Viticulture in this North African country goes back to the Phoenicians. At the beginning of the 1st century, the Romans took over, called the new province Mauritania (and the population Berber) and introduced grape varieties from the Mediterranean countries. At the end of the 7th century, the area was conquered by the Arabs. Due to early Islamisation and the associated ban on alcohol, viticulture came to a complete standstill. From 1912 to 1956, Morocco was a French protectorate. Before the First World War, many French colonists came to the country and established viticulture in the middle of large desert areas with a hot and dry climate. In 1956 Morocco became independent and there was a ban on exporting wines to France. An expropriation of the French vineyard owners took place in 1973, and until 1985 most of the vineyards were taken over by the state and wine production was drastically reduced.