Morocco is a gateway to Africa and a country of dizzying diversity. Here you will find epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts, and warm hospitality.
- History of Morocco – A trip down memory lane
Morocco has a rich history that began with the Berbers and has been ruled by many dynasties. Spanish and Portuguese influences have contributed to a rich cultural heritage that every Moroccan is proud of. Let us take a trip down memory lane.
Live free or die trying : the Berbers speeches
Morocco’s first-known inhabitants were Near Eastern nomads who may have been distant cousins of the ancient Egyptians. Phoenicians appear to have arrived around 800 BC, and when the Romans arrived in the 4th century BC, they called the expanse of Morocco and western Algeria ‘Mauretania’ and the indigenous people ‘Berbers’, meaning ‘barbarians’.
In the 1st century AD, the Romans built up Volubilis into a city of 20,000 (mostly Berber) people, but, fed up with the persistently unruly Berbers, the Roman emperor Caligula declared the end of Berber autonomy in North Africa in AD 40. But whereas the Vandals and Byzantines failed to oust the Romans from their home turf, Berbers in the Rif and the Atlas ultimately succeeded through a campaign of near-constant harassment – a tactic that would later put the squeeze on many an unpopular Moroccan sultan.
As Rome slipped into decline, the Berbers harried and hassled any army that dared to invade to the point where the Berbers were free to do as they pleased.
- Traditional Life Of Moroccan Berbers
Morocco is a storied country, that has, over the centuries, woven its ties to sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the wider Middle East into whole cloth. Its mixed Arab and Berber population forms a strong national identity, but an increasingly youthful one, taking the best of its traditions and weaving the pattern anew – from the countryside to the city, from the call to prayer from the mosque to the beat of local hip hop. Morocco has a hundred faces and sounds, all ready to welcome the traveller looking for spice and adventure.
- Islamic Morocco
The Arabs conquered this country in the 7th century and introduced their civilization. Islam found following and many Berbers also converted. They shaped Islam in their own image and embraced schismatic Muslim sects. During 741 – 1058 the region of Barghawata became the first Muslim country.
The region then overcame control of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad under Idris Ibn Abdallah who founded the Idrisid Dyanasty. Morocco became a major center of learning. The 11th and 12th centuries saw the Berber dynasties growing and replacing the Arab Idrisids. These dynasties were led by religious reformers and were based on a tribal confederation that dominated the Maghrib for around 200 years.
The Saadi Dynasty ruled from 1511 to 1659 and the Alaouites have been the dynasty in power since the 17th century. Short but intense fights between the various tribes left the country instable for some years. However Ahmed I al Mansur was able to rule the country better and bring stability to the country.
- Royal Morocco
When Mohammed V died suddenly of heart failure in 1961, King Hassan II became the leader of the new nation. Hassan II consolidated power by crackdowns on dissent and suspending parliament for a decade. With heavy borrowing and an ever-expanding bureaucracy, Morocco was deeply in debt by the 1970s. In 1973, the phosphate industry in the Spanish Sahara started to boom. Morocco staked its claim to the area and its lucrative phosphate reserves with the 350,000-strong Green March into Western Sahara in 1975, settling the area with Moroccans while greatly unsettling indigenous Sahrawi people agitating for self-determination.
Such grand and patriotic flourishes notwithstanding, the growing gap between the rich and the poor ensured that dissent remained widespread across a broad cross-section of Moroccan society. Protests against price rises in 1981 prompted a brutal government crackdown, but sustained pressure from human rights activists achieved unprecedented results in 1991, when Hassan II founded the Truth & Reconciliation Commission to investigate human rights abuses that occurred during his own reign – a first for a king.
- Morocco Today
Hassan II died in 1999 and Morocco held its breath. In his first public statement as king, Mohammed VI vowed to right the wrongs of the era known to Moroccans as ‘the Black Years’. Today, Morocco’s human rights record is arguably the cleanest in Africa and the Middle East, though still not exactly spotless – repressive measures were revived after 9/11 and the 2003 Casablanca bombings. But the commission has nonetheless helped cement human rights advances by awarding reparations to more than 9000 victims of the Black Years.
Mohammed VI has overseen small but real reformist steps, including elections, the introduction of Berber languages in some state schools, and the much-anticipated Mudawanna, a legal code protecting women’s rights to divorce and custody. The king has also forged closer ties with Europe and overseen a tourism boom.
In 2011 he revised the constitution in response to the Arab Spring and appointed a new government in January 2012. But by May powerful trade unions had launched mass protests against the authorities’ failure to meet democratic and economic expectations.
- Independence of Morocco
In 1950 the Sultan of Morocco requested for independence and when Sultan Mohammed became king in 1957 it wasn’t long after that when Spain relinquished it hold. In 1974 King Hassan undertook a campaign to claim control over the Sahara, which was owned by Spain.
With his persistent efforts and tough negotiations the split was done as Morocco, Spain and Mauritania. In 1978 Polisario front succeeded in forcing the Mauritania out of Sahara and to this day the area is a disputed territory though a referendum organized by the UN was generally agreed upon.
On July 23, 1999 King Hassan died concluding his monarchy in modern history of a total of 38 years. His son Crown Prince Mohammed ascended the throne in July 1999 after his death.
He is known for his modern views and his taking great efforts to bring about change in Morocco and lead the country to greater heights