Brief Facts About Morocco

Morocco is a North African country with beautiful scenery, fascinating history and lots of culture, including delicious cuisine, to explore.

#1. Historic evidence suggests that Morocco has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era of prehistoric times. The Maghreb (as the Northern Africa area is called) was a fertile savannah then and not at all like today’s modern arid landscape.

#2. In still ancient, but more recent, history Morocco has been occupied by the Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, and Byzantines. Morocco and the rest of North Africa were drawn into the emerging Mediterranean world by the Phoenicians as they established settlements and trading colonies. The earliest known independent Moroccan kingdom was the King Bocchus I, a Berber of Mauretania.

#3. There was apparently a famine in the country in 1520 that killed many people. One woman who wrote about it described it this way: “. . . a famine in Morocco so terrible that for a long time other events were dated by it.” Whether or not that famine was real, there have been suggestions that Morocco’s population dropped from 5 to under 3 million between the early 16th and 19th centuries.

#4. The year 1549 saw the beginning of the rule of a succession of Arab dynasties all claiming direct descent from the great Islamic prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) The Saadi Dynasty was succeeded by the Alaouite Dynasty, who assumed power in the 17th century.

#5. Sultan Mohammed III established the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship in 1786. As the American Revolution began, the country’s Atlantic Ocean merchant ships were being attacked by Barbary pirates. On December 20, 1777, the Sultan declared that all American merchant ships were now under his protection and thus could enjoy safe passage. Therefore, Morocco was the first nation to recognize the newly formed country of the United States formally as an independent nation. This treaty today is the U.S.’s oldest non-broken friendship treaty.

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