Early history to late antiquity
Around the 2nd millennium BC the area of what is
now Morocco was populated by various cattle breeding
Berber tribes. From 1200 BC The Phoenician people built
the first commercial branches along the north coast of
Africa, from 841 BC. was founded by them on the coast of
today's Tunisia Carthage, which became the center of the
Carthaginian Empire in the next centuries. The
commercial branches in Moroccan territory became
It was only the Romans who managed to take Carthage
(Third Punic War 146 BC), the area of what is now
Morocco became 42 AD. to the Roman province of
Mauretania Tingitana (together with parts of Algeria).
After the Vandals (429 AD) troops of the Eastern Roman
Emperor Justinian (534 AD) occupied the country.
From the end of the 7th century, the predominance of
the Arabs, with whom Islam also came, began. The area of
what is now Morocco was occupied until 710. Most of
the Berber people adopted Islam as a religion, but
retained their own cultures and customs. The Arabs
called the area Al-Maghrib.
Uprisings of North African Berbers against the Arabs
led to the independence of the many small principalities
on Moroccan soil. The Berber family of the Almoravids
(1062 to 1147) moved the capital from Fez to Marrakech
(the European name "Morocco" comes from this city name).
From here began conquests on the Spanish mainland, which
was conquered to the Ebro (Andalusia). It was not until
around 1400 that the now ruling Merinid dynasty had to
withdraw from southern Spain. Under the Merinids, Fez
was restored to the capital, which was the center of
Islam in Africa until the end of the 10th century.
According to AbbreviationFinder,
around 1420 the Wattasid family took power in Al-Maghrib,
at about the same time the Portuguese, followed by the
Spaniards, began to conquer the Moroccan port cities.
In 1505 the port city of Agadir was founded by the
Portuguese. Around 15 years later, Portugal controlled
all of Morocco's major Atlantic ports.
The Wattasids were followed by the Sadite family as
rulers in Al-Maghrib: from the middle of the 16th
century, trade relations with the European countries
were established among them. The Sadites were followed
by the Alawites, who still represent the ruling dynasty
in Morocco. Under Mulay Ismail (1672 to 1727) almost all
ports occupied by Portuguese and Spaniards were
recaptured by 1720 (Mellila, Sidi Ifni and Ceuta
remained in Spanish hands).
19th and 20th centuries
In the 19th century, European influence was
manifested in Morocco: In the 1930s, Algeria was
conquered by the French, who continued to try to
penetrate Moroccan soil. 1843/44 were subject to
Moroccan troops, over the next decades parts of Morocco
were occupied by Spaniards (1860, Tetouan) and French
The competing European powers reached an agreement in
1909: Spain received the Rif Mountains and the province
of Ifni in southern Morocco as a protectorate. There the
Spanish troops were soon confronted with uprisings by
the local population. France concluded a protectorate
treaty with the Moroccan sultan Mulay Hafid in 1912,
which left the sultan as head of Morocco, but gave
political power to the French. In the following years
there were repeated revolts against the French and
Spanish occupation. On a political level, the
Independence Party "Istiklal" was formed, which was very
popular after the end of the Second World War. The
ruling Sultan Mohammed V also increasingly rebelled
against the orders of France.
In 1956 the French and Spanish protectorates were
abolished and Morocco became an independent monarchy
under King Mohammed V. In 1961, Hassan II succeeded him
as the country's ruler. A year later, a new constitution
came into force declaring Morocco a parliamentary
monarchy, with the king holding all political power.
Opposition movements in the country that demanded more
democracy were suppressed, parties like the National
Union of People's Forces (UNFP) were banned. King Hassan
II imposed a state of emergency on the country for five
In terms of foreign policy, Morocco came into
conflict with Algeria: both countries made territorial
claims to Mauritania and large parts of the Sahara.
Morocco officially recognized the Islamic Republic of
Mauritania in 1970, but shortly afterwards claimed the
area of the former Spanish Sahara, which had become
economically interesting due to the discovery of large
deposits of phosphate.
In 1975 the area was administratively divided in an
agreement between Morocco and Mauritania, with the
existing natural resources being used by both countries.
Morocco incorporated the Sahara areas as provinces into
its territory, but at the same time the popular front
POLISARIO ("Frente Popular para la LiberatiĘ«n de Saqiya
al-Hamra y del RĘ¬o de Oro"), which was supported by
Algeria and Libya, Democratic Arab Republic of the
Sahara "(UN designation: Western Sahara). This conflict
caused years of bloody conflict between members of the
POLISARIO and Moroccan troops. When Mauritania
recognized the Republic of Sahara in 1979 and withdrew
from its territories, Morocco also annexed this part of
Western Sahara. Around 100,000 people fled from this
area to the desert region of Tindouf (on Algerian soil).
Only at the beginning of the 1990s could an armistice
agreement be negotiated through international mediation.
The 1992 citizen's decision on the future of the
disputed area was repeatedly postponed.
The West Sahara conflict not only isolated Morocco in
the Arab camp, but also at times on an international
level and represented a major political and financial
burden for the country. At home, the authoritarian
regent Hassan II dealt with demands for increasing
democratization of the country and to deal with unrest
due to social grievances. Human rights organizations
accused the Moroccan regent of torturing and murdering
dissenters. A new constitution came into force in 1992,
which gave Parliament more powers, but left the regent's
leadership intact. The 1993 conservative ruling party
suffered clear losses in the 1993 elections, a
development that was also confirmed in the 1997
A two-chamber parliament was introduced in mid-1996,
and in 1997 parliamentarians were elected directly by
the people for the first time. In July 1999 Mohammed VI.
a week after the death of his father Hassan II, new
regent of Morocco. He promised far-reaching reforms for
the country. One of his first acts was the dismissal of
Interior Minister Driss Basri, whose actions against
opposition figures had fallen into disrepute and were
accused of manipulating the elections. Emigrants who
were exposed from the country by Hassan II were allowed
to return to their homeland. In fact, not much has
changed for the country's population. Neither do
citizens have more political participation rights, nor
has the social and economic situation improved
significantly; Since March 2002, a new government press
law has allowed the media to be banned without a court
order. The monarch is considered very popular with his
people. Mohammed VI holds the heads of state of Spain
and France. close contacts; however, diplomatic
upheavals with Spain occurred in 2001, presumably due to
the advocacy of Spanish groups for the independence of
In the reform of family law (Moudawana) Mohammed VI.
the central role. In February 2004 the new family code
came into force. Despite the still poor practical
implementation, it represents significant progress on
the way to equality for Moroccan women. In spring 2005,
the "National Initiative for Human Development" (INDH),
also initiated by the king, came into force. The
development program is designed to combat poverty and
social exclusion in the country.
In Casablanca on May 16, 2003, attacks on Jewish
institutions and places of non-Islamic lifestyle
resulted in over 40 deaths and numerous injuries. The
attacks changed the political atmosphere in Morocco: the
security authorities acted harshly against radical
Islamist groups. Nevertheless, there were repeated
The parliamentary elections in September 2007 did not
win the moderate Islamist PJD as expected, but the
former Independence Party "Istiklal".
The king initiated further reforms and early
elections in connection with the protest movements in
North Africa in spring 2011 and rallies by the Moroccan
"Movement February 20". The demands, which were mainly
based on economic and social improvements, were met in
this way. A new constitution was adopted by referendum
in July 2011. Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane has
been in office since the last parliamentary elections in
November 2011. He is the first head of government in
Morocco to belong to a political Islam party, the
moderate Islamist PJD.