At Sidi abd ar-Rahman near Casablanca, wedges were found
along with skeletons of the early man Homo erectus;
The finds are estimated to be about 200,000 years. About
30,000 years old remains from the atérienne culture (compare
the aterian), associated with finds of Neanderthal people,
have also been found in Morocco.
The modern man (Homo sapiens) first appeared
along the coast of North Africa about 15,000-10,000 BC.
About 8000 BC microliths, very small flint teeth, began to
be used, and with the Neolithic (5000 and 4000 BC)
pastoralism and agriculture were introduced. Significant
rock carving complexes are found in the southern Atlas
Mountains; most of them are from the Capsian tradition and
from Neolithic times.
The Berber tribes that inhabited Morocco during ancient
times were only slowly influenced by classical cultures via
Phoenician colonization along the coast. From the 20th
century BC larger national formations are known, eventually
developed into the Kingdom of Mauritania.
The 42 AD Established Roman Province Mauritania
Tingitana corresponded largely to today's Morocco,
although the independent tribes south of the Atlas Mountains
posed a lasting threat to the Roman occupation.
See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of Morocco. Economically, Mauritania Tingitana was closely associated
with the Spanish provinces. On the coast, big cities like
Lixus, Sala and Tingis grew up. The hinterland was little
romanized, apart from the important Volubilis. After the
vandal invasion 429, Morocco was lost to Rome, although
smaller parts of the area came under Austrian control from
The Arab-Islamic conquest of Berber-dominated Morocco
began in 710, and the following year the conquest of the
Iberian Peninsula began under the leadership of the newly
converted Berber Tariq ibn Ziyad. The conquerors settled in
cities, which in Morocco developed according to the same
pattern as in other parts of the caliphate. The Berber
tribes, which were divided into the three major tribal
confederations of Masmuda, Sanhaja and Zanata, dominated and
controlled the other lands. The Berbers were nomads,
seminarians or farmed farmers. A confrontation took place
between the Arab conquerors, who represented the Caliphate
with its Sunni Muslim orientation, and the Arab resistance
movements, which embraced the Kharijite orientation of
As the Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus overthrew 750 of the
Abbasids, an Umayyad prince fled to Morocco and on to the
Iberian Peninsula, where he, with Berber support 756,
established an emirate headquartered in Córdoba. A new
dynasty, the Idrisidic, came to power in Morocco in 789
through Idris ibn Abd Allah, who had fled to Morocco after a
rebellion attempt in 786 against the Abbasids of the
so-called aliens (descendants of Ali, the Prophet's
son-in-law). During the sports season, the first real
Moroccan state formation was created. Fès was founded and
became an important cultural center with a famous
university, al-Qarawiyin, inaugurated 859. After Idris II
's fallout 828, the kingdom was divided; some parts came
from 921 to be controlled by the Shiite fatimids, while
others went to the emirate in Córdoba.
The Almoravids (1056–1147)
During a new dynasty, the Almoravids, expansion took
place from areas in present-day Mauritania and southern
Morocco north and east, and by the end of the 11th century,
the Almoravids ruled an area from the Senegal River up to
the Ebro River on the Iberian Peninsula. The city of
Marrakech, founded by almorah leader Yusuf ibn Tashufin
1062, became the headquarters of the dynasty. The expansion
was carried out by Berber affiliated with Sanhaja, who was
raised by a strict Islamic revival movement, organized as a
fraternity. The Sunni Muslim orientation gained a strong
foothold in Morocco through the Almoravids.
The Almohads (1130–1269)
A new Islamic revival movement, the Almohadic, challenged
and defeated the Almoravids. Under the leadership of
Muhammad ibn Tumart, Masmuda-affiliated Berber laid down
large parts of Morocco. Tumart appointed Abd al-Mumin, who
belonged to Zanata, as successor. He assumed the title of
"leader of the faithful", which is still used by the
Moroccan head of state. The expansion reached eastern
Tripoli, but in the Iberian peninsula, in 1212 a setback
occurred through the defeat of the Castilians at Las Navas
The Marinids (1269–1548)
Along with this defeat, the Almohads were challenged by a
new dynasty in Morocco, the Marinidian, which was raised by
the Zanata Berbers and who in 1271 took the last
Almohad-controlled bastion, Marrakech. Cultural life
flourished during the Marinidian period, and through the
control of the trade routes south, prosperity could be
developed. Arabization became tangible, religious cohesion
loosened up, and in rural areas various forms of popular
Islam and religious mysticism, Marabutism spread. At the end
of the 1300s, the Christian conquest of the Iberian
Peninsula began, and in 1492 Granada fell. Muslims and Jews
fled to Morocco and came to reinforce Andalusian culture in
In practice, a great vesir from the Zanata-linked tribe
Banu Wattas had taken over the political power of the
Marinidian sultan during the 1420s, but the wattasid dynasty
(1428 - c. 1550) received no widespread recognition, and
their epoch was marked by disintegration. also anarchy.
The religious local leaders, the Marabutans, in Sous,
southern Morocco, appointed the leader of the Arab Sadi
tribe as commanders against invading Portuguese. The Sadies
turned to the wattasides, which were finally defeated in
1559. Thus, the long era of Berber dynasties was also over.
The Sadies also faced another threat, the Ottoman from
Algeria. The Ottomans, however, failed to conquer Morocco.
The Portuguese were defeated at Ksar el-Kebir in 1578 by
Ahmad, who was nicknamed al-Mansur, 'the glorious'. During
al-Mansur, the sadistic dynasty experienced its period of
greatness. The administration was expanded according to
Ottoman patterns, and the tax collection was streamlined.
