Man was already roaming along the Atlantic shoreline, as far back as 800,000 BC, as is evidenced by artefacts unearthed in Casablanca – the most ancient finds ever discovered in North Africa . Towards 5000 BC, settlers from the Near East co-existed and intermixed with the indigenous inhabitants of . These newcomers were the ancestors of the Berbers, their numbers further increased through Mediterranean relations.
Around 1600 BC, during the Bronze Age, Berber shepherds carved images on the rocks of the High Atlas : daggers, spears, axes, and shields – items utilised by the Mauritanians in the two major activities of the epoch, hunting and fishing.
Between 800 and 600 BC : entered into history. Libyo-Berber script, invented by the Berbers, made its first appearance in the Atlas, and Phoenician letters are inscribed on pottery dating from 500 BC found on the Isle of Essaouira. The Ethiopians, "those who have been burnt by the sun" settled in forming cave dwelling communities the north ; and becoming nomadic hunters in the south. The Atlantes occupied the interior of the Atlas Mountains , giving their name to the Atlantic Ocean .
4th Century BC
The Birth of the Greeks called the Western Libyans "Maurusians," – a name which the inhabitants of present-day and Western still apply to themselves.
Juba II, who ruled from 25 BC to 23 AD, was made king by Augustus and resided in Volubilis. He describes the country in a book that was later used by Pliny. He set up a manufactory for the production of purple dye on the island of Mogador , just off Essaouira, and sent his navy to take the Canary Islands .
42 AD : The Roman Conquest
The armies of Rome took control of , which they divided into two provinces. Tingitane in the west, became increasingly important both in terms of agriculture and trade thanks to their building of roads. Tingis, Lixus, Volubilis and Benassa developed. The Romans continued to exert influence in the south until 285 and in the north until 429, when it was overrun by the Vandals, It seems that from 533, Byzantine and then Visigoth fleets occupied Ceuta and Essaouira, but little remains as a record of this.
The Muslim Conquest
Conversion to Islam : in 682, the Arab chief, Oqbah Ibn Nâfi`i, founder ofKairouan, the first Muslim city in , launched a raid as far as the Atlantic coastline. Berbers and Byzantines rose against the invaders, but the Arab Muslim managed to extend their control continuing the process of conversion to Islam. In 711, the Berber chief, Târiq Ibn Zyâd, landed in Gibraltar , marking the beginning of the conquest of.
Crisis of the Caliphate : Muslim control was consolidated despite the Kingdoms arising with dissident religious doctrines, such as the Kharidjite Kingdom of Sijilmassa, in Tafilalt and the Kingdom of Berghouta , on the Atlantic coastline. In 740, a major revolt against the authority of Damas, seat of the Omeyyâd Caliphate, broke out. Gradually, started to slip from their control, and fragment into a patchwork of kingdoms and principalities.
In 788 the first Muslim dynasty, of Middle-Eastern origin, came to power and in 791 Morocco effectively came into being Idriss I, descendant of Ali, the Prophet’s son-in-law, fled from Arabia to escape the massacre of his family, settled in Volubilis and founded Fez, which, after his death in 792 at the hands of Haroun el-Rachid, was declared capital of the Kingdom by his son and successor, Idriss II, who from 803 onwards devoted himself to its expansion. Following his death in 828, his sons, and then, his brothers, took over administration of the Kingdom. Economic life went from strength to strength and in 857 and 859, the magnificent Kairouan and Andalusian mosques were built in Fez . At the beginning of the 11th century, the Idrissids became the Caliphs of Cordoba, remaining so until the division of brought about the decline and disappearance of their dynasty in 1055.
A Berber Dynasty originating from the Western Sahara , their name in Arabic, "Al-Murâbitûn" means warrior-priests. Their Sultan Yûsûf Ibn Tâchfine had the future capital of the Kingdom, Marrakesh , built around the year 1070 and then strove to bring about the political unification of and Muslim Spain. Under his leadership, Andalusian civilisation spread across the Maghreb , and Almoravid troops captured Spanish territories as far as the Ebro . Ali Ben Yûsûf, his son, succeeded him in 1106, and ruled for 37 years.
Originating from the High Atlas, their Arabic name, "Al-Muwahhidûn" (the Unitarians), an affirmation of the Unicity of God, this Berber Dynasty’s founder was Ibn Toumert, a preacher in Tin-Mal (in the High Atlas).
