History of Morocco

History of human habitation in Morocco spans since Lower Paleolithic, with the earliest known being Jebel Irhoud. Much later Morocco was part of Iberomaurusian culture, including Taforalt. It dates from the establishment of Mauretania and other ancient Berber kingdoms, to the establishment of the Moroccan state by the Idrisid dynasty[1] followed by other Islamic dynasties, through to the colonial and independence periods.

Archaeological evidence has shown that the area was inhabited by hominids at least 400,000 years ago.[2] The recorded history of Morocco begins with the Phoenician colonization of the Moroccan coast between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE,[3] although the area was inhabited by indigenous Berbers for some two thousand years before that. In the 5th century BCE, the city-state of Carthage extended its hegemony over the coastal areas.[4] They remained there until the late 3rd century BCE,[5] while the hinterland was ruled by indigenous monarchs.[4] Indigenous Berber monarchs ruled the territory from the 3rd century BCE until 40 CE, when it was annexed to the Roman Empire. In the mid-5th century AD, it was overrun by Vandals, before being recovered by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century.

The region was conquered by the Muslims in the early 8th century AD, but broke away from the Umayyad Caliphate after the Berber Revolt of 740. Half a century later, the Moroccan state was established by the Idrisid dynasty.[6][7] Under the Almoravid and the Almohad dynasties, Morocco dominated the Maghreb and Muslim Spain. The Saadi dynasty ruled the country from 1549 to 1659, followed by the Alaouites from 1667 onwards, who have since been the ruling dynasty of Morocco.[8][9][10]

In 1912, after the First Moroccan Crisis and the Agadir Crisis, the Treaty of Fez was signed, dividing Morocco into French and Spanish protectorates. In 1956, after 44 years of French rule, Morocco regained independence from France, and shortly afterward regained most of the territories under Spanish control.

Prehistoric Morocco

Archaeological excavations have demonstrated the presence of people in Morocco that were ancestral to Homo sapiens, as well as the presence of early human species. The fossilized bones of a 400,000-year-old early human ancestor were discovered in Salé in 1971.[2] The bones of several very early Homo sapiens were excavated at Jebel Irhoud in 1991, these were dated using modern techniques in 2017 and found to be at least 300,000 years old, making them the oldest examples of Homo Sapiens discovered anywhere in the world.[11] In 2007, small perforated seashell beads were discovered in Taforalt that are 82,000 years old, making them the earliest known evidence of personal adornment found anywhere in the world.[12]

In Mesolithic times, between 20,000 and 5000 years ago, the geography of Morocco resembled a savanna more than the present arid landscape.[13] While little is known of settlements in Morocco during that period, excavations elsewhere in the Maghreb region have suggested an abundance of game and forests that would have been hospitable to Mesolithic hunters and gatherers, such as those of the Capsian culture.[14]

During the Neolithic period, which followed the Mesolithic, the savanna was occupied by hunters and herders. The culture of these Neolithic hunters and herders flourished until the region began to desiccate after 5000 BCE as a result of climatic changes. The coastal regions of present-day Morocco in the early Neolithic shared in the Cardium pottery culture that was common to the entire Mediterranean region. Archaeological excavations have suggested that the domestication of cattle and the cultivation of crops both occurred in the region during that period.[citation needed] In the Chalcolithic period, or the copper age, the Beaker culture reached the north coast of Morocco.[citation needed]

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