Morocco History - History

Morocco History - History

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The region that would become Morocco has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. Berbers arrived about a thousand years before Christ with Phoenician and Carthaginian settlements following on the coast. The Romans, the Vandals, and Islam all invaded Morocco. The tensions between Berbers and Arabs has existed ever since. In the 700s, King Idris ibn Abdullah brought Berbers and Arabs together under a single monarchy that was sustained over two centuries. The capital, Fez, became a major Islamic center of religion and culture. When Spain expelled the last Moors from Spain in 1492, it was the end of golden era. Morocco, Spain, and Portugal vied with each other for next centuries for hegemony over the Western Mediterranean. In the early 1800s, Moroccan piracy in the Mediterranean was a huge problem for Britain and the US. Spain set up colonies in Tangier, and along the Morocco-Mauritania coast. In the early 20th century, France -- already secure in Algeria -- cast its eye on Morocco. Europe was not interested in Morocco's maneuverings to protect its independence. Moroccan independence ended in 1912, with the Treat of Fez, by whose terms France was given Morocco and the Spanish got to retain a sphere of influence in the southwest. Agitation against French rule was somewhat in abeyance during World War II, but in 1947 efforts to rid the country of the French began in earnest. Independence was achieved in 1956; it took another 13 years until the last Spanish enclave was returned to Morocco. Fluctuating stability has characterized Morocco since independence, although the same king, Hassan II, reigned from 1961 through his death in 1999.

Ancient Morocco: History, Monuments, Heritage

Morocco is an ancient nation steeped in history. While the country was inhabited by prehistoric man, it was also the land of the ancestors of today's Berbers, the Moors at the time of the first Phoenician-Punic navigators, the Carthaginians and the Romans.

These first ones left traces of their Iberian-Maurusian civilization - Man of Mechta el-Arbi - and of their Capsian civilization, among other remnants, their famous cave paintings, marks painted on the rocky walls of the Atlas Mountains.

While the latter have marked the history of the country with one of the most splendid civilizations that the western Mediterranean knew in antiquity, the Libyan-Berber or Mauritanian civilization.

Roman Morocco was known in antiquity as Tingitan Mauritania, which was part of the ancient Moorish kingdom known as Mauritania and extended over the northwest and centre of present-day Algeria, and part of northern Morocco.
Mauritania-Tingitania extended from the north of the peninsula to Salé (Necropolis of Chellah) and Volubilis (Region of Meknes) to the south and east as far as the river Oued Laou.
Its main cities are Volubilis, Sala (Chellah), Lixus, Banasa, Ceuta, Melilla and Tingis (now Tangiers) which was its capital. It was administratively attached to the province of Spain (Betica). Alas, time didn't spare everything, several ancient cities were lost with the passing of time, wars and other difficulties.
Only a few cities with ruins are present today, the most intact of them are Volubilis as well as Chellah, Lixus, Banasa and Thamusida.

An ancient Roman city located on the banks of Oued Khoumane, a river in the suburbs of Meknes (Morocco) not far from the holy city of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun where Idriss I rests.
The name of the city comes from the Latin volubilis meaning "which turns, which has a gyratory movement". The Berber name of the city is Walili, Oualili, or Walila which means the bindweed flower. The city lived from the olive oil trade. Many oil presses can be found in the ruins.

Sala Colonia/Chellah:

The site of Chellah was probably the oldest human settlement at the mouth of the Bouregreg. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians, who founded several trading posts in Morocco, probably inhabited the banks of the Bouregreg.
Chellah, however, preserves the remains of a later Roman city. Excavations have revealed the presence of an impressive settlement, the town cited as Sala by Ptolemy and Sala Colonia in the itinerary of Antoninus. The remains of the "Decumanus Maximus" or main road, have been excavated, as well as those of a forum, a monumental fountain, a victory arch, a Christian basilica, etc.
The main road of Sala was monitored by soundings carried out in the direction of the ancient port on the Bouregreg, a port that is now silted up. In this way, the Roman town extended beyond the Merinid enclosure in the direction of the river.


