Morocco History Timeline

According to, Morocco is a country in northwestern Africa. It borders Western Sahara to the southwest and Algeria to the east. The coastline west of the country is formed by the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Rabat. Casablanca is the country’s largest city. The official language is Arabic. In addition, Berber is spoken in parts of the country, just as French and Spanish are widespread due to the country’s past as a French protectorate and Spanish area of ​​interest.

A jump across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain and you are in Morocco. A land full of mystery, colors and marvelous scents. Casablanca, Marrakesh and Tangier. If you taste the names, they leave an almost spicy feeling. And that’s what Morocco is: a spicy mix of bustling marketplaces, leather and magic rugs.

In mountainous eastern Morocco, the Atlas and Rif mountain ranges extend from south to north. They are covered by sparse vegetation. Here live the Berber people, who are nomads.

You have problems with the forests in the Atlas Mountains which disappear and are replaced by dry bush steppe. The climate is not ideal for agriculture everywhere, so irrigation is utilized. The further south, the less precipitation.

The biggest economic problems in Morocco concern unemployment. In 2008, it is estimated to be 9.8%. The country’s youth in particular are out of work, which has led to illegal emigration, especially to France and Spain. These send money home to Morocco.

The city of Agadir in the south is the destination for European charter tourists who are attracted by the long sandy beach to the Atlantic Ocean. There was a sharp decline after 9/11, but it looks better today. From Denmark, Bravo Tours and Tjæreborg organize trips there.

Unlike Algeria and Tunisia, Morocco was never formally incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, but nevertheless took advantage of the presence of Turkish troops in the region, which constituted a brake on Spanish expansion. The fragile equilibrium enabled the sultans to maintain their independence right up to the 20th century.

Approx. 98% of the population are Sunni Muslims, approx. 1% are Christians and 1% are Jews.

The country’s constitution declares Islam to be the religion of the state, and freedom of religion is guaranteed for all citizens. Islamic law (sharia) is the basis of the legislation in all family law matters such as. inheritance and divorce.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Foundations ensures that the Islamic tradition is upheld and a large number of imams at the country’s mosques are employed by the ministry. The Moroccan royal house claims to be descended from the family of the Prophet Muhammad.

In the country’s struggle for independence from France, the Islamic tradition was strongly emphasized, and Islam has played an important role throughout the country’s independence. (Source: MH, IFL and DSDE)


1912 – An agreement between France, Spain and Britain makes the country a French protectorate and divides it: Spain gained the Rif region in the north – including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla – and in the south Ifni and Sahara. England reached an agreement with the French around Egypt and Sudan. Tangier was declared an international free port, and the sultan was made a wreath cake figure.

1956 – The French are forced to recognize Morocco’s full independence.

1956 – April 7. Morocco re-incorporated Melilla, Tangier and the “special zone” of Ceuta into its territory, but the ports of the two cities remain under Spanish control today. The Ifni enclave was returned to Morocco in 1969.

1965 – Hassan II does not hesitate to order Ben Barka killed. He was the leader of the strong opposition party, the National Union of People’s Forces (UNFP), which demanded the implementation of an economic and social program for the benefit of the majority of workers and peasants. The disappearance of Ben Barka in Paris was followed by brutal repression against the popular forces. The UNFP was split and the trend that maintained Ben Barka’s ideals was forced to operate underground, while the group led by Abderrahim Buabid changed its name to the Socialist Union, but at the same time betrayed its principles in order to take a seat as a minority party in parliament. The Istiqlal party converted its original anti-colonialism into right-wing nationalism and expansionism. It supported King Hassan’s project for the formation of a Greater Morocco through the annexation of Western Sahara and, if possible, Mauritania.

1975 – A rift in Moroccan society intensifies when King Hassan occupies Western Sahara and launches a war that has led to major political changes in North Africa.

1979 – The year is marked by large student and worker demonstrations. At the same time, it was a hard blow for the government that Mauritania withdrew from the Sahara war in August 1979. Morocco now had to bear sole responsibility for the continuation of the war.

1980-81 – The drought led to food shortages and forced the government to import these, which increased the country’s external debt to a completely intolerable level. The IMF came to the government’s rescue with emergency loans, but at the same time demanded that the government remove subsidies for food and housing. It made life even more difficult for the working class. The ambitious plans for economic development came into crisis, and the “export of unemployment” was limited by the restrictions imposed by France on the immigration of emigrants. The crisis was further deepened as a number of moderate opposition parties broke the political ceasefire. The Socialist Union of the People’s Forces (USFP) launched demonstrations against the government. This strongly suppressed the protests in Casablanca in June 1981. They cost, according to official information, 60 killed – according to the opposition 637. 2,000 people were imprisoned. The so-called massacre in Casablanca marked the final rift between the king and the remaining parties on the left that did not want to continue to pay the high price for the war in the Sahara: Over a $ 1 million daily.

