Tunisia and Morocco Become Independent - History

Tunisia and Morocco Become Independent - History

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In 1956, large- scale opposition to French rule forced the French to grant independence to Morocco where M'barek Bekkai became Premier, and Tunisia where Habib Bourguiba became Prime Minister.


Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km 2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. [6] With 1.3 billion people [1] [2] as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents [7] [8] the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. [9] Despite a wide range of natural resources, Africa is the least wealthy continent per capita, in part due to geographic impediments, [10] legacies of European colonization in Africa and the Cold War, [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] predatory/neo-colonialistic activities by Western nations and China, and undemocratic rule and deleterious policies. [10] Despite this low concentration of wealth, recent economic expansion and the large and young population make Africa an important economic market in the broader global context.

  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • French Southern Territories
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Azores
  • Canary Islands
  • Ceuta
  • Madeira
  • Mayotte
  • Melilla
  • Plazas de soberanía
  • Prince Edward Islands
  • Réunion
  • Southern Provinces

The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), eight territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria is its largest by population. African nations cooperate through the establishment of the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Africa straddles the Equator and encompasses numerous climate areas it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones. [16] The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Most of the continent lies in the tropics, except by for a large part of Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, the northern tip of Mauritania, the entire territories of Morocco, Ceuta, Melilla and Tunisia which in turn are located above the tropic of Cancer, in the northern temperate zone and in the other extreme of the continent southern Namibia, southern Botsuana, great part of South Africa, the entire territories of Lesoto and eSwatini and the southern tips of Mozambique and Madagascar are located below the tropic of Capricorn, in the southern temperate zone.

Africa is home to much biodiversity it is the continent with the largest number of megafauna species, as it was least affected by the extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna. However, Africa also is heavily affected by a wide range of environmental issues, including desertification, deforestation, water scarcity, and other issues. These entrenched environmental concerns are expected to worsen as climate change impacts Africa. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified Africa as the continent most vulnerable to climate change. [17] [18]

Africa, particularly Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), meaning that Africa has a long and complex history. The earliest hominids and their ancestors have been dated to around 7 million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster— the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) remains, found in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco, date to circa 200,000, 259,000, and 300,000 years ago respectively, and Homo sapiens is believed to have originated in Africa around 350,000–260,000 years ago. [19] [20] [21] [22] [23]

Early human civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia emerged in North Africa. Following a subsequent long and complex history of civilizations, migration and trade, Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. The last 400 years have witnessed an increasing European influence on the continent. Starting in the 16th century, this was driven by trade, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which created large African diaspora populations in the Americas. In the late 19th century, European countries colonized almost all of Africa, extracting resources from the continent and exploiting local communities most present states in Africa emerged from a process of decolonisation in the 20th century.


1956 20 March - Tunisia becomes independent with Bourguiba as prime minister.

1957 - The monarchy is abolished and Tunisia becomes a republic.

1961 - Tunisia says French forces must leave their base in Bizerte. Fighting breaks out. France pulls out of Bizerte in 1963, after long-running talks.

1981 - First multi-party parliamentary elections since independence. President Bourguiba's party wins by a landslide.

1985 - Israel raids Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) HQ in Tunis 60 people are killed. The raid is in response to the killing by the PLO of three Israeli tourists in Cyprus.

1987 - Bloodless palace coup: Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has President Bourguiba declared mentally unfit to rule and takes power himself.

1989 - Ben Ali wins presidential elections. He goes on to be re-elected four more times, the last time in 2009.

1999 - First multi-party presidential elections Ben Ali wins a third term.

Morocco: Setting the Stage for Becoming a Migration Transition Country?

Over the second half of the 20th century, Morocco has evolved into one of the world's leading emigration countries, with the global Moroccan diaspora estimated at around 4 million. Moroccans form one of the largest and most dispersed migrant communities in Europe. Morocco's current population is about 33 million more than 3 million people of Moroccan descent currently live in Western and Southern Europe. Recently, a smaller but growing number of Moroccan migrants have settled in Canada and the United States.

Over the past decade, changing migration patterns have set the stage for potentially far-reaching changes to the economy, demographics, and legal system of this North African country. Although Morocco remains primarily a country of emigration, it is also becoming a destination for migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa and, to some extent, from crisis-hit European countries. The growing presence of immigrants confronts Moroccan society with an entirely new set of social and legal issues typical for immigration countries, which do not yet resonate with Morocco’s self-image as an emigration country.

While Moroccan migration remained relatively untouched by the Arab Spring upheaval, migration has been one of the most defining and thorny issues in relations between Morocco and the European Union. While the latter has attempted to engage Morocco in efforts to reduce irregular emigration and transit migration, Morocco has an interest in facilitating mobility for its own citizens.

Recently, Morocco seems to be coming to terms with its growing role as a country of immigration. In 2013 King Mohammed VI announced a new, more liberal immigration policy that includes avenues for regularization of unauthorized African and European immigrants. Although it is too early to tell how the new policy will be implemented, the move signified a first-time acknowledgment on the part of the Moroccan government of the reality that Morocco is also becoming a country of settlement.

Drawing on unique new data from the DEMIG project, this article provides an overview of the evolution of historical and more recent migration patterns from and towards Morocco, and how evolutions in migration can be explained from broader processes of social, economic, and political change occurring in Morocco and Europe. It will also analyze the unintended role that increasing European immigration restrictions have played in reinforcing the permanent character of Moroccan migration, as well as recent policy developments.

Colonial Migration

Arab-Islamic conquests beginning in the seventh century brought mostly Arabic-speaking populations to present-day Morocco, later joined by large numbers of Muslims and Jews from Spain after the centuries-long reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula ended in 1492. Forced migration in the form of slave trade—both within and to Morocco—lasted well into the colonial era.

French colonization of neighboring Algeria in 1830 heralded the beginning of a period of economic and political restructuring, which created new migration patterns from Morocco. This led to increasing seasonal and circular labor migration to Algeria for work on farms owned by French colons (settlers) and to the expanding Algerian coastal cities. In the late 1930s, the number of Moroccan migrants to Algeria was estimated at about 85,000 per year.

In 1912, the Franco-Spanish colonial “protectorate” over Morocco was formally established. While France gained control over the heartland of Morocco, the Spanish protectorate was limited to the southwestern Sahara and the northern Rif mountain zone. Road construction, other infrastructure projects, and the rapid growth of cities along the Atlantic coast boosted rural-to-urban migration within Morocco.

The colonial era (1912-56) also marked the beginning of migration to France. During World War I and II an urgent lack of manpower in France led to the active recruitment of tens of thousands of Moroccan men for factories, mines, and the French army—40,000 for the French army during the first world war and 126,000 during the second world war. Most of these migrants returned to Morocco after both wars ended.

Although 40,000 Moroccans from the northern Rif area found employment in Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's army during the Spanish civil war in Spanish Morocco, labor migration from Morocco to Spain remained limited. Until the 1960s, Spain itself remained a source of labor migrants to northern Europe and even to Algeria.

When France stopped recruiting Algerian workers during the Algerian war of independence (1954-62), recruitment and migration of factory and mine workers from Morocco was boosted. Between 1949 and 1962, the Moroccan population in France increased from about 20,000 to 53,000. Much of this migration took place via Algeria, which remained a French colony until 1962. Moroccan laborers often followed their colon employers, who massively departed to France after Algerian independence.

Post-Independence: Moroccan Emigration Increases, Destinations Multiply

Yet post-colonial migration was only modest compared with the 1962-72 decade, when strong economic growth in Western Europe resulted in high demand for low-skilled labor. This would dramatically expand the magnitude and geographical scope of Moroccan emigration. Between 1965 and 1972, the estimated number of registered Moroccans living in the main European destination countries increased tenfold, from 30,000 to 300,000, further increasing to 700,000 in 1982, 1.6 million in 1998, and 3.1 million in 2012 (see Table 1 and Figure 1).

In a context of growing demand for workers in Western Europe, labor recruitment agreements with the former West Germany (1963), France (1963), Belgium (1964), and the Netherlands (1969) led to a diversification of Moroccan emigration beyond France.

Moroccan Jews followed a distinct pattern, emigrating in massive numbers to France, Israel, and Canada (Québec) after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the Six Day War of 1967. Morocco's Jewish population dwindled from an approximate 250,000 to the current number of about 5,000.

Note: The years appearing in this table were chosen due to data limitations.

Sources: El Mansouri 1996 (FR, NL, BE, DE 1968 - 1990) Basfao & Taarji 1994 (IT 1982, 1990) National Statistical Services (BE and FR 1998 NL, DE, ES, IT 1998 NL 2012) López García 1999 (ES 1968-1990) IOM and Fondation Hassan II 2003 (BE and FR 2002). a Data for 2002 b Data for 2004 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Morocco (FR, BE, DE, ES, IT 2012).

From Guest Workers to Permanent Settlers (1973-89)

Although Moroccan and receiving-country governments insisted that this migration was temporary, many migrants did not return and ended up settling in Europe. Paradoxically, increasing settlement was stimulated by increasing immigration restrictions.

The 1973 oil crisis heralded a period of economic stagnation and industrial restructuring, resulting in rising unemployment and a lower demand for low-skilled laborers in Western Europe, and labor migration slowed considerably in the years that followed. With many destination countries closing their borders to new labor immigrants and introducing visa requirements for Moroccan visitors, circular migration was no longer an option. Rather than reducing migration, this pushed more and more former “guestworkers” into permanent settlement.

In the same period, the economic situation in Morocco deteriorated and, following two failed coups d'état in 1971 and 1972, the country entered a period of political instability and repression. In a context of increasing immigration restrictions, this situation made many labor migrants decide to stay on the safe side of the Mediterranean and reunify their families.