An ancient city founded by the Phoenicians around 800BC. It is located near the current city of Larache, on the right bank of the Loukkos river. Its ruins occupy the hill currently known as "Chummich", which derives from "Tchimmis" or "tuchumus", the name that designated the site in medieval times. Contrary to popular belief, this name has nothing to do with the name "Maqom Shamsh", which appears in Neo-Punic script on ancient coins struck in the first century BC by an as yet unidentified city.
Lixus is certainly one of the oldest cities in North Africa according to the ancient sources of Pliny the Elder . According to the latter, Lixus was founded in the 12th century BC, well before Carthage and Gadir. The first settlement was founded on a hilltop acropolis overlooking an estuary, a topographical situation much sought after by the Phoenicians.


Banasa is an ancient Roman city the meaning of whose name is still uncertain. It is located in the plain of Gharb, on the left bank of the Oued Sebou in Morocco.
Several centuries before the Emperor Augustus decreed the foundation of the Julia Valentia Banasa colony at the beginning of the 1st century A.D., the site had known a strong Phoenician and then Carthaginian presence.
This presence expressed itself in particular through a flourishing craft industry, as evidenced by the many pottery kilns that have been excavated. It is likely that at the beginning of the Roman occupation Banasa was only a military camp surrounded by a moat. But soon the contours of the town began to take shape. Right-angled streets appeared, as well as a forum lined with porticoes, a judicial basilica, a temple with six chambers and half a dozen baths, two of which were private.


(Now Asilah): Founded by the Phoenicians, before Christ under the name of Zêli, it was then occupied by the Carthaginians from 700 to 146 BC before being under Roman domination, the latter renamed it Zilis.
Thamusida is a river port of the Roman period in Morocco. The small ancient city is located 1 to 10km as the crow flies from the present-day city of Kenitra and about 23 km as the crow flies, north of Mehdia, on the left bank of the Sebou River at Sidi Ali ben Ahmed. It is approximately halfway between Sala (in the South) and Banasa (in the North), in an area prone to flooding, the site then remaining elevated and connected to a vast hinterland. It was easy to defend.
The nearby forest of the Maamora probably provided the building materials (cork oaks).
The fish-rich and navigable river upstream and downstream, as well as the surrounding cultivable land, made it an important centre of occupation.
Thamusida was located on a Roman road that started from Tangiers/Tingis, passed through Larache/Lixus, Banasa, went down to Sala Colonia (Chellah) and stopped at the siltworks (still visible at the southern exit of Rabat on the road to Casablanca).
The antiquity of the cities of Lixus and Tingis had long been known through texts. Archaeology has revealed that towns in Tingitan Mauritania had an older past.


Rirha, which may have been the ancient city of Gilda, mentioned in Greco-Latin texts, possible capital of the kingdom of Mauritania (north-western Morocco today) before the Roman conquest, is an ancient city located in the Gharb plain, about 35km from the site of Volubilis and 8km north of Sidi Slimane (province of Kenitra), Morocco.
The site of Rirha occupies, on the right bank of the Beht river, an artificial triangular hill about ten meters high, elongated from east to west and surrounded by a bend in the river.
The site underwent a so-called Mauritanian phase dating back to at least the 3rd century BC, characterised by mud architecture, followed by a Roman phase (1st-3rd century AD), during which an urban landscape developed (domus, enclosure, sewers, etc.) and, ultimately, an Islamic phase (9th-14th century), which reoccupied the buildings of ancient times.

Playing the Dating Game

The Moroccan site, known as Jebel Irhoud, was an active barite mine when it first made scientific waves in the 1960s. Digging yielded stone tools and some enigmatic skull fragments, which scientists initially assigned to an ancient relative of modern humans.

But understanding the fossils’ true place in the human story required solidly dating the site, and that was a tricky task, since precise dating requires knowing which rock layer entombed a given fossil—information that the 1960s digs at Jebel Irhoud largely failed to record.

