1902 Encyclopedia > Morocco

Morocco




MOROCCO, or MAROCCO, the term (corrupted from the name of the city Marrákush) used in English to designate the Maghrib al-Aksá or extreme west of the Arabs, is the country at the north-western corner of the African continent, with the Mediterranean on the north and the Atlantic on the west. Its landward limits can only be vaguely defined. The eastern frontier towards Algeria, determined by the treaty of 1844, is a purely conventional line starting from the mouth of a small stream called the Skis and running across country in a general south-south-east direction. The southern boundaries expand and contract according to the power and activity of the central authorities. Behm and Wagner (1882), who include Táfflelt, Kenatsa, Figig, Twat, Gurara, Tidikelt, the plateau of Tedmaid, &c., estimate the total area of the sultanate at 305,548 square miles; and this, which is about twice the size of Algeria, or five times that of England and Wales, may be taken as a maximum. The allegiance of many of the tribes within this compass is questionable and intermittent. Morocco is still the portion of Northern Africa about which European information is most defective, and the ordinary maps are composed to a large extent of most unscientific material eked out by probabilities and conjecture. Since the middle of the present century a good deal has been done in the way of exploration, mainly in the lowlands and steppes sloping towards the Atlantic—the country of the great historical cities of Tangiers, Fez, Meknes (Mequinez), and Morocco ; but even there what lies but a few miles east or west of some track traversed by Europeans for centuries remains matter of question.

Since the publication of Arlett’s survey from Cape Spartel to Cape Bojador (1840-44) and of Vincendon--Dumoulin and Kerhallet’s surveys from the Strait of Gib-raltar to the Algerian frontier (1853-57) the seaward aspect of Morocco has been known in detail. To the Mediter-ranean it presents for a distance of about 200 miles the rugged profile of the Rif hills (still unexplored), which generally end in lines of cliff broken at intervals by narrow sweeps of sandy beach, but occasionally open up into beau-tiful and fertile valleys, with abundant evidence of human occupancy and tillage. About 6 miles west of the Skis lies the mouth of the great river Mulúya; and 10 miles farther on, opposite Cape del Agua (Ras Sidi Beshir), is a group of dry and barren islands known as the Zafarines, which form the best roadstead on the Ríf coast.1 Be-tween Point Quiviana and Melilla runs a low and sandy shore in front of a great salt marsh, the Puerto Nuevo of the Spaniards. Melilla (Malíla) is a fortified town, held by the Spaniards since 1653, built on a rocky peninsula and connected by lines of rampart with Fort Rosario on the heights behind. Near the village of Azanen is a wide open shore with the only sand-dunes on all thus coast. The fine semicircular bay of Alhucemas is the seaward end of one of the most beautiful valleys in the Ríf, clothed with verdure and dotted with hamlets. A Spanish presidio occupies one of the larger of the Alhucemas islands (Al--Mazemma), which are identified with the Ad Sex Insulas of the itineraries. Another Spanish fortress crowns the rocky island of San Antonio or Peñon de Velez; and in the valley off which it lies stood a town known to the Spaniards as Velez de Gomera, to the Arabs as Bádis, which continued to be a place of importance in the 16th century. The so-called Bay of Tetuan (Tettáwin)—the town is just visible from the sea—is little more than the straight stretch of coast between Cape Mazari on the south and Cape Negro or Negrete on the north; but the prominence of these two headlands gives it an appearance of depth. From Cape Negro northwards to Ceuta the most notable object on the horizon is the summit of Jebel Músá, which, though situated on the Strait of Gibraltar, towers above the inter-vening hills. Ceuta (Sebta), the most important and flourishing of the Spanish settlements in Morocco, occupies a peninsula,—the head, Mi. Acho, standing about 4 miles out to sea, and the neck being low and narrow. It marks the eastern end of the strait. Westwards, the first point of interest is again Jebel Músá,, the Elephas of Strabo, and the Apes’ Hill of English charts; the truncated top is usually hid in clouds. About 20 miles farther along the coast lies the Bay of Tangiers (Tanja), by far the finest harbour in Morocco. West from Tangiers runs the Jebel Kebír (880 feet at its highest), the seaward extremity of which forms the celebrated Cape Spartel, the north-west angle of the African continent, known to the ancients as Ampelusia or Cotes Promontorium. The lighthouse, built in 1864 at the cost of the sultan of Morocco, and main-tained at the joint expense of England, France, Italy and Spain, is the only one on the western coast.