Helped by the liberal family reunification policies that European destination countries adopted, Moroccan migration shifted during the 1970s and ’80s from primarily circular and labor based to more permanent and family based. It was family migration that mainly explains the fourfold increase in the number of people of Moroccans living in West Europe, from 291,000 in 1972 at the eve of the oil crisis to nearly 1.2 million in 1992.

Family reunification took two forms: “Primary” family reunification consisted of Moroccan women and children joining the predominantly male migrant workers. “Secondary” family reunification happened when the children of Moroccan migrants in Europe married people living in origin regions. While primary family reunification was largely completed by the end of the 1980s, during the 1990s secondary family reunification became an important channel for continued migration from Morocco. By 1998, the number of people of Moroccan descent in the main European destination countries had risen to 1.6 million.

Return migration has remained relatively limited compared to other immigrant groups in Europe. Analysis of available migration data from Northern and Western European destination countries suggests that about one-quarter of Moroccans who migrated between 1981 and 2009 returned to Morocco, although that proportion fluctuates with the business cycle in Europe. This low tendency towards return coincides with a high tendency towards naturalization. From 1992 to 2001, about 430,000 Moroccans living in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway were granted the nationality of an EU Member State.

Migrations to Southern Europe and Beyond

While family reunification largely explains the continuation of migration to traditional destination countries in Northern and Western Europe, from the mid-1980s Spain and Italy emerged as new destination for Moroccan migrants mainly as a consequence of rapidly rising demand for (often irregular) migrant labor in agriculture, construction, and other low-skilled services. Initially, Moroccan migration to Southern Europe had a predominantly circular character as Moroccans could travel freely back and forth.

Migration restrictions and border controls would interrupt this circular migration. After Italy and Spain introduced visa requirements in 1990 and 1991 respectively, more and more Moroccans migrated illegally across the Strait of Gibraltar, overstayed their visas, and were pushed into permanent settlement. Despite the introduction and expansion of border restrictions, irregular migration continued primarily because of ongoing labor demand in Southern Europe.

On several occasions since the late 1980s, Italian and Spanish governments granted legal status to large numbers of Moroccans and other migrants through successive regularization campaigns. In this way, hundreds of thousands of unauthorized migrants were able to gain legal status and, subsequently, reunify their families in Southern Europe.

These factors explain that, in spite of increasing restrictions, the combined Moroccan population officially residing in Spain and Italy increased from about 20,000 in 1980 to an estimated 1.2 million in 2010. While in the past most Moroccan labor migrants were men, an increasing proportion of independent labor migrants to Southern Europe are women who work as domestic workers, nannies, cleaners, or in agriculture and small industries.

Since the 1970s, a relatively small number of Moroccans have migrated to Libya (approximately 120,000) and the oil-rich Gulf countries (several tens of thousands) to work on temporary contracts. More recently, the United States and the French-speaking Canadian province of Québec have attracted increasing numbers of generally highly educated Moroccans.

Note: The dotted line is a trend line based on a moving four-year average.
Source: International Migration Institute, University of Oxford, DEMIG C2C database,

The Moroccan migrant population in Europe has increased almost sevenfold, from 300,000 in 1972, on the eve of the recruitment freeze, to at least 2.5 million in 2010. This estimate excludes unauthorized Moroccan migrants, who might run in the several hundreds of thousands. Figure 2 shows that emigration rates also have increased fast since the late 1990s in defiance of immigration restrictions and border controls.

Including migrants in Arab countries and Moroccan Jews living in Israel, about 4 million people of Moroccan descent live abroad (various years, see Table 2). Figure 3 reveals the extraordinary diversification of Moroccan emigration in terms of destinations, away from the former colonizer France.

Note: Estimated based on five years moving averages.
Source: International Migration Institute, University of Oxford, DEMIG C2C database,

France is still home to the largest legally residing population of people of Moroccan descent (more than 1.1 million) in 2010, followed by Spain (766,000), Italy (486,000), the Netherlands (362,000), Belgium (297,000), and Germany (126,000). Smaller communities live in the Canadian province of Québec (53,000), the United States (33,000), the United Kingdom (26,000), and Scandinavian countries (see Table 2).

Sources: For Moroccan citizens living abroad: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Direction des Affaires Consulaires et Sociales (Citoyens marocains à l’étranger) for Moroccan emigrants (1st generation): Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2012) International Migration Outlook: France (for 2008), Netherlands (for 2010), Belgium (for 2009), Spain (for 2010), Italy (for 2009), Israel (for 2010) Annual Population Survey (UK estimate for 2008) U.S. Census Bureau (U.S. estimate for 2000).
Notes: a Includes 2nd and 3rd generations (CBS Netherlands) b 2007 estimate (de Haas 2007a: Population d’origine marocaine en Israël) c Moroccan citizens Statistisches Bundesamt (Germany 2009).

Morocco as a Destination and Transit Country

Since the mid-1990s Morocco has evolved into a destination country for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. Although this immigration is still very modest compared to the large-scale nature of Moroccan emigration, this is a significant shift from the past.

An increasing number of migrants from West Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other African countries travel to Morocco on visas to pursue studies and embark upon professional careers. West African and, more recently, some Filipina women migrate to Morocco as domestic servants and nannies for wealthier Moroccan households, and there is also a modest, but growing presence of Chinese traders in Moroccan cities. In addition, an increasing number of Europeans have settled in Morocco as workers, entrepreneurs, or retirees. The number of European labor immigrants, particularly from Spain, has increased since the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008.

While the number of students and workers from African countries such as Senegal and Mali (who enjoy visa-free travel to Morocco) has been increasing, the African immigrant population in Morocco also includes asylum seekers and refugees fleeing conflict and oppression in their origin countries. Some African migrants use Morocco as a staging ground before attempting to enter Europe. These migrants often enter Morocco from Algeria, at the border east of Oujda, after crossing the Saharan overland from Niger. Once in Morocco, they sometimes attempt to enter one of two permanently inhabited Spanish port cities located on the north coast of Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, which share borders with Morocco. Because Spain has few repatriation agreements with sub-Saharan countries and because of identification problems, many migrants who manage to enter are eventually released.

An increasing number of migrants failing or not venturing to enter Europe prefer to settle in Morocco as a second-best option rather than return to their more unstable and substantially poorer origin countries. Tens of thousands have settled in cities like Casablanca, Rabat, and Fes on a semi-permanent basis, where they find jobs in the informal service sector, domestic service, petty trade, and construction. The increasing presence of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa has also increased religious diversity and has, to a certain extent, revitalized Christian life in some cities of this predominantly Muslim country.

The Arab Spring had little effect on Moroccan migration, mainly because relatively few Moroccans live in the countries where violent conflict broke out, and also because Morocco is geographically far away from these countries.

Refugees, Unauthorized Migrants, and Public Opinion

While both African and European immigrants in Morocco often lack legal status, migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa are the regular target of violent racist attacks and discrimination in Morocco. Over the past years, police round-ups have frequently occurred in immigrant neighborhoods in big cities and in improvised ad hoc camps close to Ceuta and Melilla. Some migrants have been randomly deported via the Algerian border without checking their right to protection, which is a violation of the principle of nonrefoulement .

In November 2012, the cover of a Moroccan weekly ( Maroc Hebdo ) represented sub-Saharan migrants as “the Black Danger” suggesting that they increase drug trafficking, prostitution, and pose a human and security problem. Moroccan politicians have also alleged that sub-Saharan migration increases unemployment.

In reaction to scapegoating and institutionalized racism, a vibrant civil-society sector has emerged in Morocco, consisting of human-rights organizations and associations of Moroccan emigrants abroad, as well as sub-Saharan migrants, religious organizations, lawyers, and local migrant-support groups such as ABCDS and GADEM. These groups play a vital role in giving practical assistance and advocating for migrants’ and refugees’ access to residency rights and public services.

A significant minority of immigrants in Morocco have migrated for reasons that fall under the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Until recently, the Moroccan government assumed that virtually all sub-Saharan immigrants in Morocco were "economic migrants" on their way to Europe. However, in 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed an accord de siège with the Moroccan government, resulting in some limited improvements in the situation of refugees and asylum seekers.

Since then, those holding UNHCR registration cards have less frequently been subject to harassment and deportation. Their access to public health care and education has in some instances improved as well, although many problems persist and the Moroccan government generally refuses to issue resident permits to refugees and asylum seekers. As of mid-2013, the UNHCR office in Morocco had registered 874 refugees and 3,706 asylum seekers.

Policies on Emigration, Remittances, and Integration Abroad

Since the 1960s, the Moroccan government has encouraged emigration on political and economic grounds. It stimulated labor recruitment from relatively marginal Berber-speaking areas of the southwestern Sous valley, the oases of southeastern Morocco, and the northern Rif Mountains, a region notorious for its rebellious attitude to central authority. In particular, remittances were expected to reduce poverty, unemployment, and discontent, and thus function as a political safety valve.

Until the 1990s, the Moroccan government attempted to maintain tight control of Moroccans living in Europe by actively discouraging their integration into receiving societies, including naturalization—to the dismay of some EU governments adopting policies to the contrary. The Moroccan government sent Moroccan teachers and imams abroad and provided education to migrants' children in the Arabic language to remind them of their roots and to prevent integration and assimilation, which was also perceived as endangering vital remittance transfers.

Through Moroccan embassies, consulates, mosques, and state-created organizations for migrants, such as the "Amicales," Moroccan migrants were also actively discouraged from establishing independent organizations and joining trade unions or political parties.

In this way, the Moroccan government wanted to prevent migrants from organizing themselves politically and, as such, from forming an opposition force from abroad. During the 1970s and 1980s, it was not unusual for political troublemakers who lived in Europe to be harassed while visiting family and friends in Morocco. However, there was a growing consciousness that Morocco's policies alienated the migrant population from state institutions rather than binding them closer to their origin country.