Still, ever since finding out about Jebel Irhoud when he entered the field, Hublin had yearned to reopen the site to excavation. In 2004, he finally convinced local Moroccan authorities to do just that, which required rebuilding the road to the area and carefully removing 7,000 cubic feet of rocky debris.

To researchers’ delight, a piece of the archaeological site survived under the mining rubble—and it yielded more stone tools, ample evidence of humans using fire, and some skeletal remains, including a lower jaw and part of a braincase.

Importantly, finding the stone tools and skeletal remains in the same rock layer meant that Hublin’s team could use the tools to more accurately date the Jebel Irhoud fossils.

The team took advantage of the fact that the stone tools had been scattered around and inadvertently heated by the Jebel Irhoud humans’ campfires. Heating the stone tools zeroed out the electrical charge they had been carrying. That means any charge in the tools today would have been generated after they were buried, as the surrounding sediments bombarded the stone with natural radioactivity.

Hublin’s team spent a year measuring the radioactivity of the Jebel Irhoud site. By comparing this annual radiation dose to the tools’ current electrical charge, the team determined that the Jebel Irhoud campfires baked the tools about 315,000 years ago, give or take 34,000 years.

This age is twice as old as an age provided for Jebel Irhoud in a 2007 study co-authored by Hublin, a discrepancy caused by the earlier study’s less rigorous radioactivity model. However, evaluating the previous data with the new model yields an age of roughly 286,000 years, in line with the new study’s results.

The findings add Jebel Irhoud to a slim list of well-dated African fossil sites containing modern humans and their precursors.

In addition, Jebel Irhoud’s dates overlap with the dates recently ascribed to Homo naledi, an extinct—and anatomically bizarre—hominin species discovered in South Africa. The find provides further evidence that at least two dramatically different species of hominins occupied Africa at the same time. (Find out more about Homo naledi.)

Spanish Civil War breaks out

On July 18, 1936, the Spanish Civil War begins as a revolt by right-wing Spanish military officers in Spanish Morocco and spreads to mainland Spain. From the Canary Islands, General Francisco Franco broadcasts a message calling for all army officers to join the uprising and overthrow Spain’s leftist Republican government. Within three days, the rebels captured Morocco, much of northern Spain, and several key cities in the south. The Republicans succeeded in putting down the uprising in other areas, including Madrid, Spain’s capital. The Republicans and the Nationalists, as the rebels were called, then proceeded to secure their respective territories by executing thousands of suspected political opponents. Meanwhile, Franco flew to Morocco and prepared to bring the Army of Africa over to the mainland.

In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII authorized elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso went into exile, and the Second Republic, initially dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, was proclaimed. During the first two years of the Republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms, and the independence-minded region of Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy.

The landed aristocracy, the church and a large military clique opposed the Republic, and in November 1933 conservative forces regained control of the government in elections. In response, socialists launched a revolution in the mining districts of Asturias, and Catalan nationalists rebelled in Barcelona. General Franco crushed the so-called October Revolution on behalf of the conservative government, and in 1935 he was appointed army chief of staff. In February 1936, new elections brought the Popular Front, a leftist coalition, to power, and Franco, a strict monarchist, was sent to an obscure command in the Canary Islands off Africa.

Fearing that the liberal government would give way to Marxist revolution, army officers conspired to seize power. After a period of hesitation, Franco agreed to join the military conspiracy, which was scheduled to begin in Morocco at 5 a.m. on July 18 and then in Spain 24 hours later. The difference in time was to allow the Army of Africa time to secure Morocco before being transported to Spain’s Andalusian coast by the navy.

On the afternoon of July 17, the plan for the next morning was discovered in the Moroccan town of Melilla, and the rebels were forced into premature action. Melilla, Ceuta, and Tetuan were soon in the hands of the Nationalists, who were aided by conservative Moroccan troops that also opposed the leftist government in Madrid. The Republican government learned of the revolt soon after it broke out but took few actions to prevent its spread to the mainland.

