"Black man" and "Black woman" redirect here. For the novel, see Black Man. For other uses, see Black Woman.
Black people is a term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity, to describe persons who are perceived to be dark-skinned compared to other given populations. As such, the meaning of the expression varies widely both between and within societies, and depends significantly on context. For many other individuals, communities and countries, "black" is also perceived as a derogatory, outdated, reductive or otherwise unrepresentative label, and as a result is neither used nor defined.
Different societies apply differing criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and these social constructs have also changed over time. In a number of countries, societal variables affect classification as much as skin color, and the social criteria for "blackness" vary. For example, in North America the term black people is not necessarily an indicator of skin color or ethnic origin, but is instead a socially based racial classification related to being African American, with a family history typically associated with institutionalized slavery. In the United Kingdom, "black" was historically equivalent with "person of color", a general term for non-European peoples. In South Africa and Latin America, mixed-race people are generally not classified as "black". In other regions such as Australasia, settlers applied the term "black" or it was used by local populations with different histories and ancestral backgrounds.
The Romans interacted with and later conquered parts of Mauretania, an early state that covered modern Morocco, western Algeria, and the Spanish cities Ceuta and Melilla during the classical period. The people of the region were noted in Classical literature as Mauri, which was subsequently rendered as Moors in English.
Numerous communities of dark-skinned peoples are present in North Africa, some dating from prehistoric communities.