Morocco has one of the longest and most interesting histories in the world. It is the oldest among Islamic kingdoms and presently, it is the home of many Arabs, Christians, and Jews along with the Muslims.
According to the earliest records available, this African country was first explored by the Phoenicians at around 1000 BC. They used to call the inhabitants barbaroi, meaning not our kins. Later, this became Berbers. Centuries later, the Roman Empire included this part of Africa, though the Berber tribes remained undisturbed.
The First Phase – Islamic Invasion
The history of Morocco took a different turn in the 7th century AD. This is when the Arab army became very powerful and invaded Morocco. They joined hands with the Berbers and kept on conquering lands and went as far as Spain. In 788, a person called Moulay Idriss, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, ascended the throne. He was a very powerful and influential king who was murdered by his rival. The place where his tomb is situated is named after him and is one of the most sacred spots for Muslims.
After his death, his son Idriss II ascended the throne and ruled till 828. He established the modern city Fez which was the capital of Morocco at that time. After his death, a bitter struggle among his son to capture the throne began and this weakened the kingdom considerably. In the meantime, a band of staunch muslims invaded Morocco in the 11th century. They captured Fez and destroyed musical instruments and other relics on their way
In the next century, the Almohads, another fanatic tribe invaded this region. However, none of them could make a stronghold in Morocco because of infighting. Eventually, the native Beni Merin Berber tribe took the control of the country. This tribe was materialistic in their outlook and therefore, they built many monuments and architectures.
The Second Phase – Christian Dominance
The history of Morocco took another turn as the Christians defeated the Moors and started to push them backwards during the 13th and 14th century. The Spanish and the Portuguese took control of much of Morocco’s coastline. Taking this opportunity, the Saadi Arabian tribes entered the land. However, they brought with them a lot of wealth and lavished it on their capital Marrakech.
The Saadian empire became weak after the death of their king Ahmed el Mansour. This was the time when Moulay Ismail, an Alaouite king, ascended the throne of Morocco. However, from 19th century, Morocco became more and more dependent on France. In 1912, it became Franco-Spanish protectorate with an Alaouite king. During the French colonization, western culture, transport system, education, and industrialization were introduced in Morocco.
The Last Phase – Modern Times
As the World War II weakened the position of France, the freedom struggle in Morocco intensified. France tried hard to retain its colony and exiled its king. However, they could no longer suppress the massive movements. Eventually, independence was declared in the year 1956. Today, Morocco is a social, constitutional and democratic monarchy that is making impressive progress in various aspects while retaining its centuries old culture and tradition.