Image: The Moroccan people have a long and varied past

Culture

Meeting the Moroccans

Who are the Moroccans?

Dive through the mists of time and even as far back as Paleolithic times (between 90,000 and 190,000 years ago) you’ll find the land that’s now known as Morocco was inhabited by the Amazigh. Closer to our time, just two and a half thousand years ago, the Phoenicians established colonies here, eventually giving way to the Carthaginians. Then the Roman empire swallowed up Morocco for five hundred years.

Probably the most influential invasion was in 670 AD when the first Islamic conquest took place. The Umayyad Muslims brought their language, government and religion to the area. It didn’t last too long – The Great Amazigh Revolt drove them out in 739 and several independent states were formed. It was the start of Moroccan independence, as until the 20th century they were never ruled by a foreign power. Instead, a series of powerful Amazigh dynasties took control of the kingdom during the second millennium.

That’s not to say their borders didn’t shift from time to time. Over the years the Ottomans, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Arabs have all controlled bits of territory, before being moved out again. And in 1912 Morocco became a French protectorate, a state of affairs that lasted until 1956 when the Moroccans regained full independence.

These days the vast majority of Moroccans are Amazigh/Arab. They’re a friendly people, tolerant and welcoming of foreigners. They have a great sense of hospitality and are linked strongly to tradition and culture.

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