The Maghreb History

The Maghreb history is replete with battles and war to conquer the region in Northern Africa. When writing about the Maghreb history, students need to focus on the events between the 15th and 16th centuries in the Maghreb region. This means that students must conduct extensive research into the Maghreb history. At, we write high-quality essays on history. The following essay was written by one of our writers. Read it to understand how to approach such essays. Remember using the essay without proper citation will lead to plagiarism. If you need an original essay, place an order here. No plagiarism. Timely delivery.

The Maghreb History

The Maghreb History

The coastal strip of North Africa enjoyed peaceful existence up to the 15th and 16th centuries when the Berber dynasties declined and attracted Spain, Turkey, and France to the region. The French occupied Algeria in 1830, but the Berber resistance prolonged the conquest to 1847. In Morocco, the resistance from the local sultans and prolonged the conquest to 1912, when the Marinid dynasty ended (Abun-Nasr, 1990).

In 1944, the educated Moroccans formed the Istiqlal, Independence Party. The struggle for independence led to the exile of the sultan of Morocco in 1953 and subsequent terrorist attacks against the French rule. The intensity of terrorist attacks caused France to relinquish power and accept Morocco’s independence.

The sultan returned from exile and resumed the leadership of Morocco, turning the country into a Constitutional monarchy, and assumed the title of king in 1957. Similar events were observed in Algiers when the locals revolted against the French rule. However, France granted Morocco and Tunisia independence to isolate Algeria from independence talks. The Algerians embarked on guerrilla war and eventually, France granted Algeria independence in 1962 with the signing of a peace agreement (Willis, 2012).

In 1970, the king of Morocco, Hassan, rejected the existing border between Algeria and Morocco because the disputed region had iron ore.  This led to a partnership agreement that allowed Morocco and Algeria to exploit the iron ore as partners. The struggle for independence and the border dispute between Algeria and Morocco coalesced into a dispute over the Western Sahara and Mauritania. 

In the early 1960s, Hassan of Morocco said Morocco had a right to Mauritania. However, in 1969 he changed his focus to Western Sahara. Mauritania being a desert was of little value, but the discovery of phosphate deposits in 1963 sparked international interest in the region (Willis, 2012).

In 1975, the United Nations mission report shows that the inhabitants of Western Sahara want independence.  In response, the king of Morocco sent 350,000 unarmed Moroccans to Western Sahara to show their interest in the region. Spain, which was in control of Western Sahara, withdrew and the UN entrusted Western Sahara to a joint administration between Morocco and Mauritania. However, Algeria and Libya secretly fund local activists who form the Polisario to cause disturbance to the Moroccan-Mauritanian administration.

Willis (2012) records that in 1976 the activists declared that Western Sahara is a new independent state, named the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, with a provisional government based in Algeria. Seventy nations recognized the new independent state. After the Spanish exited, Morocco occupied the region with phosphates in the north of Western Sahara. Consequently, Mauritania did not see the value in the remaining region and made peace with Polisario. In response, Morocco annexed the part previously occupied by Mauritania, thus making it clear that the fight for Western Sahara is between Morocco and the Polisario (controlled by Algeria) (Willis, 2012).

The history behind the Maghreb in the European colonization is an eye-opener on the current tension between Morocco and Algeria. The history of Algeria and Morocco’s struggle for independence is inextricably linked, which coalesced into a dispute over Western Sahara. Both Morocco and Algeria used terrorist attacks to force France and Spain from relinquishing power in the Maghreb region.

Today, the Polisario in Western Sahara is supported by Algeria to fight for the region’s independence from Morocco. On the other hand, Morocco is not willing to give up Western Sahara to Algerian-controlled Polisario. The conflict between Morocco and Algeria has negatively affected trade in Western Sahara with a direct economic depletion on imports and exports.


Abun-Nasr, J. M. (1990). A history of the Maghrib in the Islamic period. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Willis, M. J. (2012). Politics and power in the Maghreb: Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco from independence to the Arab spring. Oxford : Oxford University Press

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