Follow us

      

History

Morocco is among the oldest countries and has a long and rich history. The latter continued over twelve centuries without taking the ancient past into consideration. With the advent of Islam in the 7th Century, Morocco was exposed to new cultural influences.

The Muslim dynasties successively strengthened a civilization whose cultural, scientific, and artistic influence spread throughout the Mediterranean countries. In the 8th century, the Idrissid dynasty founded the city of Fez. In the 11th century the almoravids, by taking power over Maghreb and Andalusia, achieved unification of the western Islamic world. The rise of the almoravids, in the 12th century marked the height of Moroccan dominance.

This period was an era of great thinkers and philosophers, including the famous Ibn Rochd (Averroes). It was also a period of great explorers such as the Moroccan geographer Al Idrissi who drew the first map of the seven climates of the old world. Two centuries later, another Moroccan, Ibn Battouta (1304-1377) set off on a voyage spanning 25 years and which inspired his famous travelogue which is still the most extensive description of the world in that era. A place of philosophical and scientific debate, where the best universities flourished, Morocco welcomed learned men of all horizons, and its discoveries in mathematics and astronomy soon spread across Europe and the Mediterranean basin.

The impact of this Arab and Islamic heritage made Morocco a thriving center for exchange and dialogue on the sciences, philosophy and oriental, Hellenic and andalusian spirituality. The influence of Islamic architecture can be seen in the floral decor epigraphic and geometric designs that adorn among other places, the Almoravid cupola in Marrakech, the panels of Qarawiyyin mosque in Fez and the facades of the minarets of the koutoubia mosque in Marrakech. Since 1665, the Cherif Alawite dynasty has reigned over Morocco.

The conference of Algeciras (1906) validates the intervention of the Western powers in Morocco. The treaty of Fes, signed in 1912 between France and Morocco, establishes the protectorate. Spain maintains an area of influence in the regions of Rif and Tarfaya. The violent riots that broke out in the big cities of the country forced the Sultan Moulay Hafid to abdicate from power and to be replaced by his brother, Moulay Youssef. General Lyautey was appointed resident general of Morocco, where he remained until 1925.

In 1921, the Moroccan resistant Abdelkrim Al Khattabi launched an insurrection against the Spaniards in the Rif. He became an icon of Morocco’s resistance. Following the death of Sultan Moulay Youssouf in 1927, Mohamed Ben youssouf (the future King Mohammed V) became the Sultan of Morocco.

The Moroccan Action Committee (MAC) is created by young intellectuals, including Allal El Fassi, Mohammed El Ouazzani and Ahmed Balafrej. The MAC was banned by the French authorities and dissolved in 1937. El Fassi was deported to Gabon. In 1943, the conference of the Allies, also known as the conference of Anfa, takes place in Casablanca. US President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General de Gaulle meet to discuss different strategies of the world war.

On the sidelines of the conference, Roosevelt gives his support to the sultan, who claims the independence of Morocco. One year after its creation in 1944, the Istiqlal publishes, on January 11, the manifesto for the independence. The party, based on the ashes of the Moroccan Action Committee, wants to replace the French protectorate by a constitutional monarchy.

Violent and bloody riots strike Casablanca on April 7, 1947. Three days later, the Sultan made a historic speech in Tangier, calling for the independence of the country and the end of the protectorate. In 1951, General Augustin Guillaume, who had commanded battalions of Moroccan goumiers during the war, was appointed resident general.

Two years later, HM Mohammed V is condemned to exile in Madagascar with all his family, where he remained until 1955. He was replaced by his cousin, Mohammed Ben Arafa.

In 1955, the independence movements are gaining momentum and Morocco is bubbling. HM Mohammed V is finally recalled by the French, after the agreements of Celle-Saint-Cloud, which stipulated the independence of the country. The sultan made a triumphant return on November 10 in Rabat, after the abdication of Ben Arafa. On March 2, 1956, Morocco achieved independence after the signing, in Paris, of a joint declaration with France.

The latter officially put an end to the protectorate. A month later, the northern zone of the country, still controlled by the Spaniards, was recovered by Morocco. Only Ifni and Tarfaya remain under Spanish control.  In 1957, HM. Mohammed V became officially King of Morocco and started the battle for territorial integrity.