1983 – June 10. Moroccans went to the polls to elect 15,492 city council members across the country. According to the international election observers, the census figures from the government were manipulated. The opposition on the left criticized the fraud and accused King Hassan II of disregarding the popular will.

1987 – FILM. Scenes for the James Bond film ” The Living Daylights ” starring Timothy Dalton are filmed in the Atlas Mountains, Tangier and Ourazazate.

1988 – In May, after 12 years of tensions, Morocco and Algeria re-establish diplomatic relations, thanks to mediation by Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The background for the severance of relations had been the war in the Sahara, where Algeria openly from the beginning supported the Saharaui nationalists. The rapprochement between the countries enabled the construction of a gas pipeline that unites both countries with Europe across the Strait of Gibraltar.

1993 – Torture and disappearances are commonplace not only for the people of Saharui but also for the Moroccan people. Nubier Amauí, Secretary General of the Democratic Workers’ Federation, was sentenced to two years in prison for slandering the Moroccan government. He was released several months later after the opposition’s victory in parliament. The Moroccan human rights organization reported on the existence of 750 political prisoners.

1999 – Hassan II’s death in June and his son Mohammed VI ‘s takeover of the throne lead to major political changes in the country. The new king’s first act was the pardon of about 800 political prisoners. In a televised speech in August, the king pledged to fight social inequality, domestic violence, unemployment and flight from rural areas. The Polisario welcomed the king’s first political action and in particular the decision to speed up the referendum on the future of Western Sahara. In November, Mohammed VI proposed a kind of self-government in the occupied territory.

1999 – July 23. Sayyidi Muhammad VI ibn al-Hasan appointed King of Morocco.

2000 – In March, government proposals for greater rights for women triggered both support and counter-demonstrations. With the bill, polygamy would be banned, the marriage age for women would be raised from 14 to 18 years, the woman would be awarded half the values ​​in a divorce, and this would have to be monitored by a judge, and not as today solely at the husband’s discretion.

2000 – In August, the king announces the discovery of large gas and oil deposits at the country’s eastern border. Some independent media estimated that there could be 20,000 million barrels of oil.

2001 – Maj. Iflg. According to a report by the Moroccan prison system, the country’s prison system is characterized by corruption, violence, disease and child abuse, many of whom are under 12 years of age. At the same time, the 44 prisons are notoriously overcrowded and the sanitary conditions are reminiscent of earlier historical periods. They house 80,000 prisoners, but are only half built. Iflg. the report is the only food the inmates get the food their families bring after first having to bribe the prison staff.

2002 – January. Tourism dropped sharply after September 11, 2001 – especially the flow of tourists from the United States. Authorities and influential people in Fez therefore assembled a delegation that traveled to New York in April to inform the North American public that it would be warmly welcomed in Morocco.

2003 – May 16. A terrorist attack in Casablanca cost 45 lives. Iflg. government sources said the terrorists were members of Sirat al-Mustaqim, which is part of the Salafiya-Jihadiya movement, but it was not possible to establish that al-Qaeda was involved. Following the terrorist attack, the Moroccan Parliament adopted very far-reaching terrorist laws that extend the concept of terrorism to all forms of disturbance of public order.

2004 – On February 24, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake shakes the northeastern part of the country. Its epicenter was 15 km from the town of Alhucemas. With 564 dead and 300 wounded, it was the bloodiest earthquake since 1960, when an earthquake destroyed the city of Agadir in the southwestern part of the country and cost 12,000 lives.

2004 – In July, the first trade agreement between the United States and Morocco is concluded. It removed 95% of customs tariffs on consumer and raw materials. U.S. farmers are believed to be among the most favored by the new deal. That same month, Morocco had hosted one of the largest NATO naval and air exercises, and was at the same time recognized by the United States for its contribution to the “fight against terrorism”.

2005 – A major uprising in Western Sahara against the Moroccan government begins in May. The uprising was described by the uprising activists as the Sahara’s Intifada. Morocco cracked down on the uprising, and local human rights activists were arrested and in a number of cases subjected to torture. The Spanish parliament repeatedly tried to send commissions of inquiry into the country, but they were not authorized by the Moroccan authorities.

2005 – In August, Polisario releases his last Moroccan prisoners of war. A number of the 404 released prisoners had spent over 20 years in captivity in Polisario camps in Algeria.

2005 – December. A truth commission – the first in the Arab world – concluded after 2 years of investigations that 592 people had been executed under King Hassan II’s regime in the period 1956-99.

2006 – In April, Mohamed VI pardons 48 Saharui activists who had been arrested in 2005 for demanding independence from Western Sahara, but at the same time the king rejected UN mediation in the conflict. This was especially true of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposal for a unity government and to hold a referendum on the issue within 5 years.

2007 – December 18. Morocco is modernizing through Sharia. Read the article here.

Morocco History Timeline

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