As far as we know the Berbers are the earliest inhabitants of North Africa, occupying the area from the west bank of the Nile as far as the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. At some point they settled the Canary Islands. They brought the horse to North Africa and down through the Sahara sometime after 5th century BC. They took the camel from Egypt to the west and south, enabling them to dominate the trans-Saharan trade routes and develop a formidable form of nomadic pastoralism in the harsh marginal climate of the Saharan fringes and centre. They maintain a proud identity to the present day. Studies of Berber societies within the present era show striking patterns of self-regulation and conflict resolution, which have survive the political and military dominance of Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Vandals, Ottomans, Portuguese, Spanish and French.