Maghreb Profile

The Maghreb, literally meaning 'the west', is a term used to define the area that constitutes present day Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. When, some 10,000 years ago the Sahara region dried up, the Maghreb area was effectively cut off from the sub-Sahara and looked to the Mediterranean for its outside contacts with most inhabited locations running along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines.

By 1150 BCE the Phoenicians, a powerful seafaring and trading people initially from the Syrian coast, inhabited the coast of Morocco and over the next few centuries completed their rule over modern day Libya.

By then 9th century BCE  the Phoenician city-state of Carthage was in ascendancy establishing control over other Phoenician areas across the African coastline as well as southern Spain and Mediterranean islands (map, left). This hegemony was to last until the Punic Wars which saw Rome triumph at the Battle of Carthage in 146BCE following which they wrested control of all Carthaginian colonies, set fire to its warships and sold tens of thousands into slavery.

Maghreb HistoryBy 67CE Rome ruled the entire Maghreb from Egypt to the Atlantic, however its fall in 455CE, saw the Vandals, who had sacked Rome, move into north Africa and seized control of the Maghreb from Libya to Morocco, establishing a Kingdom of the Vandals across Algeria and Libya by 500CE. Justinian the Great, Byzantine Emperor (527 to 565CE), reconquered the territory during the Vandalic War of 533–534CE and the Byzantines ruled the Maghreb until the Arab invasions of the 7th century when it cam under Islamic influence and stewardship.

Islamic MaghrebThe Maghreb history continued under Islamic Umayyad, Almoravid and Almohad caliphate control for over 500 years until the 13th century when the Ottoman Empire rose in the east and dominated many provinces including the Magreb area. When the Ottoman empire started to fade, Spain, France and then Italy started to colonise the Maghreb as part of the scramble for Africa. In 1848 France annexed Algeria bringing it under their military control within 40yrs as well as establishing a protectorate in Tunisia whilst following the Berlin Conference, Spain claimed the Western Sahara. The French and Spanish continued to dispute sovereignty across Morocco during this period of history.

Italy then ended Ottoman rule in Triopoli in 1911 and by 1914 occupied most of Libya, finally uniting the regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica and naming it as the modern day country of Libya in 1934, making it an Italian province in 1939. The end of the second world war saw growing nationalism across the Maghreb and its often brutal suppression by the European colonists, however by the 1950s the realisation of independence for these nations became just a matter of time and they were duly granted that independence during the 1960s.



 
 
 
 
 
 


Maghreb Countries: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Maghreb Profile

Maghreb Profile

Maghreb Profile

Maghreb Profile

 


Maghreb News

Maghreb News

Read all the latest news from the Maghreb area of north Africa with our Maghreb newspages.
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Maghreb Profile

Today, there has been a push for a Maghreb Union, an Arab superstate akin to a north African counter to the European Union, but divisions, particularly between Morocco and Algeria over the status of the Western Sahara have effectively killed off the idea, and its main advocate, Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, now dead and his power base destroyed.

Today there are concerns, especially in Algeria, that al-Qaeda is attempting to infiltrate the Maghreb with the intention of installing strict Islamic law across the region with terrorists attacks in Tunisia, Algeria and other countries in addition to the kidnapping of numerous officials. The current unrest across the Maghreb is making various power blocks observe unfolding events in North Africa with concern should such militancy prevail so close to Europe and is discussed in the top video. Above, right, images from the history of the Maghreb across the ages.

 

 
 


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