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 important bases.
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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 (1907, Casablanca).
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 years.
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.
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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 Liberati¨®n de Saqiya al-Hamra y del R¨ªo 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 elections.
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 Western Sahara.
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 terrorist incidents.
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.