The Rif are known for their steep cliffs. The highest of the Rif Mountains is Jebel Tidiquin which stands at 2448 meters. Only small villages are found within the mountains, while small cities of Tetouan and Chefchaouen in the west and Al-Hoceima to the north can be found along the Mediterranean.

The Berbers were already residing there when the Phoenicians arrived on the scene in the 3rd Century BCE. The Phoenicians founded Cities of Tetouan, Melilla and Tangier. Later, the Romans and the Byzantines invaded these cities.

Early in the 700s AD, Salih ibn Mansur, who brought Islam to the Berbers, established the Kingdom of Nekor. In the 1400s, Spanish Moors came from Spain bringing with them their music and culture. The Spanish founded Chefchaouen.

The Rifs became the scene of many battles for control between Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The Spanish invaded Melilla in the late 1400s. After that, a period of peace followed, to be broken by war between Morocco and Spain in the mid 1800s. Even though the Spanish won, the Moroccans kept fighting. Berbers fought against Spanish rule and finally in the 20th Century, guerilla leader, Abd el-Krim El–Khattabi, fought to free Morocco from French and Spanish rule. He established the Republic of Rif in 1921. Morocco took control of the area when it gained independence in 1956.

Brought to you by: Morocco Travel with Journey Beyond Travel
Written by: Carole Morris, JBT Correspondent