The written history of Morocco began about 1,000 BC when a people called the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon sailed there. The Phoenicians were great traders and they founded trading posts in Morocco. The Phoenicians founded the city of Carthage in what is now Tunisia. Soon Carthage became the dominant power in the region. Meanwhile, by about 400 BC the native Berber tribesmen formed the kingdom of Mauritania.
In 146 BC the Romans conquered Carthage and their influence in North Africa gradually grew. Finally, in 42 AD the Romans annexed the kingdom of Mauretania. Morocco remained under Roman rule until the 5th century AD.
In 681 the Arabs began raiding Morocco and by 705 they were in control. The Arabs introduced Islam to Morocco and in 711 they invaded Spain. They soon conquered most of it. However, Morocco soon broke up into a number of different kingdoms. In 789 a man named Idriss I founded a small kingdom and his son Idriss II made Fes the capital. In the following centuries, Fes became a center of culture.
In the 11th century, Berbers called the Almoravids from what is now Mauritania advanced north and conquered Morocco. Then in the 12th century, a people called Almohads rebelled against the Almoravids and founded a new dynasty. Under the Almoravids Moroccan culture flourished. However, in the 13th century, the Almohads lost most of the Muslim territory in Spain. Only Grenada remained.
Furthermore, in the year 1248, a people called the Merinids began to overthrow the Almohads although it was not until 1269 that they captured Marrakech and brought the old dynasty to an end. Then the same cycle followed. The Merinid dynasty eventually declined and was overthrown. The next Berber dynasty was called the Wattasids. They began to seize power in 1240 and they ruled all of Morocco by 1469.
The next Moroccan dynasty was of Arab origin. The Saadians captured Marrakech in 1525 and Fes in 1548. The Saadian dynasty reached a peak during the years 1578-1603 in the time of Ahmed el-Mansour, known as the Golden One. However, after his death, the dynasty declined.
Moulay Rachid 1664-1672 founded a new dynasty, the Alaouites. Under Moulay Ismail 1672-1727 Morocco was a strong, centralized state and dealt with European powers like England and France as equals. However, in the 19th century, Morocco grew weaker as European powers industrialized. Nevertheless, during the 19th century, Morocco remained an independent country.
However, in 1912 Morocco was forced to become a French protectorate. Naturally, the Moroccans resented their loss of independence and the whole country was not subdued until 1934. However in 1942, during World War II the allies landed in Morocco and Roosevelt was sympathetic to the Moroccans. In 1944 a Manifesto of Independence was published and in 1947 the Sultan declared he was in favor of independence.
In 1953 the French deposed the Sultan but he returned in 1956. Morocco became independent in 1956.
Hassan II became King of Morocco in 1961 and he reigned until 1991. During the 1960s and 1970s Morocco suffered from political instability. A constitution was drawn up in 1962 followed by another in 1970. However, the king survived 2 coup attempts in 1971 and in 1972. Then in 1981, there were riots in Casablanca.
In 1996 Morocco was given a new constitution and in 1999 Mohammed VI became king. Today king Mohammed VI is leading Morocco toward both long-term stability and a greater degree of economic prosperity.
In July 2011 voters in Morocco approved a new constitution for the country. Today the population of Morocco is about 33 million.
Morocco lays in North Africa, with its borders touching the Mediterranean Sea and Spain in the north, Algeria in the east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the west, nestling in one of the most important geographical locations in the World. Rabat is the capital of Morocco, while Casablanca (the city that spins a hundred dreams) is its largest city and the second-largest city in North Africa after Cairo and which is also considered the Economical Capital of Morocco.
Climat in Morocco is the Mediterranean in character, which means plenty of warm sunny days throughout the year. The winters are cool here. However, in the mountainous reaches of the country, the temperatures do go to extremes and it would do you good to stock yourself up accordingly.
You will get an idea about the Moroccan population from the bustling marketplaces. But just for the statistics, it is the fourth most populous African country with the population figures touching 33 854 675 according to the 2015 census. The streets may be crowded in some cities but the Moroccan people are warmer and very friendly.
The high majority of the Moroccans are Sunni Muslims of Berber (Imazighen, The indigenous people of North Africa) and of Arab or mixed descent. However, the country has more of a cosmopolitan look with many French and Spanish people taking up residence here.
The official Moroccan languages are Berber (Tamazight), and classical Arabic, but foreigners take heart. French is spoken widely here and is still the preferred language of the financial world, a hangover of the French rule and because Morocco has become a favored holiday destination, Spanish and English are the popular languages spoken here along with other languages such as Italian and German.
Sample the aromatic and spicy food of North Africa by taking a trip to Morocco, a vibrant country with strong traditions and a diverse landscape of bustling cities, mountain ranges and arid deserts.
One of the great cuisines of the world, Moroccan cooking abounds with subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations. Think tart green olives paired with chopped preserved lemon rind stirred into a tagine of tender chicken, the surprise of rich pigeon meat pie dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar, or sardines coated with a flavourful combination of coriander, parsley, cumin and a hint of chilli. Influenced by Andalusian Spain, Arabia and France, Morocco’s cuisine is a delicious combination of mouthwatering flavours that make it unique.