is the First stage
and his younger brother Muhammed esch Cheik took Marrakech in 1524.
The sultan of Fes attempted to win it back from them in 1528, but failed-
sealing the fate of his declining dynasty. Marrakech became the capital
of the Sa'adian empire, a status it would keep for the next century.
Marrakech was a bold move as it triggered an open conflict amongst the
contending ruling dynasties in Morocco, shifting the focus away from
religious war (remember, the Saadian princes had earned the Sultan's
approval and support to fight 'infidels' on the Moroccan coast line)
to full political combat.
Arab historian El Ifrani describes the fall of Marrakech in 1524:
those days Marrakech and its surroundings were under the rule of Nacer
Ben Chantouf, vassal of the Wattaside sultan, to whom he paid a small
tribute. When the Cherifs came into his territory, to recruit men for
their holy war, Nacer had received them magnificently, and when he heard
they had been victorious against the Portuguese he initiated negotiations
with them. The Cherifs asked him to join them, and he accepted. When
the Cherifs returned to Marrakech, they were treated with the same regard
as during their first visit. Yet, a few days after their arrival, Nacer
was invited to join their hunting party, and when they had left town,
his guests poisoned him with small breads called "kreichlat".
He died on the spot.
As the Cherifs were loved and admired by all in this province, they
were quickly accepted as legitimate rulers". (Nozhet el Hadi,
cited in Kitab
El Istiqca, Ahmed En Naciri, vol. 5, Paris, 1936)
was only one of the many incidents of ruse and deceit which the Sa'adian
brothers used in their conquest of power through Morocco. The religious
myths which they bathed in, myths of divine selection and legitimate claim
to power served to attenuate these often criminal acts.