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A Short History of Morocco

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The Berbers entered Moroccan history toward the end of the 2nd millennium B.C., when they made initial contact with oasis dwellers on the steppe who may have been the remnants of the earlier savanna people. Before the 12th century B.C., the Phoenician traders entered the western Mediterranean who set up depots for salt and ore along the coast and up the rivers of the territory that is now Morocco. Then Carthage developed commercial relations with the Berber tribes of the interior and paid them an annual tribute to ensure their cooperation in the exploitation of raw materials. Carthage had extended its dominance across much of North Africa in the 5th century. The Berber kings ruled in the shadow of Carthage and Rome, often as satellites. When Carthage falls, the Roman Empire took over the country in 40 A.D. Vandals, Visigoths, and then Byzantine Greeks conquered the region in the 5th century.

Christianity was introduced in the 2nd century and gained converts in the towns and among slaves and Berber farmers. The Romanized areas had been Christianized and inroads had been made as well among the Berber tribes in the end of the 4th century.

In the 7th century, the Arabs conquered the region and bringing their civilization and Islam, to which many of the Berbers converted. It is the Arab governor Musa Ibn Nasr who had taken control over the central regions or Morocco.

In 1248, one of the local tribes, the Merenids, conquers Fez; before they set out to seize Marrakech. The Merenids lose to Saadiens, and Morocco experienced a revival for the next century.

In 1904, French made an agreement with United Kingdom and Italy on spheres of influence over Africa, leaving Morocco within the control of France. In March 1956, France, which is fully engaged in the war against the nationalists of Algeria, gives full independence to Morocco. Sultan Muhammad V takes over the country more united than most of his predecessors did.

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