Our Beloved King HM Mohammed VI
The vegetation is of Mediterranean type, with thuya, holm oak, cedar, juniper and diverse mountain plants. In the plains, grows the cork oak,Pine, the olive tree, the mastic and the argan tree. The esparto and Artemisia plants are typical of the arid steppe, while the south oases are the most convenient fields for palm trees.
The kingdom of Morocco is situated in the western extremity of North Africa, 35.52 degrees latitude North and 13 degrees longitude west. The country became know to the Arabs, since its conquest, around the mid of the seventh-century, as al Maghreb al Aqsa or the Far West. It is not until the twelve century that it became know as Marrakech, after its eleventh-century Almorabids founded capital-city of the South.
The physical topography of the country is characterized by its mountain ranges, plains, coasts and deserts. In the north, the Rif Mountains take shape of a belt along the Mediterranean coast. Inland, the Middle and High Atlas Mountains stretch onward, from east to west. The High Atlas stands as a natural barrier between the Sahara and the northern plains, protecting these fertile lands from the dry and hot winds of the desert. Now, besides being a natural protecting ramparts, these mountain ranges constitute the most important sources of water of the country. Land of contrasts, the fringes of its Sahara begin to the south-west of the High and the Anti Atlas Mountains, and extend south-west, with its stony deserts and rocky plateaus, intersected by river wadis that are dry and sandy most of the year.
The vegetation is of Mediterranean type, with thuya, holm oak, cedar, juniper and diverse mountain plants. In the plains, grows the cork oak,Pine, the olive tree, the mastic and the argan tree. The esparto and Artemisia plants are typical of the arid steppe, while the south oases are the most convenient fields for palm trees.
The discovery of fossilized remains of a 3 million years old man, found by paleontologists in Oldoway, Tanzania, and other remains of a 2 million years old woman found in 1974 in Ethiopia, and named “Lucy”, after the Beatles song, proved that the African Continent was the Cradle of Humankind.
But what about the early inhabitants of Morocco..!!…?
According to Paleontologists, (Ruhlman, Abbot J. Roche) humans, together with dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles, populated the country during the Paleolithic Period. Paleolithic tumulus, sacrificial altars and other cave paintings are eloquent records to this fact. Remains of a 50 000 years old middle Paleolithic man of Neanderthal (Germany) were discovered in a mine at Jbel Irhoud, 70 km of Assafi. Other 30,000 years old fossilized rests of an Aterian, were exhumed near Rabat (Dar Es-Soltan). The evolutionary fate of the Neanderthals is closely related to the origins of modern humans. The evidence now indicates that modern humans first emerged in sub-Saharan Africa sometime prior to 50 000 years ago. Subsequently they spread northward, absorbing and occasionally displacing (through competition, not confrontation) local late archaic human populations. As a result the Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and central European Neanderthals were absorbed into those spreading modern human populations, contributing genetically to the subsequent early modern human populations across those regions.
According to the anthropologist D. Ferembach and Dastugue
(1962), the first modern inhabitants of al Maghreb were the Ibero-Maurusians,
a North African group of people known as Mechta el Arbi race, responsible of
the Ibero-Maurusian (Oranian Industry) stone-tool industry, dating back to the
last Glacial Period, about 16 000 years ago. The former presumption that the
industry extended into Spain explains the prefix “Ibero”. Fossilized remains
of this type of humans were discovered in the caves of Taforalt,
northwest of Oujda. The Ibero-Maurusian was a Homo-sapiens-sapiens, measuring
1.70 m, robust and of a rude character, similar to the cromanoïds of Europe.
The Iberomaurusians enjoyed of a placid life, hunting little and living
essentially on snails. The other modern humans that established afterwards in
Al-Maghreb were the Capsians. This group of people are of Arab origin and
would have emigrated from the Near East (Yemen) to North Africa during the
10th millennium BC, fleeing the hard climatic changes and desertification of
their lands. One of their clans moved towards the Northwest and established in
Tunisia (Gafsa), Algeria and in Morocco, which they colonized, and probably,
cohabited with the Ibero-Maurusians. Many other ethnic races, subsequently,
joined the former inhabitants, that is to say, Caneanites, Latins, Vandals and Arabs. The result was a heterogeneous moroccan population, and a
multilingual culture and tradition.