The Atlantic coast of Morocco is remarkable for its regularity and sameness; not a single gulf or noteworthy estuary occurs throughout its whole length; the capes are few and for the most part feebly marked. South-ward from Cape Spartel the shore sinks rapidly till it is within a few feet of the sea-level. In the low cliff which it forms about 4 1/2 miles from the lighthouse there is a great quarry, 'which from remote antiquity has yielded the hand-mills used in the Tangiers district. A stretch of low marshy ground along the Tahaddart—the estuary of the Wádi Kebír (W. Muharhar) and W. al-Kharrúb—agrees with Scylax’s Gulf of Cotes (Tissot). Three or four miles farther south lie the ruins of the town of Nebrosh, built by Moors from Andalusia; and 4 or 5 miles more bring us to Azílá, or Arzilla, the ancient Colonia Julia Constantia Zilis, or Z_les. Since its bombardment by the Austrians in 1829 it has been a wretched little place, with a mixed Moorish and Jewish population of about 1200.1 For the next 16 miles, between Azílá and Larash or EL-ARAISH (q.v.) the coast has a tolerably bold background of hills, Jebel Sarsar near Fez forming an important landmark for the latter town, which, with its Phoenician, Roman, and mediaeval remains, is historically one of the most interesting places in Morocco. A line of reddish cliffs about 300 feet high runs south for about 10 miles from the W. Aulkos, at whose mouth the town is built; then the coast sinks till it reaches Múlá Bú Selham, an eminence 220 feet high. Between Múlá Bú Selham (often wrongly called Old Mamura or Marmore) and a similar height crowned by the tomb of Sidi Abd Allah Jelílí lies the outlet of the Blue Lake (Marja Zarká), 10 or 12 miles long. Farther south, and separated from the sea by an unbroken line of rounded hills (230-260 feet), is the much more extensive lagoon of Ras al-Dura, which in the dry season becomes a series of marshy meres, but in the rainy season fills up and discharges into the Sebú. Eastward it is connected with the Marjat al-Gharb fed by the W. Meda. On the south side of the outlet of the Sebú lies Ma’múra, probably founded by ‘Abd al--Mumen, and originally named Mahdíya, after the Almohade Mahdí. Twenty miles farther is the mouth of the Bú Rakrak, with its cluster of interesting towns: Sallee (Sálát) on the north side, long famous for its piracies and still one of the most fanatical places in the empire, and on the south side New Sallee (Rabát) with its conspicuous tower of Hasan, and Shella (Sella of Leo Africanus) with its inter-esting ruins. Onward for 100 miles to Point Azammur and the mouth of the Umm. Rabí river a line of hills skirts the sea; the shore is for the most part low, and, with the exception of capes at Fadála (a small village) and Dár al--Baidá or Casa Blanca, it runs in a straight line west-south-west. Casa Blanca, the ancient Anfá, once a flourishing port, was ruined by the Portuguese (1468) in revenge for its piracies. It is now a place of 4000 inhabitants, and has a thriving export trade in maize, beans, and wool, and a European colony of about 100 persons. Azammur (that is, in Berber, "The Olives," viz., of the Sheikh Bú Shuaib), with 1000 inhabitants dependent on the shebbel fisheries in the river, stands on an eminence about 1 1/2 miles from the sea on the south side of the Umm. Rabí. The bay of Mazagan (Mázighan), a few miles to the south, curves westward with a boldness of sweep unusual on this coast. The town of Mazagan was founded by the Portu-guese in 1506, and held by them till 1769.2 About 8 miles to the south and less than a mile inland lie the extensive ruins of Tit, a town which proved a thorn in the side of the people of Mazagan till they sallied forth and destroyed it. At Cape Blanc (so called from its white cliffs) the coast, which bulged out at Cape Mazagan, again bends east to resume much the same general direction for 55 miles to Cape Cantin. On this stretch the only point of interest is Walidíya, formerly Al-Ghait; the excellent harbour praised by Edrisi is formed by an extensive lagoon, and M. Tissot thinks that by a little dredging the place would again become the safest ship-ping station on the whole Morocco seaboard.3 Beyond Cape Cantin (300 feet high) the coast becomes bolder and more irregular, especially after the mouth of the Tensíft is passed. About 18 miles farther lies Saffi (Asfi), "by far the most picturesque spot on the west coast," with the high walls and square towers of its Portuguese fortifications shown to advantage by the ruggedness of the site. South of MOGADOR (q.v.), and onwards beyond the limits of Morocco, the coast, becoming ever more and more inaccessible and dangerous in winter, is emphatically known as the Iron Coast. From Cape Sim or Ossim (Ras Tagriwalt), 10 miles south of Mogador, the direction is due south to Cape Gir (Igir Ufrani), the termination of Jebel Ida u Tanan (Rabbi Mardochée), the last spur of the Atlas proper. Rounding this headland we reach Agadír (Agadír ‘n Igir), the Santa Cruz Major or Santa Cruz de Berberia of the Spaniards, formerly known as the Gate of the Soudan.4 It is a little town with white battlements three-quarters of a mile in circumference, on a steep eminence 600 feet high. In the 15th century it was seized by the Portuguese, and Don Manuel caused it to be fortified; but in 1536 it was captured by Muley (Mauláí) Ahmed al-Hasan. Its merchants were removed to Mogador in 1773. At the month of the Sús Leo places three little towns called Messa (Mássa), with a mosque popularly reputed the scene of Jonah’s restoration to terra firma. The port of this name,5 regularly visited by the Genoese traders in the 16th century, who exported skins, gum, wax, gold, and indigo, is no doubt at the mouth of the W. Mássa, 20 miles farther south.6 Ifni, situated in 29º 23' N. lat., and Sidi Worzek, the Cape Non7 of the Portuguese, are the only points calling for notice till the better known Cape Nun is reached, which lies 5 or 6 miles north of the W. Der’a. With the Der’a the Sahara may be said to begin.

On most maps the interior of Morocco is represented as extremely mountainous ; but, while it is traversed from east to west by more than one strongly-defined range, the greater part of the surface is really occupied by undulating steppe--like tracts diversified by low hills. The backbone of the country is the Great Atlas (Daran of the Berbers).8 At its western extremity the range averages from 4000 to 5000 feet in height; after a slight falling off for a few miles it rises till it attains an elevation of 10,000 feet; beyond the pass (about 60 miles from the sea) which leads from Morocco to Tárúdant the summits seem to be between 11,000 and 11,500 feet; about 40 miles farther east there is a second pass at an altitude of about 7000 feet; and beyond that the main ridge continues 30 miles at a height of about 12,000 feet, with a few peaks reaching to 13,000 or 13,500 feet. Snow lies, on some of the summits as late as June, but it is probable that none of them retain it throughout the year. Taken as a whole, the Atlas has a mean elevation higher than that of any other range of equal length in Europe or in the African and Asiatic countries bordering on the Mediterranean. From the lowlands to the north it has a very fine appearance, rising, as it seems, in steep and almost abrupt ascent, though the real distance from foot to summit is a slope of 15 miles (compare the panorama prefixed to Hooker and Ball’s Morocco).





