Derived from al-Maghrib, the western half of North Africa, the Maghreb now includes the five countries north of the Sahara desert - Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and Mauritania, as well as the western Sahara. The Maghreb was the bastion of Berber civilization before Arab influences began to spread through the region. The Maghreb is also pervaded by black African culture, as well as European colonial influences.
   Although the entire Maghreb was colonized, the impact of French colonial rule varied. Although Mauritania did not experience any major changes brought about by colonialism, French colonial rule over Algeria was the most extensive. The French were unable to subdue anti-French movements in the vast land of Mauritania. In Algeria, however, the French managed to decimate the anticolonial religious and nationalist movements by the late 1840s. In contrast to limited French colonial involvement in Mauritania, Tunisia, and Morocco, many French citizens, known as pied-noirs lived in Algeria, relegating the native Algerians to an inferior status, and Algeria was integrated as part of metropolitan France.
   In 1881, the French established a protectorate in Tunisia to deflect other European ambitions in North Africa, especially Italian designs on Libya. Traditional ruling structures and institutions were therefore preserved in Tunisia. Morocco’s location at Africa’s gate to the Mediterranean and status as a target of French ambitions after 1904 made it the flashpoint of two Moroccan Crises. In 1912, Morocco was partitioned between Spain and France, although the latter gained control over most of the country in terms of territory and resources.
   See also <>; <>.
    Abun-Nasr, Jamil M. A History of the Maghrib. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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