Geographical distribution

Arabic is spoken over a wide geographical area. It extends from the countries of Morocco, Mauritania and Mali across North Africa to the entire Arabian Peninsula. In the north, it is the main language of Syria and Iraq, extending southwards across the Levant countries to reach as far as Sudan. Beyond this, enclaves of Arabic can also be found in sub-Saharan Africa, notably Nigeria and Chad, as well as Khuzistan and Khorasan in present day Iran, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and central Anatolia. The distribution of Arabic across such a vast area resulted from the early Islamic conquests (622-750 CE / 1-128 H), emanating from the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant where the language was already well-established. In the centuries that followed the conquests, its reach ebbed and flowed due to socio-economic and political factors, resulting in the loss of Andalusian Arabic and the emergence of Maltese from its Siculo Arabic origins. In the present era, these same factors have led to multi-dialectal Arabic-speaking communities becoming established in Europe and North America.