History Files
 

 

African Kingdoms

North Africa

 

 

 

Morocco

Byzantine rule in Morocco was ended by the Arabs, who invaded in 682 in the course of their drive to expand the power of Islam. Except for the Jews, the inhabitants of Morocco, both Christian and pagan, soon accepted the religion of their conquerors. Berber troops were used extensively by the Arabs in their conquest of Visigoth Spain, which began in 711.

682 - 788

North Africa is separated from Byzantium by the Islamic empire.

788

The Islamic Idrisids become independent from Arabia.

Idrisid Dynasty
AD 788 - 974

The first Arab dynasty to rule over the whole of Morocco was named after Idris, a refugee from the east who was the great-great- grandson of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad. In 793 Idris was poisoned, apparently by an emissary from the Abassid caliph Harun ar-Rashid, from whose usurpation he had fled. Idris' son made Fès his capital, which was to become a centre of Islamic and Arab culture throughout the centuries.

788 - 793

Idris I

Refugee from the east.

793 - 828

Idris II

Son.

828 - 836

Muhammad ibn Idris

836 - 848

Ali ibn Idris / Ali I

848 - 864

Yahya ibn Muhammad / Yahya I

864 - 874

Yahya ibn Yahya / Yahya II

874 - 883

Ali ibn Umar / Ali II

883 - 904

Yahya ibn Al-Qassim / Yahya III

904 - 917

Yahya ibn Idris ibn Umar / Yahya IV

922 - 925

The Idrisids are overthrown by the Tunisian Fatamids.

925 - 927

Hassan I al-Hajjam

927 - 937

The Idrisids are again overthrown by the Tunisian Fatamids.

937 - 948

Al Qasim Gannum

948 - 954

Abu l-Aish Ahmad

954 - 974

Al-Hasan ben Kannun / Hassan II

Not to be confused with Hassan II of the Alawis, b.1929.

985

The last Idrisid makes the mistake of switching allegiances back to the Fatamids, and is deposed and executed by the caliphate of Cordoba.

1054 - 1055

Abdullah Ibn Yasin is now able to lead an army of nomads northwards from the depths of sub-Saharan western Africa towards the major trading city of Sijilmasa in Morocco, immediately to the south of the Atlas Mountains. The city contains 50,000 people and occupies one of the biggest oases in Africa, and it falls to this new army. Immediately, ibn Yasin leads his forces south around the edge of the Sahara to captures the source of Sijilmasa's wealth in gold at Awdaghust. Now they have a virtual monopoly in the Sahara region of this most lucrative trade. Ibn Yasin's followers gain the name 'Almoravids' from a phrase meaning 'Those bound together in the cause of God'.

1062 - 1147

With their attacks on 'heretics' and the extra territory they are able to continually add to the new kingdom, the Almoravids have effectively conquered southern Morocco by 1062. Not content with remaining in the luxurious but strategically vulnerable Aghmat, the Almoravids return to the Sahara side of the Atlas Mountains and found a new capital for themselves in 1070, Marrakesh. What begins as a collection of tents pitched in the desert quickly becomes an established city.

1130 - 1147

Abdul-Mumin

Berber leader of the Almohads.

1147

After almost twenty years of laying siege to Marrakech, the Almohads finally break through the city's mighty walls. They begin their reign by tearing down all of the Almoravid mosques in the city, citing that they are not properly aligned with Mecca so they must be rebuilt. All that remains of Almoravid power is in the Balearic Islands which they continue to occupy.

Almohad (Muwahid) Caliphs of Spain & North Africa
AD 1147 - 1269

The Berber Almoravids had made sweeping conquests of north-western Africa in the mid-eleventh century, driven by a conviction that the Muslims of the region were not practising their faith properly, and they wanted to correct that. However, while they were at the height of their power, a new Islamic force was building in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in the shape of the Berber Almohads. They were just as convinced that the Almoravids were not practising their faith properly, and they also wanted to correct that. The Almoravids, unable to pin them down, began to fear them and were largely trapped inside Marrakech for twenty years while the Almohads besieged and finally defeated them.