The Moroccan state therefore changed course in the early 1990s. Active repression was largely replaced by the courting of the expanding Moroccan diaspora. Along with the dismantling of the control apparatus in Europe, this translated to a more positive attitude towards naturalization and dual citizenship. Also factoring into Moroccan authorities’ change in attitude was an ominous stagnation in remittances, at around $2 billion per year during the 1990s, which generated the fear of a future decline.

These changes were in line with a certain liberalization of Moroccan society during this time period. Increasing civil liberties meant more freedom among migrants to establish organizations such as Berber, hometown, and aid associations.

A ministry for Moroccans residing abroad was created in 1990. In the same year, the Moroccan government established the Fondation Hassan II pour les Marocains Résidant à l'étranger, which aims to foster links between migrants and Morocco. This foundation aims to help migrants in various ways, both in Europe and during their summer holidays in Morocco, and seeks to inform and guide migrants on investment opportunities. In 2007, King Mohammed VI established the Council for the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME). This is an advisory council consisting of emigrants, which aims to advise the Moroccan government how to best defend the interests of Moroccan emigrants and how to enhance the development potential of migration. The migrant members of this consultative council are appointed by the king.

Surging Remittances

Morocco has been relatively successful in channelling remittances through official channels such as banks and money transfer companies. Since the 1990s, it has become easier, cheaper, and more attractive for Moroccans to remit money because of a government-encouraged expansion of Moroccan bank branches in Europe, the lifting of restrictions on foreign exchange, fiscal measures that favor migrants, and devaluations that increase the value of foreign currency.

At first glance, these policies seem to have reversed the stagnation in remittances. Since 2000, there has been a spectacular increase in official remittances, which stood at $6.9 billion in 2012. However, an even more important factor explaining the surge in remittances has been the rise in migration to Spain, Italy, and other new destinations. The global economic crisis caused only a relatively minor decrease in remittances in 2009, after which they increased again and stabilized.

Remittances are a crucial and relatively stable source of foreign exchange and have become vital in sustaining Morocco's balance of payments. In 2012, official remittances represented about 7 percent of the gross national product (GNP). Over the 2000s, remittances have been roughly six times the amount of official development aid paid to Morocco on average, and three times the value of direct foreign investments, which are also much more unstable (see Figure 4).

The real amount of remittances is estimated to be higher because money is also sent through informal channels or in the form of goods taken to Morocco.

Despite the level of remittances, relatively few Moroccans abroad seem inclined to start businesses in Morocco. The Moroccan government, therefore, has tried to attract migrants' investments by offering fiscal incentives, reducing corruption, and removing bureaucratic obstacles to investment, such as easing administrative procedures for obtaining business permits.

However, there is little evidence that these initiatives have been very successful, as issues of corruption and a general lack of trust in government institutions, including the judiciary, continue to put off potential investors. Some argue that the “migration culture” and dependency on remittances provokes passive attitudes, lessens the entrepreneurial spirit, and undermines the pressure for genuine political and economic reform.

Morocco, Migration, and Regional Diplomacy

Immigration control ranks high on the European Union's agenda, and, as a result, its relationship with Morocco has endured considerable stress. In particular, the issue of Morocco readmitting unauthorized migrants is a pressing yet unresolved issue in negotiations with the European Union.

Spain is located about nine miles from the Moroccan coast at the Strait of Gibraltar’s narrowest point, and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern Moroccan coast literally represent "Europe in Africa." Despite intensified border controls, thousands of Moroccans and other Africans manage to enter an internally borderless Europe each year. Although it should be emphasized that the majority of Moroccan migrants cross borders legally, growing restrictions have increased irregular crossings.

Unauthorized Moroccan and other African migrants usually enter either carrying false papers, hiding in trucks or migrants' vans or by riding in pateras (small fishing boats chartered by smugglers) or speedboats, or even swimming around the border fences in Ceuta and Mellillia. Since the mid-1990s, intensified border patrolling in the Strait of Gibraltar has not stopped migration but rather prompted migrants to cross from more eastern places on the Mediterranean coast and to explore new crossing points to Europe, such as the Canary Islands. Each year, several hundred migrants are believed to die during such crossings.

In 1996, Morocco signed the European Mediterranean Association Agreement (EMAA) with the European Union, Morocco's most important trading partner, with the aim to establish a free trade zone. Since 2000, this has led to tariff-free trade for many products, to be further extended in the future.

In 2003, Morocco passed a new law regulating the entry and residence of foreigners. The law included heavy sanctions against irregular immigration and human smuggling but largely ignored migrants' rights. According to critics, in passing the new law Morocco bowed to pressure from the European Union, which wishes Morocco to play the role of Europe's "policeman" in North Africa.

In June 2013, Morocco and nine EU Member States signed a mobility partnership, which establishes political objectives for a more efficient “management” of migration. However, rather than a concrete policy plan, it is rather a mutual declaration of intent to enter into negotiations in which the issuance of visas for Moroccan students and high-skilled migrants will become easier in exchange for Moroccan collaboration in the readmission of unauthorized migrants. It remains to be seen how much will be concretely implemented, and for domestic and diplomatic reasons it is likely that the Moroccan government will continue to oppose the wholesale readmission of non-Moroccan nationals.

Morocco’s increasingly independent policy course became evident in the major immigration policy reform that was announced in 2013 under influence of growing criticism by national and international NGOs on the escalation of violence against migrants. In August 2013, together with other associations, the GADEM association compiled a highly critical report that detailed significant abuse of migrants, embarrassing the Moroccan government on the international stage. In September 2013, the National Council of Human Rights (CNDH) released an official report that criticized Morocco’s migration policy for being too security-oriented and ignoring migrant rights. The report included a number of policy recommendations, including the right to asylum and the regularization of unauthorized migrants from Africa and Europe. The report was quickly endorsed by the royal Cabinet, setting in motion a potentially far-reaching immigration reform.

With the official endorsement of King Mohammed VI, things have moved quickly. For instance, Morocco has reopened its Bureau de Protection des Réfugiés et Apatrides (Protection Office for Refugees and the Stateless), given migrants’ children access to public education, and announced an “exceptional” regularization to be executed in 2014. While it remains to be seen how these policies will be implemented, they seem a significant break with the past. They can also be seen as an assertion of independence and refusal to obey the wishes of the European Union. The reforms may also be beneficial in strengthening Morocco’s strategic relations with sub-Saharan countries and improving its leverage and credibility in negotiations with the European Union, for instance on readmission.

Although the Moroccan government is formally complying with the European Union's fight against irregular immigration, serious doubts remain about the credibility and effectiveness of these policies. There is a reluctance to massively readmit and expel sub-Saharan unauthorized migrants, particularly because this may harm strategic political relations with sub-Saharan countries. This partly explains why nationals from Senegal, an important regional ally, enjoy visa-free travel to Morocco.

In the eyes of the Moroccan government, the European Union's intention to create a "common Euro-Mediterranean space" is perceived as lacking credibility for a number of reasons. First, Europeans have almost unrestricted access to Morocco although Moroccans face restrictive policies. Second, protectionist policies still prevent Morocco from freely exporting agricultural products to the European Union, while many authorized Moroccan migrant workers help harvest produce in EU countries.

From the Moroccan perspective, migration constitutes a vital development resource that alleviates poverty and unemployment, increases political stability, and generates remittances. In the context of the Arab Spring and increasing domestic pressure for reform, emigration is believed to have an important stabilizing function.

Moroccan Migration Looking Forward

High youth unemployment, low wages, and limited domestic opportunities suggest that Morocco’s emigration potential will remain high in the coming one to two decades. In addition, increasing education and media exposure have increased aspirations, and for many young low-skilled and, increasingly, high-skilled Moroccans, migration continues to represent a promising path to success.

The economic crisis in Spain and other in European destination countries has led to a slowdown in emigration and increasing returns and even some limited immigration from Europe. The key question is whether this is a temporary response to a decline in labor demand, or whether this heralds a more structural migration transition characterized by a long-term decline in emigration. The extent to which Moroccan emigration will pick up again vitally depends on whether and how fast European destination countries will recover from the current economic crisis.

However, it is unlikely that Moroccan emigration will cease. Even if countries like France, Italy, and Spain continue to face economic hardship, some demand for Moroccan migrant labor in the agricultural, construction, and service sectors, as well as domestic work, is likely to persist. Furthermore, as has happened in the past, limited opportunities in the established destination countries may also lead to the emergence of new Moroccan migration destinations in and beyond Europe.

However, in the medium to long term, emigration might decrease following the substantial decline of Moroccans attaining working age in the coming decades, although this obviously depends on future economic growth and political stability. Under conditions of future growth and stability, Morocco may evolve into a "migration transition" country, characterized by the coexistence of declining emigration and increasingly immigration. This process may already have been set in motion with increasing immigration from sub-Saharan countries and elsewhere.

Although Moroccan policymakers and the media have stressed the temporary, transitory character of sub-Saharan immigration, an increasing proportion of these migrants are becoming long-term or permanent settlers. Their presence confronts Moroccan society with an entirely new set of social and legal issues typical for immigration countries—issues that do not yet resonate with Morocco's self-image as an emigration country. The recently announced new immigration policy reform, which includes provisions for regularization of unauthorized migrants, may signal that Moroccan society is gradually coming to terms with these new migration realities.

Acknowledgment: The research leading to these results is part of the International Migration Institute's DEMIG project and has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement 240940. The author would like to thank Dominique Jolivet, Katharina Natter, and Aysen Ustubici for their comments on earlier versions of this text, as well as Simona Vezzoli and María Villares-Varela for their central role in collecting the DEMIG C2C migration database.

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Berriane, Johara. 2012. Ahmad al-Tijani and his Neighbors. The Inhabitants of Fez and their Perceptions of the Zawiya, in P. Desplat and D. Schulz, D., eds., Prayer in the City: The Making of Sacred Place and Urban Life (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag): 57–75.