The early modern inhabitants of al Maghreb used copper and bronze, and as proved by the old rock paintings of the Anti-Atlas (Tazzarin), they used carts before the emerging of the Phoenicians. Recent archeological discoveries of megalithic tombs and arms of spanish type, found in the North of Morocco (Tnine Sidi el Yamani), are evidences of the Iberian inhabitant’s flow to North Africa. These and other facts proved, to the anthropologists , that the Neolithic discoveries, such as agriculture, irrigation and the use of horses and dromedaries were introduced from the East; while the inventions of the metal-age were introduced from the North; yet, the life-style and manners emanated from a common origin; the Near-East.
The Neolithic population in the South-West of Morocco where inclined to the pastoral life. Husbandry was rather practiced in the North by a sedentary people who lived in troglodyte settlements, such as those of the Middle Atlas (Bhalil, Ifran, and Imouzzar). In the South, the people were nomads and lived of hunting.
It is inconceivable to imagine our ancestors living without practicing a cult, or showing devotion to something. System of cults to spiritual powers, believed to regulate human destiny on Earth, in which there is belief in a god or gods, and in which there are sets of rules, usually accepted as divinely inspired, governing all human behavior in this life, and run according to arbitrary omens. Different cults and rituals, then, were celebrated, to conjure the presence of those powers or spirits, to benefit of their favors.
Anthropology uses the Polynesian words "manna" and "taboo" to specify the positive and negative aspects of the spiritual essence. It is qualified as “manna” if it is uncorrupt and benevolent, and “taboo” if it is harmful and fatalistic. In traditional religions, spaces and substances of an entity are believed to be laden with enigmatic powers, as it is the case with some human persons . Always in traditional belief, the “shaman sorcerer” or medicine man, the “Mejdoub”, in the Moroccan tradition, are holy men possessed by good spirits and presumed to be endowed with mystical powers. The “Mejdoub’s” endowment of the “baraka” or blessing is not of traditional origin but divine. The “baraka” is supposed to be a gift from God to particular blessed persons. The “Mejdoub”, who sometimes would act as a possessed person, might dispense healing and predict future events. This mental ability and other esoteric phenomenon are beyond the scope of normal perception of things.
Spiritualism is more than an act of reverence or awe to what is clear to mind. It is the absence of a well-defined bound between the real and the mystical realms that produce in us the sensations of amazement and reverence.
Taking the case of the mystical brotherhood of Gnawa, the aspect of their mystical spiritualism is called “el Hal”, or ecstasy, a word that refers to the sensation of bliss and peace, attained through rituals based upon spiritual singing and exiting dances. The magic benevolent rituals through which “el Hal”, in all its aspects, is attained, causes a fusion between human emotions and the esoteric powers, which would cause sensations of bliss and serenity.
The ritual plays a predominant function in every traditional culture, even if it is not regular in the daily life. It is intended to influence or harmonize with nature through dramatized or symbolic illustrations of events, such as sunset, season’s changing, moon phases, harvesting, birth, death etc. In addition, rituals achieve the grand mythical themes, which, in some cultures, replace religious practices. The ritual could be considered as a form of art that expresses and celebrates the human participation in the procession of the different phases of life. Symbolism, when associated with birth, death and fate, is but one aspect of secular rites. The different symbols traced or drawn by people in their dresses, jewelry, some domestic utensils, and tools, represent not only superfluous ornaments, but functional parts of the very object that invokes the “manna” for a bliss, or the “tabou” for negative utility.
The “manna” is related to good omen and positive power, the “taboo”, on the other hand, is associated with evil in all its aspects. In cultures where this kind of practices is predominant, religion has but a little influence. However, everything is penetrated with religion, the sacred and the profane. Religion is, effectively, implied in every day’s life, and it is hard to outline the boundaries between the sacred and the profane. Hence the irrational concept of superstition, which is the consequence of fear from the unknown and from the mystical phenomena. Superstition, which is an alteration of religious perception, implies the belief in invisible forces, and in the substances and processes that would stimulate them. These forces could have either a negative or a positive influence upon a person’s life. And it is for this reason that magic, sorcery and other occult sciences were developped and practiced, to control and handle the occult forces of good and evil.