The Almohads very quickly took over the rest of the Almoravid empire, drawing much of eastern Algeria, plus Mauritania, and Tunisia into their realm, while also controlling all of Islamic Spain. Almohad Spain was distinguished by intellectual brilliance and by intolerant oppression which was mirrored in Marrakech, where all of the Almoravid mosques were pulled down and rebuilt because they were supposedly not correctly aligned to Mecca. By the early thirteenth century, the Christian kingdoms of Spain, mostly notably Leon, had made large in-roads into the Islamic territories, and the Almohads soon lost most of Spain, abandoned the peninsula, and then were even overthrown in North Africa.

(Additional information from the BBC documentary series, Lost Kingdoms of Africa, first broadcast on 5 January 2010.)

1147 - 1163

Abdul-Mumin / Abdelmoumen El Goumi

Commanded the Almohads from 1130.

1149

The collateral line assumes the Fatamid throne in Tunisia and is no longer considered to be Shiite Imams. The Almohads occupy Tunis, stretching the empire farther east than the Almoravids had done before them. They also encroach into modern Libya, keeping mainly nearer the coast. Then they enter Spain, making Seville their second capital after Marrakech.

1163 - 1184

Yusuf I abu Yaqub

Son.

1170 - 1171

Yusuf invades Spain, conquering the region of al-Andalus (Andalusia) and attacking both Catalonia and Valencia. In the following year he establishes a capital at Seville, his second after Marrakech.

1184

Marching across the Straits of Gibraltar with an army to besiege Santarem, Yusuf is wounded by a crossbow bolt fired by the forces of Afonso I of Portugal. He dies soon afterwards, on 29 July 1184. The Christian victory is a major success, and a major blow for the presence of the Almohads in Spain. Yusuf's son and successor is temporarily delayed in his plans for revenge by fighting against the dethroned Almoravids in Africa.

Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa
Ongoing battles between the Almohads and the Iberian Christians would end up in North African defeat at the Battle of Los Navos de Tolosa in 1212

1184 - 1199

Yaqub al Mansur / Moulay Yacoub

Son. Last strong Almohad ruler.

1191 - 1195

Fresh from failure in front of the walls of Tomar, stronghold of the Portuguese Templars, Yaqub recaptures Paderne Castle and nearby territory around Albufeira, Portuguese holdings since 1182. This victory and other seizures allow him to return to North Africa in triumph but as soon as he leaves Iberia, the Christians resume the offensive. They take several Islamic cities, including Beja, Silves, and Vera, necessitating another campaign. This time Yaqub returns to inflict a further defeat on them, taking hostages to sell as slaves. Once he leaves Iberia again, the largest Christian army of the period is assembled. Determined to put a halt to this, Yaqub defeats the army which is commanded by Alfonso VIII of Castile, slaughtering thousands of his men.

1199

The death of Yaqub al Mansur means that his vision of building the world's largest mosque remains unfulfilled. To this day, the incomplete mosque still stands, uncapped by a minaret. Al Mansur is the last of the strong rulers of the Almohad dynasty. His successors squabble amongst themselves to see who will succeed him, and the instability that this brings with it allows other Berber tribes to become more powerful. In Spanish Andalusia, the fundamentalist Christian crusade gains the upper hand against their equally fundamentalist Islamic opponents.

1199 - 1213

Muhammad al-Nasir ibn Yaqub

Son.

1207

Muhammad has been fighting off the Banu Ghaniya in their attempts to conquer Tunis. As a result he appoints Abd al-Wahid as his governor there, a plan which eventually backfires when the Hafsids declare independence.

1212

Muhammad suffers a devastating defeat by the Christian Iberians of Aragon, Castile, Navarre, and Portugal at Los Navos de Tolosa. Humiliated, they are forced to give way, and their army never fully recovers from the disaster. In the east, the empire fades as local tribes begin to rebel against Almohad rule. Libya soon falls out of Almohad control. The rebel areas stop paying taxes, so internal expenditure is slowly crippled, and control over more territory is gradually lost, along with domination of the western Mediterranean Sea.