On July 18, Spanish garrisons rose up in revolt all across Spain. Workers and peasants fought the uprising, but in many cities the Republican government denied them weapons, and the Nationalists soon gained control. In conservative regions, such as Old Castile and Navarre, the Nationalists seized control with little bloodshed, but in other regions, such as the fiercely independent city of Bilbao, they didn’t dare leave their garrisons. The Nationalist revolt in the Spanish navy largely failed, and warships run by committees of sailors were instrumental in securing a number of coastal cities for the Republic. Nevertheless, Franco managed to ferry his Army of Africa over from Morocco, and during the next few months Nationalist forces rapidly overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain. Madrid was put under siege in November.

During 1937, Franco unified the Nationalist forces under the command of the Falange, Spain’s fascist party, while the Republicans fell under the sway of the communists. Germany and Italy aided Franco with an abundance of planes, tanks, and arms, while the Soviet Union aided the Republican side. In addition, thousands of communists and other radicals from France, the USSR, America, and elsewhere formed the International Brigades to aid the Republican cause. The most significant contribution of these foreign units was the successful defense of Madrid until the end of the war.

In June 1938, the Nationalists drove to the Mediterranean Sea and cut Republican territory in two. Later in the year, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia. In January 1939, its capital, Barcelona, was captured, and soon after, the rest of Catalonia fell. With the Republican cause all but lost, its leaders attempted to negotiate a peace, but Franco refused. On March 28, 1939, the Republicans finally surrendered Madrid, bringing the Spanish Civil War to an end. Up to a million lives were lost in the conflict, the most devastating in Spanish history. Franco subsequently served as dictator of Spain until his death in 1975.

Moroccan History

Moroccan history is full of interesting facts and events, and many countries have had a hand in it. Around 5,000 B.C., the country started to see a significant number of settlers, though human activity started as far back as 75,000 to 125,000 years ago. The native Berbers started to establish themselves about 3,000 years ago, and they have seen considerable foreign influence over the centuries. Thought to be descents of ancient Egyptians, the Berbers are still the country's main ethnic group. After enjoying relative isolation for about 300 years, the Berbers were joined by other ethnic groups. Around 800 B.C., the Phoenicians started to arrive, and this moved the history of Morocco in another direction.

The Phoenicians helped to establish trade in what is today Morocco, and this brought further interest to the region. East Africans came after the Phoenicians, contributing further to the mixed makeup of the country. It didn't take long after that for Romans to show up. Rome founded an African colony named Ifrikiya, which inspired the continent's name. Morocco was part of this colony, and the Romans did their best to tame what they called barbarians hence the name Berber. The Berbers had established various independent kingdoms before the arrival of the Romans, and one of the most interesting facts about Morocco revolves around this relative Berber stronghold. The Romans never managed to establish complete control over modern-day Morocco, as the oft-unified Berber groups made it a point to hassle their increasingly unwelcome guests. Some Roman settlements were established in places like Essaouira, but they didn't have longstanding success.

The history of Morocco is largely defined by the relations that the Berbers had with various foreign entities. In addition to the Byzantine Empire, the Berbers established relations with a number of nations, often signing treaties that both overlapped and contradicted each other. This helped to keep any specific foreign nation from ever truly gaining control of the land. This in turn contributed significantly to the overall culture in Morocco. That being said, the Berbers had to face group after group, and it didn't stop with the Romans. After the Romans left, tribal law took over for centuries. Then the Muslim Arab invaders came, and like those who came before them, they played a key role in Moroccan history.

Morocco Map

The Muslim Arabs began arriving in modern-day Morocco in and around 700 A.D. Inspired by the Prophet Mohammed, these invaders looked to expand their religion's influence. It took about 70 years to take control of the Moroccan lands from the Berbers, which is one of the more interesting facts about Morocco. After all, it took less than ten years for these Muslim invaders to conquer the Middle East. The Muslim Arabs were on a mission to conquer western Europe, and Morocco stood in their way. In 711, the Muslim Arabs eventually made it to the southern coast of Spain after conquering Tangier, which started their long-running reign over the Iberian Peninsula. Some historic mosques from the country's Islamic period survive to this day, as do their soaring minarets. The most iconic minaret in the land looms over the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech. La Giralda is another renowned Arab minaret, and it can be found in the Spanish city of Seville.

