Zine El Abidine recalls Morocco’s eastern and southern borders before European colonization.
In conjunction with what opponents are plotting against the territorial integrity of Morocco, Rachid Zine El Abidine, physician and researcher of modern and recent history, sheds light on the extent of Morocco’s historical borders before colonialism, with the help of, in his article entitled “Eastern and Southern Borders of Morocco before the European colonization of the region”, Historical document.
This is the text of the article:
The idea of borders in a political sense is a new idea after the emergence of many countries of the Islamic world from the clutches of European colonialism, as it was not known in the history of Dar al-Islam, and until the 19th century. the word was only used in passing (Al-Amari, Problem of Boundaries / 209). However, this does not prevent us from picking up some signals that indicate the presence of the influence of a country, materially and symbolically, in a certain field, so that the influence of another country begins in its absence, and this field can expand or contract accordingly. to the strength or weakness of the ruling power. In our quest to redraw Morocco’s eastern and southern borders prior to European colonialism, we did not rely, as is customary in such matters, on the Moroccan royal dahirs, whose sphere of influence is understood to be the original political boundaries of upper Morocco. this is an attempt made earlier by eminent Moroccan researchers (primarily the explorer Nureddin Belhaddad), but we relied mainly on the spontaneous records of Moroccan pilgrims living between the 18th and 19th centuries who decided to travel east with the intention of performing rituals. hajj, so they determined for us through live observation, that is, walking and meeting people, the beginning or end of obedience to this or that sultan or that pasha, their support in this is a careful consideration of the symbols of state sovereignty. They told us about Moroccan criticism and the extent of its popularity, and about locks for the representative of the Alawite ruler, from which orders are issued for the area in question, and about the flag of the Moroccan state and its colors. We have also relied on the blogs of those who have traveled through Morocco during this historical phase, be they locals or foreigners, whether for tourism or by force, and they have provided us with useful information about what we are dealing with. We have not neglected to use the testimonies of their contemporaries and followers of their century, journalists and foreigners, who are known to have specialized in the modern history of North Africa in general and the history of the desert in particular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and in conclusion we we present the contribution of researchers who have played a role since independence in enriching this topic with professionalism and sobriety.
The phrase “Al-Aqsa Morocco” Al-Hajj Al-Hilali named his country in 1733 (Al-Hilali / 24), and Al-Hajj Al-Ishaqi chose for it the name “West” in 1731 (Al-Ishaqi/84 ).“Mavlaviyya” according to as-Safir al-Ghazal in 1766 (Al-Ghazal / 40), and about her al-Hajj Abu Madin ad-Dari in 1740 spoke of her as a “homeland” (Ad- Dari’i / 47), who had a trace known among the nations, since he told us that when exchanging his money for gold, being in Sijilmas in the city, he went to Hijaz, saying that there are countries where “dirhams ours are not lost” (Ad-Dir’i/36), and the same was done by Hajj al-Hudiki in 1740 in the same place, speaking of “Isma’ili dirhams and Rahman trifles, which are advanced only by the labor of Morocco” (Al-Hudiki / 81). Not only criticism was the symbols of the Moroccan state at this historical stage, but also had a flag called the “banner”, as it is understood from the words of the traveler and ambassador Muhammad bin Osman al-Meknasi in 1779 that “the flag of Mawlan al-Mansour, which is red the color that was raised by the Moroccan ships at sea to distinguish it from the rest of the ships of other countries ”(Al-Hasir / 189).
And about the borders of this state during the reign of Sultan Maula Ismail (1672-1727), At-Tasafti told us in his journey that the king of this sultan reached “to the country of the desert from the south, and to the country of the Almoravids from Lamton there and march (… ) months from Meknes, and to the deer and that I Alha from the Arabs in the Draa region and the whole country of Tawat and Sijilmas, and to the country of Fakik in the east [بدليل] In it is his cane and his caliph […]year two hundred twenty two thousand [1122هـ/1710م]And to the country of Samgon in the country of Jerid in five stages, which is the limit of its permissibility to be minted in the region of the country of Jerid. [ …]and the village of Tgmt. Their obedience did not go beyond these named places ”(At-Tasafti / 230-231). Also in this regard, the English traveler Wendows wrote during his visit to Morocco in 1721, describing the kingdom of this sultan as extending from Meknes to Tlemcen, and that this also means all the countries that the Romans called Mauritania in the past, Mauritania Tangier, extending to the south to Ar-Ras el-Abyad near the borders of the country of Sudan, with which the Kingdom of Algeria and part of the country of Jerid border in the east (Vandus / 82-85). As for Abd al-Karim bin Musa al-Rifi, he told us in 1152 AH / 1739 CE that obedience to Maula Isma’il had penetrated all the countries of the desert, Tawat, Faqiq and the outskirts of the Sudan and extended to Teghaz. and Sus al-Aqsa (Al-Rifi/202). And of this obedience, Muhammad as-Saghir al-Ifrani, who died in 1156 AH / 1743 CE, told us that it extended from the east to the proximity of the country of Biskra to the country of al-Jarid and the districts. Tlemcen, and that it spread in the buildings of the Sudan (Al-Ifrani / 305). Al-Zayani told us that the Ismaili army was deployed at the farthest point of Chinguetti, at the farthest point of the qibla, and from Tawat to the end of Al-Mamour in the desert (Al-Zayani/Al-Bustan/349). From a modern Moroccan point of view, the historian Abd al-Haqq al-Marini considers that the borders of Maula Ismail’s kingdom extended from the Senegal Valley in the south to the borders of Tlemcen in the east (Al-Marini/102) .