1213 - 1224

Yusuf II Abu Yaqub

Son. Acceded aged 10. No heir.

1213 - 1224

Yusuf II Abu Yaqub largely leaves the handling of the empire in the hands of his viziers and relatives. The heavy losses suffered by the Almohad army in 1212 have weakened the empire's defences, and that, plus the lack of central control, encourages a serious of rebellions to break out during Yusuf's reign. The Almohads are hard pressed to put them down.

1224

Abdul-Wahid I / Abu Muhammad

Great-uncle. Selection disputed. Murdered.

1224

The selection of Abdul-Wahid is disputed by various members of the Almohads. Abdallah Abu Muhammad, the governor of al-Andalus, arrives to clear out the group at court that had forged ahead with the selection, and murders the caliph. His usurpation, whatever the legal implications, triggers a lasting period of instability within the empire which eventually contributes to its downfall. The sons of the powerful governor of Ifriqiyya, Abd-Allah, are some of the few not to fall in line with the usurpation.

1224 - 1227

Abdallah Abu Muhammad

Brother of al-Nasir (1199). Former governor of al-Andalus.

1227 - 1235

Yahya Abu Zakariyya

Nephew. Faced opposition during his entire reign.

1227

Having succeeded Abdallah following the latter's untimely death in a bath tub, Yahya has more general support but immediately faces the threat of a pretender named Idris I. He seizes parts of the empire and a civil war breaks out. Idris calls for support from Ferdinand III of Castile, and the 12,000 knights he receives enables him to conquer Marrakech and exterminate the sheiks who have supported Yahya. Idris rules virtually all of the empire until his death.

1227 - 1232

Idris I ibn Yaqub

Rival caliph who gained much of the empire.

1228 - 1229

Under Idris, the Almohads effect the abandonment of Spain in order to secure their hold on the rest of the empire. Only the Nasrid kings of Granada remain there in the far south. In the following year, the Almohads lose Tunis. They had appointed a governor there in 1207. Now, with the empire looking increasingly shaky, the new Hafsid governor of Tunis, Abu Zakariya, declares independence. Abu Zakariya and his Hafsid dynasty rule the former Roman province of Africa along with the modern Maghreb.

1232 - 1235

Yahya captures Marrakech while Idris is besieging Cueta. Idris dies on the march back to his capital, leaving Yahya able to re-secure some level of power in the empire. His success is soured by the son of Idris, Abdul-Wahid II, who proclaims himself the rightful caliph. Yahya dies just three years later, leaving Abdul-Wahid II as the sole caliph.

1232 - 1242

Abdul-Wahid II ibn Idris

Son of Idris. Sole caliph from 1235.

1236

The emir of Tlemcen (located in north-western Algeria) declares his independence from the fragmenting empire. He founds the Zayyanid dynasty which eventually wrests virtually all of Algeria from Almohad control.

1242 - 1248

Ali ibn Idris

Brother. Killed in an ambush.

1248

The Berber Merinids capture and make Fès their capital. Almohad attempts even to launch a retaliatory strike against Fès come to nothing when Ali's governor dies under mysterious circumstances. By now the Almohads are left only with parts of Morocco.

1248 - 1266

Abu Hafs Umar 'al-Murtada' ibn Ishaq

Reduced to Marrakech and surroundings.

1266

With his territory reduced to the region around the capital, Marrakech, the Almohad empire is no more. To make matters worse, Umar is forced to pay tribute to the increasingly dominant Merinids. In 1266 he even loses his throne when his cousin usurps his position while he is defending Marrakech from a Merinid siege.

Almohad Caliph Abu Hafs Umar
A portrait of Abu Hafs Umar created during his lifetime and almost twenty years on the Almohad throne, a considerable period in his unstable times

1266 - 1269

Abu al-Ula Idris II ibn Muhammad

Cousin and usurper. Assassinated by a slave.

