Morocco: History (part 2)

Morocco: History (part 2)

Part one here

booking a tour or an excursion around the imperial cities and historical sights of morocco can't be done without knowing a little about the history, in those two parts you will find a short description about moroccan history and you get an idea about the cultural diversity.

Roman, and sub-Roman Morocco

Initially the Berber kings ruled overshadowing Carthage and Rome, often as satellites, allowing Roman rulership to exist.

Roman coins excavated in Essaouira, 3rd century.
But after the fall of Carthage, the area was annexed to the Roman Empire in AD 40. Rome controlled the vast, ill-defined territory through alliances with the tribes rather than through military occupation, expanding its authority only to those areas that were economically useful or that could be defended without additional manpower. Hence, Roman administration never extended outside the restricted area of the northern coastal plain and valleys. This strategic region formed part of the Roman Empire, governed as Mauretania Tingitana.
Roman historians (like Ptolemeus) considered that all actual Morocco until the Atlas mountains was part of the Roman Empire. During the time of Augustus, Mauretania was a vassal state and his rulers (like Juba II) controlled all the areas south of Volubilis. But the effective control of Roman legionaries was until the area of Sala Colonia (the castra "Exploratio Ad Mercurios" south of Sala is the southernmost discovered until now). Some historians believe the Roman frontier reached actual Casablanca, founded by Romans as a port.
During the reign of Juba II Emperor Augustus (who created in the area of what is now northern Morocco 12 colonies with retired Roman legionaries) had already founded three colonias, with Roman citizens, in Mauretania close to the Atlantic coast: Iulia Constantia Zilil, Iulia Valentia Banasa and Iulia Campestris Babba.

This western part of Mauretania was to become the province called Mauretania Tingitana shortly afterwards. The capital was the rich emporium of Volubilis.
In those centuries, the area controlled by Rome had great economic development. Helped by the construction of Roman roads. The area was initially fully under control of Rome and only in the mid-2nd century was built a limes south of Sala and until Volubilis.
Roman control reached the area of Casablanca, then called Anfa according to Leo Africanus: it was used as a port by the Phoenicians and later the Romans.
In his book "Wasf Afriquia" Hassan Al Wazan (nicknamed Leo Africanus) refers to "Anfa" (ancient Casablanca) as a great city which was founded by the Romans. He also believed that Anfa was the most prosperous city on the Atlantic coast because of its fertile land.
Around 278 AD Romans moved their regional capital to Tanger and Volubilis started to lose importance.
The region remained a part of the Roman Empire until 429 AD as the Vandals overran the area and Roman administrative presence came to an end.
Indeed in the 5th century, the region fell to the Vandals, Visigoths, before being recovered by the Romans in rapid succession. During this time, however, the high mountains of most of modern Morocco remained unsubdued, and stayed in the hands of their Berber inhabitants.
Christianity was introduced in the 2nd century and gained converts in the towns and among slaves and Berber farmers. By the end of the 4th century, the Romanized areas had been Christianized, and inroads had been made as well among the Berber tribes, who sometimes converted en masse. But schismatic and heretical movements also developed, usually as forms of political protest. The area had a substantial Jewish population as well.

The Berber Empires

Morocco reached its height under a series of Berber dynasties, that arose south of the Atlas Mountains and expanded their rule northwards, replacing the local rulers. The 11th and 12th centuries witnessed the founding of several great Berber dynasties led by religious reformers and each based on a tribal confederation that dominated the Maghrib (also seen as Maghreb; refers to North Africa west of Egypt) and Al-Andalus for more than 200 years. The Berber dynasties (Almoravids, Almohads, Marinids and Wattasids) gave the Berber people some measure of collective identity and political unity under a native regime for the first time in their history, and they created the idea of an "imperial Maghrib" under Berber aegis that survived in some form from dynasty to dynasty. But ultimately each of the Berber dynasties proved to be a political failure because none managed to create an integrated society out of a social landscape dominated by tribes that prized their autonomy and individual identity.
In 1559, the region fell to successive Arab tribes claiming descent from the Prophet Muhammad: first the Saadi Dynasty who ruled from 1554 to 1659 and then the Alaouites, who founded a dynasty that has remained in power since the 17th century.

 
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