What is the culminating point of the range is quite unknown; the Miltsin peak has no claim to that distinction. The English embassy of 1829-1830 advanced up the northern slope only a little beyond Tasseremut (3534 feet), and Davidson in 1836 merely reached the town, and then turned westwards. FromTasseremut eastwards the range is altogether unexplored for 200 miles till we come to the route followed by Ahmed b. Hasan al-Mtúvi (1789), Cailliè (1827), and Rohlfs (1863). The English expedition of 1871 (Hooker and Ball, &c.), besides visiting Tasseremut, went up the Urika valley to a height of 4000 feet, up the Ait Mesan valley to the Tagherot pass (11,484), and up the Amsziz valley to the summit of Jebel Tezah (11,972 feet). In the Tagherot pass Mr Maw was the only one of the party who reached the watershed ; but from Jebel Tezah a good view was obtained southward across the great valley of the Sus to the Anti-Atlas, which appeared to be from 9000 to 10, 000 feet high. In 1880 Dr Lenz crossed the range by the ordinary route from Morocco to Tárúdant. "First," he says, "is a chain of comparatively low and flat hills consisting of Cretaceous and Tertiary rocks ; then follows a plateau with ranges of red, probably Triassic, sandstone ; and finally come the higher and steeper peaks of clay slate with great metalliferous deposits. The pass where the descent towards Sús begins is called Bibauan, and lies 4000 feet above the sea. The route down to ‘Emnislah’ is steep, difficult, and at times dangerous." As to the relation of the Anti-Atlas to the Atlas proper at its western end nothing certain is known.

All the. principal rivers of Morocco take their rise in the Atlas mountains, and the headwaters of the Mulúya, the Sebú, the Umm Rabí, the Der’a, and the Ziz are all to be placed in that part of the range which lies between 32º 20' and 32º 30'N. lat., and between 3º 30' and 5' W. long. In almost every instance the summer current is comparatively feeble, but the wide beds and often high steep banks are sufficient of themselves to show the change produced by the rains of winter and the thaws of spring. Th6 Mulúya (Mulucha and Malva of Pliny, &c.) is mainly interesting as the river which the French have long wished to make the western boundary of Algeria. Its course is almost entirely unexplored. About 34º 20'N. lat. Captain Colvile found it some 200 yards wide but quite shallow; about 25 miles cast of its source where it is crossed by the route to Zíz it is already a powerful stream with a deep bed cut in the granite rock, and shortly afterwards it is joined by the W. Sgimmel, a still larger affluent (Rohlfs). Of the lesser streams which flow into the Mediterranean it is enough to mention the W. Martil or Martin (otherwise W. Bú Sfiha, W Ras, W. Mejeksa), which falls into the Bay of Tetuan, and is identified with the Tamuda of Pliny and Thaluda of Ptolemy. On the Atlantic seaboard north of the Sebú there are a number of comparatively small streams, the chief of which is the very winding W. Aulkos or Lokkos, with several tributaries. If Renou’s statement that the Sebú (the Subur magnificus et navigabilis of Pliny) had a course not much inferior to that of the Seine be somewhat of an exaggeration, it may at least be compared to the Thames in length and width, though not in steadiness and depth of current. . At . Meshra’at al-Ksiri, about 70 miles from its mouth, it is about 10 feet deep in the month of May and more than 460 feet wide; and, though its banks are 21 feet high, extensive inundations occur from time to time. The tide ascends as far as Al-Kantara, 15 miles above Ma’múra, and steam barges with a small draught of water could make their way to the ford just mentioned, and possibly even as far as Fez (Trotter). Affluents of the Sebú are W. Mikkes and W. Al-Redem (90 miles long). The swift and muddy current of W. Beht usually loses itself in a swamp before it reaches the main stream. The impetuous Umm Rabi’, with a rocky bed and many rapids, is perhaps as large as the Sebú; but as there are no important cities in the country through which it flows its course is not so well known. W. al-Abiad, W. al-Akdur, and W. Tessaut seem to be the principal affluents. This last is separated by about 10 miles only from the valley of the Tensíft, the river which flows to the north of the city of Morocco; and, by the W. Nefís, the Asif al-Mil (Asif is Berber for "river"), the W. Usbi, and other smaller tributaries, receives the waters of about 180 miles of the Atlas ranue. The valley between the Atlas and the Anti--Atlas is traversed by the W. Sûs, whose ever-flowing stream is sufficient to turn the whole district into a garden. The Mássa or W. al-Ghás (Wholgras of Davidson, Oued Ouel R’as of Delaporte), though its headwaters drain only one or two of the lesser valleys at the south-west end of the Anti--Atlas, is "about 50 yards from bank to bank at the mouth, with a depth at high water and in the proper channel of something over a fathom." Farther south is the Assaka or W. al-Aksá, long known to European geographers by the name of W. Nun; and finally the famous W. Der’a is reached, which in length of course exceeds all the rivers of Morocco, but, except in spring when the snows are melting in the highlands, remains throughout all its lower reaches a dry sandy channel, hardly noticed by the traveller in the surrounding desert. In the upper valleys, on the contrary, innumerable streams from the south side of the main chain of the Atlas, the W. Dades from the east, and the Asif Marghen, W. al-Molah, or Warzazet from the west, flow through populous and fertile valleys, and uniting to form the Der’a cut their way southward through a gorge in the Jebel Soghér, which,.as the name implies, is a lower range running parallel to the Atlas proper. For the next 130 miles the noble stream holds south-south-east, drained at every step by the irrigation canals which turn this region .into a green oasis, till at last its dwindling current bends westward to the sebkha (salt marsh) of Debiaya. For a few weeks once a year the thaw-floods fill this shallow but extensive basin and rush onwards to the Atlantic; but in summer it dries up, and, like the bed of the river for some distance below, is covered with flourishing crops. From the south of the Atlas still farther east descend a number of other streams, the W. Zíz (with its tributaries the W. Todgha and W. Gheris), the W. Ghir, the W. Kenatsa, &c., which, after watering the oases of Medghara, Táfilelt (Sijilmása), Kenatsa, &c., lose themselves in the sands of the Sahara.1 Besides the lakes and lagoons of the coast district already mentioned, there are several others, such as the Daya Sidi Ali Mohammed, which Rohlfs passed near the summit of the Atlas, but they do not form a feature of the country. The eastern frontier runs across the great Western Shatt, and south from that point lies the extensive Sebkha Tighri.

