The Beja are an ethnicity which inhabits Sudan, as well as parts of Eritrea, Egypt, and the Sahara desert. They are the original inhabitants and descendants of the Ancient Egyptians. They speak the Beja or To Bedawie language and their population numbers around close to 2.5 million. The misconception that the Ancient Egytians were white stems from Europeans documenting the history of Egypt after the conquering and colonizing began at the end of the 19th century. Even though the influence of Arabic cannot be denied Beja poetry is still highly praised, and that the claims over the Beja land are only valid when expressed in Beja, are very strong social factors in favour of its preservation.