After the death of Sultan Maula Ismail, the borders of Morocco underwent some changes from the northeast side as a result of the weakness of the central government. After leaving Algiers, he took control of the city of Tlemcen, and thus the city of Oujda became the first country in the Maghreb, as Ibn Osman al-Meknasi told us when he returned from his embassy in Istanbul in 1786, that this city was for those who comes from Algeria is considered “from the first obedience” to Sultan Sidi Muhammad bin Abdullah (1757-1790) (Al-Meknasi/Al-Ahraz 131). On the other hand, no significant changes were recorded in the southern and southeastern borders of Morocco during the reign of this sultan, who referred to himself in his letters and agreements with European kings with titles that implicitly defined the expansion of his kingdom. One of them stated that he was “King of Marrakesh, Sousse, Daraa and the country of Sudan” (At-Tazi/06). Despite the importance and strength that Morocco acquired in the era of Muslims, with the approach of its end, several eastern cities were lost from Moroccan sovereignty, namely: Al-Hashim, Al-Ahrar, Oran, Shalalat “. , “Aflo”, “Ain Madi” and “Laguat” – this is the one that the French historian Martin said in his study, published in 1924, that he belonged to the honorary province 150 years ago (Martin / 07).
And if the Turks of Algeria were able to control the city of Oujda, then it was restored by Sultan Maula Suleiman (1792-1822) in 1211 AH / 1796 AD through negotiations with them and under the threat of weapons, and the citizens of the Bani tribes were also returned to it yazanasin”, “sakuna” and “avlad”, “zakari” and “sons of the races al-ayn” (As-Samali / 56).
In conclusion, it can be said that the great loss known to Moroccan geography in the 19th and early 20th centuries mainly falls on the southern and southeastern part of the country. The area of Tawat was a Moroccan province before it was cut off from Moroccan sovereignty. In contrast, the areas east and south of it to Timbuktu on the Niger River were also Moroccan land, and it has had no conflicts with either the Turks or the French in the last decade 19th century. Indeed, the eastern borders of Morocco were in contact with the borders of Tunisia, because the Turks of Algeria had no influence on the desert, whether central or southern, during this period, since their influence was limited to the “mountainous” region and cities in particular, and in during the 18th century, they controlled only one-sixth of the area of modern Algeria, and the palaces (Davaer) of the East: “Tadamait”, “Ash-Sharif”, “Zawiya”, “Al-Kaf”, “Al-Matarfa”, “Jalan”, ” Avlad Amur, Avlad Issa, Kasbah Sidi Meluk, Miliana and Bani Yahlef are Moroccan palaces, because although foreign money sometimes came to this region during the Soleimani era, and it was either Turkish or other money , and they were called the Korean currency, among the people they were informal, since they did not contain the Purchase, sale, dowry, or other public transactions (Al-Amari / Tawat / 21-30-59-65-93), and talking about the Moroccan Tawat and its administrative and financial organization in the Koran . REN 19 took most of Martin’s book “Four Centuries of Moroccan History…”.
At the level of the southern borders, Hashim al-Alawi, the researcher of the book Fishing for Pearls, believes that the region of Tarfaya and below it is the region of As-Sakiya al-Hamra; They have never been separated from the rest of the Moroccan regions in human, economic, administrative, intellectual and social terms, and that in the 11th and 12th centuries AH / 17-18 AD. AD this region was one of the mandates and prefectures of the Moroccan central authority. (Al-Qadri / 308), like the country of Chinguetti, in turn, according to Ahmed Al-Ammari, Moroccan land before and during the 18th century (Al-Amari, The problem of frontiers / 203).
These were the political borders of Morocco until the reign of Sultan Maul Suleiman. As to how much vast territory was carved out of it with the start of the French occupation of Algeria in 1830, that is the subject of a forthcoming report.