The Amazigh or the Free people (Berbers for the west) were the first known modern inhabitants of al Maghreb. They still make up one of the most important ethnic group in present- days. Called Libyans by the Egyptians and the Greeks, they were known as Getuli (Jazuoula), Numidi, Mauri and Macizi or Berbers by the Romans. The Greeks used the word Barbaro when refering to every alien to their culture and civilization. The Romans used this appellation to identify the people who remained refractory to their Latin culture. There are three main Berber ethnic groups in Morocco, the Amazigh, the Chloh and the Riafa. Their origin remains unclear, though Ibn Khaldoun had the merit of exposing most of the theories related to the subject; he stated:
Now, the fact that dispenses us from any hypotheses, is what
follows: "the Berbers are the sons of Canaan, son of Shem, son of Noah; their
ancestor was named Mazigh, the Philistines were their parents".
(History of the Berbers).
Some western anthropologists, such as Drs. Ferembach, Rocha and Texier, state that the actual inhabitants of al Maghreb descend from the Iberomaurusians (Europe) and from the Capsians (Yemenites, Canaanean). Genealogists of every epoch issued different assumptions regarding the origin of the Berbers. But at the end, all the statements came to the conclusion that these people arrived from the North of the Mediterranean and from the Near East, and established in North Africa, forming two ethnic major groups, the classic "Botre and Baranes".
This group is of Arab origin, and its most important clans are the Zenata, Mediouna, Leouata, Zouaoua and Matmata.
The Zenata: This is the most important clan of the Botre. A nomadic tribe of the Middle East, Zenata arrived to North Africa around the 2nd millennium BC and settled in North Africa. The Zenata people introduced the dromedary and the palm-tree to North Africa. Their language stems from the Arabic. Zenata spread progressively in Morocco, colonizing several zones of the Sahara, the east of the High Atlas, the south and east of the Middle Atlas, and the Rif. Zenata’s most important tribes were Banou Ifran, Meghraoua and Meknassa. Zenata founded the Merinids dynasty during the 13th century.
The Baranes (Pyrenean)
The Baranes dispersed in North Africa, forming several tribes, such as Sanhaja, Masmouda, Ketama, Aoureba, Haskoura, Jazoula, and Lamta. The Baranes constitutes, by far, the largest ethnic masse of Morocco. They colonized zones located between the High Atlas and the southern shorelines of the Atlantic, as well as the south and center of Algeria. Their native dialect derived from the Lybic.
The Masmouda: This was a sedentary tribe which
established, earlier, in the mountain zones of Morocco. Masmouda comprises
Berghouata, which colonized the valleys of Oum Rabie and Abi Rakrak. Ghomara,
which settled in the west of the Rif. The Chlouh, which established in the
south of the High Atlas and in the west of the Anti Atlas. Doukkala, which
established between Oum Rabie and the valley of Tenssift.
Masmouda founded villages and cities, practiced farming, pasturing, and mastered the skills of irrigation. During the 12th century, Masmouda, founded the Almowahid dynasty, whose Sultans reigned, for about one century, over an empire whose sway included North Africa and Andaloucia.
The Sanhaja: This clan
was composed of nomadic and sedentary tribes. The sedentary settled in the
Kabylie, in the eastern zone of Algeria (Numidians), in the northern zones of
the Rif and in the fringes of the Sahara. The Znaga tribe is, by far, the
largest sedentary community. Their settlement extended between the
southwestern foothills of the Middle Atlas and the Sahara. The river Senegal
is named after them (Zenaga).
The nomadic tribe dispersed in the Sahara, forming independent branches, of which, Lemta, Lamtouna and Jazoula were the most important. The Lamtouna family acquired an important social rank in North Africa, and during the 11th century, founded one of the most magnificent reigning dynasties of Morocco, the Almorabids.
Morocco and the Phoenicians The word Phinakou in the Canaanite language means ''Red''. (Phoenix = red) During the second millennium BC, the Phoenicians acquired lands along the coast of North Africa and established flourishing trade outposts in Morocco such as Tamusida in Tetouan, Lixus in Larache, Cota in Tangier, and Megdoul in Essaouira. The Phoenicians bartered, with other people, fabric, pottery, jewelry and purple dye (a red powder made of the secretion of a shellfish called Murex, and used in cosmetics), for gold, spices and animal hides.
