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Morocco, protests, 1600s–1990s

Justin Corfield


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At the time of the fall of Granada, the Wattasid dynasty that controlled northern Morocco saw its power challenged by the Portuguese who had taken the port of Ceuta in 1415, and were capturing other ports along Morocco's coast, such as Ksar-es-Seghir, which they held from 1458 until 1550. Portuguese power continued to grow, capturing Tangier in 1471 and the Atlantic port city of Asilah (or Arzila), both major strongholds in Morocco. In 1478 the Portuguese sacked the city of Casablanca, building a new city on the same site a hundred years later, calling it Casabranca; and nine years later they established a castle at Larache but only managed to hold it for one year. They also managed to take Mogador (modern-day Essaouira), where the Portuguese fort was built in 1506; the ports of Safi which was captured in 1508, Mazagan (modern-day El Jadida) which was taken in 1513; and Agadir, captured in 1515, in which year they also attacked Marrakesh but failed to take the city. The loss to Morocco of so many of its ports was not only humiliating but caused a massive fall in the revenue of the Wattasid dynasty, which was overthrown in 1554 by a rival group of Berbers, with the Saadi dynasty coming to power. Their power base was in the south of Morocco, which they had controlled since 1509. They also claimed descent from Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammad, and Ali ibn Abi Talib, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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