1269

The Zayyanids capture Marrakech, ending Almohad rule in Algeria. North Africa breaks up between the Hafsids, Merinids, and the Algerian Abdul-Wadids and Zayyanids). None of them are strong enough to reunite the empire and rule a strong North Africa, so they fight amongst themselves for pockets of territory, and none of them are dominant until the sixteenth century Saadi dynasty comes to power.

Merinid Dynasty / Marinids / Beni Merin
AD (1195) 1248 - 1465

The Berber Merinids originally came from south-east of present-day Morocco, from which they were expelled in 1224 by another tribe, the Hilali. As early as 1145 the Merinids engaged in battles with the Almohads, who defeated them until 1169. In 1169, the Merinids began their pursuit of taking Morocco from the Almohads.

Following their expulsion from the south, they moved northwards under command of Abu Yahya ibn Abd al-Haqq and took Fes in 1248, making it their capital and marking the beginning of their dynasty. The Merinid leadership installed in Fes declared the war on the Almohads with the aid of Christian mercenaries there. Capturing Marrakech in 1269, they took control of most of the Maghreb towards the end of 1268, including present-day Morocco, Algeria and part of Tunisia.

1195 - 1217

Abd al-Haqq I

Died in combat against the Almohads.

1217 - 1240

Uthman ibn Abd al-Haqq / Uthman I

Assassinated by one of his Christian slaves.

1240 - 1244

Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Haqq/Muhammad I

Killed by officer of his own Christian militia.

1244 - 1258

Abu Yahya ibn Abd al-Haqq

Death through illness.

1248

The Berber Merinids capture and make Fès their capital. Almohad attempts even to launch a retaliatory strike against Fès come to nothing when Caliph Ali's governor dies under mysterious circumstances. By now the Almohads are left only with parts of Morocco.

1258 - 1286

Abu Yusuf Yaqub ibn Abd Al-Haqq

Uncle. Death through illness.

1266

With Caliph Umar's territory reduced to the region around the capital, Marrakech, the Almohad empire is no more. To make matters worse, Umar is forced to pay tribute to the increasingly dominant Merinids. In 1266 he even loses his throne when his cousin usurps his position while he is defending Marrakech from a Merinid siege.

1269

North Africa breaks up between the Hafsids, Merinids, and the Algerian Abdul-Wadids and Zayyanids). None of them are strong enough to reunite the Almohad empire and rule a strong North Africa, so they fight amongst themselves for pockets of territory, and none of them are dominant until the sixteenth century Saadi dynasty comes to power.

1286 - 1307

Abu Yaqub Yusuf an-Nasr

Son. Assassinated by a court eunuch.

1307 - 1308

Abu Thabit Amir

Son. Death through illness.

1308 - 1310

Abu al-Rabi Sulayman

Brother. Death through illness.

1310 - 1331

Abu Said Uthman

Brother.

1331 - 1348

Abu al-Hasan ibn Uthman

Son. Imprisoned until at least 1366.

1337 - 1348

The Merinids conquer Zayyanid Algeria.

1348 - 1358

Abu Inan Faris

Son. Assassinated by his vizir. Merinids begin to decline.

1352 - 1359

The Merinids again conquer Zayyanid Algeria.

1358

The Merinids had begun to decline during Abu Inan Faris' reign, and his murder begins a period of instability, with the viziers raising several claimants to the throne in succession. King Pedro of Castile supports the third of these, Abu Salim Ibrahim, in a clear show of increasing Spanish influence on North Africa.

1358

Abu Zian as-Said Muhammad ibn Faris

Installed by viziers. Lasted a few months.

1358

Abu Yahya abu Bakr ibn Faris

Lasted a few months.

1359 - 1361

Abu Salim Ibrahim

Son of al-Hasan. Installed by viziers. Replaced.

1361

Abu Umar Tachfin

Reigned a few months. 'Reign of the vizirs' ends.

1362 - 1366

Muhammad ibn Yaqub

Son of al-Hasan. Assassinated by his vizier.

1366 - 1372

Abu Faris Abd al-Aziz ibn Ali

Son of al-Hasan. Died through illness.

