The singularity of Morocco in relation to the worlds in which it exists has been built, throughout its history, on the rallying of Moroccans around the fundamentals that unite them and their commitment to the independence of their country. Simultaneously, there is a subtle permeability to interactions, exchanges, and influences from the worlds that surround it

By Sidi Mohammed Biedallah, Moroccan diplomat

Draped in the majestic Atlas, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Sahara - this 'other Mediterranean' (Fernand Braudel) - Morocco; This 'Finis Orbis' is adorned with myths and legends: Land of Atlas, condemned by Zeus to bear the celestial vault on his shoulders; Land of the Pillars of Hercules that he separated with a sword stroke, creating the Strait (of Gibraltar); Land of the three Gorgons, anchorite monsters, and Land of the Atlanteans, direct descendants of Poseidon, whom Zeus punished for greed by drowning their island, Atlantis.

dentified by Strabo in his 'Geography,' who describes Morocco as the 'hinge of communications between the Mediterranean and the Ocean,' and by Ibn Khaldun, who depicts, in his 'History of the Berbers,' Al Maghrib Al Aqsa as 'a country detached from any other,' the uniqueness of Morocco explains the unalterability of its sovereignty over its territory and the authenticity of its governance system. Morocco has been, since prehistoric times, 'a specific geocultural unity.

This article aims to revisit certain foundational events in the history of Morocco, which allowed it to recognize itself and be acknowledged within its borders, as reflected in its geographical map, extending from Tangier to Lagouira. The colonial demarcation, null and void, cannot alter it

Morocco, Kingdom of the Moors

The cradle of humanity, where the 300,000-year-old Homo sapiens of Jebel Irhoud lived, Morocco emerges from prehistory, stamped with an indigenous population, the Moors (Maurensii in Greek, Mauri in Latin), descendants of the Libyan Imazighens (the Libou, whose territory extended from the Atlantic to Pharaonic Egypt), masters of their territory.

The Moors, and the known world to which they belonged, became aware of their belonging to a well-defined territory, the Tingitane Mauretania - from Roman antiquity - bounded to the east by Caesarian Mauretania, and surrounded by the 'oceans' of the Mediterranean (the inland sea), Atlantic (the outer sea), and Saharan (the Sahara

Hanno's Expedition

Hanno, Admiral of Carthage, undertook, in the 4th century BCE, his expedition, leading a fleet of 60 penteconters, each with 50 oars operated by 3,000 rowers and carrying 30,000 women and men, from the Pillars of Hercules (Tingis, Tangier) to the Island of Cerné or Herne (Rio de Oro, current Dakhla), to establish Libyco-Phoenician cities.

In order to explore the southern reaches of Morocco, the navigator Hanno had to bring back, in his nautical expedition, 'interpreters from the north' to be able to communicate with the populations of southern Morocco

Admiral Hanno reached the Draa River, which would be the Lixos River of the Periplus. Further on, the Chrétès River, which would be the Seguiet el-Hamra. After traveling along the desert, he finds a small island that he calls Cernè and locates it at the same distance from the Pillars of Hercules as Carthage

"The identification of ancient Cernè with Isla Herne in the Bay of Rio de Oro (Dakhla Bay) is confirmed by the toponymy. The Rio de Oro (east) is commonly mentioned in its place on world maps, starting from 1460."

Polybius' Voyage

The author of the Histories and High Official of the Roman Empire, Polybius (200-120 BCE), undertook, in 146 BCE, at the end of the Third Punic War that ended Carthage's reign, his journey along the Atlantic coast of Tingitane. This was part of the Roman policy of direct control over the Atlantic maritime routes of Morocco, including those in the south, as the Phoenicians and Carthaginians had done before

Moreover, Polybius, in his work, echoes that 'in our times, considering the (conquests) of Alexander's Empire in Asia and Roman domination over the remaining parts of the world, almost the entire world has become navigable or passable (…) For this reason, we should know better and more precisely what was hitherto unknown (…) In this objective, above all, we endured the dangers and fatigue that befell us during a journey through pre-ancient Libya, the Iberian Peninsula, and also Gaul and the sea that surrounds these lands from the outer side

In general, setting aside controversies in the interpretations of ancient voyages in the Atlantic – some advocating for shorter routes, others for more extensive routes – it is accepted that, during his expedition along the Moroccan Atlantic coast, Polybius reached Cape Juby (Hesperu Ceras), and most likely, Seguia el-Hamra or Rio de Oro

Journey of King Juba II

King Juba II embarked, upon ascending to power between 25 BCE and 13/7 BCE, on a nautical expedition beyond the Atlas, towards the extreme southwest of Tingitane, aiming to exercise direct management of maritime routes, to explore the economic potential of the Moroccan Atlantic coast, and to inquire about the situation of the populations in the south of the Mauretanian Kingdom

In his article on “The Oldest Geographic Map of Morocco”, P. Schmit notes that King Juba II undertook this maritime journey based on a geographic map of the Kingdom of Mauretania – Agrippa's Map – given to him by his mentor, the Roman Emperor Augustus. It was created between 33 and 29 BCE by Agrippa, Minister and son-in-law of the Emperor

The Ancient Morocco of Ptolemy of Alexandria

In his 'Treatise on Geography,' Ptolemy of Alexandria (90-168 AD) divides Mauretania Tingitana into three major geographical zones: the oceanic coast, the Mediterranean coast, and the interior of the country.

Ptolemy's geographic map reflects the nature of power exercise in the three regions of Tingitane: the north, where the King directly administers the territory, in the northwest, 'Gétulie,' where the practice – direct or indirect - of power depends on the reigning King, and beyond the Atlas, where administration is carried out through the leaders of major tribes.

The Mauretanian King, from Baga, around 200 BC, to Ptolemy, son of Juba II, who dies in 40 AD, 'rules over a territory in Morocco where municipalization and urbanization are progressing. We know that the suffetes existed in Volubilis even before hearing about King Baga! But the Mauretanian king also governs his state through the leaders of the major tribes.

Source of the article: h24info