- They constitute one of the minor branches of the Masmuda family of Berber tribes, with a vast sphere of influence stretching southeastward from Marrakech across the High Atlas range into the Dadès and Dar`a oases. Although they do not appear in the history of the south until the middle of the 20th century, Glawa chieftains used their tribal territory and a policy of calculated loyalty to ascend to key positions in the state. The first to follow this path, at the time when Sultan Mohamed Ibn `Abdurrahman (1859-1873) after his defeat by the Spanish was confronted with revolts everywhere in the country, was one Mohamed al-Ibibat, who from his stronghold in Telouet controlled the passes on the important road from Marrakech toward the Sahara. In the midst of tribal insurrections and after careful weighing of his options, he joined the forces of the central government and in recognition of his services had his de facto control officially recognized. His successor in the leadership, his son Madani Glawi (1860-1918), followed the same policy of calculated loyalty and began to extend the Glawa control over a larger region until 1893 when the Glawa were organized on a comparable scale to the other grand caids, such as Goundafi and Mtouggui. In 1893, Madani allied himself with Sultan Moulay Hassan I (1873-1894), who was on a mahalla, or expedition, collecting taxes; he was appointed khalifa for a vast region encompassing Tudgha, Tafilalet, and Fayja. In recognition of his assistance and hospitality, the sultan left one of the new 77-millimeter Krupp cannons and some mortars to be sent on later when the snow cleared, but these were never sent on and instead were used by Madani to advance his interests and set up on major strategic points a kasbah for a caid (local government officer in charge of the maintenance of law and order, the collection of taxes, and the enlistment of troops) of his own choosing. With his support, Moulay `Abd al-Hafiz, the brother of Sultan Mulay `Abd al-`Aziz (1894-1903) and his bitter enemy, manipulated the threads of a revolt that led to the sultan's deposition and, a year later, to the ascension of Moulay `Abd al-Hafiz to the throne. In reward, Madani served as minister of war (1907) and vizier (1909), from which he amassed more power and wealth in terms of money, land, and water rights. Sultan Moulay `Abd al-Hafiz was pressured by the French to break his relations with the Glawa, whose links with the resistant al-Hiba may have seemed disturbing and whose exactions on the populations had contributed to the rural revolts of 1911. Afterward, Madani and Thami reconciled with the French Protectorate, which quickly realized how difficult it would be to rule the mountain tribes who stood against the French without the assistance of Glawa.On Madani's death in 1918, his brother Thami took his succession and was appointed pasha of Marrakech, an office usually reserved for a member of the reigning dynasty, which propped him up to the highest rank of state dignitaries. Ignoring the theoretical sovereignty of Sultan Moulay Youssef (1913-1927), al-Hajj Thami al-Glawi dedicated his time and life to the French cause. The French "policy of grand caids" allowed Thami, legitimately or not, to bring more landholdings and more tribes under his domain, resulting in the control of about one-eighth of Morocco. In 1958, when his holdings were finally sequestered, Thami al-Glawi owned 11,400 hectares of irrigated land plus 660,000 olive trees in the Haouz of Marrakech alone, to say nothing of his other properties and investments in the Dar`a and Dadès oases, Rabat, Casablanca, and Tanger. In the Haouz, the Glawa family had title to 16,000 irrigated hectares and title to 25,000 hectares. They also had industrial investments of nearly two billion francs in 1956. The Glawa wealth was made possible by two major factors: the substitution of the Makhzan system of legitimate rural taxation around 1860-1870 by a heavier taxation system that bankrupted the populace and later the protectorate policy established by General Louis-Hubert Lyautey that relied on Glawa and other grand caids and notables to administer the south for the French. In both cases, the Glawa and the French focused on their interests and neglected the plight of those being oppressed (Pascon 1977, 299-300).Because of his position and role in the colonial project, Thami was the spokesman of the conservative elements, the big landed families or notables and a number of several religious lodges who saw in him the protector of their economic interests that they harvested from their alliance with the French regime. With such close allies as `Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani, the head of the influential Kattaniyya brotherhood and a sworn enemy of the Alawite dynasty, Thami stood against the nationalist currents fighting for independence. Determined to bring about the downfall of Sultan Mohamed V (1927-1961) and his alliance with the nationalists, Thami created an "Opposition and Reform Movement of the Pashas and Caids," which was to act as the instrument of the policy of force adopted by the Protectorate authorities. In May 1953, his movement submitted a petition to the French government requesting that the sultan be deposed and sent into exile. In his place, they proposed his more compliant uncle Mohamed Ibn `Arafa. This move outraged the nationalists and the populace. Instead of being forgotten, the exiled sultan became the symbol of the nation's struggle for independence.When Sultan Moulay Mohamed V returned from exile in 1955, Thami al-Glawi, who was dying of cancer, prostrated himself at his feet and swore allegiance. Three months later, at 83 years of age, he died, and all that has remained of the Glawa extravagance are the crumbling kasbahs of Telouet and the environs where once Glawa grand caids resided and from which they despotically and brutally ruled a vast territory. The family is now rehabilitated, although they are still subject to some restrictions imposed on their activities, and Telouet, the chef lieu of Glawa, remains somewhat off limits.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.