As far as I know the Ottoman Empire stopped its expansion in northern Africa in (northern) Algeria.

Why didn't they try to take over Morocco?

Or did they try to and fail?

What is the reason why Morocco and the western Sahara have never been under Ottoman reign?


2 Answers 2


To put it simply, the Ottomans did invade Morocco multiple times, and they were also allies with various Moroccan Dynasties too. The relations boil down to rivaling Dynasties in Morocco in the 16th Century, with the pro-Ottoman Saadians dynasty in the south and the Fez backed Wattassid dynasty in the north. A series of wars were fought between the dynasties for control of the region culminating in the battle of Battle of Ksar El Kebir where the Ottoman backed forces defeated the Northern Army backed by Portugal at the time. The aftermath is summed as follows:

Although the Ottomans contributed to the final establishment of a stable Moroccan rule, Morocco was never nominally a part of the Ottoman Empire and remained independent thereafter. As the Ottoman Empire dominated Northern Africa, Morocco was the exception to that domination.[1]

The peaceful neighbors continued peaceful relations until the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Further on Ottoman Expansion during the period:

After the formation of a stable government of Morocco in 1578 the Ottoman empire was dealing with a period known as the Revolts and revival (1566–1683). This period was rife with instability in the Ottoman Domain with a series of almost a dozen sultans in a century. During this time it is not hard to imagine that the regimes in power were more concerned with securing their throne locally than expanding into friendly neighbors. But this didn't stop multiple failed attempts, which resulted in the Empire ceding territories to Persia and failing to invade the Polish Commonwealth (Moldavian Magnate Wars).

  • 1
    Sounds interesting and is actually totally different from what is taught about Moroccan history. I always had my difficulties accepting that such a weak dynasty like the Wattasids could reign without external support after the fall of the Merenids.
    – Medi1Saif
    Oct 1, 2015 at 6:50
  • @MediSaif the Wattasids while a weak dynasty did occasionally accept foreign support such as in the Battle of Ksar El Kebir (also known as the battle of the Three Kings) where the Wattasid forces where a small army of Wattasid loyalists was aided by 18,000 European forces en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Alc%C3%A1cer_Quibir Oct 1, 2015 at 22:10
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    There's also the simple fact that Morocco is the part of North Africa that is furthest from the central power base of the Ottoman Empire (Anatolia + the Balkans), making it harder to maintain communications and supply chains. May 9, 2016 at 10:26

you should also know at that time Telemsan in algeria was under spanish rule,and Spaniards were in alliance with the Moroccans against ottomans


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