1372

Muhammad as-Said

Young son. Died without gaining the throne in 1373.

1372 - 1384

Abu al-Abbas Ahmad

Supported by Nasrids of Granada. d.1393.

1374

Following the instability caused by the death of Abu Faris Abd and his young son, the Merinid empire is partitioned in two: based at Fez (the Merinids) and Marrakech (a splinter state).

1384 - 1386

Abu Faris Musa ibn Faris

Interim replacement made by Nasrids of Granada.

1384 - 1387

Abu Zayd Abd ar-Rahman

Reigned at Marrakech.

1386 - 1387

Al-Wathiq

Interim replacement made by Nasrids of Granada.

1387 - 1393

Abu al-Abbas Ahmad

Restored to overall control.

1393 - 1396

Abu Faris Abd al-Aziz ibn Ahmad

1396 - 1398

Abu Amir Abdallah

1398 - 1420

Abu Said Uthman ibn Ahmad

Brother.

1399

Benefiting from the anarchy within the Merinid kingdom, Henry III of Castile invades Morocco, seizes Tetouan, massacres half of the population and reduces it to slavery.

1415

King John I of Portugal seizes Ceuta, marking the beginning of European expansion into Africa.

1420 - 1465

Abu Muhammad Abd al-Haqq

Son. Acceded aged one. Throat cut during popular revolt.

1437

Edward of Portugal, supported by his brothers, Henry and Fernando, attacks Tangiers with a view to improving his trade and exploration base in North Africa. The attack succeeds but at a cost. Fernando is captured and dies in prison and Edward himself dies of plague the following year.

1458 - 1471

It is a troubled period in the sultanate. The king of Portugal decides to expand his interests along the coastal section of Morocco, so his forces start with the conquest of Alcacer Ceguer in 1458. At the same time there is unrest inside Morocco, demonstrated the following year when Abu Muhammad Abd revolts against his own Wattasid viziers. Only two Wattasid brothers survive and it is they who become the first Watassids sultans in 1472. Before this can happen, Tangiers is conquered by the Portuguese in 1460 and is won and lost on multiple occasions up until 1464, and Henry IV of Castile takes Gibraltar in 1462.

1465 - 1472

The sultan is murdered in Fes in 1465, and Tangiers is secured by the Portuguese as they benefit from the chaos. while they also seize Arzila in 1471. Central control of the country is compromised until the former Wattasid viziers succeed in taking over in 1472.

Wattasid Dynasty / Banu Wattas
AD 1472 - 1554

Like the Merinids, the Wattasids had their origins in the Berber Zenatas. The two families were related, and the Merinids had recruited many viziers from the Wattasids. These viziers seized power in 1465.

The Wattasid sultans only controlled northern Morocco, the south being dominated by the Saadi dynasty, who eventually replaced them. The period from 1465 to 1472 was unstable, and the last of the Moroccan possessions in Al Andalus were lost. Ceuta had already been lost to Portugal, and the Spanish and Portuguese campaigned constantly in Morocco. Nevertheless, good commercial relations were maintained with the Iberians.

1472 - 1504

Abu Abdallah sheikh Muhammad ibn Yahya

One of the two survivors from the 1459 massacre.

1504 - 1526

Abu Abd Allah al-Burtuqali Muhammad

Son.

1526

Abu al-Hasan Abu Hasan Ali

Brother.

1526 - 1545

Abu al-Abbas Ahmad

Brother.

1545 - 1547

Nasir ad-Din al-Qasri Muhammad

Son.

1547 - 1549

Abu al-Abbas Ahmad

Son.

1554

Abu al-Hasan Abu Hasun Ali

Brother.

Saadi Dynasty / Saadite / Bani Zaydan
AD (1509) 1554 - 1659

The Moroccan Saadis began with the reign of Sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh in 1554. From 1509 to 1554 they had ruled only in the south of Morocco. Saadian rule ended in 1659 with the reign of Sultan Ahmad el Abbas.