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Rabat: Fondation Hassan II. Available online.

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München, Rabat: Technische Universität München, Université Mohammed V, 51-58.

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Morocco’s location at the threshold of the Mediterranean Sea has made it critically important throughout the history of North Africa and southern Europe. The seafaring Phoenicians expanded their influence and trade networks to the western end of the Mediterranean by the 12 th century BCE. This development brought the indigenous Berber population of Morocco into greater contact with the larger Mediterranean cultural network. The Phoenicians established a few small outposts at Chellah, Lixus, and Mogador across modern-day Morocco. By the 5 th century BCE, the Carthaginian Empire, centered in modern day Tunisia, had taken control of the coastal regions of much of North Africa including Morocco. Following the fall of the Carthaginian Empire, the Romans annexed the territory in 40 CE and maintained nominal control over the coast until 429, when it was lost to the Germanic Vandal tribe.

The conquest of the region by the Arabs in the 7 th century began the conversion of the indigenous Berber people (self-identified as Amazigh, the free people) to Islam. The various Islamic empires appointed governors for its conquered territories throughout the Middle East, and the Amazigh populations in Morocco faced high taxes and tribute demands as a result. The people grew increasingly frustrated with this treatment and launched a revolt in 740. The revolt successfully expelled the Arab leaders, but the region unraveled into a series of small, independent Berber states. In the 900s, the Shia Fatimid dynasty rose to power in North Africa and successfully invaded Morocco, but quickly abandoned its hold on the western end of the Mediterranean to establish a new capital in Cairo, Egypt. The Amazigh once again regained control of the land and established strong dynasties including the Almoravids, Almohads, Marinids, and Wattasids, that commanded the area until the 1550s.

Unlike most countries in the Middle East, Morocco never came under the direct control of the Ottoman Turks. The Moroccans and Ottomans jointly expelled a Portuguese occupying force in 1578 at the Battle of Ksar El-Kebir, and Ahmad al-Mansur became the Sultan of the Arab Saadi dynasty which had established its dominance in 1549. Ahmad al-Mansur brought unprecedented prosperity to the region, but his dynasty was divided among his sons following his death in 1603. In 1669, Moulay al-Rashid overthrew the last Saadi ruler in Morocco and united the country by founding the Arab Alaouite dynasty, which remains the current dynasty of the Kingdom of Morocco. In the mid-1800s, Morocco became increasingly influenced by European powers, specifically the French and Spanish. Neighboring Algeria became an official province of France in 1848, and small-scale battles with Spain in 1859 further weakened the ability of Morocco to resist European encroachment.

Morocco’s independence was guaranteed during the Conference of Madrid in 1880, but the French and Spanish continued to sway Morocco’s politics in their favor. In the early 1900s, France attempted to create a protectorate status with Morocco, while Germany sought to increase its economic interests in the region. Germany and France engaged in a heated diplomatic battle over the status of Morocco, and the result was the Algeciras Conference of 1906 (more information in Resources section below). The conference allowed for joint control over Morocco between France and Spain. The Treaty of Fez in 1912 further established the country as a protectorate of France, and gave the Spanish control over much of the northern coastline along the Strait of Gibraltar.

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Mohammed V and supporters of Moroccan independence negotiated with the French and Spanish through 1955, and ultimately agreed upon a deal that would restore Mohammed V to the throne and expel the two European powers from the majority of Moroccan territory. Following acceptance of the , France relinquished its protectorate status from Morocco in April 1956 and Spain began retreating from the country following similar agreements in 1956 and 1958. Despite these gains for Morocco, the Spanish has never relinquished control of the cities of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Morocco, and continue to administer these cities as a part of Spain today.

Mohammad V was declared king of the newly independent Morocco in 1957 and continued to rule the country until his death in 1961, establishing the country as a constitutional monarchy. He was succeeded by his son Hassan II, whose rule faced significant unpopularity and unrest due to allegations of corruption and repression.

One of the most significant events of Hassan II’s reign was a conflict involving the territory to the south of Morocco known then as Spanish Sahara. Morocco had claimed the region for centuries, but it remained part of a Spanish protectorate after Moroccan independence. In 1975, the United Nations determined through a national referendum that the vast majority of the Saharan people desired independence, and Spain met with representatives from Morocco, Mauritania and the Algerian-supported Saharan independence movement known as the Polisario Front. Spain ceded the northern area of what would be called Western Sahara to Morocco, and gave the southern third of the country to Mauritania in 1976. This decision fractured the Polisario as some leaders supported Moroccan control of the region, while the remaining Polisario members dissented and quickly declared the region to be the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The Polisario battled both Mauritania and Morocco until Mauritania relinquished its claim to the southern region of the Western Sahara in 1979. Morocco then annexed the entire Western Sahara and a cease-fire between the Polisario and Morocco went into effect in 1991. Morocco continues to administer the Western Sahara and negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario have stalled while the dispute remains unresolved.

When Hassan II died in 1999, his son Mohammad VI became king of Morocco. During his reign, he has helped reform the government and has improved the country’s record on human rights. One of the mojor issues Mohammad VI has tackled throughout his tenure is the growing threat of terrorism from Islamic extremists and groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Several bombings in Casablanca in 2003 and 2007 have been blamed on extremists, and two Moroccan men were arrested in connection with the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Morocco also underwent mild political unrest associated with the Arab Spring movement in 2011 as protesters demanded restrictions on the power of the king. In response, Mohammed VI announced the creation of a new constitution which was passed by a referendum vote in July 2011. The constitution shifted some of the powers of the king such as the appointment of government officials to the appointed prime minister and executive branch. Despite occasional unrest in isolated areas like the Rif region and the Western Sahara, Morocco is seen as a stabilizing presence in Africa and the greater Middle East. Efforts to tackle environmental and economic challenges have been welcomed and the country is considered a safe and popular destination for tourists.

Today, Moroccan government is a constitutional monarchy with a multi-party parliament consisting of two elected legislative bodies, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councilors. Since April 2017 Saadeddine Othmani has been prime minister of Morocco. The king still holds considerable power in the country and has the ability to appoint or remove the prime minister. He also appoints judges to the country’s Supreme Court, the highest judicial body in Morocco.

The Algerian War of Independence

The Algerian War of Independence was a war between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria’s independence from France and was infamous for the extensive use of torture by both sides.

Learning Objectives

Argue for and against the tactics used by the FLN in order to gain independence

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • In 1834, Algeria became a French military colony and, in 1848, was declared by the constitution of 1848 to be an integral part of France.
  • The Algerian War was fought between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) between 1954 and 1962 and was characterized by complex guerrilla warfare and the extensive use of torture by both sides.
  • The conflict started in the early morning hours of November 1, 1954, when FLN guerrillas attacked military and civilian targets throughout Algeria in what became known as the Toussaint Rouge (Red All-Saints’ Day).
  • The FLN turned to killing civilians during the Philippeville Massacre, which brought on harsh retaliation by the French army.
  • After major demonstrations in favor of independence from the end of 1960 and a United Nations resolution recognizing the right to independence, De Gaulle decided to open a series of negotiations with the FLN, which concluded with the signing of the Évian Accords on March 1962.

Key Terms

  • “scorched earth”: A military strategy that targets anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. Specifically, all of the assets that are used or can be used by the enemy are targeted, such as food sources, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the people in the area.
  • guerrilla warfare: A form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military.
  • Pieds-Noirs: A term referring to Christian and Jewish people whose families migrated from all parts of the Mediterranean to French Algeria, the French protectorate in Morocco, or the French protectorate of Tunisia, where many lived for several generations before being expelled at the end of French rule in North Africa between 1956 and 1962.


The Algerian War, also known as the Algerian War of Independence or the Algerian Revolution, was a war between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front (French: Front de Libération Nationale – FLN) from 1954 to 1962 and led to Algerian independence from France. An important decolonization war, this complex conflict was characterized by guerrilla warfare, maquis fighting, and the use of torture by both sides. The conflict also became a civil war between loyalist Algerians supporting a French Algeria and their Algerian nationalist counterparts.

Effectively started by members of the National Liberation Front on November 1, 1954, during the Toussaint Rouge (“Red All Saints’ Day”), the conflict shook the foundations of the weak and unstable Fourth French Republic (1946–58) and led to its replacement by the Fifth Republic with Charles de Gaulle as President. Although the French military campaigns greatly weakened the FLN’s military, with most prominent FLN leaders killed or arrested and terror attacks effectively stopped, the brutality of the methods employed by the French forces failed to win hearts and minds in Algeria, alienated support in metropolitan France, and discredited French prestige abroad.

After major demonstrations in favor of independence from the end of 1960 and a United Nations resolution recognizing the right to independence, De Gaulle decided to open a series of negotiations with the FLN, concluding with the signing of the Évian Accords on March 1962. A referendum took place on April 8, 1962 and the French electorate approved the Évian Accords. The final result was 91% in favor of the ratification of this agreement and on July 1, the Accords were subject to a second referendum in Algeria, where 99.72% voted for independence and just 0.28% against.

The planned French withdrawal led to a state crisis, various assassination attempts on de Gaulle, and attempts at military coups. Most of the former were carried out by the Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS), an underground organization formed mainly from French military personnel supporting a French Algeria, which committed a large number of bombings and murders both in Algeria and in the homeland to stop the planned independence.

