Germain Ayache: Morocco’s historical encyclopedia

Germain Ayache is one of Morocco’s most prominent contemporary historians. He is also one of the most important people of the first generation to have studied and become interested in history at the Moroccan University.

Born in 1915 in Saidia, to a Moroccan Jewish family belonging to the Ait Ayache tribes, he grew up in a neighboring town of Berkane, before settling in the Algerian city of Tlemcen, where he spent his primary studies before returning to Oujda and Rabat where he finished his studies and entered the Lyautey high school as a teacher.

Germain Ayache then went to France to pursue his studies. He settled in Bordeaux and obtained a diploma of agrégation in Classics in 1935. He was the youngest student in all of France to obtain a diploma of this kind. He was only 21 years old at the time. Shortly before the independence, he returned to Morocco and held the position of history teacher at the Faculty of Letters in Rabat.

In addition to teaching and research, Ayache was editorial director of the magazine Hespress Tamuda, specialising in history, literature and human sciences, a position he held until his death in Nice in 1990.

Germain Ayache, one of the pioneers of the school of contemporary history, left behind him many writings, research and books, the most important of which is The Origins of the Rif War, a book that has caused much controversy and criticism because of the image he gave to the hero and symbol of the Rif, Mohammed Ben Abdel Karim al-Khattabi. Years after his death, his daughter published the second part of the same book, under the title “La guerre du Rif” (The Rif War).

Published in 1986, his book entitled “Etudes sur l’histoire du Maroc” (studies in the history of morocco) covers many social and economic aspects of the Kingdom’s history. It also includes research and articles already published in specialized journals.

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