Morocco History

By | September 17, 2021

Until the 15th century

In the country inhabited by independent Berber tribes, Phoenician, later Carthaginian influences were only significant in a few coastal places (around 1100–146 BC). In AD 42, Morocco was combined with parts of what would later become Algeria to form the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana ( Mauretania ). In the 5th century it came under Vandalism, in the 6th century under Byzantine rule. Around 700, Muslim Arabs invaded the country for the first time and took trains from here to south-western Europe. Idris I, a descendant of Mohammed, founded the Idrisid dynasty (capital Fez) in western North Africa in 789, which succumbed to the Spanish Umayyads in 974.

Under the dynasties of the Almoravids (1061–1147), which emerged from the religious movements of the Berber, who founded Marrakech as the new capital, and the Almohads (1147–1269), Morocco became the heartland of an independent north-west African empire based on the south of the Iberian Peninsula Sunni Orthodoxy. The Almohads were followed by the Berber Merinids (1269–1420 / 65), who again preferred Fez as their capital; after the Wattasids (1472–1554) the empire was taken over by the Sherif dynasties of the Sadier (1554–1603, in side lines until 1626 and 1659), who advanced through the Sahara to Timbuktu, Gao and Bornu, and the Hasanids (Alawids, since 1666) governs. Mulai Ismail (1672–1727) created a centralized government based on the model of Turkey (»Machsen«; Meknes residence). Since then, Moroccan law has differentiated between “Bled el-Machsen”, the subject areas subject to taxation, and “Bled es-Siba”, the larger part of the country with the Berber tribes who had only loose contact with the Sultan’s government or who in fact had it not recognized.

First and Second Moroccan Crisis

From the beginning of the 15th century the Portuguese tried to invade Morocco (1415 capture of Ceuta), but their possessions were lost again after 1578. The Spaniards first managed to gain a foothold in Melilla in 1496. French activity in Morocco until the end of the 19th century was limited to the conclusion of a trade treaty in 1892; Great Britain (1856), Spain (1861) and the German Empire (1890) had previously concluded similar treaties. Only when France was granted supremacy in Morocco by Great Britain in the Anglo-French Agreement of April 8, 1904, in violation of the international agreements of Madrid (1880), did France begin to penetrate the country. In November 1904 France and Spain demarcated their spheres of interest. The objection of the v. a. Morocco crises ). According to loverists, the 2nd Morocco Crisis (1911), triggered by the dispatch of the German gunboat »Panther« to Agadir, ultimately led to the recognition of the French patronage over Morocco by the German Empire. In a Spanish-French treaty (March / November 1912) the borders between the French (capital Rabat) and the Spanish (capital Tétouan) protectorate area were defined; Tangier became an international area. Under Marshal L. H. G. Lyautey (General Resident 1912-16 and 1917-25) and his successors, the interior was opened up.

Colonization and Decolonization

In 1920 the Berber tribes of the Rif Mountains (“Rifkabylen”) rose under M. Abd el-Krim against the French and Spanish colonial rule (proclamation of a “Republic of the united tribes of the Rif”), but were subject to the French and the commanded by Marshal P. Pétain Spanish forces led by General M. Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja.

On May 26, 1926, Abd el-Krim surrendered to the French troops. The fighting in the High Atlas lasted until 1933/34.

Against the background of strong immigration by European settlers (around 100,000 by 1939), a modern national movement formed among the young Moroccan intellectuals, which was organized for the first time in 1934 with the Comité d’Action Marocaine (Moroccan Action Committee). France initially sought to base its rule on the country’s traditional feudal aristocracy, but ultimately failed because Sultan Mohammed V (since 1927) turned to the goals of the national movement. In 1937 the French colonial authorities banished Mohammed Allal al-Fassi (* 1910, † 1974), the leading representative of the anti-colonial movement in Morocco, to Gabon, and in 1938 the parties that had emerged from the Action Committee were banned in the French zone.

France’s defeat in World War II (June 1940) weakened the French position in North Africa; Spain took this development as an opportunity to occupy the international zone of Tangier in 1940 (until 1945). After American-British troops landed in Morocco (November 1942), Mohammed V sought support from the USA (meeting with American President F. D. Roosevelt, 1943). In the course of this development, the Moroccan national movement received a strong boost. Allal al-Fassi, who had returned from exile, founded the Parti Istiklal (PI) in 1944, which became the engine of Moroccan resistance against French colonial rule. In 1947, Sultan Mohammed V. the independence of his country. France initially tried to suppress these efforts and in 1953 deported the Sultan to Madagascar. Meanwhile, a “liberation army” was gathering in the mountains. In view of the uprising against French rule that broke out in Algeria in November 1954, France left Mohammed V in October 1955 . return to Morocco and granted independence to French Morocco on March 2, 1956. After Spain had renounced its dominion in Morocco (April 2, 1956), it was united with the former French part. In October 1956 Tangier was also reintegrated into Moroccan territory; the coastal cities of Ceuta and Melilla remained Spanish. On August 14, 1957, the Kingdom of Morocco was proclaimed. The Spanish enclave Ifni did not revert to Morocco until January 1, 1969.

Coup attempts against the king

After the death of Mohammed V, who had assumed the title of king in 1957, his son Hasan II ascended the throne in 1961. Since the state’s independence, internal tensions have grown between the conservative forces at the royal court, the mountain population and the affluent bourgeoisie on the one hand, and the bourgeois left and the trade unions (Union Marocaine du Travail, abbreviation UMT) on the other. As early as 1959, under the leadership of al-Mehdi Ben Barka, the left-wing Union Nationale des Forces Populaires (UNFP, German National Union of People’s Forces) split off from the PI. In the years that followed, the PI itself kept a critical distance from Hasan II. Supported by forces devoted to him (Front pour la Défense des Institutions Constitutionnelles, FDIC; German Front for the Defense of the Constitutional Institutions) he pursued an authoritarian course (several times Prime Minister himself in the 1960s). In 1963 he had UNFP leaders arrested and sentenced. After unrest (March 1965) the government declared a state of emergency in June 1965 and at the same time took over the legislative power; the parliament elected in 1963 was dissolved. The constitutional reform of 1972 strengthened the king’s power. A land reform and the nationalization of foreign property (1973/74) were intended to reduce social tensions. An attempted coup failed in 1971, and an assassination attempt on the king in 1972.

Morocco History