Algerian War: French forces killed Algerian rebels, December 1954

Philippeville Massacre

The FLN adopted tactics similar to those of nationalist groups in Asia, and the French did not realize the seriousness of the challenge they faced until 1955 when the FLN moved into urbanized areas. An important watershed in the War of Independence was the massacre of Pieds-Noirs civilians by the FLN near the town of Philippeville (now known as Skikda) in August 1955. Before this operation, FLN policy was to attack only military and government-related targets. The commander of the Constantine region, however, decided a drastic escalation was needed. The killing by the FLN and its supporters of 123 civilians, elderly women, and babies, including 71 French, shocked Governor General Jacques Soustelle into calling for more repressive measures against the rebels. The government claimed it killed 1,273 guerrillas in retaliation according to the FLN and to The Times, 12,000 Algerians were massacred by the armed forces and police as well as Pieds-Noirs gangs. Soustelle’s repression was an early cause of the Algerian population’s rallying to the FLN. After Philippeville, Soustelle declared sterner measures and an all-out war began. In 1956, demonstrations by French Algerians caused the French government to not make reforms.

Guerrilla Warfare

During 1956 and 1957, the FLN successfully applied hit-and-run tactics in accordance with guerrilla warfare theory. Whilst some was aimed at military targets, a significant amount was invested in a terror campaign against those deemed to support or encourage French authority. This resulted in acts of sadistic torture and brutal violence against all, including women and children. Specializing in ambushes and night raids and avoiding direct contact with superior French firepower, the internal forces targeted army patrols, military encampments, police posts, and colonial farms, mines, and factories, as well as transportation and communications facilities. Once an engagement was broken off, the guerrillas merged with the population in the countryside, in accordance with Mao’s theories. Kidnapping was commonplace, as were the ritual murder and mutilation of civilians. At first, the FLN targeted only Muslim officials of the colonial regime later, they coerced, maimed, or killed village elders, government employees, and even simple peasants who refused to support them. Throat slitting and decapitation were commonly used by the FLN as mechanisms of terror. During the first two-and-a-half years of the conflict, the guerrillas killed an estimated 6,352 Muslim and 1,035 non-Muslim civilians.

Although successfully provoking fear and uncertainty within both communities in Algeria, the revolutionaries’ coercive tactics suggested they had not yet inspired the bulk of the Muslim people to revolt against French colonial rule. Gradually, however, the FLN gained control in certain sectors of the Aurès, the Kabylie, and other mountainous areas around Constantine and south of Algiers and Oran. In these places, the FLN established a simple but effective—although frequently temporary—military administration that was able to collect taxes and food and recruit manpower, but was unable to hold large, fixed positions.

Guerilla Warfare: Muslim civilians killed by the FLN, March 22, 1956

French Use of Torture

Torture was used since the beginning of the colonization of Algeria, initiated by the July Monarchy in 1830. Directed by Marshall Bugeaud, who became the first Governor-General of Algeria, the conquest of Algeria was marked by a “scorched earth” policy and the use of torture, e legitimized by a racist ideology. The armed struggle of the FLN and of its armed wing, the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) was for self-determination. The French state itself refused to see the colonial conflict as a war, as that would recognize the other party as a legitimate entity. Thus, until August 10, 1999, the French Republic persisted in calling the Algerian War a simple “operation of public order” against the FLN “terrorism.” Thus, the military did not consider themselves tied by the Geneva Conventions, ratified by France in 1951.

Violence increased on both sides from 1954 to 1956. In 1957, the Minister of Interior declared a state of emergency in Algeria, and the government granted extraordinary powers to General Massu. The Battle of Algiers from January to October 1957 remains to this day a textbook example of counter-insurgency operations. General Massu’s 10th Paratroop Division made widespread use of methods used during the Indochina War (1947–54), including systematic use of torture against civilians, a block warden system (quadrillage), illegal executions, and forced disappearances, in particular through what would later become known as “death flights,” in which victims are dropped to their death from airplanes or helicopters into large bodies of water. Although the use of torture quickly became well-known and was opposed by the left-wing opposition, the French state repeatedly denied its employment, censoring more than 250 books, newspapers and films (in metropolitan France alone) which dealt with the subject and 586 in Algeria.


Algeria has also experienced its share of violent clashes in this case, the clashes are between Islamic fundamentalist groups and the democratically elected government. In the 1990s, the Islamic Salvation Front, which advocates for a fundamentalist Islamic state in Algeria, challenged the secular political mainstream. The electoral process was interrupted, and the government found itself fighting an Islamic insurgency within the country. By 1998, more than one hundred thousand people had been killed. The horror of the violence received international attention. Islamic extremists widened their attacks and massacred entire villages to send a message to support their cause. By the end of the decade, government forces gained control of the country, and the Islamic Salvation Front officially disbanded. Smaller extremist groups continued to operate. They joined forces with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda group to create an insurgent group called al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, which has continued a campaign of terror and violence against the Algerian government and people in the region with Western interests. Coinciding with similar protests across North Africa, during 2010 and 2011, there was an insurgence of protests and demonstrations against the government of Algeria by its people, who were asking for better living conditions. The government made some concessions to address the issues, but the political climate in Algeria continues to be tense as the government struggles to find ways to satisfy the needs of the people.

Empires in Morocco

The Phoenicians, the Romans and the Arabs in Morocco.

The Phoenicians came by and started to trade with the different Berber tribes but soon build bigger settlements to insure their strategic position. In the 4 th century B.C. a couple of Berber communities founded the kingdom Maurentania. This kingdom was spread out over modern central Algeria tot the Atlantic coast of modern Morocco.

The Phoenicians also build their empire. The biggest city ‘Cartago” (near modern Tunis) was the center of power in North Africa. But the Romans became very powerful in modern Europe. They also build an empire. You can guess they outcome: the two went into battle for the bigger empire. The story of Hannibal (born in Cartago) going across the Alps with his elephants to fight the Romans and concurring big parts of modern Italy is a very epic story. In the end the Romans learned from their mistakes, thought about new fighting strategies and fought back hard and beat Hannibal.

The Romans became the new neighbors around the 2th century BC and had no real intention of leaving. They made Maurentania a state of the Roman empire. The Romans took over full control when the last kind died. And although it’s never any fun to be controlled by others the Romans made live a little bit easier for the Berber people by introducing a large funny looking animal: the dromedary. This was of much greater use then a horse in some parts of the country. On the back of a dromedary it was easier to walk over, let’s say a business lunch in Volbulis. This city was the administrative center of the Roman empire in North Africa. But it was also the city where Romans and Berbers got together and were Berber people could enjoy some of the roman spare time activities. Like watching a real bear fighting a lion. Normal every day stuff for the Romans. The Romans became less and less interested in North Africa and lost control tot the the Byzantine empire and after that the Arabs took over. Maybe we should call it the Arab Empire, just to add another one.

Why are most Berbers Muslim?

The Arabs conquest to spread the Islam and create an Islamic state went very well. Although the Romans where mostly Christian, just some Berber communities converted to Christianity. In that time a large group of Jews lived in Morocco, therefore some Berbers had converted to Judaism, but most of them had followed the more traditional polytheist religion. A lot of Berbers lived a nomadic lifestyle. The Islam is a religion that suits this lifestyle. You don’t really need a holy place to go to, just a place to pray and clean yourself. Therefore the Islam was also spread by Berber nomads themselves. The Christian Berber and Jewish Berbers lived under Islamic law. And although converting to the Islam in Morocco went in friendly way (instead to some other countries, where it was more forced) Christians and Jews slowly became a minority and had different rights. Thus Muslims became the biggest religion in Morocco.

Back to empires: the dynasties and kingdoms

So the Berbers did not mind the Islam, but they had enough of other people controlling them. They learned enough in the last centuries and started to fight back. The Arab empire was so big that it was hard for the Arabs to control every region. The best they could do is to gave back part of the control by dividing the different regions into Berber kingdoms again.

Around 1061 the dynasty of the Allmoravids made an end to all these divided kingdoms. Well at least they tried too. This by going to war against other kingdoms. In the end they succeeded by uniting the country and expending their power to Spain and the Ganesh empire. Yes, another empire. Are you counting? That way they got control over Timboektoe. This city was the trading hub of all Africa.

The Almohads went to war with the Almoravids, then came the Marinids, the Wattasids and the Saadi dynasty (from Arab origin) and in 1666 the Alawites. This last dynasty has his origin in Syria and is still ruling today.

The French and the Spanish: Morocco as colony

Years of war between civilians, against the Christian faith, with other countries such as France and Spain, had weakened the country. To make matters worse in the 18th century there was a big drought, a lot of hunger and the black plaque killed many people.

In 1912, the French (already invaded parts of the country) made an offer to sign a deal. In this deal France would no longer attack the country, the Sultan would give up his power and the northern part of Morocco: to Tetouan and to Western Sahara fell under French domination. Spain, already very active in the south of Morocco, did the same. Only thing was that the appointed president wasn't popular. It lead to much protest, so much that the after 40 years the sultan came back to negotiate for independence. This worked :the sultan became the king and died very shortly after this.

Moroccan Berbers after independence.

The Berbers make up 2/3 of the inhabitants of Modern Morocco. Most of them converted to the Islam, but they still feel very different to the Arab inhabitants.

A fter the independence Arabic became the official language. Berbers could not use their language in school anymore.

Hassan II, the king who took over after his father suddenly died, just wanted 1 king to rule the country and not alot of opposition. This was, to say in in friendly way, a very tense period in de life of the Berber community. Therefore many Berber men went to work in Europe. They needed cheap labor and thus many moved over and still live in countries such a France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

Afte Hassan II dies his son took over: Mohammed VI. He took some measures to improve the position of the Berbers. For instance he released 46.000 political prisoners and changed the constitution in 2011 to make life better in Morocco for all people. Part of the changes was that Amazigh became, in addition to Arabic, an official language .

History of the U.S. and Morocco

Morocco and the United States have a long history of friendly relations. This North African nation was one of the first states to seek diplomatic relations with America. In 1777, Sultan Sidi Muhammad Ben Abdullah, the most progressive of the Barbary leaders who ruled Morocco from 1757 to 1790, announced his desire for friendship with the United States. The Sultan’s overture was part of a new policy he was implementing as a result of his recognition of the need to establish peaceful relations with the Christian powers and his desire to establish trade as a basic source of revenue. Faced with serious economic and political difficulties, he was searching for a new method of governing which required changes in his economy. Instead of relying on a standing professional army to collect taxes and enforce his authority, he wanted to establish state-controlled maritime trade as a new, more reliable, and regular source of income which would free him from dependency on the services of the standing army. The opening of his ports to America and other states was part of that new policy.