His disciple, Abdelmoumen, chose Marrakesh as capital, building the Koutoubia Mosque there. He founded the Almohad Empire and managed to unify North Africa , but died in Rabat in 1163 before he could annex Andalusia to his Empire. This was to be his successor, Ya`cub Al-Mansûr’s achievement, emerging victorious against the Portuguese and the Spanish at the Battle of Alarcos in 1195. After his death, military failures led to the division of the Empire and the rejection of Ibn Toumert’s religious system.
Nomadic Berbers of Zanâta stock, originating from the Muluya basin, this Dynasty made Fez their capital built Fez El-Jedid and numerous Medersas including the El-Attarine and Abû Inân Medersas, and the Merinid Medersa in Salé. They had taken advantage of the decline of the Almohad Empire, and laid their hands on Fez , Rabat , Salé, as well as the fertile plains of Saiss and the Gharb. In 1269, the Merinid Sultan, Abû Yûsûf Ya`cub, captured Marrakesh , putting an end to the Almohad Dynasty.
As supreme chief of the Merinid Dynasty, Abû El-Hassan attempted to reconstitute the Empire in 1331, conquering Tlemcen in and Tunis in 1347 but failing to keep control of and Algeciras in 1340.
In 1348, the Bubonic Plague and rebellions in Tlemcen and Tunis marked the decline of the Merinids who could no longer keep out the Portuguese and the Spanish, an inability shared by their successors, the Wattasids, thus enabling the Iberians to settle along the Moroccan coast. Resistance against the settlers took shape within religious brotherhoods and around marabouts leading to the emergence of the Saadian Dynasty.
A Cherifian Dynasty (the word derives from "Shorfa",meaning descendants of the Prophet Mohammed) originating from the Drâa Valley , they chose Marrakesh as their capital. In 1578, Ahmed Al-Mansûr Eddahbi became sultan, gaining renown for his arduous victory in the Battle of the Three Kings, at Oued El-Makhâzine, and for the conquest of Timbuktu , from whence he brought back gold and slaves. His reign saw the building of the El-Badi Palace and the development of the sugar and arms industries. His reign ended in 1602.
A Dynasty originating in the Shorfa of Tafilalet, descendants of Ali, they emerged, in the mid- 15th century and first imposed their authority over the country in 1666. Their founder and spiritual leader, Moulay Ali Cherif, and his successors (namely Mohammed Ben Ali Cherif who was proclaimed Sultan in 1640) who sought to re-unite , carrying out an economic and military strategy.
Moulay Ismael acceded to the throne in 1672, wielding absolute power and building upon the achievements of his predecessors. The Sultan began by building the City of Meknès , naming it as the capital of the Kingdom. After re-capturing Larache and Tangiers, Moulay Ismael overthrew local religious and political authorities so founding the Cherifian Empire. His rule extended as far as establishing a network of fortresses from where his army of regular soldiers operated. He thereafter devoted his time and energy to establishing positive diplomatic relations with foreign powers, particularly during the reigns of Louis XIV of and James II.
After his death in 1727, Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abdellah (Mohammed III) acceded to the throne In 1757. An ardent Muslim, all he thought about was to bring peace and security to the country. He was welcomed as a providential man and his proclamation took the character of a real plebiscite. As soon as he took over, he cut taxes, adopted a sound currency and reconstituted a new army recruited from the Guich tribes. He devoted himself to fortifying Moroccan ports and had the chance to recover Mazagan from the Portuguese (1769). Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abdellah concluded a peace treaty with the Spanish and another one with Louis XV on prisoners (An agreement that Moulay Ismael did not manage to conclude). Aware of the fact that was in need of strong exterior relations to compensate the loss of Triq-Sultan (strategic passage), He signed trade treaties with, and the which had just proclaimed its independence. The Sultan, Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abdellah was among the first to recognize American Independence. He therefore received a very nice letter from George Washington in which he proposed the conclusion of a friendship treaty between the two countries. Still, the most striking event of his reign remains the foundation of Mogador which was built by the French architect Gournot. Undoubtedly, he would have done more if was not impeded by a lack of means. At his death in 1790, was doing well, better than what it was before his reign.
