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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Defense
4. Economy
a. Figures
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns

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Open map of MoroccoFlag of MoroccoMorocco /

Historical periods
1. Pre-History
2. Phoenician trade posts
3. Under empires
4. Arrival of Islam
5. International importance and strength
6. Decline and isolation
7. Colonialism
8. Independence
9. Towards pluralism

In Contents, "Morocco" is consistently used to denote the region in which the following events take place, even if it merely is a modern name, coming into full use in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Around 15,000 BCE: Paleolithic settlements in the area of today's Morocco.
Around 3000 BCE: Simple pastoral and agricultural settlements, which were heavily reduced with the starting growth of Sahara.

Phoenician trade posts
Around 1100 BCE: Establishment of trading posts by the Phoenicians. These functioned separately from the communities in the interior of the country.
Around 200 BCE: Despite the demise of the Phoenician empire, the coastal trading posts get increased growth, due to the influx of refugees from Carthage.
Ca. 110: Establishment of a Berber kingdom centered to northwestern Morocco, including most of northern Algeria.

Under empires
42 CE: The Roman empire imposes direct rule over the Moroccan coastal region. Morocco becomes part of the province called Mauretania Tingitana. The Roman presence is met with hard resistance from the local rulers, resulting in numerous wars.
253: Withdrawal of Roman forces from most Moroccan settlements.
429: Mauretania Tingitana is occupied by the Germanic tribe of Vandals.
533: Byzantine rule is established in coastal areas north and northwest in Morocco.

Arrival of Islam
681: First introduction of Islam, with the arrival of Uqba ibn Nafi, who is believed to have spread Islam to Morocco with a 5000 km long march around the country.
683: Uqba is defeated by a Berber chieftain, and his Muslim troops leaves the country.
710: The Arab governor Musa Ibn Nasr has taken control over the central regions of Morocco. At this point both Arab culture and Islam starts to gain a strong positions in Morocco.
787: A Shi'i refugee, Moulay Idriss starts what becomes a 4 year campaign until his own death to establish an infrastructure for an Arab state in central parts of Morocco. Idriss was recognized among Moroccans as Imam, and with him, the line of Moroccan rulers start, first with the Idrissid dynasty.
807: Moulay Idriss 2 takes power, and during his 20 years reign, control is extended to the northern mountains and to the oases south of the Atlas mountains. Idriss 2 made Fez his capital.
10th century: The Idrissid dynasty falls apart, and Morocco is divided into smaller kingdoms.

International importance and strength
1062: Morocco is once again united, this time under the Berber dynasty of Almoravids, which was to last for 83 years. The Almoravids proved to be highly successful in extending the territory, making it reach as east as today's Libya, north to today's Spain, and as south as deep into Sahara. While the Almoravids are seen as part of the Moroccan nation, their origin was in the south of today's Mauritania, in Koumbi Saleh.
1090: The ruler Yousef takes control over Spain. This lead to an overstraining of his forces, and turned out to be the beginning of the end of the Almoravids.
1145: A new Berber tribe, this time from the High Atlas, had for some time criticized the Almoravids for what they perceived as immoral life styles, like letting women ride horses, playing music and drinking wine, as well as professing an incorrect theology in respect of God's nature. Their founder, Ibn Tumart claimed to be the Mahdi, the final prophet of Islam and built a large following. But it was first after Ibn Tumart's death that his group had become strong enough to tipple the Almoravids from their power in Fez. Led by Abdu l-Mu'min, they became known as Almohads.
1147: Abdu l-Mu'min drives the Almoravids out of Marrakech as well.
1195: The 3rd Almohad sultan Yakubu l-Mansur secures control over southeastern Spain.
1212: The 4th sultan Muhammadu n-Nasr loses in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Morocco is now out of his focus, and disintegrates and large parts of the country comes under the control of local tribes.