Before they conquered Marrakech, Taroudant was their capital city. Two of their most important achievements were ousting the Portuguese from Morocco and defending the country against the Ottomans. They saw themselves as ruling so that they could ensure that their subjects would follow Islam properly, must as their Almohad and Almoravid predecessors had done before them. But this dynasty was not a Berber one from north-western Africa, it was Arabic.

1509 - 1517

Abu Abdallah al-Qaim

Ruled southern Morocco.

1517 - 1544

Ahmad al-Araj

Ruled southern Morocco.

1544 - 1557

Mohammed ash-Sheikh

Ruled all of Morocco after 1554. Assassinated.

1546

Despite the support of the Ottoman sultan for Khayr al-Din Barbarossa and his exploits in securing Algiers, it is only now that his son, Hasan Pasha, becomes the first official governor of the regency to be appointed by Constantinople. Algiers is now the main base for the ongoing Ottoman war against Spain in the Mediterranean and for operations against Morocco.

1554 - 1555

Mohammed ash-Sheikh is able to take over the north, removing the Wattasids from power in Fez. He also captures Tlemcen, ending Zayyanid rule there. However, thanks to ash-Sheikh's refusal to cooperate with the Ottomans, Salah Raïs, the beylerbey of Algiers, occupies Fez.

1557 - 1558

Mohammed ash-Sheikh continues to refuse to give his allegiance to the Ottoman sultan. Instead, he forms an alliance with the Spanish. As a result, Hasan Pasha is appointed beylerbey of Algiers for the second time so that he can deal with the problem. He arranges to have ash-Sheikh assassinated by one of his own bodyguards and then invades the country early in 1558. His forces meet those of the Moroccans at the Battle of Wadi al-Laban (Oued el Leben, the 'river of milk') to the north of Fez, which results in a stalemate. Hasan is forced to retreat when he receives news that the Spanish are preparing to assault Oran.

1557 - 1574

Abdallah al-Ghalib

1574 - 1576

Abu Abdallah Mohammed II

1576 - 1578

Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik I

1578

The young king of Portugal, Sebastian, dies at the Battle of Alcacer-Quibir in Morocco.

1578 - 1603

Ahmad I al-Mansur

1578 - 1603

Ahmad I is the most famous of the Saadis. A contemporary of Elizabeth I of England, he is responsible for building the El Badi Palace in Marrakech. His death robs the country of a strong ruler and anarchy sets in, with rival rulers claiming the throne.

1591

An invasion of the Songhai empire to the south hastens its decline. Morocco rules Mali.

1603 - 1608

Abou Fares Abdallah

Lost part of Morocco to the Saadis in Fes.

1603 - 1627

The main Saadi rulers of Morocco are based in Marrakesh, but a splinter faction governs a limited territory from Fes with only local power during the reign of Zidan Abu Maali. At the same time, the Alawi begin to increase their power in southern Morocco.

1603 - 1627

Zidan Abu Maali

Ruled Morocco except Fes.

1604 - 1613

Mohammed esh Sheikh el Mamun

Ruled Fes.

1613 - 1623

Abdallah II

Ruled Fes.

1623 - 1627

Abd el Malek

Ruled Fes.

1627 - 1631

Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik II

1631

The country is further fragmented when Muhammad I seizes power in Tafilalt, in the central eastern region of the country. He is regarded as the founder of the Alawi dynasty.

1631 - 1636

Al Walid ben Zidan

1636 - 1655

Mohammed esh Sheikh es Seghir

1655 - 1659

Ahmad el Abbas

1659

The last Saadi sultan is overthrown when Marrakech is conquered by the Alawi dynasty.

Alawi / Alaouite Dynasty
AD 1664 - Present Day

The modern kingdom of Morocco is located on the north-west African coastline, bordered by Algeria to the east, and Western Sahara to the south. It also controls the southern straits of Gibraltar, making it the closest point in Africa to Spain. The kingdom retains its capital at Rabat, although its best-known city (and largest) is probably Casablanca.