The Mediterranean domination
During the 10th century BC, Sidon, the prosperous Phoenician trading city declined, and Tyre took over Sidon’s activity, during the ruling of Pygmalion, and became an important trading center. The affluence created by the commerce, achieved by the merchants of Tyre, with other States of the Mediterranean, tempted the greed of its neighbors. Harassed and ransomed by the Assyrians, hundreds of merchants of Tyre immigrated to the western shores of North Africa, where they secured their families and their goods. Cyrus, the Assyrian King, reduced Tyre during the 9th century BC. In 818 BC, hundreds of merchants of this State, led by the princess Eloise, sister of the king Pygmalion, immigrated to North Africa and settled in Tunisia, where they founded a colony called Qart Hadasht (Carthage) or the new city. Not long, afterwards, the new colony of Carthage grew big, strong and prosperous. The Carthaginians began spreading their hegemony outwards, annexing former Phoenician colonies to the mother-city. By the turn of the sixth century BC, Carthage became a powerful metropolis, which owed some of its prosperity to the fertility of its hinterland. The power attained by Carthage and its strategic location on the Narrows of the Mediterranean discouraged any foreign interference in her commerce. Greeks and Romans were excluded, by treaty, from trading with any Carthaginian colony established in the Mediterranean. The ports of Sicily, Sardinia, Spain and North Africa were forbidden to them, as well as sailing through the Straits of Hercules. The Carthaginians did also expel the Greeks out of a settlement, they established earlier, in the coast of Libya. In their plans, the Carthaginians, aimed at dominating all the Mediterranean at any coast So in 483 BC, the High Council of Carthage entrusted the suffete Hanno, with the task of establishing new Carthaginian colonies in the Western coasts of North Africa. In his famous voyage (periple), Hanno sailed up Northwest, along the coasts of Morocco, where he established several colonies along its Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. The Carthaginian grew too greedy, and their hegemony brought about long conflicts with the Greeks, their rivals in the Mediterranean Sea. Both powers rivaled for spreading their hegemony over the Mediterranean expanse, main cause of the Punic conflicts. The Carthaginians considered the Mediterranean Sea as their own property (mare nostrum), and, according to Strabo, they boasted that neither a Roman nor a Greek could wash their hands in its waters without their approval. The Greeks of Sicily secured their supremacy over the northern borders of the Mediterranean coast and the Carthaginians over the southern shores. The Greeks carried, with the expedition of Agathocle (310 BC), the hostilities into the African territories. The Carthaginians lost Sicily to the Greeks but wheeled west, towards the Iberian Peninsula (Spain), where they founded several settlements at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Amilcar Barca founded the colony of Gades (Cadiz) and Asdrubal that of Cartagena in the south of Spain. The first clash of the Carthaginians with Rome came about in Sicily in 264 BC. In 241 BC. Carthage lost Sicily as well as Corsica and Sardinia to Rome. During the 2nd Punic War (218 BC), the Carthaginian general Hannibal, carried his offensives against the Romans far beyond the Pyrenees Mountains. Leading an important army of mercenaries, reinforced with thirty-seven elephants, Hannibal crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps, defeated the legion of Scipio and marched against Rome, which he besieged for months. The Roman capital was in danger of being taken up by the Carthaginian barbarous troops. But Scipio showed his smart military strategy. He carried the conflict into North Africa, by sailing with his legion quickly to the shores of Numidia (Algeria). Once there, Scipio’s Roman legion joined forces with the Numidian troops of king Massinissa, and marched against Carthage. Scipio’s plan was to drag Hannibal to Africa and spare to Rome the disgrace of falling into the grips of his barbarous army composed mainly of a rabble of Balears, Getules, Numidians, Gales and Iberians. The military situation shifted and Carthage, once the besieger, became threatened by the Numidian troops and by the Roman legion. The Carthaginian nobilities had no other alternative but to call Hannibal to their rescue. Hannibal lifted the siege over Rome and hurried, with his horde, to North Africa. Broken by the long march, Hannibal’s exhausted militia was easily