Decline and isolation
1248: One of the local tribes, the Merenids conquers Fez, before they set out to seize Marrakech. This becomes a period of 3 centuries of political decline and disintegration, as well economic and cultural stagnation.
1415: The port of Sebta (now Ceuta) in the north of Morocco falls to the Portuguese.
1465: The Merenids old vizier family, the Wattasids, take over formal control of Morocco. The Wattasids had been effective rulers for 45 years already.
1492: A heavy immigration of about 1 million Jewish and Muslim refugees from Spain brings on a strong economic growth in Morocco.
1554: The Merenids lose to the Saadiens, and Morocco experienced a revival for the next century. They first establish their capital to Taroudannt.
1557: With the death of sultan Muhammad ash-Shaykh, a 20 year period of unrest over Morocco, starts.
1579: Ahmad 1 Mansur becomes sultan, following the famous Battle of Three Kings. With his rise to power starts what is considered to be the golden age of Morocco, lasting for more than 20 years. He generally refrained from military campaigns; the invasion of Timbuktu is the only, and a profitable, exception.
16th century: A few Moroccan ports become involved in piracy, being part of a belt of semi-independent cities along the Barbary Coast.
1603: Sultan Ahmad dies, leaving 3 sons, all rivals to the throne. Morocco falls into civil war, and is divided into smaller sultanates. 1660: The Sharifian (also called Alaouite) dynasty replaces the Saadians. This turned out to be the last dynastic change in Morocco to date, and the Sharifian still rule.
1672: Moulay Ismail becomes sultan, and Morocco enters its last period as a imperial glory. He makes Meknes his capital. His rule is generally considered to be both cruel and just. His rule lasted until 1727, by when most of Morocco was under his control.
1790: With the death of sultan Sidi Mohammad Morocco falls into civil war, where the main factions came from Fez and Marrakech. The civil war was to last a few years before sultan Moulay Slimane managed to take control over both Fez and Marrakech.
Early 19th century: Moulay Slimane proves to be an unwise politician, cutting off relations with Europe (relations where Morocco had been an equal partner to European countries) and banning even Moroccan exports to Europe. This weakened the economy, and left Morocco without any European partners.
1860: Following Morocco's first defeat to any European power in 200 years, Morocco gives up Sidi Ifni to Spain according to the Treaty of Tetouan.
1880: Following the Madrid Conference Morocco is forced to turn Tangier into a zone of international administration. This came after years of Spanish and French interference in Moroccan politics, generally to the benefit of their own citizens. Morocco had protested against this, but Morocco was by now so weak that they had to give up even more than before.
1894: Sultan Moulay Hassan dies, and his son Abdu l-Aziz is only 10 years at the accession. During his reign, Europeans became the main advisors at the court, and local rulers became more and more independent from the sultan's rule.

1904: Away from any Moroccan influence, French made agreements with United Kingdom and Italy on spheres of influence over Africa, leaving Morocco within the control of France.
1905: An agreement similar to the one of 1904 is forget with the German emperor.
1907: France occupies Oujda near the border to French controlled Algeria.
–– French troops even invades Casablanca.
–– Abdu l-Aziz is deposed by his brother Moulay Hafiz. He, however, proves not to be more competent to resist the French than his brother.
1909: Spain sends 90,000 troops to Melilla, their own enclave in northeastern Morocco.
1910: Moulay Hafiz is trapped by the French, and forced to conclude agreements with the French. The final conclusion was however still 2 years ahead in time.
1912: The Treaty of Fez is signed. With this France is given the right to defend Morocco. A similar treaty was signed with Spain, who occupied most of the northern coast, and areas in the deep south.
1921: Rebellion in the Rif mountains, as a protest against the Spanish exploitation of their territories, is started by Abdu l-Karim. He was not stopped until 5 years later, then by joint Spanish and French forces of 360,000 troops.
1943: With the French capitulation in the Second World War, the nationalists form the party Istiqlal, which called for total independence for Morocco.
1953: Sultan Muhammad 5 is exiled, after he had joined forces with the nationalists, and also several times rejected to cooperated with the French. The French tried to make the Berber pasha of Marrakech, Thami l-Glaoui, into the new ruler of Morocco, but without much success. Unrest is spreading all over the country.
1955 The French allows the sultan to return, which is a great defeat for the French. this was however not enough to quell the unrest.

King Muhammad 5 of Morocco
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King Muhammad 5, ruler 1927-1961.

King Hassan 2 of Morocco
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King Hassan 2, 1961-1999.