According to Dr Lenz, in his geological map of West Africa (1882), the stretch of country in the vicinity of Ceuta and Tetuan is Ju-rassic ; modern Tertiary and Eocene rocks cover all the rest of the great northern promontory for some distance south of Wazan, and extend in an irregular belt from the neighbourhood of Fez south-west to the province of Abda; between these two areas there lies a district of Cretaceous formations which extends to the Atlantic, and skirts the whole African coast from Larash as far south as Cape Blanc (700 miles south of the Der’a) ; nearly all the rest of the north-western slope of the country is occupied by alluvium. The west-ward portion of the Atlas shows a belt of Cretaceous rocks, a broader Jurassic belt, and one still broader of Red Sandstone, porphyrites and porphyritic tuffs forming the backbone of the ridge. From Tárúdant eastward runs a strip of clay slates, possibly of Carbon-iferous origin, and from Anti-Atlas in the west and Figig in the east Devonian rocks stretch for hundreds of miles into the Sahara. The plain around the city of Morocco has a sheet-like. covering of tufaceous crust rising over hill and valley and following all the undulations of the ground, the result probably of the intense heat of the sun rapidly drawing up water charged with soluble carbonate of lime from the calcareous strata, and drying it layer by layer on the surface till an accumulation several feet thick has been produced (Maw). This crust is extensively burned for lime, and it forms a natural strong roof for the matamores or underground cellars which the Moors excavate in the soft strata beneath. An enormous deposit of boulders occurs in the lateral valleys and along the escarpment of the Atlas, and the opinion that these are the products of remote glacial action is supported by the existence of true moraines in the upper part of the glens. All along the west coast there are indications of an elevation of the land in the shape of raised beaches, at Tangiers 40, at the south of Cape Spartel 50, at Mogador 60 or 70 feet high ; but a number of other facts seem to show that at present a process of subsidence is in progress.1

That mineral deposits of great value exist in Morocco there is little doubt. At Jebel Hadid or the Iron Mountain, the heights to the north of Mogador, old scoriae are found. In the Beni Madan hills near Tetuan are mines, closed, it is said, by the sultan ‘Abd al-Rahmán; but whether they furnished copper or lead authorities differ. On the road to Kenatsa, Rohlfs saw lead and antimony worked by the Beni Sithe. Antimony especially seems to be abundant to the south of the Atlas ; Rohlfs found it in a very pure state near Tesna, and Dr Allen (whose account was not published when this article was written) informed the writer that he saw splendid veins; of it north of the Der’a. That gold mines existed in Sús was long suspected; Gatell proved it. Rock-salt occurs in the mountains north of Fez, in the valley of the W. Martil, and probably in Jebel Zarhún. In several places, as in the route from Saffi to Morocco, are brine lakes, from which the salt is collected and exported as far as Central Africa.

The general aspect of the lowlands of Morocco varies so much according to the season of the year that, while one stranger finds it and and sunburnt and monotonous, another is delighted with the richness of its vegetation and the bright variety of its colours. In some of the Atlas valleys there is a wealth of timber, enormous conifers, 10 to 12 feet in girth of stem, oaks, &c.,2 but the greater part of flip country has been cleared of every vestige of woodland, and consequently depends for its appearance on herbage, brush-wood, and the lesser fruit-trees. Cultivation is confined to such comparatively narrow limits that the natural flora has full scope for its development. Cowan, writing more immediately of the country between Morocco and Mogador, speaks of "drifts of asphodel, white lilies, blue convolvuli, white broom flowers, thyme and lavender, borage, marigold, purple thistles, colossal daisies and poppies;" and Captain Trotter tells how for miles the undu-lating plateau of Kasr Ferá’un was literally covered with wild flowers, whose varied colours, and the partiality with which each species confined itself to certain ground, gave to the landscape a brilliant and most unique appearance. Dark-blue, yellow, and red—iris, marigold, and poppy—occurred in patches an acre in size ; farther on whole hills and valleys were of a delicate blue tint from convolvulus and borage. At times the traveller’s tent is pitched on a carpet of mignonette, at times on a carpet of purple bugloss. In the country of the Bení Hasan squills are so abundant that the fibres of the bulbs are used instead of hair in making tent--cloth; and in the north of Ksar al-Kebír the moors are covered for miles with a beautiful white heather. From such gorgeous com-binations of colour one can well imagine that the Moors drew the inspiration of their chromatic art; but the season of floral splen-dour is brief, and under the hot African sun everything soon sinks into the monotony of straw.





The botany of Morocco has been explored by Balansa (1867), Hooker, Ball, and Maw (1871), Rein and Fritsch (1873), Ibrahim Ammeribt (a Berber collector, 1873-6), the Rabbi Mardochée Abi Serur (1872-3) ; and the results have been systematically arranged in Cosson’s Compendium Florae Atlanticae: ou Flore des États bar-baresques (Paris, 1881, &Q.). From the presence of a large proper-tion of plants of central and northern Europe (none of the northern plants, however, being of alpine. or arctic type) and flip absence of southern types characteristic of the sub-tropical zone Ball concludes that "the mountain flora of Morocco is a southern extension of the European temperate flora, with little or no admixture of ex-traneous; elements, but so long isolated from the neighbouring regions that a considerable number of new specific types have been developed."3 Of the individual plants non are more remarkable than the ‘arár and the argon. The former (Callitris quadrivalvis, Thuja, articulata of Shaw) is a cypress-like tree that grows on the Atlas both in Morocco and Algeria. It furnishes gum sandarach; and its beautiful and enduring timber has been identified with the alerce with which the Cordova cathedral (mosque) was roofed, and with the citron-wood of the ancient Romans. The argan (Argania Sideroxylon) is confined even in Morocco to a tract of country extending only about 150 miles along the coast, from the river Ten-sift almost to the river Sús, and about 30 miles in breadth ; and it is found nowhere else in the world. A gnarled trunk and wide-spreading contorted thorny branches give it a striking appearance. Large specimens have a height of from 20 to 30 feet, and a girth of 25 or 26 feet. The fruit, which ripens between May and August, is an olive-looking nut, greedily eaten by camels, mules, goats, sheep, and horned cattle (but not by horses) for the sake of the fleshy pericarp, and crushed by the natives to extract the oil from the kernel. Though "its strong and fulsome savour" renders it nauseous to the European palate, this oil is largely used in the cookery of southern Morocco. The prickly pear forms one of the features of the landscape from the coast up to the slopes of the mountains. The cork tree, common in the time of Addison, has lost ground enormously, though it probably forms the staple of the Ma’múra forest, which extends for some 20 miles between the Bú Rakrak. and the Sebú. Though not so widespread as in Algeria or some districts of southern Europe, the palmetto is often locally very abundant. Citrous, lemons, limes (sweet and sour), shaddocks, mulberries, walnuts, and chestnuts are common in many parts. Tetuan is famous for oranges, Meknes for quinces, Morocco for pomegranates, Fez for figs, Táfílelt and Akka for dates, Sús for almonds, Dukalla for melons, Tagodast, Edantenan, and Rabát for grapes, and Tárúdant for olives (Cowan). The grape is extensively cultivated ; the Jews manufacture crude but palatable wines. Sugar, once grown in Sús, to supply the demands of the whole of Morocco, has disappeared. Both hemp and tobacco are cultivated under the restrictions of an imperial monopoly,—the former (of prime quality) being largely used as hashish, the latter, though never smoked, as snuff. Barley is the most usual cereal; but excellent crops of wheat, maize, millet, rye, beans, pease, chick-peas, and canary seed are also obtained. Potatoes are coming into favour in certain districts.

