Morocco History and Culture

By | October 11, 2021


His death was followed by another period of unrest, which ended with the accession to the throne of Mūlāy Sulayman or Sliman (1794-1822), who, overturning Muḥammad’s policy, closed Morocco to Europeans, whose diplomatic and consular agents were forced to reside in Tangier. The French conquest of Algeria (1830) was fatal to Morocco. The help from this given to ʽAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥyī d-Dīn provoked the reaction of France, which inflicted a serious defeat on the Moroccan forces, while Spain, irritated by the attacks on the garrisons, also led a campaign against Morocco, ending with the Treaty of Tetuan (1860), which required the sultan to sell territories and a heavy war indemnity. To pay the indemnity Morocco was forced to borrow in Europe, which paved the way for foreign intervention in the country’s internal events. According to picktrue, under ʽAbd al-ʽAzīz ibn al-Ḥasan (1894-1908) the crisis that brought Morocco under the French protectorate matured. After a period of skilful balance between the powers and wise internal politics led, during the sultan’s minority, by the regent Bā Aḥmad, ʽAbd al-ʽAzīz was unable to dominate the internal revolts, which were taken as a pretext by France and England. for the first interventions. On the basis of a complex interplay of mutual agreements and rewards, France gained recognition of its specific interests in Morocco, in exchange for England in Egypt (1904) freedom of action and an area of ​​Spanish influence in the northern area of ​​the country. Morocco (1904). An agreement had previously been reached with Italy which recognized its interests in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (1902). Germany, the only power that had not received any compensation, it was therefore the only possible ally of Morocco and with it France had to overcome numerous difficulties. After filing firm protests in defense of their interests, William II landed in Tangier (1905) assuring his support for ʽAbd al-ʽAzīz. In 1906 a conference held in Algeciras seemed to have reconciled the need to defend French interests with that of saving the territorial integrity of the country, but in the face of actions taken by France to assert its control, a new crisis opened (the sultan meanwhile, overwhelmed by these events, he was forced to abdicate in 1908). The German government sent a gunboat to Agadir in 1911and finally Paris and Berlin reached an agreement (November 4, 1911) by which Germany gave a free hand to France in Morocco in exchange for the cession of large French territories E of Cameroon.

On March 30, 1912, France signed the protectorate agreement with Morocco, followed by Spain (Convention November 27, 1912). First president was Lyautey; Tangier had the status of an international city. After the rebellion unleashed (1921) in the Rif by Muḥammad ibn ʽAbd al-Karīm al Haṭṭābī (ʽAbd al-Krīm) against Spain and France, the latter, which had managed to defeat the Berber chief only in 1926 after a long period of fighting, set up an increasingly direct administration of the protectorate tending to eliminate traditional structures, which at first had been preserved. This position, combined with the application of an equivocal policy, tending to privilege the Berber element, accelerated the formation of a national sentiment: the bourgeoisie joined the reformist movements, the same Sultan Muḥammad V ibn Yūsuf he seemed committed to obtaining the relief of the protectorate. To these movements France responded in 1934 with the transfer of the country under the jurisdiction of the French overseas ministry, giving it more and more clearly a colonial character. During the Second World War, Morocco, shaken by continuous uprisings, was linked since 1939 to the Allies and from 1941 to free France. At the end of the war, the nationalistic movements, supported by Muḥammad, showed the firm will to regain independence and sovereignty, so much so that Morocco refused to join the French Union with the status of Associated State. France reacted harshly by deposing and exiling the sultan, but popular pressure, the guerrillas unleashed against it in the country and the defeats suffered on other fronts (Indochina and Algeria) forced it to change its attitude. With the Convention of March 1956, France renounced the protectorate and recognized the independence of Morocco.


The country’s landscapes are those linked to classical cinema, which the Western world remembers and knows: they are in fact the backgrounds of Lawrence of Arabia by D. Lean, The Man Who Knew Too Much by A. Hitchcock, Tea in the Desert by B Bertolucci, Marrakech Express by G. Salvatores. In fact, Morocco represents a crossroads between the Middle East, Africa and Europe: its people follow the Islamic tradition, they tend to Europe for economic progress, maintaining their Berber roots. This situation is reflected in many aspects of daily life: traditional male pastimes, such as ritual conversations accompanied by strong, dark tea, are frequently interrupted by the ringing of cell phones; in clothing the cloak covers the western-style shirt, the turban is replaced by the cap. Alongside pop music, raï coexists, a kind of Arabic pop music combined with traditional melodies, originally from neighboring Algeria. In addition to the celebration of traditional Muslim festivals, among the most interesting events we can mention the Folklore Festival, which takes place every year in June in Marrakech: here you can meet groups from all over the country who perform traditional dances and music, accompanied by lutes, drums and other ancient instruments. Particularly interesting is the music of the Gnawa ethnic group, of Saharan origins, which performs hypnotic and enthralling music. Moroccan life also takes place outdoors, on the squares embellished with fountains and in the markets (souk); alive is the craftsmanship (carpets, leathers, skins, silver, copper), in which the manufacturer is almost always a seller of his own products. The territory bears witness to the passage of numerous civilizations, and the ancient Roman and Moorish vestiges are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the medina (the Moorish part) of Fès (1981), the medina of Marrakech (1985) are part of the Islamic culture.), the imperial city of Meknès (1996), the medina of Tétouan (1997) and that of Essaouira (2001); the ksar by Aït Ben Haddou (1987), one of the best preserved fortified villages in the country, famous for being the film set for famous films; the important archaeological site of the Roman city of Volubilis (1997 and 2008); the sixteenth-century Portuguese citadel of El Jadida (2004) and Rabat, historic city and modern capital (2012).

Morocco History