The Alawi (Alaouites) were natives of southern Morocco. Initially they ruled only in Tafilalt (in the central eastern region of the country) and some parts of southern Morocco, following the death of Ahmad I al-Mansur which allowed the country to slip into anarchy. Completing a process begun by his father, Mulay Al-Rashid united the country under a single ruler and ended any opposition. The dynasty claims the same line of descent as the tenth century Fatamids of Tunisia, from Ali ibn Abi Talib (the Rashidun caliph of 656-661) and his wife, Fatima.

1631 - 1635

Muhammad I / Moulay Ali Cherif

Ruled Tafilalt.

1635 - 1664

Moulay Muhammad II

Son. Ruled Tafilalt. Gained full independence in 1659.

c.1640s

Muhammad II unites the Draa river valley and the Sahara region of Morocco under his rule.

1659

The last Saadi sultan is overthrown when Marrakech is conquered by the Alawis. Muhammad does not yet rule all of Morocco, but the only serious opposition is not in a position to prevent him becoming the de facto power in the country.

1659 - 1664

Moulay Muhammad II

Ruled much of Morocco from 1659.

1664

Internal feuding breaks out into open hostility when Muhammad II is opposed by his half-brother, Moulay Al-Rashid. Muhammad II is killed, allowing Al-Rashid to secure power and proclaim himself sultan of Morocco in the same year.

1664 - 1672

Moulay Al-Rashid

Half-brother. Proclaimed sultan of Morocco 22.10.1664.

1666 - 1670

Al-Rashid takes Fes, ending the possible rule of Saadi survivors there. Then he takes the coastal area of the country, the Sus and the Anti-Atlas areas, securing his control of Morocco. In 1670, weakened by Morocco's internal wars, the Alawi retreat from the Songhai empire.

1672

Muhammad I

Unknown.

1673 - 1684

Al-Harrani, Abu'l Abbas Ahmad I

1672 - 1684

Ismail

Half-brother of Al-Rashid. Joint ruler.

1684 - 1727

Moulay / Mawlay Ismail Ibn Sharif

Former joint ruler (1672-1684).

1727

Abdalmalik is the heir to the throne until, shortly before his father's death, he falls out of favour. Ismail is succeeded upon his death by Ahmad II instead, although this causes further trouble in 1728.

1727 - 1728

Abu'l Abbas Ahmad II

Son. Overthrown by his own wives and Abdalmalik.

1728

Abdalmalik

Half-brother. Usurper who reigned very briefly.

1728 - 1729

Abu'l Abbas Ahmad II

Restored. Deposed on the day of his death.

1729 - 1735

Abdallah

Half-brother. Deposed.

1735

Abdallah is deposed for the first of three times by various of his brothers as they fight for control of Morocco.

1735 - 1736

Ali

Brother. Deposed.

1736

Abdallah

Restored.

1736 - 1738

Mohammed II

Half-brother of Ali. Deposed.

1738 - 1740

Al-Mostadi

Half-brother. Deposed.

1740 - 1745

Abdallah

Restored.

1745

Zin al-Abidin / Zein el Abdin

Half-brother of Al-Mostadi. Deposed.

1745 - 1757

Abdallah

Restored.

1757 - 1790

Mohammed III ben Abdallah

Son.

1777

Mohammed ben Abdallah is the first world leader to recognise the independence of the newly-proclaimed United States, later providing some support to US vessels in Moroccan waters.

1784 - 1794

Protected from the Barbery pirates of Algiers during the American Revolution, thanks to its alliance with France, American shipping loses that protection from 1784 and the end of the Treaty of Alliance. Subsequently, US merchant shipping continually falls foul of successive pirate raids in the Mediterranean, launched from Morocco and Algiers. Despite diplomatic efforts, large payments of tribute are demanded for the release of captured American crews, and the US regularly pays up to a million dollars a year to ensure the safe passage of its ships.

1790 - 1795

Although Yazid gains the throne following his father's death, he is only one of six claimants for that throne, with another brother, Slimane emerging victorious from the resultant civil war in 1795.

1790 - 1792

Yazid

Son. Killed.