It is still true, as in the time of Addison, that the Moors "seldom reap more than will bring the year about," and the failure of a single harvest causes inevitable dearth. Captain Colvile calculates that not more than a hundredth part of the available land is culti-vated at all; and the cultivated portion possessed by each tribe is divided into three parts, one only of which is sown each year. With a plough of the most primitive description the Moorish peasant scarcely scratches the surface of the soil ; and his harrow is a few branches of trees weighted with heavy stones. The corn is cut close to the ear with short curved knives, and the straw left standing. Underground granaiies or matamores (matmúra) are constructed, sometimes capable of holding 2000 quarters; they preserve their contents in good condition for many years.

There is abundant space in the country for wild animals, even of the larger kind ; but the absence of woodland keeps them in check. Besides the lion, which exists only in very limited numbers, and, according to local proverbs, with diminished courage, the spotted leopard, the hyaena, jackal, lynx, fox, and wild boar are the most important. The anclad or wild sheep is found in the more inaccessible parts of the Atlas. Rabbits swarm in the country to the north of the Bú Rakrak, and since 1870 they have crossed this, which used to be their southern limit. A kind of ground-squirrel, the sibsib, occurs in the southern provinces. Monkeys of the same species as those of Gibraltar frequent the neighbourhood of Jebel Músá or Apes’ Hill. The list of the ordinary wild birds includes blackbirds, goldfinches, linnets, greenfinches, robins, wagtails, skylarks, and crested larks, as well as turtle-doves, nightingales, and jays. The house-sparrow is not found; between Morocco and Mogador its place is taken by a beautiful bird (Emberiza striolata), locally called tabíb, or "the doctor" (Leared). The stranger is struck by the immense variety and number of hawks, and still more, by the familiar terms on which they build their nests in the walls and rocks along with blue rock-pigeons and starlings. All through the country the red-legged partridge is the main resource of the sportsman, though he may also bag other varieties of partridge, bustards, and ducks and other water-fowl. Along the coasts there is no lack of gulls, whimbrel, oyster-catchers, &c. Every town has its colony of storks. Lizards, chameleons, tortoises, and frogs are familiar objects; it is from Morocco that the small tortoises hawked about the streets of London are usually obtained. The profusion of insect-life is one of the plagues of the country in the eyes of the European ; and even the Moor, who has got reconciled to his mosquitoes and fleas, considers the locust one of his deadliest enemies.

The camel is the great beast of burden in Morocco, though asses and mules are also employed. The horse, never reduced to such base uses, is usually a sturdy little animal, but far below the ancient reputation of the Barbary steed. Roughly broken when young, his mouth is soon spoiled by barbarous bits, and his feet by square shoes. The finest aninials are said to be bred in Shiadma and Abda. In form and size the mules are much superior, and they usually fetch two or three times the price. The horned cattle are. not unlike Alderneys; and the sheep, for the improve-ment of which nothing is done, have spiral horns (not unfrequently four), rounded foreheads, and long fine wool. Domestic fowls are kept in great numbers; they are of the Spanish type, small and prolific.

The mackerel fishery off the coast at Casa Blanca and Tangiers attracts fishers from Spain, Portugal, and other parts of Europe. Occasionally a small shoal may be found as far south as Mogador. Soles, turbot, bream, bass, conger eel, and mallet are common along the coast, and a large fish called the aslimsah (rough scaled and resembling a cod). Lobsters and crayfish swarm in the rocky places, but the natives have no proper method of catching them. The funny, pilchard, and sardine, and a kind of shad known as the "Mogador herring," all prove at times of practical importance. "The catching of the shebbel or Barbary salmon, a species of shad, is a great industry on all the principal rivers of the coast, and vast numbers of the fish, which are often from 5 to 15 pounds in weight, are dried and salted." They ascend from the sea in spring. Bar-bels and a few other small fish swarm in the streams, but for the angler there is little real sport.1

Of the population of Morocco only the vaguest estimate is pos-sible. Behm and Wagner give 6,410,000—probably too high a number. Ethnographically it consists of three main elements—Berbers or Shelluh, Arabs, and Jews—with a large infusion of Negro blood, and a sprinkling of Negro individuals. A distinction is sometimes drawn between the country Arab and the city "Moor," as he is called par excellence ; but the difference between them is one not so much of race (though the "Moor" has probably absorbed a greater variety of heterogeneous elements) as of method of life, and the superficial physical results of the same. The Berbers are the original occupants of the country (as may be proved by the ancient words preserved by classical writers), and they still form not only the most numerous but the most industrious and civilizable section of the people. While the Arab is still by preference a dweller in tents, the Berber for the most part builds himself houses of stone or clay. On the whole, the Arabs are predominant in the lowlands and the Berbers in the hilly districts and mountains.