The Sultan issued a declaration on December 20, 1777, announcing that all vessels sailing under the American flag could freely enter Moroccan ports. The Sultan stated that orders had been given to his corsairs to let the ship “des Americains” and those of other European states with which Morocco had no treaties-Russia Malta, Sardinia, Prussia, Naples, Hungary, Leghorn, Genoa, and Germany-pass freely into Moroccan ports. There they could “take refreshments” and provisions and enjoy the same privileges as other nations that had treaties with Morocco. This action, under the diplomatic practice of Morocco at the end of the 18th century, put the United States on an equal footing with all other nations with which the Sultan had treaties. By issuing this declaration, Morocco became one of the first states to acknowledge publicly the independence of the American Republic.

On February 2O, 1778, the sultan of Morocco reissued his December 20, 1777, declaration. American officials, however, only belatedly learned of the Sultan’s full intentions. Nearly identical to the first, the February 20 declaration was again sent to all consuls and merchants in the ports of Tangier, Sale, and Mogador informing them the Sultan had opened his ports to Americans and nine other European States. Information about the Sultan’s desire for friendly relations with the United States first reached Benjamin Franklin, one of the American commissioners in Paris, sometime in late April or early May 1778 from Etienne d’Audibert Caille, a French merchant of Sale. Appointed by the Sultan to serve as Consul for all the nations unrepresented in Morocco, Caille wrote on behalf of the Sultan to Franklin from Cadiz on April 14, 1778, offering to negotiate a treaty between Morocco and the United States on the same terms the Sultan had negotiated with other powers. When he did not receive a reply, Caille wrote Franklin a second letter sometime later that year or in early 1779. When Franklin wrote to the committee on Foreign Affairs in May 1779, he reported he had received two letters from a Frenchman who “offered to act as our Minister with the Emperor” and informed the American commissioner that “His Imperial Majesty wondered why we had never sent to thank him for being the first power on this side of the Atlantic that had acknowledged our independence and opened his ports to us.” Franklin, who did not mention the dates of Caille’s letters or when he had received them, added that he had ignored these letters because the French advised him that Caille was reputed to be untrustworthy. Franklin stated that the French King was willing to use his good offices with the Sultan whenever Congress desired a treaty and concluded, “whenever a treaty with the Emperor is intended, I suppose some of our naval stores will be an acceptable present and the expectation of continued supplies of such stores a powerful motive for entering into and continuing a friendship.”

Since the Sultan received no acknowledgement of his good will gestures by the fall of 1 779, he made another attempt to contact the new American government. Under instructions from the Moroccan ruler, Caille wrote a letter to Congress in September 1779 in care of Franklin in Paris to announce his appointment as Consul and the Sultan’s desire to be at peace with the United States. The Sultan, he reiterated, wished to conclude a treaty “similar to those Which the principal maritime powers have with him.” Americans were invited to “come and traffic freely in these ports in like manner as they formerly did under the English flag.” Caille also wrote to John Jay, the American representative at Madrid, on April 21,1780, asking for help in conveying the Sultan’s message to Congress and enclosing a copy of Caille’s commission from the Sultan to act as Consul for all nations that had none in Morocco, as well as a copy of the February 20, 1778, declaration. Jay received that letter with enclosures in May 1780, but because it was not deemed to be of great importance, he did not forward it and its enclosures to Congress until November 30, 1 780.

Before Jay’s letter with the enclosures from Caille reached Congress, Samuel Huntington, President of Congress, made the first official response to the Moroccan overtures in a letter of November 28,1780, to Franklin. Huntington wrote that Congress had received a letter from Caille, and asked Franklin to reply. Assure him, wrote Huntington, “in the name of Congress and in terms most respectful to the Emperor that we entertain a sincere disposition to cultivate the most perfect friendship with him, and are desirous to enter into a treaty of commerce with him and that we shall embrace a favorable opportunity to announce our wishes in form.”

The U.S. Government sent its first official communication to the Sultan of Morocco in December 1780. It read:

We the Congress of the 13 United States of North America, have been informed of your Majesty’s favorable regard to the interests of the people we represent, which has been communicated by Monsieur Etienne d’Audibert Caille of Sale, Consul of Foreign nations unrepresented in your Majesty’s states. We assure you of our earnest desire to cultivate a sincere and firm peace and friendship with your Majesty and to make it lasting to all posterity. Should any of the subjects of our states come within the ports of your Majesty’s territories, we flatter ourselves they will receive the benefit of your protection and benevolence. You may assure yourself of every protection and assistance to your subjects from the people of these states whenever and wherever they may have it in their power. We pray your Majesty may enjoy long life and uninterrupted prosperity.

No action was taken either by Congress or the Sultan for over two years. The Americans, preoccupied with the war against Great Britain, directed their diplomacy at securing arms, money, military support, and recognition from France, Spain, and the Netherlands and eventually sought peace with England. Moreover, Sultan Sidi Muhammad and more pressing concerns and focused on his relations with the European powers, especially Spain and Britain over the question of Gibraltar. From 1778 to 1782, the Moroccan leader also turned to domestic difficulties resulting from drought and famine, and unpopular food tax, food shortages and inflation of food prices, trade problems, and a disgruntled military.

The American commissioners in Paris, John Adams, Jay, and Franklin urged Congress in September 1783 to take some action in negotiating a treaty with Morocco. “The Emperor of Morocco has manifested a very friendly disposition towards us,” they wrote. “He expects and is reading to receive a Minister from us and as he may be succeeded by a prince differently disposed, a treaty with him may be of importance. Our trade to the Mediterranean will not be inconsiderable, and the friendship of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli may become very interesting in case the Russians should succeed in their endeavors to navigate freely into it by Constantinople.”

Congress finally acted in the spring of 1784. On May 7, Congress authorized its Ministers in Paris, Franklin, Jay, and Adams, to conclude treaties of amity and commerce with Russia, Austria, Prussia, Denmark, Saxony, Hamburg, great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Genoa, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Venice, Sardinia, and the Ottoman Porte as well as the Barbary States of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. The treaties with the Barbary States were to be in force for 10 years or longer. The commissioners were instructed to inform the Sultan of Morocco of the “great satisfaction which Congress feels from the amicable disposition he has shown towards these states.” They were asked to state that “the occupations of the war and distance of our situation have prevented our meeting his friendship so early as we wished.” A few days later, commissions were given to the three men to negotiate the treaties.

Continued delays by American officials exasperated the sultan and prompted him to take more drastic action to gain their attention. On October 11,1784, the Moroccans captured the American merchant ship, Betsey. After the ship and crew were taken to Tangier, he announced that he would release the men, ship, and cargo once a treaty with the United States was concluded. Accordingly, preparation for negotiations with Morocco began in 1785. On March 1 Congress authorized the commissioners to delegate to some suitable agent the authority to negotiate treaties with the Barbary States. The agent was required to follow the commissioners’ instructions and to submit the negotiated treaty to them for approval. Congress also empowered the commissioners to spend a maximum of 80,000 dollars to conclude treaties with these states. Franklin left Paris on July 12, 1785, to return to the United States, 3 days after the Sultan released the Betsey and its crew. Thomas Jefferson became Minister to France and thereafter negotiations were conducted by Adams in London and Jefferson in Paris. On October 11, 1785, the commissioners appointed Thomas Barclay, American Consul in Paris, to negotiate a treaty with Morocco on the basis of a draft treaty drawn up by the commissioners. That same day the commissioners appointed Thomas Lamb as special agent to negotiate a treaty with Algiers. Barclay was given a maximum of 20,000 dollars for the treaty and instructed to gather information concerning the commerce, ports, naval and land forces, languages, religion, and government as well as evidence of Europeans attempting to obstruct American negotiations with the Barbary States.

Barclay left Paris on January 15, 1786, and after several stops, including 21/2 months in Madrid, arrived in Marrakech on June 19. While the French offered some moral support to the United States in their negotiations with Morocco, it was the Spanish government that furnished substantial backing in the form of letters from the Spanish King and Prime Minister to the Sultan of Morocco. After a cordial welcome, Barclay conducted the treaty negotiations in two audiences with Sidi Muhammad and Tahir Fannish, a leading Moroccan diplomat from a Morisco family in Sale who headed the negotiations. The earlier proposals drawn up by the American commissioners in Paris became the basis for the treaty. While the Emperor opposed several articles, the final form contained in substance all that the Americans requested. When asked about tribute, Barclay stated that he “had to offer to His Majesty the friendship of the United States and to receive his in return, to form a treaty with him on liberal and equal terms. But if any engagements for future presents or tributes were necessary, I must return without any treaty.” The Moroccan leader accepted Barclay’s declaration that the United States would offer friendship but no tribute for the treaty, and the question of presents or tribute was not raised again. Barclay accepted no favor except the ruler’s promise to send letters to Constantinople, Tunisia, Tripoli, and Algiers recommending they conclude treaties with the United States.

Barclay and the Moroccans quickly reached agreement on the Treaty of Friendship and Amity. Also called the Treaty of Marrakech, it was sealed by the Emperor on June 23 and delivered to Barclay to sign on June 28. In addition, a separate ship seals agreement, providing for the identification at sea of American and Moroccan vessels, was signed at Marrakech on July 6,1786. Binding for 50 years, the Treaty was signed by Thomas Jefferson at Paris on January 1, 1787, and John Adams at London on January 25, 1787, and was ratified by Congress on July 18, 1787. The negotiation of this treaty marked the beginning of diplomatic relations between the two countries and it was the first treaty between any Arab, Muslim, or African State and the United States.