beaten by the army of Scipio and his Numidian allies in the battle of Zama, in 202 BC. Defeated, Hannibal was forced to accept a humiliating Roman peace treaty. Carthage was conquered, but its mere existence continued being a serious menace to the Pax Romana. Massinissa, the Numidian king, who had been harboring hopes of restoring the lost provinces of his ancestors, was given that opportunity by Rome. The Carthaginians were subjugated and oppressed, for long years, by Massinissa, who exacted from them heavy annual tributes. The Numidians (Algerians), were the western neighbors of the Carthaginians. They were divided, by Carthage, into two communities, the: Massyls and Massaesyles and the dispersed. With the help of Rome, king Massinissa realized the unity of the two clans. But Rome feared, afterwards, the emerging of a Numidian Power from this unity. What particularly worried the Romans was the prospect of having to fight a host of ferocious warlike tribes in North Africa. The city of Carthage would have easily restored its military opulence, fostered and nourished by the Berber tribes. That is why Rome hastened its destruction, before it had time to ally to Massinissa. In 146 BC Carthage was besieged and assaulted by the army of Scipio. It was a terrible onslaught, which lasted six days and six nights. Asdrubal and what remained of his army surrendered. His wife and one thousand defectors retired to the temple of Esculape, where they set fire and jumped to the flames. Carthage was sacked and burned to ashes; its soil was sawn with salt. (3d Punic war 149-146 BC)
The Berber kingdoms
Old records have mentioned the existence of a Moorish kingdom since the end of the 4th century BC. Tite Live mentioned Bagha, a Moorish king, ally of Massinissa the Numidian king. But it is not until two centuries later that the Moorish kingdom came to sight of history on the eve of the Roman conflicts with Jugurtha in Algeria. At the end of the 2nd century BC the kingdom of Mauritania, (Morocco) was ruled by the king Bokhous the Ancient. According to Salustre, Bokhus was greedy for power, and to keep it, he arranged alliances and broke others to the liking of his interests. When Jugurtha the numidian prince reached the height of his glory in Algeria, king Bokhous offered him the hand of his daughter in marriage, and joined him in arms against the Romans. But he had to change camp when Jugurtha’s chance began to fade. He dad to pull out of the conflict for fear from an eventual Roman retaliation against his kingdom.
In compensation for his neutrality, Rome, thanks to he meddling of Sylla, ceded to Bokhus the western territories of Numidia.
The Moorish kingdom was well administered since the beginning of the 1st century BC. The throne was hereditary and the king’s power was absolute. The royal court was made up of relatives and of nobility who played important parts in court. The army, main instrument of power, was composed of foot soldiers and cavalry, recruited or furnished by allied tribes.
The coastal cities, such as Tingis, Lixus and Rosader (Melilia), former Carthaginian colonies, enjoyed of an autonomous administration led by a prince who was vassal to the king. The other inland cities and villages, such as Volubilis, Banase and Sala Colonia were administered by a local council headed by a suffêt.
Since the death of Bokhus Ist in 80 BC and till the year 49 BC, when the kingdom emerges divided in two independent kingdoms, nothing is said about the kingdom of Mauritania. No records mention the reason of this division into two states; the kingdom of Mauritania Tingitane, with Tingis and and Lixus as capitals, and the kingdom of the Mauritania Cesarea (Algeria), whose capital was Cherchel.
The disputes of the Roman aristocracy for power, on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, dragge down the kings of the two Moorish kingdoms into the Roman internal conflicts; each in a different camp. Bogoud the king of Mauritania Cesarea (Algeria) choose the unfortunate camp of Marc Anthony, and lost his kingdom in the year 38 BC to king Bokhus, of the Tingitane, who choose the camp of Octavius, the future Emperor of Rome. The two kingdoms where unified in the year 33 BC under the scepter of Bokhus II whose ruling lasted, afterwards, five years. King Bokhus did not leave a heir after his death, and the Emperor Octavius established a protectorate system up on the kingdom of Mauritania and founded new Roman colonies, such as Zilis, Baba Campestri and Valentia Banassa (Ben el K’ssiri). Roman veterans colonized these new sites. The Emperor Octavius deported the inhabitants of Zilis to Spain.