The Muslim Arabs eventually lost all control over the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, and together with the native Berbers, many of whom had converted to Islam, they continued to rule Morocco. The Portuguese eventually came looking to establish some trade routes through the Sahara, not to mention exact some revenge for the nearly 800 years that they had to put up with the invading Arabs. Spain and France took interest in the country as well in the 1800s, and interestingly enough, a few destinations on the north coast are still part of Spain. French and Spanish architecture is noticeable in many Moroccan destinations, and French is widely spoken across the land, which gives insight into the roles that these countries played in Moroccan history.

Many groups and nations managed to lay some sort of claim to Morocco, or parts of it anyways, and this has contributed significantly to the country's history. Many native traditions survived in this Arab-Berber nation, and visitors can get a glimpse into the history of Morocco when wandering the streets of its medinas. These old districts are where many of the country's best historical landmarks can be found, and they are also excellent places to shop and dine. The cuisine of Morocco, much like the country's history, was influenced by various peoples and nations.

As a side note, travelers interested in learning more about the history of Morocco can always plan a visit to the American Legation Museum. Free tours in English are offered at this Tangier museum, and they highlight some of the most interesting historical facts about Morocco. Some of the country's other museums also offer insight into Moroccan history, and they are also worth adding to the itinerary when looking for things to do.

The History of Morocco

Morocco is a great example of a peaceful country filled with multi-ethnic cultures. This country lies in North Africa is now home to thirty-four million of the population. Casablanca might be the largest city in Morocco but the capital city of the country lies in Rabat. The Islamic culture you see here today is not originated from their ancestors, the Berbers. It was the Arabs who introduced Islam in the 7 th century as they made their invasion to this country.

In the later stage of the second millennium, the Berbers were known as the earliest settlers in this region. They had a crucial role in preventing the Roman occupation. Despite the fact that the Roman-occupied most of the exterior of the region, the Berbers managed to keep the High Atlas Mountains and Rif Mountains untouched. The Moroccan Berbers had done the same thing as the Vandals and Byzantine forces came to invade the region. Later in the early 1900, the French colonized this country. Their long occupation can be seen in the biggest cities in Morocco, Rabat, and Casablanca, which were designed in a French style.

The diversity of the culture in this country was shaped by the influences of various regimes. In the end, you can now see a truly beautiful country that attracts millions of international tourists every year.

History of Morocco

Morocco is a country with a rich culture and history. The way of living of the people here in Morocco was influenced by the country’s ancient culture. But some part of their culture is attained from other culture.

History is very important for us to know how things in a country begin, what are its development from the past and it’s present. Let us get to know more about Morocco. The history of Morocco is a lot of awesome facts as well as special events including the invasion of some foreign countries. The first people to live in Morocco was the Berbers about 3,000 years ago. Their way of living was different. They live as tribes with an unrecognized government. But they have their leaders and those leaders created some rules to be followed by the people.

In order for a country continue to progress they need to have unity. But unfortunately, they are not that united so they were invaded by some foreign countries. The first one to invade Morocco were Phoenicians. It happened in the twelfth century B.C. During those times, Phoenicians successfully asserted some of the Morocco’s coastal settlements, but then they were defeated by the Carthaginians in the 2nd century B.C.

But then they were conquered by the Romans in 146 BC and took over the area of Morocco. Roman Empire did not last their invasion. Arabs came and took all the control. Arabs introduced Islam to Moroccans. But the Jews also wanted to invade Morocco and by that, they begin to fight. Because of that, they left the country in unsafe and unsteady condition. But luckily, there is this man who leads and governs the country. He is Ahmed I al-Man-sur. Because of him, Morocco starts to rise again. During those time the Jews and the Moors from Spain are designated in Morocco. They share their rich culture as well as their art to Moroccans.

