Homo erectus lived in what is now Morocco as early as 700,000 years ago. Homo sapiens, modern man, first appeared 145,000 years ago. The people lived as hunters and gatherers. The sedentary lifestyle was only slowly adopted. The Berber people settled from the 2nd millennium BC. In the area of Morocco. Three Berber tribes formed: the Sanhadscha, the Zanata and the Masmuda.
Conquerors in ancient times
North Africa was conquered by various conquerors in ancient times. So from the 12th century BC the Phoenicians founded Chr. Trading offices. After Rome’s victory over Carthage in 146 BC. BC Morocco also became Roman. The Romans called this province of Mauretania Tingitana. It included the north of what is now Morocco. The Romans brought Christianity with them. Some Berbers also adopted the new religion. In 429 the Vandals finally conquered North Africa and established their own empire.
Advance of the Arabs and Islamization
From the 7th century the Arabs penetrated as far as Morocco. They named the Maghreb region: west or sunset. The Berbers resisted Islamization in numerous uprisings. So they didn’t want to accept Islam as their religion. In 789, Idris I was able to establish an Arab empire and founded the Idrisid family. Fez became their capital.
In the 11th century their power waned and the Almoravids gained it. They were a ruling family of Berbers from the Sanhajah tribe. They ruled between 1062 and 1147 and moved the capital to Marrakech. Their empire also included Andalusia in Spain.
In 1147 the Almohads stormed Marrakech. Until 1269 they ruled over a large empire that extended eastward into what is now Algeria and Tunisia. But they too had to give up power and the Merinids ruled until 1465. They made Fez the capital again.
The Wattasids, the Saadians and the Alawids were the ruling families of the following decades. They have been the ruling royal family in Morocco since 1664 and until today. In the 16th century, Portugal and Spain had begun occupying coastal cities in Morocco. The Alawids liberated them, only Ceuta, Melilla and Sidi Ifni remained Spanish.
French and Spanish Morocco
At the end of the 19th century, France, Spain, and Germany showed an interest in northwest Africa. The German Reich finally had to recognize the rule of France in 1911. Spain received two strips of land as a protectorate (Spanish Morocco) and made the southern part, the Western Sahara, its Spanish Sahara colony. Most of the north became French Morocco.
The Berbers rose again and again against foreign rule. In 1921 there was a major uprising, the Rif War. Only with the help of France was Spain able to put down the 1926 uprising. Massive mustard gas bombs were used.
In 1956, French Morocco and Spanish Morocco were granted independence. Ceuta and Melilla have remained in Spanish ownership to this day.
Morocco after independence
In 1957 the Sultan of Morocco, Mohammed V, accepted the title of king. So Morocco became a monarchy. After his death in 1961, his son Hassan II became the new king. He stayed in office until 1999. Under him there was a border war with Algeria in 1963. Morocco advanced into Algerian territory, but was pushed back. In 1976 there was the Western Sahara conflict (see country). Political opponents were persecuted under Hassan II, human rights were massively violated.
After his death, his son was named Mohammed VI. 1999 new king. Its aim is to strengthen Morocco economically, but also to stop human rights violations and to fight poverty. Nevertheless, he has far more political power in his country than, say, the kings in Europe.
What is typical for Morocco? When eating, tagine and couscous belong to it, when drinking mint tea. But argan oil is also typical. It is pressed from the seeds of the argan tree. Argan trees only grow in the southwest of Morocco, a country located in Africa according to ethnicityology. Argan oil is used as an edible oil, but also in cosmetics.
Djellaba and Fez
Typical Moroccan clothing items are the djellaba and the fez (sometimes written as fez). The djellaba is a long robe with a pointed hood. Men usually wear monochrome or striped djellabas, women with brightly colored patterns. The Fez was named after the Moroccan city of Fez. It is a hat made of red felt. It’s flat at the top. Often a tassel is also attached to it. However, you rarely see the Fez today.
Camels in the desert
Moroccans who have to cross the desert often ride a camel in the traditional way. Camels can do without water for a long time. Not only can you carry people wonderfully, but you can also transport luggage or other loads. By the way, single-humped camels are called dromedaries.
Zellij is an important feature of Moroccan buildings. It is called a ceramic mosaic. Walls, floors and tables are decorated with it.
A souk is a neighborhood in a city where many traders have their shops. You can buy anything here, for example spices, groceries, clothing, carpets, perfume, jewelry or leather goods.