman times.


The Tuareg are predominantly Muslim, though lax in observance, more inclined to observe feasts than fasts. They combine Maliki Islam (based on the teachings of the 16th-century imam, Malik bin Anas ) with certain pre-Islamic animistic beliefs, such as the presence of spirits Kel Asuf and such syncretic beliefs as divination through means of the Koran. [7] http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/people/Tuareg.html


Much Tuareg art is in the form of jewellery, leather and metal saddle decorations, and finely crafted swords. [8] http://www.uiowa.edu/~africart/toc/people/Tuareg.html

Tinariwen, a Tuareg band that fuses electric guitars and indigenous musical styles, was founded in the 1980s by rebel fighters. They released their first CD in 2000, and toured in Europe and the United States in 2004.

Ethnic Classification

The Tuareg are a Berber group, and are closely related to both West Africans and North African Berbers, in terms of culture and race. At least some sources argue that the Tuareg are defined by language, not ethnicity, and that predominantly Middle Eastern and/or Black African Tamasheq speakers qualify as "Tuareg" (and, presumably, by implication, individuals of Tuareg descent but who have assimilated into various countries and do not speak Tamasheq languages do not). (See, for example, [9] http://wwwusers.imaginet.fr/~yusuf/introduction.html ). This is probably part of the reason for the widely varying estimates of the number of Tuareg.


Tuareg is also the title of a Spanish book written by Alberto Vzquez Figueroa .

Touareg is also the brand name of a Volkswagen car.

Tuareg http://www-rocq.inria.fr/~acohen/tuareg/ is also an Emacs mode for programming in Caml. Presumably the name was chosen as a pun on camel.

Last updated: 02-06-2005 18:19:49