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History of Morocco

Arab Invasion

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

The first Arab rulers of the whole of Morocco were the Idrisid dynasty, who held power from 789 to 926. The dynasty was named after Idris ibn Abdallah (known as Moulay Idris I in Morocco), a refugee from Baghdad who was the great-grandson of the prophet Muhammad. Idris founded the town that is now called either Moulay Idris or Zerhoun and which is one of the primary pilgrimage sites in Morocco.

   
                Holy City of Moulay Idris or Zehroun               Courtyard of the Zawiya of Moulay Idris I at Zerhoun

After Idris died in 793, his son Idris II took over and made Fez his capital. The city was to become a centre of Islamic and Arab culture throughout the centuries, thanks largely to the settlement there in the 9th century of two large contingents of refugees - one from Kairouan (present-day Al Qayrawān) in Tunisia and the other from Córdoba, cities that were the centres of Muslim civilization in Africa and Spain respectively. The Idrisid dynasty thus gave Morocco a capital, a tradition, and its patron saints in the two founders, Idris I and II.

      
              Moulay Idris shrine at Fes                                      Silver Coins of Idris II (793-828 AD)

 

History: Early History   History: Berber Dynasties

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