Greatly corrupted, even in the time of Ibn Khaldún, the Arabic of Morocco has now, with the complete decay of literature, reached a state of extreme degradation. Of the Schilha dialects very little is known, but everything goes to prove their general philological agreement with the better-investigated representative of the Ber-ber. The Jews are the great commercial class in the community. They are usually said to number about 150,000 to 200,000, but Rohlfs (Petermann’s Mitth., 1883) shows reason to suppose that they do not exceed 62,800. Having come largely from Spain, they still use among themselves a corrupt Spanish.2

That at one time Morocco was a much more populous country is evident from the description of Leo Africanus, though even in his time the number of ruined or decaying towns was very great. Besides Tangiers, Larash, Sallee, and the other places on the coast already described, there are only a few large cities in the country. Four of these—FEZ (q.v.), Meknes or MEQUINEZ (q.v.), Wazan, and Teza—are in the basin of the Sebú. On the Zarhún range, north of Meknes, lies the town of Muley Edris or Zarhún, which no Christian is allowed to enter, though in 1801 Jackson did manage to pay a hurried visit. According to Captain Trotter, who got within three- quarters of a mile, it is a place of apparently 1500 to 2000 inhabitants, compact, and with several large buildings. Wazan (Rohlfs’sWesan) is par excellence a sacred city, being the seat of a sherif, whose influence is even more widely acknowledged than that of the sultan. It was probably raised from a mere village by Muley ‘Abd Alláh al-Sheríf (ob. 1675). At present it is one of the cleanest and best-kept places in the empire. Teza (Tázá) is a considerable trading centre on the route between Fez and the Algerian frontier. Leo, Ali Bey, and Rohlfs agree in describing it as a place of great beauty, embowered in orchards, and the houses give evidence of wealth. The population, in Leo’s time 20,000, is now 5000, of whom 800 are Jews. About 120 miles east of Teza, and only 10 from the frontier, is Wajda (Ouchda of the French), clean and neat, in the midst of an orange grove. The only other inland town of importance is Kasr al-Kebir (see ALCAZAR KEBIR), the Oppidum Novum of the Romans, which, except on market-days, wears a look of great decay. In all the country between the basin of the Sebú and the Tensift, a distance of upwards of 200 miles, there is nothing that a European would consider a town; and Morocco itself is the only really large city of south Morocco, Tárúdant, the capital of Sus, lies between the Atlas and the river; it is a place of from 30,000 to 40,000 inhabit-ants, has recently been garrisoned and refortified by the sultan, and may be considered the frontier city of his empire. Iligh (Ilir, Illec, &c.), 100 miles south-south-east on a stream which joins the Mássa, is the chief town of Tazerwalt or the state of Sidi Hisham, an independent principality founded by Sidi Ahmed u. Musa; and Auguilmin (Gulemin or Glimin), in like manner, is the chief town of the state of ‘Abd Allah u. Salem, or, as it is usually called by Europeans, Wad Nun. Tagawost (Tagaost of Ibn Khaldún), about 40 miles inland from Ifni, was formerly a large city, and in the 16th century the seat of a Spanish factory trading in archil. Throughout Morocco the nomenclature of ordinary maps gives a very misleading idea of the number of inhabited sites. Most of the seeming villages are either market-places, completely deserted except on market-days, or the tombs of saints, with possibly not a house in the vicinity, or stations for caravans, with a small com-pany of soldiers. The markets are named after the days of the week, as Súk al-Thaláthá, Tuesday market; the kubbas or saints’ tombs are distinguished as Sidi (my master) so and so ; and the stations are marked Nzéla, or some such corruption as Inzella.

The prehistoric antiquities of Morocco are of considerable interest. In a cave at Cape Spartel M. Tissot found regularly shaped arrow-heads, and in his travels through the north of the country he met with dolmens, barrows, and cromlechs, just as in Algeria or Tunis. The dolmens usually form a trapezium, and the dead body seems to have been buried with the knees drawn up to the chin. At Mzorah (Mazorah), a quaint little village of widely-scattered houses built of rough blocks of yellow soft sandstone, about 8 or 10 miles south-east from Azilá, stands a group of megalithic monuments of ex-traordinary extent. They bave been visited and described by Sir Arthur de Capell Brooke (1830), Davidson (1835), Farley (1860), Tissot, Watson, Trotter, &c. Watson’s accountis the most detailed. Round the base of a mound (15 feet high) of yellow sandstone lies a circle of sixty-seven large stones, one of which (at the west side) is more than 20 feet high. In the vicinity are several other groups, some of still larger blocks. Roman roads seem to have run from Tan-giers southwards to the neighbourhood of Meknes, and from Azilá to the south of Rabát; and Roman sites are in several instances marked by considerable remains of masonry. At Kasr Fará’ún (Pharaoh’s castle), on the western slope of J. Zarhún, are the ruins of Volubilis. The enceinte, constructed of large stones and flanked by round towers, is 12, 000 feet in extent. Four gates are still recognizable, and a triumphal arch crected in 216 A.D. in honour of Caracalla and Julia Domna. The stones of this site have been used for Meknes. Banasa (Colonia Aelia, originally Valentia) is identified with the ruins of Sidi Ali Bú Jenun, and Thamusida with those of Sidi Ali b. Hamed. At Tehemmish, up

the river from Larash, the city of Lixus (Trinx of Strabo) ft splendid specimens of Punic and Roman stone-work, and the similar remains on the headland of Múlá Bú Selham probably belong to the Mudelacha of Polybius. Of early Moorish architecture good examples are comparatively few, and badly pre-served. Besides those in Fez, Meknes, and Morocco, it is sufficient to mention the mausoleum of the Beni-Merin (13th to 16th centuries) at Shella, which, with the adjoining mosque, is roofless and ruined, but possesses a number of valuable inscriptions(see Athenaeum, 1875).

