An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

2. Morocco and Mauritania

Morocco is an ancient Arab-Berber state (about a third of its 111/2 million inhabitants still speak Berber dialects, mostly in the mountain areas), which, unlike Algeria and Tunisia, never came under Turkish rule. Between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Berber Almoravid and Almohad dynasties not only ruled over Morocco and much of Spain but reached out across the Mauritanian desert to Senegal (E). In the 15th century the Spaniards finally ousted the Moors from Spain, and later seized Ceuta and Melilla - now known as the Spanish presidios. But Morocco remained at least nominally independent until 1912, when its sultan had to accept a French protectorate over most of the country, a Spanish protectorate over zones in the north and the desert south, and an international régime for Tangier. Spain was confirmed in possession of the Ifni enclave (pop. 52,000), which it had held since 1860. Both French and Spaniards had to contend with periodic uprisings, especially in the mountains, but the country was gradually brought under control, and 500,000 Europeans settled (many have now left).

Growing nationalist feeling became centred on the sultan, and the French deposed him in 1953; Spain won Moslem good will by dissociating itself from this. Guerrilla resistance developed in 1955, and France restored the sultan. In 1956 Morocco became independent.

The Spanish zones and Tangier have reverted to Moroccan rule, but in 1961 Spain still held Ifni, Ceuta (pop. 60,000) and Melilla (85,000). American air bases, built in Morocco while France still ruled, remained after independence, but their diminishing value seemed to have made a negotiated settlement of their fate in 1959 relatively easy.

Morocco has not shown much concern with Spanish Sahara ( Rio de Oro and Saguia el Hamra), a large desert area with only 8,000 inhabitants; but it has claimed Ifni, Ceuta and Melilla, and in 1960 it protested when France granted independence to Mauritania, which it claims as historically Moroccan territory. Some of Mauritania's 600,000 people, largely Moorish pastoralists, seek unity with Morocco, but its first independent government preferred membership of the French community, and found friends among the ex- French African republics to the south. The dispute over Mauritania embittered Franco-Moroccan relations, already strained by the Algerian war. Moroccans resent French plans to develop the iron ore near Fort Gouraud, and they also claim Tindouf, the iron ore source in the Algerian Sahara.

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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