1790

Hisham

Half-brother. Proclaimed sultan.

1792 - 1822

Slimane / Sulaiman

Brother.

1801 - 1805

Having recommissioned its navy in 1794, the USA is becoming increasingly reluctant to pay tribute to ensure the safe passage of its merchant ships in the Mediterranean. The pasha of Tripoli demands fresh tribute of the new government of Thomas Jefferson which is refused, so Tripoli declares war on the USA. Morocco and Algiers do not join Tripoli in the conflict. The small but highly modern American navy defeats Tripoli's vessels in a number of naval skirmishes during the First Barbary War, until Tripoli agrees peace terms and the US buys back its captured seamen.

1815 - 1816

The Second Barbary War is fought by the USA in response to renewed pirate raids while it has been preoccupied with the War of 1812. A squadron of US ships captures several Algerian vessels and, after negotiations, the dey of Algiers agrees to return American captives and vessels in return for a large one-off final payment. Although this concludes the war, it does not conclude the piracy threat, so the following year, Britain sends a 'diplomatic mission' that is eventually forced to bombard Algiers for nine hours on 27 August 1816. The dey loses many of his corsairs and shore defences, and the threat of organised Barbary piracy is ended once and for all.

1822 - 1859

Abderrahmane / Abd el Rahman

Son of Hisham.

1830 - 1834

Algiers is annexed by France and created a colony. Sultan Abderrahmane supports the resistance movement to this occupation, encouraging Algerian Islamic scholar Abd-el-Kader to fight the European invaders. The sultan is also called upon by the inhabitants of the Algerian city of Tlemcen to invade and protect it from the French. This he does, and his nephew, Prince Moulay Ali, is named caliph of Tlemcen.

1859 - 1860

The Spanish-Moroccan War, or African War, begins with a disagreement over the Spanish-controlled coastal city of Ceuta. The Moroccan forces accept defeat after the Battle of Tetuan.

1859 - 1873

Mohammed IV

Son.

1873 - 1894

Hassan I

Son.

1894 - 1908

Abdelaziz / Abdul Aziz

Son. Deposed following concessions by France. Died 1943.

1908 - 1912

Abdelhafid / Abdul Hafid

Elder brother and rival sultan. Abdicated.

1912

Under the terms of the Treaty of Fez, Morocco becomes a French Protectorate, with a small protectorate of northern territories near the Straits of Gibraltar remaining under Spanish control.

1912 - 1927

Yusef

Brother.

1927 - 1953

Mohammed V

Son. Deposed. Exiled to Madagascar 1953-1955. Restored.

1953 - 1955

Mohammed Ben Aarafa

Distant relative and French puppet king. Abdicated.

1955 - 1961

Mohammed V

Restored. First king of Morocco in 1957.

1956

Morocco gains independence from France and Spain. The following year, Sultan Mohammed drops his traditional title in favour of calling himself malik, or king of Morocco. Mohammed also captures Spanish Sahara during the Ifni War (which is known as the Forgotten War in Spain).

Mohammed V of Morocco in 1955
The return of Mohammed V to Morocco in 1955 from his exile in Madagascar was a symbol of the country's growing independence

1961 - 1999

Hassan II

Died July.

1963

The Sand War is fought against Algeria when Morocco claims portions of western Algerian territory. The war quickly bogs down into a stalemate which remains unresolved until an agreement is reached in 1972.

1999 - Present

Mohammed VI Ben Hassan

Son. Born 1963.

2011

A wave of popular protests against a deeply unpopular and dictatorial government in Tunisia forces the president to flee the country, paving the way for fresh elections and a new start. The protests strike a chord in Arabs across North Africa and the Middle East, and similar protests are triggered in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Yemen. Morocco's protests are much less forceful than in some places, with the king enjoying a strong following amongst his people. Force is not used to quell the protests, with the police being told to keep a low profile, and constitutional reform is promised by the king.

Crown Prince Moulay Hassan

Son. Born 2003. Heir apparent, to succeed as Hassan III.