1956 March: France, which is fully engaged in the war against the nationalists of Algeria, gives full independence to Morocco. The sultan, Muhammad 5, takes over a country more united than most of his predecessors did, and with n infrastructure with irrigation, roads and railroads. There were however many unresolved tensions between religious and political groups, as well as between regions and the central administration of Morocco.
–– April: Spain follows up the French recognition of Morocco's independence, and hands over most its territories.
–– Following independence, sultan (from 1957, king) Muhammad 5 started a wide reform programme, with creation of schools and universities, introduction of regional government, actions of unorthodox Sufi brotherhoods. But there were also actions against the prostitution of Tangier.
–– Among the most important issues for the king, was to build alliances to secure his position. While he had worked with the independence movement before, he now focused on the army and the police. In the political landscape, Muhammad turned away from the strong independence party Istiqlal, and lend his support to the moderate Mouvement Populaire.
–– October: The free zone of Tangier is handed over to Morocco.
1958: These were turbulent times, between political orientations and between regional groups. Among the most serious problems for the new independent kingdom, was the rebellion in Rifs this, which was not fought down before the following year.
1961: King Muhammad 5 dies, and his son, Hassan 2, takes over. He faces a challenge in building alliances and allegiances: While his father had rested much of his authority on his successful fight for independence, he was a relatively anonymous figure in comparison. Throughout his entire rule, he was very zealous in his duties as a king who also was a religious leader.
1962 December: A new constitution is approved by a popular referendum. This was designed to secure the position of the king and his power, within the confines of democratic structures.
1963: The first general elections are held. Loyalist parties wins a majority of the seats.
–– A plot against King Hassan's life is discovered, and the leaders of the important political party UNFP is charged for implication. Many in the opposition has since considered this as a fabrication to hurt UNFP.
1965 June: King Hassan suspends the parliament, and assumes full executive and legislative powers. He even held the position as prime minister until 1967.
1969 January: Spain hands over Ifni to Morocco.
Early 1970's: Serious attempts on king Hassasn 2's life, where he only saves his life with a small margin.
1975 November: The Green March, Al Massira, where Morocco annexes the northern two thirds of Western Sahara. The background for this is was mainly two: Moroccan nationalistic historical claims on areas wider than its present size (extending even further than Western Sahara), as well as Hassan's need to find a uniting cause upon which he could build a base of popularity and authority. But the Al Massira also brought Morocco into war with Polisario, the armed forces of Western Sahara.
1979: Following Mauritania's withdrawal from the southern one third of Western Sahara, Morocco occupies this part as well.
Early 1980's: Polisario sees many victories, and manages to paralyze much of the Moroccan-built infrastructure in Western Sahara. Polisarios advances also brings an stop to the mining activities, the only economic reason for Morocco's presence in the region.
1981 June: Heavy protest strikes in Casablanca as a reaction toward freeze in wages and reduced subsidies on foodstuffs. This lead to the death of at least 100 persons.
1983 October: Parliament elections are cancelled, and the king takes all executive and legislative power. The background for this was strong unrest among the political parties, along with the fact that government was close to bankruptcy. The king introduced hard measures to help the economy, but it is believed that the measures would have been even harder had Morocco come under administration of the IMF, the International Monetary Fund (open up the home page of IMF in an external window).
1984: Morocco leaves the Organization of African Unity as a protest against the presence of Polisario.
1989: A ceasefire is agreed with Polisario, where the parties agrees to bring the struggle on to a referendum held between Sahrawis on the future status of the annexed areas. The parties do not, however, manage to agree upon who should be defined as Sahrawis, and allowed to participate. And because of this, the referendum is going to be postponed time after time. The main result of this agreement is to bring an end to the fighting. This gives Morocco room to build an even stronger presence in the region than earlier.
1990 December: Demonstrations in Fez against higher costs of basic products, principally bread, comes as a proof of dissatisfaction and political consciousness in the Moroccan population.

King Muhammad 6 of Morocco

King Muhammad 6, ruling since 1999.

Towards pluralism
1990's: This period is one of modernization of social structures, both by increasing the regional governments, as well as allowing for the establishment of non-governmental organizations.
1992: For the first time, the annexed areas (Western Sahara) participates in the local elections.
1993 November: Following legislative elections earlier this year, none of the parties were able to form a government. King Hassan decides to appoint an un-political government of technocrats and independents.
Middle of the 1990's: Many changes in internal politics to improve the treatment of prisoners and political dissidents. However, this was only a change from terrible to bad.
1995 February: King Hassan appoints a new government, this time it has members from conservative parties.
1996: Morocco signs the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership with European Union. This agreement was a designed for future free trade between Morocco (and other countries) and the European Union.
1997 April: Legislative elections, where the socialist party becomes the biggest with winning 14% of the seats. 1998: For the first time, Morocco gets a government that is formed by opposition politicians. This is considered as the fruit of a long process of moderate democratization of the country.
1999 July: King Hassan dies, and leaves the throne to his hitherto nearly unknown son, Muhammad 6. There is little change in politics with the new king, although hopes of change had been expressed. Some economic reforms are introduced causing media protests.
2002 June: A terrorist attack planned on US and British navy vessels in the Strait of Gibraltar is stopped; 3 Saudi Arabian citizens are arrested.
2003 May 16: Salafiya Jihadiya carries out a terrorist attack on Jewish targets in Casablanca, killing 33 plus 12 suicide bombers. Moroccan government begins a campaign on alleged potential terrorist groups, both the Salafiya Jihadiya and Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM). About 1,000 would over the following 3 years be jailed on terrorist charges.

By Tore Kjeilen