Q: What will be the most enduring effects of French colonial rule (other than language) that our travelers will experience in Morocco?
A: In one word: accessibility. If it weren’t for the French, we could never visit the mountainous Moroccan countryside. Until the French had imposed their rule the area was known as Bilad al-Siba (land of anarchy). The imperial government had little authority there. It took the French army 27 years to conquer the Middle and High Atlas. When they finally subdued the last bastions of resistance they firmly incorporated them within a centralized state. The French provided security and disarmed the Berber tribes. They created an infrastructure, paved roads and connected remote villages with the rest of the country. In so doing, they made it possible for people to migrate to the large cities and inadvertently enhanced the sense of Moroccan nationalism, resulting in decolonization and independence.