Moulay Slimane, successor to Moulay Yazid Ibn Mohamed Ibn Abdellah, who had only governed the country for two years from 1790 to 1792, recovered Oujda from the hands of the Turks, built several mosques and Medersas and came to the aid of the Algerians during the war of Isly. Following the Cherifian Empire’s support of Emir Abdelkader of , underwent a major political crisis, leading to military intervention by in 1844 and by , 1859–1860. Confrontations were to continue until 1873, during the reign of Mohamed IV. Sultan Moulay Hassan I, consolidated power by rallying the tribes of the High Atlas and to modernised the country, while retaining its independence, treaties were imposed by Great Britain, Spain, and France. The country became indebted to foreign banks. When Moulay Hassan I died in 1894, he was succeeded by Moulay Abdelaziz who reigned until 1907, when Moulay Hafid took over the throne. Following the murder of a number of European expatriates, the French occupied Casablanca, France and Spain having already been appointed trustees of the new Bank of Morocco after the 1906 Algesiras Conference.
And two years later, Sultan Moulay Hafid called upon to liberate Fez , which was besieged by rebellious tribes. Following French intervention, the Sultan was forced to accept a Protectorate Treaty signed on 30 March 1912, which stipulated that a sphere of influence be granted to . Moulay Hafid abdicated in favour of Moulay Youssef, a man of culture, who began his reign by building a number of schools, including the one that still bears his name.
The same year, General Lyautey was appointed Resident General of . He immediately designated Rabat as capital and with the help of the urban planner Leon Henry Prost undertook modernisation of the cities of the Kingdom. In 1921, Abdelkrim El-Khattaby spearheaded the revolt of the Riffi tribes against European domination.
His Majesty, King Mohamed V
General Lyautey left the country in 1925. diminished Cherifian power by opting more and more for direct rule and resistance mounted, led by members of the young urban elite. The Second World War, however marked a truce between nationalist opposition and France. During the War, His Majesty King Mohamed Ben Youssef (Mohamed V) who had become the Sultan of the Cherifian Kingdom in 1927, undertook to protect all Moroccan Jews against persecution by the Vichy regime. In 1944, the Manifesto of Independence was published and three years later, in the then International City of Tangier, His Majesty King Mohamed V declared himself in favour of it. During the next five years, negotiations were entered into but without success. In 1952, the crisis between Protectorate authorities and nationalists culminated in insurrection and the Sultan was deposed, and then exiled in 1953. However, setbacks in Indo-China, long with the beginning of the Algerian War in 1954, prompted the French Government to seek a political solution in . The Sovereign returned from exile in November 1955, paving the way for Independence , which was formally recognised by in 1956, and then by . In the early years of Independence , His Majesty King Mohamed V strove to endow the country with democratic institutions, drawing up a constitution shortly before his death in 1961.
His Majesty King Hassan II
After the death of King Mohamed V on 26 February 1961, Moulay Hassan formally acceded to the throne on 3 March 1961. At the beginning of his reign, the new king sought to consolidate independence and unify the country, removing all foreign military presence in 1962. Troubled by political and economic difficulties, the beginning of the reign saw the reinforcement of centralisation, and in 1963, the Moroccan and Algerian armies faced each other across Saharan borders. The year 1965 saw the implementation of agrarian reform and in 1969 the province of Ifni was returned to the mother country.
On the international front, the late King dispatched two military contingents, one to the Golan Heights in , the other to Sinai, in , to participate in the defence of these countries against Israeli aggression.
The Green March, which took place in November 1975 with a view to re-integrating Kingdom’s Saharan Provinces, rallied the entire Moroccan people behind the King leading to the end of the occupation of the southern regions.
His Majesty Hassan II counted among the world’s great leaders. He chaired the Al-Qods Committee using all his energies in order to preserve the Holy City from Israeli control. He encouraged growth in the agricultural sector, the basis of the national economy, building dozens of dams and distributing land to the worst-off farmers.
To develop national industry, he had factories and plants built, linked major cities and towns by laying an extensive network of road and ordered construction of ports and airports. He paid much attention to education, health, and housing, having hospitals, schools, institutes and universities built, and ordering that rents of all accommodation occupied by low-income tenants be reduced by one third. To lay the foundations for democracy, he set up municipal, communal and rural councils and established an elected parliament. He modified the administrative map of the country continually, creating new provinces to bring administration closer to the citizens, and issued directives designed to improve rural life. He oversaw the building of many mosques, of which the largest, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca , is a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture. He set up councils of Oulemas (religious scholars) and founded the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco .
During the 90s, the regime became increasingly democratic, thanks to changes at both domestic and international level.
Following the death of His Majesty King Hassan II on July 23, 1999, a new Sovereign, born after Independence , was entrusted with the destiny of the Kingdom on 30 July 1999.