There are several conflicts that happened in the early 15th century. It is between the Spaniards and Portuguese. But Moroccans did not give up and became even stronger. The fight started against the Moroccans and Portuguese. Luckily, Moroccans win and a result they recover and took all the coastal town by the year 1700. But then in 1904, Morocco was divided to France as well as to Spain. The bigger part is received by France. Germany disagreed about the fact that French received a bigger portion. They claim to get some of it. They sent a gunboat to the French. But the fight did not last because of the agreement made by the French allowing the Germans’ demand.

Morocco became an independent country in the year 1950 by the request of its Sultan. At first, their request was not granted. But they did not stop and by the year 1957, Sultan Mohammed became the king of Morocco. It became now an opportunity for the Moroccans to achieve independence. But in 1953, Sultan was deposed by the French. And in 1956, he returned. Morocco has finally received the complete independence on March 2, 1956. It was after the signing of a joint declaration in Paris for the replacement of the Treaty of Fez.

In 1961, Mohammed died because of a heart failure. The King was replaced by King Hassan II in the year 1961 and reigned the country until 1991. But his leadership did not turn well because during the year 1960 and 1970 Morocco suffered from political instability. Morocco was deeply in debt because of too much borrowing and over-expanding. It happened in the year 1970. But then, in 1971 and in 1972 Hassan II survived the 2 coup attempts. There was also a riot that was happened in Casablanca in the year 1981.

Unfortunately, Hassan II died in 1999. After that, a new king was presented and it was Mohammed VI. He promised to the Moroccans that he will his best to change all the wrong doings caused by late Hassan II. But as of now, everything has changed, in fact, Morocco is considered have the cleanest human rights records in Africa and the Middle East.

Step by step, Mohammed VI manages and organized a lot of things including the proper election, introduce to some state schools the berber language and most especially the Mudawanna, a legal code that indicates about the protection of women’s right to divorce as well as custody. Aside from that, the tourism in Morocco has developed and he has also forged for strong closer ties with Europe. As of today, Morocco continues to develop more. Morocco’s main industry now is tourism and textiles.

Last 2011, Mohammed VI revised the constitution and a new government was appointed last January 2012. In the year 2013, specifically in the month of January, the government in Morocco has return the changing penal code article allowing the rapist of several underage young girls to avoid prosecution and just marry their victims.

Morocco has cancelled the joint military exercises and demands the planned monitoring as an attack on its authority. This happened last 2013. On the same year, the king designates a new government.

There was a parliamentary election last October 2016. The King chooses Abdelilah Benkirane to be the prime minister for the second term. But sad to say last March 2017, the King dismisses Abdelilah Benkirane because of his failure in forming a coalition government. The King decided to choose former PDJ secretary-general Saad-Eddine El Othmani and became his successor.

There’s a lot of important events that happened in Morocco. And those that was written above is part of the history of the country.

The Seeds of Moroccan Cuisine

The Moroccan food menu that the world is accustomed to began with the Berbers who were once the dominant ethnic group in the region. In fact, the Berbers inhabited the region over 2,000 years ago. Their food staples consisted of local ingredients including olives, figs, and dates to prepare lamb and poultry stews – ingredients that are still heavily used today.

Of course, the Berbers would soon be accompanied by other groups of people. Traders and conquerors from surrounding peoples including the Romans, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and most prominently, Arabians, introduced new recipes and ingredients.

In fact, in the 7th century, the Arabs brought new food choices with them including new types of bread and other grain-based foods. They also introduced new spices such as cinnamon, ginger, saffron, cumin and caraway. In addition to these spices, the Arabs introduced the indigenous people of Morroco to sweet-and-sour cooking, which the Arabs had learned from the Persians.

Jewish influence also comprises some of the lineages of Morrocan cuisine. During the 7th and 8th centuries, Jewish people began to migrate to North Africa, being granted safe residence despite the rise of Islamization. The Jewish people introduced the Moroccan people to various pickling and preservation techniques for fruits and vegetables.

The lost empire Ghanian empire of Ouagadougou, which ruled what now consists of modern-day Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gambia and most of Mali, also contributed to Moroccan culture. Ouagadougou introduced Sufism – a form of Islamic mysticism – and their rituals often included culinary practices such as the provision of free food. This includes the announcement of “Bismillah” (which means “in the name of Allah”) before the kneading of the dough to make bread.