Congress found the treaty with Morocco highly satisfactory and passed a note of thanks to Barclay and to Spain for help in the negotiations. Barclay had reported fully on the amicable negotiations and written that the king of Morocco had “acted in a manner most gracious and condescending, and I really believe the Americans possess as much of his respect and regard as does any Christian nation whatsoever.” Barclay portrayed the King as “a just man, according to this idea of justice, of great personal courage, liberal to a degree, a lover of his people, stern” and “rigid in distributing justice.” The Sultan sent a friendly letter to the President of Congress with the treaty and included another from the Moorish minister, Sidi Fennish, which was highly complimentary of Barclay.

The United States established a consulate in Morocco in 1797. President Washington had requested funds for this post in a message to Congress on March 2, 1795, and James Simpson, the U.S. Consul at Gibraltar who was appointed to this post, took up residence in Tangier 2 years later. Sultan Sidi Muhammad’s successor, Sultan Moulay Soliman, had recommended to Simpson the establishment of a consulate because he believed it would provide greater protection for American vessels. In 1821, the Moroccan leader gave the United States one of the most beautiful buildings in Tangier for its consular representative. This building served as the seat of the principal U.S. representative to Morocco until 1956 and is the oldest piece of property owned by the United States abroad.

U. S.-Moroccan relations from 1777 to 1787 reflected the international and economic concerns of these two states in the late 18th century. The American leaders and the Sultan signed the 1786 treaty, largely for economic reasons, but also realized that a peaceful relationship would aid them in their relations with other powers. The persistent friendliness of Sultan Sidi Muhammad to the young republic, in spite of the fact that his overtures were initially ignored, was the most important factor in the establishment of this relationship.

Strengthening U.S.-Morocco Relations

The history of the relationship dates back ten years prior to the Treaty of Marrakech. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, American ship merchants who had sailed under the British flag lost the protection of British tribute payments to the North African coastal states. While the American peace commissioners in Paris vainly tried to secure French assurances of protection against the Barbary powers, on December 20, 1777 the Sultan, in what amounted to virtual recognition of United States’ independence, declared to the European consuls and merchants in the Moroccan ports of Tangier, Sale, Larache and Essaouira, that all American ships were to be given the right to freely enter Moroccan ports to “take refreshments and enjoy in them the same privileges and immunities as those of the other nations with whom his Imperial Majesty is at peace.”

Shortly after the Sultan opened his ports to American ships, he appointed Stephen D’Audibert Caille, a French merchant in Sale, to act as consul for all countries which had no consular representation in Morocco. In late 1779, Caille, acting on instructions from the Sultan, wrote to the American Congress through the American Commissioner in Paris, Benjamin Franklin. The letter informed Congress of the Sultan’s appointment of Caille as Consul and also stated Sultan Sidi Mohamed’s desire to conclude a treaty of peace with America. On November 28, 1780 Con- gress directed Franklin to correspond with Caille and assure him that the United States wanted to “cultivate the most perfect friendship” with the Sultan and that the United States would like to negotiate a commercial treaty with Morocco.

In May 1784, the American Commissioners in Paris, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were authorized by Congress to conclude treaties of friendship and commerce with Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. In 1785, Thomas Barclay, the Consul General of the United States in Paris was appointed to travel to Morocco and conduct the negotiations.

Mr. Barclay arrived in Marrakech, on June 19, 1786, and had two audiences with the Sultan. Barclay’s proposals, based on a text drafted by Jefferson in Paris, formed the basis of the agreement eventually signed. Offering only the friendship of the United States in return for a treaty, Barkley had no difficulties in negotiating and concluding the agreement with Sultan Sidi Mohamed. The major points of the twenty five article agreement provided for the protection of American shipping along the Moroccan coast and for commerce between the two nations on the basis of most favored nation. The treaty, binding for 50 years, was sealed by the Sultan on June 28,1786 and an additional article was added July 6th. Signed and sealed by Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States, Thomas Jefferson in Paris on January 1, 1787, and John Adams in London on January 25th, it was ratified by Congress and entered into force on July 18, 1787. The treaty was significant in that it was the first between the United States and any Arab, Muslim or African country and it demonstrated the commitment of both nations to peace and friendship

The Relationship is Strengthened

Shortly after the organization of the government of the United States under the new Constitution, President George Washington wrote a letter of appreciation, to his “Great and Magnanimous Friend” Sultan Sidi Mohamed. Dated December 1, 1789, the letter informed the Sultan that the United States had adopted a new Constitution and apologized for the delay in communicating with Morocco. Washington added:

“…It gives me pleasure to have this opportunity of assuring your majesty that I shall not cease to promote every measure that may conduce to the friendship and harmony which so happily subsist between your empire and these. within our territories, there are no mines of either gold or of silver, and this young nation, just recovering from the waste and desolation of a long war, has not, as yet, had time to acquire riches by agriculture and commerce. But our soil is beautiful, and our people industrious, and we have reason to flatter ourselves that we shall gradually become useful to our friends …. may the Almighty bless your Majesty with his constant guidance and protection…

During his rule, Sultan Sidi Mohamed faithfully abided by the terms of the treaty. However, the struggle for succession which followed his death in April 1790 caused President Washington and his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to be concerned. Both men recognized the importance of peace with Morocco and quickly acted to obtain the new Sultan’s off irmation of Moroccan commitment to the treaty. As Jefferson told Congress, “…the friendship of this power is important because our Atlantic as well as Mediterranean trade is open to his annoyances and because we carry on useful commerce with his nation.” To maintain the peace, Barclay was again appointed to negotiate with the Sultan and given the title of Consul. Unfortunately he died in route and was replaced by James Simpson, the American Consul at Gibraltar.

James Simpson was successful in getting Sultan Moulay Suliman to reaffirm Morocco’s commitment to the Treaty of Marrakech.

The Sultan wrote a letter to President Washington in which he conveyed his commitment to the Treaty of Friendship saying “… we are at peace, tranquility and friendship with you in the same manner as you were with our father who is in glory. Peace.” Sultan Suliman admired the American people and said so publicly. As he told Consul Simpson ” … the Americans, I find, are the Christian nation my father most esteemed … I am the same with them as my father was and I trust they will be so with me.” With good relations thus reaffirmed, Simpson was appointed consul to Morocco and took up his post in Tangier in 1797.

In 1821, Sultan Suliman again demonstrated his admiration for the United States when he provided a house to be used by the American Consul General, John Mullowny, and all future American Consuls. This action placed the American diplomats in Tangier on an equal footing with those of the other major powers. He further expressed his high regard for the United States when he wrote Consul Mullowny that” … I order and permit free trade with all Americans in any part of my empire … the Americans mean more to me than any other nation, and whatever footing the most favored nation is on, they are to be favored more than any other.”

In 1835, with the 50 year term of the Treaty of Marrakech about to expire, President Andrew Jackson dispatched James R. Leib to secure a renewal of the treaty with Sultan Abderrrahman. To this end, Lieb was directed to secure greater privileges for American Ships and to marked every effort to insert a clause providing that, except on a twelve month notice bey either party, the treaty would remain in effect indefinitely. Again negotiations went smoothly with the Sultan and the Treaty was renewed with the changes requested. The treaty, with the original text in Arabic, was signed in Meknes on September 16,1836, endorsed by Leib in Tangier on October 1, 1836 and was officially proclaimed on January 30, 1837. As Lieb noted in his report to the Department of State, one of the most remarkable features of the negotiations was that the treaty was sealed by the Sultan on the basis of friendship, without any stipulations and before the presentation of gifts.

Morocco’s commitment to a friendly relationship with the U.S. government was reaffirmed during the American Civil War when the Minister of Foreign Affairs assured American Consul, Jesse H. McMath, that his country, “being a sincere friend of the American nation would never air or give countenance to the insurgents.”

In 1865, the Cape Spartel Lighthouse Treaty was signed by the United States and nine other countries. First proposed by John Mullowny in 1821, construction began in 1861 and was completed in 1864. The Sultan granted neutrality for the lighthouse at the Straits of Gibraltar under the condition that the ten naval powers who used it would supervise and maintain it. The Treaty, ratified by President Andrew Johnson on July 14, 1866 and proclaimed March 12, 1867 was the first International convention to which the United States was a party. As U.S.-Moroccan relations continued to warm in the early seventies, the new American Consul Peter Mathews boasted that his reception in the Moroccan capital was greater than “any ever before accorded to any representative of even the most favored European states.”

During the Madrid Conference in 1880 and again at the Algeciras Conference in 1906, American representatives spoke eloquently in defense of Morocco. At the turn of the century the U.S. reaffirmed its ‘open door’ policy with regard to Morocco, calling for the maintenance of order and guarantees of religious and racial toleration in Morocco: “in short, fair play is what the United States asks for Morocco and all interested parties.” Declaring its neutrality in the controversy over domination of Morocco, the United States stressed the introduction of “reforms based upon the triple principle of the sovereignty of His Majesty, the Sultan, the integrity of his domains, and economic liberty without any inequality.”

Relations in the Modern Era, World War II and Beyond

In 1942, to prevent the invasion of North Africa by the Axis powers, the United States and its allies landed forces in Morocco and Algeria. A few days later, President Franklin Roosevelt sent Sultan Mohammed V a message stating “I have been highly pleased to learn of the admirable spirit of cooperation that is animating you and your people in their relationships … with the forces of my country.” After recalling the traditional friendship between the U.S. and Morocco, the President concluded “our victory over the Germans will, I know, inaugurate a period of peace and prosperity, during which the Moroccan and French people of North Africa will flourish and thrive in a manner which befits their glorious past.” In reply, the Sultan noted that Morocco had been “duty-bound to defend itself, but once the cessation of hostilities had been ordered and the commanders of your troops affirmed that they did not come as conquerors but as liberators … We declared to Major General George Patton that as long as our prestige, soul, religion and traditions were respected … they could rest assured that they found in Morocco only friends and collaborators.”

