What Was Morocco Called in Ancient Times?

Morocco is a country located in North Africa, known for its vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and diverse landscapes. However, have you ever wondered what Morocco was called in ancient times? Let’s dive into the history of this fascinating country.

The Berber Kingdoms

Before the arrival of Arabs and Islam in Morocco, the region was inhabited by various Berber tribes. These tribes were organized into several kingdoms such as Mauretania Tingitana, Mauretania Caesariensis, and Mauretania Sitifensis. The name “Mauretania” was derived from the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauri.

The Phoenician Influence

The Phoenicians were an ancient civilization that played a significant role in North Africa’s history. They established trading posts along the coast of Morocco and founded several cities such as Lixus (modern-day Larache) and Mogador (modern-day Essaouira). The Phoenicians referred to Morocco as “Mauretania” or “Barbaria,” which means land of the barbarians.

The Roman Era

In 42 AD, Morocco became a Roman province after Emperor Claudius conquered the region. The Romans divided Morocco into two provinces: Mauretania Tingitana (northern part) and Mauretania Caesariensis (southern part). During this period, Morocco was known as “Mauretania” or “Mauritania.”

The Islamic Conquest

In the 7th century AD, Arab armies conquered North Africa and introduced Islam to the region. They founded several cities such as Fes, Marrakech, and Rabat. The new rulers named their territories Al-Maghrib Al-Aqsa (The Far West), which gradually evolved into “Morocco.”

The Portuguese Influence

In the 15th century, Portugal established trading posts along the Moroccan coast and occupied several cities such as Ceuta and Tangier. The Portuguese referred to Morocco as “Marrocos,” which was derived from the Arabic name “Marrakech.”

The French Protectorate

In 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate after the signing of the Treaty of Fez. During this period, Morocco was known as “Morocco-Algeria” or “French Morocco.” The French introduced several reforms and modernized the country’s infrastructure.


Morocco has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Throughout its history, it has been called by various names such as Mauretania, Barbaria, Mauritania, Al-Maghrib Al-Aqsa, Marrocos and finally Morocco. Understanding its past can help us appreciate its present and shed light on its bright future.