Additional influences came from the Moors in southern Spain, who brought pastilla, which is now a very popular pie in Morocco. Of lesser influence were the French and the British, who contributed to Moroccan cuisine in more recent times.

With so much external influence, one may think that Morocco’s food culture and traditions from the Berber people were lost. However, that’s not the case at all. The land of Morocco is rich and fertile, producing various crops including oranges, melons, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, dates, olives, almonds, figs and more.

As for meat sources, the people of Morocco eat plenty of poultry and lamb, and add their own unique spin on these animal meats with the crops they grow. Also, Morocco is known for its seafood culture, with many of its people eating sardines, mackerel, anchovies and pilchard (the latter of which, unfortunately, is on the decline).

Morocco History

Morocco's strategic location has shaped its history. Beginning with the Phoenicians, many foreigners have come to this area, some to trade or settle, others as invaders sweeping the land and dominating it. Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, and Byzantine Greeks successively ruled the area.

Arab forces began occupying Morocco in the seventh century A.D., bringing with them Arab civilization and Islam. Other invasions followed. The Alaouite dynasty, which has ruled Morocco since 1649, claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad. Morocco's location and resources led to early competition among European powers in Africa, beginning with successful Portu-guese efforts to control the Atlantic coast in the 15th century. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830. Following recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904 of France's "sphere of influence" in Morocco, the Algeciras Conference (1906) formalized France's "special position" and entrusted policing of Morocco to France and Spain jointly. The Treaty of Fez (1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern(Saharan) zones.

The first nationalist political parties based their arguments for Moroccan independence on such World War II declarations as the Atlantic Charter (a joint statement issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill that sets forth, among other things, the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they will live). A manifesto of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party in 1944 was one of the earliest public demands for independence. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.

France's exile of the highly respected Sultan Muhammad V in 1953 and his replacement by the unpopular Muhammad Ben Aarafa, whose reign was perceived as illegitimate, sparked active opposition to the French protectorate. France allowed Muhammad V to return in 1955 negotiations leading to independence began the following year.

The Kingdom of Morocco recovered its political independence from France on March 2, 1956. By agreements with Spain in 1956 and 1958, Moroccan control over certain Spanish-ruled areas was restored (see box, p. 2). On October 29, 1956, the signing of the Tangier Protocol politically reintegrated the former international zone. Spain, however, retained control over the small enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in the north and the enclave of Ifni in the south. Ifni became part of Morocco in 1969. After the death of his father, Muhammad V, King Hassan II succeeded to the throne on March 3, 1961. He recognized the Royal Charter proclaimed by his father on May 8, 1958, which outlined steps toward establishing a constitutional monarchy.

A constitution providing for representative government under a strong monarchy was approved by referendum on December 7, 1962. Elections were held in 1963. In June 1965, following student riots and civil unrest, the king invoked article 35 of the constitution and declared a "state of exception." He assumed all legislative and executive powers and named a new government not based on political parties. In July 1970, King Hassan submitted to referendum a new constitution providing for an even stronger monarchy. Its approval and the subsequent elections formally ended the 1965 "state of exception."

An unsuccessful coup on July 10, 1971, organized by senior military officers at Skhirat, was followed by Morocco's third constitution, approved by popular referendum in early 1972. The new constitution kept King Hassan's powers intact but enlarged from one-third to two-thirds the number of directly elected parliamentary representatives. In August 1972, after a second coup attempt by Moroccan Air Force dissidents and the King's powerful Interior Minister General Oufkir, relations between the opposition and the Crown deteriorated, due to disagreement on opposition participation in elections. The king subsequently appointed a series of nonpolitical cabinets responsible only to him.

Stemming from cooperation on the Sahara issue (see box), rapprochement between the king and the opposition began in mid-1974 and led to elections for local councils, with opposition party participation, in November 1976. Parliamentary elections, deferred because of tensions with Spain and Algeria over the Sahara dispute, were held in 1977, resulting in a two-thirds majority for the government- backed independent candidates and their allies, the Istiqlal and the Popular Movement. The Constitutional Union finished first in local elections in June 1983 and parliamentary elections in 1984.