However, this consolidation was soon undermined by new
conflicts of faith.
The Alawites (from 1666)
From the oases in the Tafilalt region in the south came a
new political movement led by the Arab Alawi tribe. During
the slogan's return to the Sunni Muslim orientation, the
Alawites attacked the Marabutian strongholds in southern
Morocco. The conquest train went further north, and in Fès,
in 1666, the Alawite Rashid was proclaimed a hunger. Under
the leadership of his brother Ismail (1672-1727), the
Alawites strengthened their power over the country, but then
a weakening occurred. European actors gradually took control
of foreign trade. Temporarily a consolidation of power
occurred during Sultan al-Hasan I (Hassan I) (1873–94).
Morocco's position as an independent state was confirmed at
a European conference in Madrid in 1880 and at the Algeciras
conference in 1906.
French Protectorate (1912–56)
During the 19th century and until 1912, Moroccan sultans
had been forced to resign from large areas of the Sahara to
France and Spain. The rest of Morocco became - in
contravention of commitments - a protectorate divided
between France and Spain: French Morocco was the
central part and Spanish Morocco the northern and
southern part of the country. The opposition to the Spanish
Protectorate in Rif in northern Morocco was led by the
Berber Abd el-Crimea, who proclaimed a republic (1923-26).
During the patron era, the infrastructure in the French part
was developed. A large number of French companies were
established, and about ten percent of the cultivated land
was transferred to French users.
In the early 1930s, the so-called Dahir Berbéré,
the Berber Regulation, was introduced into the
French Protectorate. According to it, local case law would
in the future be applied in the Berber areas and not Islamic
law (Sharia). The regulation, however, led to religious
protests and the coordination of Arab and Berber resistance.
Gradually, the contradictions deepened between the French
authorities and the Sultan Muhammad V (1927-61), supported
by the growing Moroccan nationalist movement. This was
consolidated within the framework of the independence party
Istiqlal. In 1953, Muhammad V and family were forced to
leave Morocco. An army of liberation was established in
1955, and Muhammad was able to return after intensified
struggle. In 1956, Morocco regained its independence.
Independent Morocco (from 1956)
During the patron age, political integration had taken
place, which facilitated the regime's exercise of power
after independence. A multi-party system was developed in
Morocco, Istiqlal split and the Union Nationale des Forces
Populaires (UNFP) formed with Mehdi Ben Barka as leader. He
was killed under mysterious circumstances in Paris in 1965.
The first time after independence was marked by regional
unrest that was brutally fought. In 1965, a state of
emergency was introduced by King Hassan II, who in 1961
succeeded his father Muhammad V. Only after two failed
military coup attempts in 1971 and 1972 and an attempt to
start a guerrilla war in the Atlas Mountains in 1973 did the
state of emergency cease, and political elections were made.
Since the mid-1970s, gentle democratization has taken
place in Morocco. This has happened in the shadow of the
ongoing conflict in Western Sahara. In the economic sphere,
successive liberalization has taken place, and the country
is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since
1989, Morocco has been part of the Arab Maghreb Union.
During the 1990s, economic liberalization intensified,
while important steps towards increased democratization were
taken. The Constitution has been revised in order to
increase the power of Parliament and the Prime Minister. A
clear sign of the change was that the previously condemned
opposition politician of the Social Democratic Party
Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires (USFP)
Abderrahmane Youssoufi after the party's electoral success
was commissioned to form a government in 1998. In August
1999, died Hassan II and was succeeded immediately by his
eldest son Muhammad. The new king, Muhammad VI, stressed the
need for further liberalization and democratization.
Morocco's relations with the EU have been strengthened
through the so-called Barcelona Declaration and the signing
of the 1995 Euro-Mediterranean bilateral agreement, and an
association agreement with the EU since 2000. By contrast,
the Maghreb cooperation within the framework of the Maghreb
Union has ceased.
In the early 2000s, USFP's popularity declined and the
party lost its position as the largest party in 2007 to the
conservative, royalist Istiqlal. The Islamic Party of
Justice and Development (PJD) advanced strongly and was now
the country's second largest party. The PJD's previously
radical Islamist appearance has been significantly dampened,
especially since a series of concerted terrorist attacks in
Casablanca in May 2003 demanded 45 deaths, including 12
perpetrators. The attacks were followed by widespread raids
against Islamists by virtue of stricter anti-terrorism laws.
Over 2,000 people were arrested, 17 people sentenced to
death and nearly 900 to long prison terms. Media freedom has
been periodically restricted.
The Arab Spring, the wave of protests that swept across
the Arab world in 2011, also spread to Morocco, though
without any more pervasive consequences. The monarchy was
not seriously questioned, but the king agreed to some
reforms, and a number of constitutional amendments were
approved in a referendum. Parliament's position was
strengthened to some extent and the king is now forced to
appoint the leader of the largest party as prime minister.
Following the 2011 election, PJD leader Abdelilah Benkiran
was elected, whose party became the largest in parliament
with 107 out of 325 seats.
Despite close cooperation with the EU, Morocco has
sensitive relations with its closest neighbor in the Union,
Spain. The Spanish enclaves Ceuta and Melilla are subject to
repeated diplomatic disputes and disagreements also prevail
over the uninhabited Spanish island of Perejil (Arab Leila)
off the Moroccan coast. Moroccan attempts to seize control
of the island in 2002 were close to leading to an armed
In recent years, following pressure from the EU, Morocco
has taken a tougher stance on the refugees, mainly from West
Africa, who are trying to get to Europe via Morocco. The
refugees' difficult situation has been highlighted by, among
other things, UNHCR UNHCR.