About Morocco

History of Morocco

Volubilis
Volubilis near Meknes in Morocco

Morocco’s rich history began with the Berbers and since then has been ruled by dynasties. The Spanish and Portuguese has tremendously affected its rich cultural heritage by contributing to every part of Moroccan history which they are proud of. It’s time to travel down memory lane.

Located at the crossroad of Europe and Africa, the kingdom of Morocco is an awe-inspiring country with lots of adorable cultures and interesting history. Morocco has a very strong sense of culture. Many rulers that ruled the country had also influenced its rich cultural diversity and heritage. The Berber people were the original inhabitants of Morocco. They were however, the general big tribes guided by laid down rules prescribed by their leader and no two Berber tribes have the same rules.

Phoenicians and Roman Morocco

The original Berber tribes who inhabited Morocco were far removed from each other and this was a major contributing factor to the reason why Morocco was invaded more often. Phoenicians in the 12th century B.C were the first invaders to successfully conquer the country’s most coastal regions. The Carthaginians later defeated them. They set up trade routes, which were developed with the Berber tribes. They were able to set up their domination in the 5th century and this extended across most of North Africa. Most of the Berber kings ruled in the shadow of the Rome and Carthage. The Romans attacked and captured all the Carthage strongholds established in the country in 2nd century B.C. The Romans formed an alliance with the tribes and they generally controlled these territories together. The Moors or Mauri also ruled the region and the whole area were called Mauretania. Later in the second century, Christianity was introduced and there were some converts around in Berber farmers and slaves. There were also heretical and schismatic movements and a substantial Jewish population, which grew also.

Islamic Morocco

In the 7th century, the Arabs conquered this country and introduced their civilization. Many Berbers also converted and followed Islam. They were able to shape Islam into their own image and welcomed the schismatic Muslim sects. Between 741-1058, the Barghawata region became the first Muslim country. This region then overcame control of the Abbasid Caliphate in Bagdad under Idris Ibn Abdallah the founder of Idrisid Dynasty. Morocco later became a great center of learning. The Berbers dynasties in the 11th and 12th centuries grew and replaced the Arab Idrisids. Religious reformers led this dynasty and it was based on a tribal confederation that controlled the Maghrib for almost 200 years. Between 1511-1659, the Saadi Dynasty ruled and the Alaouites took over the dynasty rulership in the 17th century. Since then, they had been the ruling dynasty. There were brief but serious wars between the tribes, which for several years left the country unstable. Ahmed, I al-Mansur, however, was able to better govern the country by bringing stability and peace back to it. This move greatly assisted the country to flourish and between 1579 and 1603, the Moors and Jews from Spain also settled down in the country. These groups added to the art and culture of Morocco and this is visible even today.

European Influence

A conflict broke out in the 15th century between the Portuguese and Spanish, which led the former to gain control over the Port of Ceuta. In  1958, the Moroccans rose against them and regained control over the port and in 1700 were able to send them out of the other coastal towns. Morocco’s independence was able to be maintained by the Alaouite dynasty in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the few years of the 20th century, Morocco, however, saw a rush of European powers and the French, in particular, furthering their interest in North Africa. France got recognition in 1904 for its sphere of effect in Morocco and there were great reactions from the Germans. Between 1905-1906, a resolution was reached and France was entrusted with the policing of major portions of Morocco along with Spain who was to be protection power over the southern and northern Spain. Morocco remained a sovereign state under the protectorate but the Sultan only reigned and was not the ruler.

Independence of Morocco

The Sultan of Morocco requested in 1950, for the independence of Morocco and when Sultan Mohammed ascended the throne as king in 1957 it wasn’t long after that that Spain gave up its hold. King Hassan in 1974 undertook a campaign to claim control over the Sahara, which was initially owned by Spain. His tough negotiations and persistent efforts led to the split as Spain, Mauritania, and Morocco.

King Hassan on 23rd July 1999, died concluding his monarchy of 38 years in modern history. Crowned Prince Mohammed (his son) ascended the throne in July 1999 shortly after his death. He’s acknowledged for his contemporary views and his great efforts to bring change in Morocco and lead the country to greater heights.


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