The country known as Morocco (from Marrakesh, the name of one of its chief cities) forms the northwest corner of the Continent of Africa, being separated from French Algeria by an imaginary line, about 217 miles in length, running from Nemours to Tenish es Sassi. It is the Gatulia or Mauretania Tingitana (from Tingos = Tangier) of the ancient Romans. The natives call it Gharb (West), or Magreb el Aksa (Extreme West). The total area is a little more than 308,000 square miles the population, about 10,000,000. Excepting Abyssinia, it is now the only independent native state in Africa, and is one of the most difficult countries for Europeans to penetrate. Though Morocco is often spoken of as an empire, the authority of the sovereign is a mere fiction throughout the greater part of its territory, which is, on this account, divided, more or less precisely, into the Bled el Maksen, or "country subject to taxes", and Bled es Siba, or "unsubdued country". Physically, the surface is broken up into three parallel mountain-chains: the most important of these, the Great Atlas, forms a plateau, forty to fifty miles in width, from which rise peaks, often snow-clad, 10,000 to 13,000 feet high. Facing the Mediterranean are the mountains of the Riff, below which stretches the well-watered and fertile range of the Tell. On the other side, to the extreme south lies the arid Sahara, broken only by a few oases. Between the Mediterranean littoral and the Sahara, the Atlas Plateau, broken by ravines and valleys, rivers and smaller streams, contains many tracts of marvellously fertile country. The sea-coast of Morocco is for the most part dangerous, and offers few advantages for commerce. The best harbours are those of Tangier, Mogador, and Agadir. El Araids, or Larache, and Tangier are the maritime outlets for Fez, which is one of the three capitals of Morocco, the other two being Marrakesh and Meknes. Owing to the high mountains, the sea breezes and the openness of the country, the climate is healthy, temperate, and equable. The temperature is much higher in the south than in the north, the heat, in certain districts, becoming at times insufferable. The soil is adapted to every kind of crop, and sometimes yields three harvests a year. Cattle-breeding is also carried on. There is very little industry, and commerce is chiefly in the hands of Europeans and Jews.

From the earliest period known to history, Morocco has been inhabited by the Berbers (whence the name Barbary). These people were known to the Romans as Numidae, but to the Phoenicians as Mahurin (Westerners) from the Phoenician name the Greeks, and, after them, Latin writers, made Mauri, whence the English Moors. These Moors, Numidians, or Berbers, were subjugated by the Romans, then by the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Visigoths, and, lastly, the Arabs, whose political and religious conquest began in 681. Arabs and Berbers together crossed over into Spain, and thence into France, where their progress was stopped at Poitiers (732) by Charles Martel. Not until 1492, when Granada fell, were the Christians of the Iberian Peninsula definitively rid of the Moors on European soil, and able to carry the war against them into Africa. Portugal no longer retains any of her possessions in Morocco but Spain still holds eight ports, known as the presidios, one on the Atlantic Coast and seven on the Mediterranean. Besides the Berbers, the population of Morocco includes Jews, who in all the cities are confined to separate quarters (mellah), Sudanese negroes, mostly slaves, and Europeans engaged in commerce on the coast, chiefly at Tangier and Mogador. For two hundred years Morocco has been ruled by a dynasty of Arab sherifs, who claim descent from Ali, the uncle and son-in-law of Mohammed. The sherif, or sultan, is theoretically supreme in both temporal and spiritual affairs, his wishes being carried out by viziers, or secretaries, in the various branches of the administration (maghzen). As a matter of fact, the normal condition of the country is revolution and anarchy. In 1906 the International Conference of Algeciras provided for a combined French and Spanish system of police, but the Morocco question is still (1910) unsettled.

Watch the video: Untertitel anschalten Die Geschichte der Marokkanischen Flagge Folge 8 von Nabil Mouline (November 2022).

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