After the year 30 BC, Morocco fell under the Roman influence, and the Latin culture began to invade the country. Latin characters became visible beside Punic’s. In the year 25 BC, the Emperor Octavius restored the monarchy in Mauritania and crowned the numidian prince Juba II king of the Moorish kingdom.
The first Berber Kings of Mauritania
Jugurtha (118-105 BC.)
Jugurtha emerged in North Africa, when Rome laid hand on this zone of the continent, after destroying Carthage. New king of a divided Numidia (Algeria), Jugurtha, like his predecessors, was an allay of Rome, but with different ambitions. Hi longed for uniting the scattered berber tribes, dispersed by the Roman policy of “divide to conquer” and for a unified independent kingdom. His desires of getting rid of the roman tutelage grew bigger. Jugurtha, grandson of Massinissa and son-in-law of Bokhus I king of the Tingitane, was a dangerous unrevealed menace to the Roman domination in North Africa. Soon he was to lead the first Berber rebellion which shook the Roman colonies of North Africa. Jugurtha, the young prince, had all the attributes of a leader and was of an unmatched ability for exploiting the errors of his rivals. And he acted discretely eliminating, first, the weak princes he considered puppets of Rome. He took advantage of the corrupt nature of the Roman Senators, allying to his side those with more influence in the Senate. Backed by Scipion Emilian and by the popularity he acquired among the Numidians, Jugurtha achieved the first part of his objectives, the unity of the Numidian kingdom. But he was not elated with this exploit, he longed for more. Jugurtha dreamed of an independent Berber Empire.
The Romans appreciated Jugurtha for his royalty and friendship, and as an ally, he was, once, invited to join in a council in Rome, where he was pressed by a senator to justify his expansionist policy in North Africa. Moved by his pride of nationalism, the Numidian prince refused to justify his acts as a vassal to the senators, preferring rather to give his point of view of a Sovereign king. But Jugurtha was forbidden of speech to the Roman Assembly, and was publicly insulted, in the Curia of the Senate, by several senators, for his seditious tendency.
Jugurtha hurt, in his dignity, left Rome with a deep resentment against the Romans. His esteem for the Latins diminished. Now he was more determined than ever to chase them from the African continent.
Jugurtha was ready to challenge the roman power in Algeria. He organized the file and rank of his army, composed mainly of Numids and Getules, and in the year 110 BC, launched his first offensive againt the roman camps. The Numidian troops inflicted heavy losses to the Roman legion during the first clashes and captured high ranked officers, which suffered the humiliation of being driven under the yoke. This infamy reserved, then, by Rome to the defeated nobility, Jugurtha applied it to the Roman nobility.
The Romans were draw in a long and difficult conflict against Jugurtha’s upraise in Algeria, and were powerless in face of the berber guerrilla technique. Jugurtha dispatched quick raids against the Roman camps, causing confusion and death in the ranks of the Roman legion. The Berber rebellion lasted for long years, during which, Jugurtha proved an able tactician and a daring menace to the Pax Romana in North Africa. The Romans’ military expedition against Jugurtha reached a critical point that neither prudence nor honor could have accepted. Rome feared the emerging of another Hannibal, relying, this time, on an important national army. Jugurtha’s defiance required the use of strong means, and Rome was resolved to exert the force of the empire against him. Massive military contingents were dispatched by Rome against the Berber rebellion. A first expedition, led by the proconsul Metellus, was disbanded and cut asunder by the troops of Jugurtha. Marius commanded the last and most destructive Roman expedition against Jugurtha. To bring to an end Jugurtha’s upraise, the tyrant General used all the weight of his legion, destroying and burning villages and towns suspected loyal to Jugurtha. After long costly campaigns, the Roman legions of Marius succeeded in disbanding the troops of Jugurtha.
Betrayed and broken, the prince, Jugurtha sought refuge in Tangier, with Bokhus I, his father-in-law. But Jugurtha at large was still a serious menace to the Roman influence in North Africa. The fugitive was tracked by Sylla, the lieutenant of Marius, to Tingis, where the king Bokhus was summoned to hand over Jugurtha, his son-in-law, to Rome. At first, the king of the Tingitane refused, but under the menace of another war, Bokhus gave in, and delivered Jugurtha to Sylla. The Berber prince was escorted to Rome, where he was trailed as a traitor to Rome, and sentenced to death. Jugurtha was hanged in 105 BC.
