The introduction of Islam into Morocco about the end of the 7th century was followed by an exceedingly confused period, to the latter part of which belongs the great Arab influx of the 11th century known as the Hilalian invasion. This period witnessed the rise and fall of various Arab and Berber dynasties, notably the Idrissids, under whom Fez was founded or refounded early in the 9th century, and the Almoravids, the first of whom, Youssef Ben Tashfin, founded Marrakesh in 1062, and later extended his power over the north of Morocco and into Spain. His dynasty was followed by the Almohads (12th and 13th centuries), and the Merinids (13th to 16th centuries), whose decline led up to the establishment of the Sherifian dynasties, the Saadians (16th and 17th centuries) and the Alaouis. The latter claim descent from Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet, through the Filali Sherifs of Tafilelt. The present Sultan is the 18th of this dynasty.
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