A Brief History of Morocco
The Phoenicians were the first to explore this far western territory, establishing a trading post at Liks (Lixus) on the Moroccan coast approximately 1000 BC. In the subsequent centuries, they and their successors, the Carthaginians, established outposts at Tangier and Essaouira, as well as a town on the location of modern-day Rabat. The local inhabitants of the region were referred to as ‘Berbers’ by Greek traders (the English word ‘barbarian’ has the same derivation). However, the true term for Berbers is Amazigh, which means “free people,” and they thrived in North Africa about 3000 BC.
Little is known about the early Berbers before their region became part of the Roman Empire. The Romans established large settlements, notably Volubilis, whose ruins are still among Morocco’s most remarkable from that era.
Moulay Ismail was one of many remarkable sultans, and his 55-year reign (1672-1727) was one of the longest and most cruel in Moroccan history. He was a violent and extravagant megalomaniac who allegedly maintained a harem of 500 women and fathered over 700 children. His big goal was the imperial metropolis of Meknes, and hundreds perished in the construction of his palaces and triumphal arches.
Independence and modernization
The reign of Mohammed VI
Morocco history timeline
Anarchy reigns. In Spain, the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella complete the Reconquista from the Moors: Granada, the last Moorish bastion, falls in 1492.
The Saadian dynasty established its capital in Marrakech. The Portuguese were defeated at the Battle of Three Kings in 1578. Empire extends to Mali.
Alaouite dynasty ushers in national revival.