Español = copiar texto de 1999
Three quarters of the Moroccan people trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants, the Berbers who weathered invasions by the Phoenicians in the 12th century BC, by the Carthaginians in the 6th BC, by the Romans in the 2nd BC, by the Vandals in the 5th AD, by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th, by the Arabs in the 7th, the Portuguese in the 15th, the Spanish in the 19th and the French in the 20th. In spite of all that, a third of the population still speaks the ancient Berber Afro-Asiatic language.
In 1956, France recognised Morocco as an independent monarchy with Sultan Mohammed V as king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son Hassan II who has enjoyed a largely autocratic rule for 35 years before conceding a measure of democratisation in order to arrest the spread of Islamic fundamentalism from Algeria.
When Spain withdrew from Spanish Sahara in 1976 Morocco and Mauritania divided it between themselves and Morocco took over the southern third in 1979 when Mauritania could not defend it against the Polisario Front striving for independence. Algerian support of the Polisario guerrilla forces caused severe friction that almost resulted in war between the two countries. In 1991 a UN supervised cease-fire was signed with the Polisario and a referendum was set for 1992 but it has not been held yet.
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I did not hesitate when my friend Ariane offered to give me a grand tour of Morocco in her Fiat 600 if I would leave Paris to visit her in Casablanca.
It was a good decision for I was warmly greeted by her family and friends who organised a beach party for us in a Mamoudia "cabanon" (beach hut) before we left.
Below, Ariane and I on the left and Ariane before the Hassan II tower in Rabat on the right.
Here is the monumental gate of Meknes with me and a traditional veiled woman in front.
I did not have an overall view of the holy city of Fes so I scanned a post card. The black border indicates that it's not my photo.
Below, the Bab Bou Djeloud Gate on the left and a view of the courtyard of the Grand Mosque on the right.
After Fez we drove south to Marrakech whose walls can be seen here.
Of course I had to take a photo of the famous Djemaa El Fna square where snake charmers and a variety of tourist entertainers ply their craft.
Here are the snake charmers charming the tourists.
Below, black dancers from the south on the left and the famous "Koutoubia" tower on the right.
It was a wonderful grand tour! We dated again when she came to live in Paris but I somehow ended up by marrying someone else...
Who knows what my life could have been like? Maybe I would not have travelled so much!