The present state of Morocco is deplorable. The government is an Oriental despotism under an independent quasi-hereditary sultan; there are no administrative functionaries with definite responsibility and regular salary; the distribution of justice is utterly arbitrary, and the punishments often barbarous in the extreme; education, in the European sense of the word, there is none; foreign commerce is hampered by vexatious prohibitions and restrictions, internal trade by the almost complete absence of roads and bridges, and by the generally lawless state of the country (the very peasant has his gun beside him as he ploughs) ; the only substitute for a postal system is a class of running couriers; and even the army (in which the sultan does take an interest) is only just beginning to show signs of disci-pline and effectiveness under the supervision of Káid M’Clean and other foreign officers. The last remnants of the once powerful Moorish fleet are rotting beyond recognition in the harbour of Larash. With good government and freedom of trade the country might soon be restored to a high state of prosperity: its climate, soil, products, and the qualities of its predominant population are full of promise ; and the evident decrease of hostility towards the Christian, which may be observed since the beginning of' the century, and especially within recent years, gives hope that European influence, apart from European conquest, may before long remove from Morocco the, reproach of being "the China of the West," the most backward and barbarous of civilized nations.

History.—Morocco corresponds to the Roman Mauretania Tingitana (see MAURETANIA). Conquered by the Vandals (429 A.D.), Mauretania was recovered to the Eastern Empire by Belisarius. The Arabs first penetrated into the country under ‘Okba (supra, p. 567), but the Berbers opposed an obstinate resistance to Islam, and their conversion and subjection to the caliphate was only com-pleted in the reign of Walíd by Músá b. Nosair, the conqueror of Spain (supra, p. 573). The dominion of the caliphs was of short duration ; the ‘Abbásids had very little hold of the Berber countries, and in the 9th century, while the Aghlabites were practically independent at Kairawán, the regions west of the salt marsh of Sebkha ul-Hodna were autonomous under a number of indigenous or foreign princes. The chief of these principalities were that of the Idrísites at Fez (supra, p. 581), the kingdom of Tahart, and that of Nákúr. In the first years of the 10th century the Fátimite caliphs, at the head of the powerful Berber tribe of Ketáma, overthrew the Aghlabites, thus putting an end for ever to Arab rule in North Africa, and rapidly extended their empire to the Atlantic. When the Fáti-mites established themselves in Egypt, the Zirid dynasty reigned as their vassals in the west, and maintained themselves with varying fortunes till the rise of the great empire of the ALMORAVIDES (q.v.), who yielded in turn to the ALMOHADES (q.v.). The latter dynasty was extinguished by the princes of the Bení-Merin, whose chief, Ya’kúb b.’Abd al-Hakk, captured Morocco in 1269 A.D. The sub-sequent history of Morocco and Fez under the Merinids and their successors presents little interest, being as full of internecine wars, contested successions, fratricides, general bloodshed, and barbarities as it is empty of all indications of all advance in civilization. As regards the relations of the country to European nations, four periods maybe distinguished—(1) a period lasting dow n to the close of the'14th century, when the Moorish potentates were still the most pro-minent representatives of aggressive Mohammedanism ; (2) a period during which the Portuguese and Spaniards, having expelled their invaders, made vigorous reprisals and obtained possession of many towns on the coast of Morocco ; (3) a period in which these nations, disheartened by the disastrous defeat in the Battle of the Three Kings (1579), allowed the Moors to recover much of the ground they had lost, and to become, by their piracies and defiance of inter-national law, all object if not of terror yet of apprehension and irritation ; and (4) a period in which the prestige of this after--glow of greatness has gradually died out.

The following are the more noteworthy events in the Moorish annals since the beginning of the 15th century.

1415. Ceuta captured by the Portuguese. 1436. First expedition against Tangiers by Don Duarte; capture of Don Fernando, who died in exile in 1459 (it was proposed to ransom him by cession of Ceuta, but the pope objected). 1459. Capture of Alcazar Seguir. 1471. Capture of Tangiers. 1510-1540. Rise of the dynasty of the Sherífs. 1577. Edmond Hogan sent by Queen Elizabeth of England to Muley ‘Abd al-Melek (see Report in Hakluyt). 1578. Defeat of King Sebastian (see Leared, Visit to Court of Horocco, appendix). 1585. Founding of the Company of Barbary Merchants (earls of Warwick, Leicester, &c.) in London; Elizabeth’s second ambassador Henry Roberts well received. 1610. The Moors from Spain settle partly at Rabát, &c., and prove troublesome. 1649. Muley Zidan sends to King Charles I. requesting him to attack Sallee by sea. About this time Ali Sherif of Yanbo, near Medina, is recognized as ruler of Táfilelt, and gradually of the rest of the empire except the city of Morocco; with him commences the dynasty of the Alides; on his death his sons, Mohammed and Arshid, dispute the succes~sion. 1662. Tangiers (Portuguese since 1471) becomes an English possession as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza. 1664-1672. Reign of Arshid, a warlike, active, and cruel prince, who was the first to take the title of sultan. 1672-1727. Reign of Ishmael, who in ability and ferocity completely outdid his brother Arshid, and supported his throne by an enormous army of slaves from the Súdán. 1678. Great plague; ambassadors sent to Louis XIV, to ask the hand of Mademoiselle Blois, the king’s natural daughter. 1682. The sultan sends two lions to the king of England. 1684, Sir Cloudesley Shovel defends British interests on the coast ; with-drawal of the English from Tangiers. 1687. Capture of Larash from the Spaniards. 1694. Siege of Ceuta. 1725. Thomas Betton, who had been a slave in Morocco, left £13, 000, the half of his fortune, for the ransom of British captives in that country. 1727-1730. Disputed succession. 1757-1789. Reign of Mohammed. 1778. Locusts. 1780. Great famine; Agadir opened to the Dutch. 1794-1822. Reign of Soliman ; abolition of Christian slavery in Morocco ; suppression of piracy. 1822-1859, Reign of Abd er Rahman; rupture with Spain on account of the decapitation of Consul Darmon for the wounding of a Moor. 1844. Defeat of forces sent to assist ‘Abd al-Kader in Algiers bombardment of Tangiers and Mogador by the prince de Joinville rout of the Moorish forces in the battle of Isly; and peace of Tangiers. 1845. Naval demonstration at Tangiers and ratification of treaty; surrender to Spain of disputed territory at Ceuta. 1853. Establishment of a customs line and regular military posts along the Algerian frontier. 1856. English commercial treaty by which no duty shall exceed 10 per cent. of the value of the wares. 1859-1873. Reign of Mohammed ; Spanish invasion. 1860. Decisive battle between General O’Donnell and the Moors near Tetuan (March). By the treaty of Tetuan Morocco was to pay 20,000,000 piastres to Spain, to surrender territory at Santa Cruz de Mar Pequeña for a commercial establishment, and to allow the Spanish missionaries to have a house at Fez like that which they had at Tangiers. Money not being obtainable to pay the indemnity, the Spaniards obtained control of the customs for a term of years. 1864. Decree permitting Europeans to trade in any part of the empire. 1873. Accession of Hasan. 1880. English embassy for improvement of commercial relations; conference at Madrid to define the rights of European representatives in regard to the protection afforded by them to subjects of the sultan ; num-her of protégés limited to three. 1882. Expedition to subdue Sid Hosein of Iligh. 1883. Protest of the English Government against the slave trade in Morocco.

