This essay focuses on the political, economic, and cultural history of Morocco. It is written for the participants in Stanford Travel/Study’s trip, Kingdom of Morocco, March 16-29, 2018.
I begin with a section on the Roman Empire (509 BCE-476 CE) – how the Romans built their empire, how they created wealth in conquered regions and transferred much of it to Rome, and why the Roman Empire declined and fell. The second section of this essay is concerned with the Berber empires in Morocco (11th-15th centuries) – their bases, sources of wealth, decline, and legacies.
I turn next to an analysis of Trans-Saharan trade between the 10th and 16th centuries. I examine the structure of Trans-Saharan trade (gold-for-salt), why that trade was strategically important in North and West Africa, and why the trade declined precipitously in the 16th century. I conclude with a look at Alawite Morocco (1669-present), discussing how France colonized Morocco (1912-1956), how recent Moroccan kings have preserved political power, and why Morocco is poor. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in Morocco.
Marrakech, Essaouira, Mt. Toubcal National Park and Boumalne Dades, Erg Chebbi and Tafilalet Oasis, Algeria, Atlas, Fes, Volubilis and Meknès, Rabat and Salé, Carthaginian, Agadir and Southwestern Morocco, Sahara, Casablanca