Juba II (25 BC - 24 AD)
Juba II, son of Juba I, was the great grandson of Massinissa. The young Numid prince was five years old, when he was taking as a hostage to Rome by the Emperor August Caesar, after the defeat of his father in the battle of Thapsus. The young Numid Prince was entrusted to Octavia, the sister of the Emperor August, which saw to his education in an aristocratic milieu. Having distinguished in the Emperor’s campaigns against the Gales, Juba II, in recognition for his heroic achievements, was given a kingdom made of the States of Bokhus II, and of what remained of the kingdom of his father. This realm extended from the Tingitane to the mouth of Oued el Kebir (borders of Algeria with Tunisia) to the east. Juba II married Cleopatra Selen, daughter of Marc Antonio and Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, and begot a son, Ptolemeos, who was to reign after him.
As an ally of Rome, king Juba II faced an important Berber insurrection against the Roman régime, which in the year 17 AD, inflamed all North Africa, from the Tripolitan to Mauritania. The insurrection was led by Tacfarinas, a Roman-trained Libyan defector. The Berbers rebelled against the Roman policy of confiscating the most fertile of their lands, which were distributed among the disabled Roman veterans and other Latin colons. Juba II assisted his Roman allies in overcoming the insurrection of Tacfarinas, which had seriously threatened the Roman colony of the Tripolitan. Rome had to dispatch the ninth Spanish legion to reinforce the Legio III Augusta. For seven years Tacfarinas defied, successfully, the alien overlords, but was compelled, twice, to seek refuge in the desert among the Garamants people of Niger. Tacfarinas secured the Garamants help and led detachments of light troops against the Roman garrisons of Libya. The revolt was reduced after the death, in battle, of Tacfarinas, the brilliant Libyan leader.
Ptolemeos (24-40 AD)
In the year 24 AD, the prince, Ptolemeos succeeded his father, Juba II, and was to become the last Berber king of North Africa. Many chroniclers underlined the curious character of this king, who consecrated most of his time in learning, and won the reputation of an eminent scholar. He attached too much importance to geography, and he explored every corner of his kingdom, recording, with details, the results of his explorations in a treatise of three volumes, entitled "Libyca". King Ptolemeos procured ease and welfare to his subjects, through the growth of country’s economy. He enhanced the "purple dye" factory of the Island of "'Essaouira", and the Garum and fish preserving factories of Cota (Tangier) and Lixus (Larache).
The flourishing economy of the Tingitane kingdom tempted the covetousness of Caligula, the Roman Emperor. In the year 40 AD, Caligula invited the young king to join in the Roman imperial festivities he was celebrating in Lyon. The young inexperienced Ptolemeos made a mistake showing in the Imperial Palace of Caligula, dressed in his beautiful red purpura imperial cape. Red was the color of the Roman emperors, but Ptolemeo disregarded it. Caligula, jealous of the beautiful imperial red cape the young Berber king wore, killed him. The murder of Ptolemeos brought to an end the independence of the Country, and caused a massive popular insurrection, led by Aedemon, a freedman of King Ptolemeos. The insurrection lasted for long years, and, again, it demanded important strong contingents of Roman troupes to reduce it.
In the year 80 AD, the Emperor Claudius made of Morocco a province of the Roman Empire, known by Mauritania Tingitane.
The Vandals and the Byzantines
In the year 429, the Vandals, led by Genseric, crossed from Spain to North Africa. Genseric was looking for attaining Carthage, the capital of North Africa. The Vandals remained in the North of the Continent for almost one century, and their passage left no traces in Morocco. In 533 the Byzantine Emperor, Justinianus, dispatched a military contingent, commanded by Belisairius to chase the Vandals from the former colonies of the old Roman Empire, making an end to their presence in North Africa. The Byzantines, themselves, were, soon, driven out of the inner territories, by the Berbers. Their presence in the country was limited to the sole colony of the littoral city of Sebta, in the North of Morocco