Lists of works in regard to Morocco will be found in Renou, Descript. géogr, de l’emp. do Maroc, Paris, 1846, forming part of L’explor. scient. de l’Algérie; in Bol. de la Soc. geogr. do Madrid, 1877, 1878; and in Rivista Contemporanea: Madrid,1881. Besides Renou’s Description—a masterly criticisin of all previous geographical material—the following may be mentioned: lbn Khaldún, Hist. des Berbéres (tr. by Baron de Slane); Leo Africanus, Descript. Africae ; Diego de Torres, Ongen y sucesso de los Xarifes . . . de Marruecos, &c., 1585; Marmol, Deser. de l’Afrique, 1667 ; Faria y Sousa, Africa Portuguesa, Lisbon, 1681 ; Addison, Account of West Barbary, 1671 (Pinkerton’s Coll., xv.); Chenier, Rech. hist, sur les Maures, 1787; Jackson, Account of the Emp. of Morocco, 1809, and Tim-buctoo and Housa, 1820; Drummond Hay, Western Barbary, 1844; John David-son, Notes, taken during Travels in Africa, 1839; De Aguirra, Expedicion at Riff, 1858; Mrs. E. Murray, Sixteen Years in Morocco, Spain, &c., 1859 ; Richardson, Trav. in Morocco, 1860; Maltzan, Drei Jahren im Nortwesten von Afrika, 1868 (4’vols.) ; Rohlfs, Reise durch Marokko, Breinen, 1868 ; Fritsch in "Mittheil. d. Vereins für Erdk.," Halle, 1878; Leared, Morocco and the Moors, 1875, and Visit to the Court Of Morocco, 1879 ; De Amici’s Marocco, Milan, 1878—a very graphic sketch, which has been deservedly translated into English, French, German, &c.; Tissot, Rech. sur la géogr. comparée de la Maurétanie Tingitane, 1877; Cas-tellanos, Descr. hist. de Marruccos, Santiago, 1878; Hooker and Ball, Morocco and the Great Atlas, 1878; Gatell, Viajes por Marruecos, 1879; Payton, Mosses, from a Rolling Stone, 1879; Llana y Rodrigañez, El imp. de Marruecos, 1880; Watson, A Visit to Wazon, 1880; Trotter, Mission to the Court of Marocco, 1881; Cowan and Johnstone, Moorish Lotus Leaves, 1882.


Footnotes

FOOTNOTE (page 830)

1 The name is derived from the Arab tribe of the Beni Ja’far, who settled on the neighbouring mainland at the conquest. Since 1848 the islands have belonged to Spain. They are identified with the Ad Tres Insulas of the Roman itineraries.


FOOTNOTES (page 831)

(1) The absurd story that about the 9th century it was an English possession has its root in the visits of the Normans to this quarter. The modern town sprang from a fortress built to protect the coast against them (Dozy, Recherches, 3d ed., ii. 264 sq.).

(2) The Portuguese settlers, who had to leave it when Don José decided on surrendering this last stronghold of his country in Morocco, were after-wards sent to Brazil, where they founded Villa Nova de Mazagan.

(3) Bull. de la Soc. de Géogr., Paris, 1875.

(4) This must not be confounded with Santa Cruz de Mar Pequeña, a post established in 1476 somewhere on this coast by Herrera, lord of the Canary Islands, and in modern times the subject of much geo-graphical disputation. After obtaining permission to reoccupy the site the Spanish Government was unable to identify it.

(5) See Valentin Ferdinand, Beschreibung West Afrika’s (Mem. of the Acad. of Munich, 3d Class, pt. viii.).

(6) Ya’kúbi, Descr. al-Maghribi, p. 126 ; Hist. des Berbères, ii. 279.

(7) No, Non, Nor, Naum, N_o, are among the various readings. It was another Cape Non to the south of Cape Bojador which seems to have given rise to the proverb, Quem pasar o cabo de N_o ou tornara ou n_o. See Bol. de la Soc. Geogr., p. 316, Madrid, 1880.

(8) Pliny says the natives called the Atlas "Dyrin."


FOOTNOTE (page 832)

1 See Castries on the "Oued Draá" in Bull. de la Soc. de Géogr., 1880.


FOOTNOTES (page 833)

(1) See Mourlon in Bull. De l’Acad. Roy. de Belgique, vol. xxx., 1870; Coquand, Bull. de la Soc. Géol. A France vol. iv.; and especially Maw’s paper appended to Hooker and Ball’s Morocco.

(2) RohlfS says larches, but there is strong reason to doubt this.

(3) Compare Drude, "Floristische Erforschung Nord-Afrika’s" in Petermann’s Mittheilungen, 1882.


FOOTNOTES (page 834)

(1) A scientific list of some thirty or forty fishes from Morocco will be found in Ber. Senck. Ges., 1874; an account of angling experiences in Payton, Mosses from a Boiling stone.

(2) The evidence for the existence of a tribe of warlike Jews in the interior loans on the whole to the positive side.



The above article was written by: H. A. Webster.



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