In January 1943, Churchill, Roosevelt and Degaulle met for four days in the Casablanca suburb of Anfa to map out strategy for the war. The Anfa Conference is significant because it marked the moment when the Allies first agreed on the demand for the “unconditional surrender” of the Axis powers.

One of the highlights of the conference was a dinner party hosted by President Roosevelt in honor of Sultan Mohammed V and his son Moulay Hassan. This recognition of the Moroccan sovereign as host of the conference and as a ruler of importance by President Roosevelt gave credibility to Moroccan aspirations for independence. At the dinner, the discussion centered on Morocco’s natural wealth and the possibility of development, and on efforts to raise health and education levels. The two leaders also talked of increasing U.S.-Moroccan trade and economic cooperation. President Roosevelt asserted that the Sultan should not allow other countries to exploit Morocco’s natural resources. He suggested that Moroccan engineers, educators and scientists be educated in America, and offered the possibility that American firms might help Moroccan development. The President was also reputed to have said that he would do all in his power to support Morocco’s wish to be independent of the French. As they left the table, the Sultan proclaimed “anew future for my country.”

Relations Since Independence

Following World War Two, and after more than a decade of struggle, Morocco attained its independence from France in 1956. Upon the return of the Sultan from exile in 1955, President Eisenhower had sent him a special message expressing his hope that the new reign would “…restore peace and prosperity which the United States so deeply desires” to the Moroccan people.

When Morocco finally broke free from the French in 1956, President Eisenhower again sent a message this time through his diplomatic agent in Morocco, Julius Holmes congratulating Morocco and saying “…My government renews its wishes for the peace and prosperity of Morocco, and has asked me to express its gratification that Morocco has freely chosen, as a sovereign nation, to continue in the path of its traditional friendships.” In return, the Sultan affirmed that the Treaty of 1836 would continue to be honored and stated Morocco’s support of a common policy against communism.

In recognition of the soverign and independent status of Morocco, the United States raised the level of its representation in Morocco from Diplomatic Agent to Ambassador. On July 21, 1956, the Senate confirmed Cavendish W. Cannon as the first U.S. Ambassador to Morocco. On September 5, 1956, the newly appointed Moroccan Ambassador to the United States, Dr. El Mehdi Ben Mohamed Aboud, presented his credentials to President Eisenhower, and on October 6, 1956, Ambassador Cannon took up his post in Rabat thus establishing full diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Over the past three decades, U.S.-Moroccan relations have been characterized by mutual respect and friendship. Ties between our two nations have been cultivated through visits by high-level government officials. This free exchange of ideas between U.S. and Moroccan leaders began in November 1957 when the Sultan made an official visit to the United States where he met with President Eisenhower. Less than two years later, then Vice-President Nixon travelled to Morocco where he too discussed improved bilateral cooperation between the two countries with Sultan Mohamed V.

The relationship continued to grow closer following the death of King Mohammed V in 1961. His successor, King Hassan II, visited the United States several times, and met Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton during his reign.

King Mohammed VI first met President Clinton at the funeral of King Hassan II on July 25, 1999. As Crown Prince, King Mohammed VI visit the United States several times. His visit on June 20, 2000 marked his first trip to the United States as King.

Tunisia and Morocco Become Independent - History

1918 - Yugoslavia created. "Russia" and "Austro-Hungarian Empire" disappear.
1918 - Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia independence
1919 - Treaty of Versaille League of Nations formed flu epidemic.
1920-33 - Prohibition in U.S.
1920 - Mahatma Gandhi becomes leader of Congress. British East Africa becomes Kenya. Palestine becomes British mandate.
1921-24 - Irish Civil War
1922 - Russia changes to Soviet Union. Egyptian independence.
1923 - Turkey independent
1924 - Christiana, Norway renamed Oslo
1924 - Leningrad appears

1928 - Peiping changed to Peking
1927 - Stalin comes to power. Lindbergh flies Atlantic.
1929 - Yugoslavia name change -- learn more about this

1930 - Constantinople becomes Istanbul
1931 - Japan invades Manchuria and renames it Manchukuo
In 1931 South Africa became a fully sovereign and self-governing dominion under the British crown. In 1961 it became a republic.
1932 - Saudi Arabia independent. Iraq independent from Britian.
1932-45 - Japan seizes Manchuria renamed Manchuokuo
1933 - Nazis come to power in Germany
1934 - Italian East Africa merged Somaliland, Eritrea and Ethiopia
1936-41 - Ethiopia occupied by Italy, renamed Italian East Africa
1935 - Persia becomes Iran
1937 - Burma separates from India
1937-45 Japan invasion of China
1938 - Germany annexes Austria
1938 - Bolivia loses Gran Chaco to Paraguay
1939-45 - World War II
1939 - Bohemia (currently Czech Republic) occupied by Germany Slovakia independent
1939 - France returns Hatay to Turkey

1940 - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania are annexed by Soviet Union
1941 - Slovenia divided between Italy and Germany Croatia independent
1942 - Ecuador loses Oriente to Peru
1944 - Lebanon independent
1946 - Philippines independent from United States
1947 - India independent East and West Pakistan created
1948 - Israel created (before 1948, maps say "Palestine") Republic of Ireland independent. Ceylon and Burma become independent.
1949 - Newfoundland and Labrador join Canada.

1953 - Korea divided into North and South Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
In 1953 the two parts of Rhodesia were reunited, and combined with Nyasaland, modern day Malawi in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and after its dissolution in 1963 the whites demanded independence from Southern Rhodesia (Rhodesia from 1964).

1953-63 - Central African Federation
1954 - "French Indo-China" ceased to be. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia independent Sudan independent. Formally was "Anglo-Egyptian Sudan"

1956 - Morocco, Tunisia independent. "Anglo Egypt Sudan" becomes Sudan. Sudan independent of UK.
1957 - Gold Coast becomes Ghana. Malay states become independent.
1958-61 - Egypt and Syria united as United Arab Republic

1960 - French West Africa divides into independent countries and ceases to exist Congo and Somalia independent. Major break-up of colonial Africa: French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, Belgian Congo, and other territories
end, creating over 15 independent countries, including Niger, Chad, Somalia, Congo, Nigeria. Zaire -- independent in 1960. Formally Belgian Congo.
1961 - Sierra Leone, Tanzania (Tanganyika) independent. Kuwait independent.
1961 South Africa became a republic. British Somaliland became independent.
1962 - Uganda, Algeria, Jamaica independent. Also Trinidad and Tobago, and Western Samoa.
1963 - Kenya independent. Malaysia independence. Zanibar independence.
1963 the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland dissolves. The whites demanded independence from Southern Rhodesia (Rhodesia from 1964).

1964 - Malawi and Zambia independent from UK Zambia was Northern Rhodesia. Rhodesia divided. Nyasaland becomes Malawi. Malta becomes independent.
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form new country: Tanzania
1965 - Southern Rhodesia independent (later became Zimbabwe in 1979 or 1980). Singapore independence
1966 - Botswana, Gambia, and Lesotho independent. Guyana independent
1967 - French Somaliland changes to Afars & Issas (Fr.)
1968 - Equatorial Guinea independence. Mauritius and Swaziland (from UK) gain independence.

1970 - Muscat and Oman changes to Oman. Fiji and Tongan Independence.
1971 - Bahrain independent. Congo changes to Zaire. Bangladesh independence
1972 - Ceylon changes to Sri Lanka
1973 - Bahamas independence
1974 - Guinea-Bissau independence. Grenada independence.
1975 - Angola (formally Portuguese West Africa) and Mozambique independent. Suriname independence. Papua New Guinea gains independence.
1976 - Vietnam unifies. Indonesia annexes Portuguese Timor. Seychelles Independent.
1977 - Djibouti independence
1978 - Dominica independence
1979 - St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines independence. USSR invades Afganistan.

1979/1980 - Zimbabwe gains independence from United Kingdom. It was called Southern Rhodesia. Name changed to Zimbabwe in 1979.
1981 - Belize gains independence from United Kingdom/Guatemala. Antigua and Barbuda become independent state in British Common-Wealth of Nations
1984 - Upper Volta changes name to Burkina Faso

1986 - Ivory Coast changes name to Côte d'Ivoire
1989 - Burma changes name to Myanmar

1990 - West and East Germany merge into one country, Germany.
North and South Yemen merge into one country, Yemen
Namibia gains independence

1991 - Soviet Union dissolves into 15 new countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
1992 - Yugoslavia dissolves into 5 new countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Yugoslavia
1993 - Czechoslovakia divides into Czech Republic and Slovakia
1993 - Eritrea was part of Ethiopia but seceded and gained independence

1994 - Palau was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony.
1994 - South Africa territory Walvis Bay becomes part of Namibia
1997 - Zaire changes name to Democratic Republic of the Congo
Hong Kong possession transfers from United Kingdom to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China
Western Samoa changes name to Samoa
1998 - Nunavut Territory created from part of Northwest Territories (Canada)
1999 - Macao transferred from Portugal to China

2002 - East Timor gains independence from Indonesia (declared independence from Portugal in 1975 but did not became independent from Indonesia until 2002.)
2003 - Yugoslavia divides into Serbia and Montenegro
2006 - Montenegro was part of Serbia and Montenegro (also known as Yugoslavia) but gained independence after a referendum. (June 3)
2006 - Serbia was part of Serbia and Montenegro (also known as Yugoslavia) became its own entity after Montenegro split. Kosovo may also gain independence from Serbia in the future.

Please send corrections, additions, comments or updates to: [email protected]

This globe shows paths taken across the Atlantic Ocean by the Graf Zeppelin and Lindbergh (N.Y. to Paris). From the collection of Katie Register, Rice, Virginia


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