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المملكة المغربية
Al Mamlakah al Maghribīyah
Flag of Morocco1 Coat of arms of Morocco1
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: الله، الوطن، الملك
(Allāh, al Waţan, al Malik = God, Country, King)
Anthem: Hymne Cherifien
Location of Morocco1
Capital Rabat
34°02′ N 6°51′ W
Largest city Casablanca
Official language(s) Arabic
Prime Minister
Constitutional Monarchy
Mohammed VI
Driss Jettou
From France
March 2, 1956
• Total

• Water (%)

446,550 km² ( 56th)
{{{areami²}}} mi²

• 2004 est.
• — census

• Density

29,840,273 (2004 est.) ( 36th)

66.8/km² ( 96)
• Total
• Per capita
1999 estimate
8 billion ( 54th)
,444 ( 110th)
HDI ( 2003) 0.631 ( 124th) – medium
Currency Dirham ( MAD)
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
UTC ( UTC+0)
UTC ( UTC+0)
Internet TLD .ma
Calling code +212
All Datas excluding Western Sahara
The Kingdom of Morocco ( Arabic المملكة المغربية) is a country in northwest Africa. It has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Algeria to the east, though the Algerian border is closed, Western Sahara to the south, the Mediterranean Sea and Spain to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to its west. Morocco claims ownership of Western Sahara and has administered most of the territory since 1975. Its status is disputed, pending a United Nations referendum. Currently, Morocco is the only country in Africa not part of the African Union.

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Name - Contents

The full Arabic name of the country translates to The Western Kingdom. Al Maghrib (meaning The West) is commonly used. For historical references, historians used to refer to Morocco as Al Maghrib al Aqşá (The Furthest West). The name Morocco in many other languages originates from the name of the former capital, Marrakech.

History - Contents

The area of modern Morocco has been inhabited since Neolithic times, at least 8000 BC, as attested by signs of the Capsian culture, in a time when the Maghreb was less arid than it is today. Many theorists believe the Berber language probably arrived at roughly the same time as agriculture (see Berber), and was adopted by the existing population as well as the immigrants that brought it. Modern genetic analyses have confirmed that various populations have contributed to the present-day population, including, in addition to the main ethnic groups - Berbers and Arabs - Phoenicians, Sephardic Jews, and sub-Saharan Africans. The Berbers, often referred to in modern ethnic activist circles as "Amazigh," are more commonly generically as Berber or by their regional ethnic identity, such as Chleuh. In the classical period modern Morocco was known Mauretania, although this should not be confused with the modern country of Mauretania.

Roman and sub-Roman Morocco
North Africa and Morocco were slowly drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean world by Phoenician trading colonies and settlements in the late Classical period. The arrival of Phoenicians heralded a long engagement with the wider Mediterranean, as this strategic region formed part of the Roman Empire, as Mauretania Tingitana. In the 5th century AD, as the Roman Empire declined, the region fell to the Vandals, Visigoths, and then Byzantine Greeks in rapid succession. During this time, however, the high mountains of most of modern Morocco remained unsubdued, and stayed in the hands of their Berber inhabitants.

Early Islamic Morocco
Arabs invaded what became modern Morocco in the seventh century, bringing their civilization and Islam, to which most of the Berbers converted, forming states such as the Kingdom of Nekor. The country soon broke away from the control of the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad under Idris ibn Salih who founded the Idrisid Dynasty. Morocco became a centre of learning and a major regional power.Morocco would reach its height under a series of Berber origin dynasties that would replace the Arab Idrisids. First the Almoravids, then the Almohads would see Morocco rule most of Northwest Africa, as well as large sections of Islamic Iberia, or Andalous. Smaller states of the region, such as the Berghouata and Banu Isam, were conquered. The empire collapsed, however, with a long running series of civil wars.

Morocco 1666-1912
The Alaouite Dynasty eventually gained control. Morocco was facing aggression from Spain and the Ottoman Empire that was sweeping westward. The Alaouites succeeded in stabilizing their position, and while the kingdom was smaller than previous ones in the region it remained quite wealthy. In 1684 they annexed Tangier.Morocco was the first nation to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1777. The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty. Signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, it has been in continuous effect since 1783. The United States legation (consulate) in Tangier is the first property the American government ever owned abroad. The building now houses the Tangier American Legation Museum.

European Influence
Successful Portuguese efforts to control the Atlantic coast in the 15th century did not profoundly affect the Mediterranean heart of Morocco. After the Napoleonic Wars, Egypt and the North African maghreb became increasingly ungovernable from Constantinople, the resort of pirates under local beys, and as Europe industrialized, an increasingly prized potential for colonization. The Maghreb had far greater proven wealth than the unknown rest of Africa and a location of strategic importance affecting the exit from the Mediterranean. For the first time, Morocco became a state of some interest in itself to the European Powers. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830. Recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904 of France's " sphere of influence" in Morocco provoked a German reaction; the "crisis" of 1905-6 was resolved at the Algeciras Conference ( 1906), which formalized France's "special position" and entrusted policing of Morocco jointly to France and Spain. A second "Moroccan crisis" provoked by Berlin, increased European Great Power tensions, but the Treaty of Fez (signed on March 30, 1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern (Saharan) zones on November 27 that year.Nationalist political parties, which subsequently arose under the French protectorate, based their arguments for Moroccan independence on such World War II declarations as the Atlantic Charter (a joint U.S.-British statement that set forth, among other things, the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they live).Many Moroccan Goumiere assisted the Americans in both World War I and World War II. A manifesto of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party in 1944 was one of the earliest public demands for independence. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.France's exile of the highly respected Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa, whose reign was perceived as illegitimate, sparked active opposition to the French protectorate. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year.

The Kingdom of Morocco recovered its political independence from France on March 2, 1956 and on April 7 of that year France officially relinquished its protectorate in Morocco. Through agreements with Spain in 1956 and 1958, Moroccan control over certain Spanish-ruled areas was restored, though attempts to claim other Spanish colonial possessions through military action were less successful. The internationalized city of Tangier was reintegrated with the signing of the Tangier Protocol on October 29, 1956. Hassan II became King of Morocco on March 3, 1961. His rule would be marked by political unrest, and the ruthless government response earned the period the name "the years of lead". The Spanish enclave of Ifni in the south became part of the new Morocco in 1969.Morocco virtually annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. See History of Western Sahara.Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997.Morocco was the first nation to recognize the fledgling United States in 1777 and has the oldest non-broken friendship treaty with the country, the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, which has been in effect since 1783. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the American signatories. The United States legation (consulate) in Tangier is the first property the U.S. owned abroad. It now houses the Tangier American Legation Museum. Morocco was granted Major non-NATO ally status in June 2004 and signed free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.In 2003, Morocco's largest city, Casablanca, suffered from Casablanca terrorist attacks. The attacks left 33 civilians dead and more than 100 people injured.

Politics - Contents

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy, with a popularly-elected parliament. The King of Morocco can dissolve government and deploy the military, among other responsibilities. Opposition political parties are legal and several have arisen in recent years. See also: List of political parties in Morocco

Provinces - Contents

Different maps used to illustrate the area of Morocco
Different maps used to illustrate the area of Morocco

Morocco is divided into 37 provinces and 2 wilayas:
  • Agadir
  • Al Hoceima
  • Azilal
  • Beni Mellal
  • Ben Slimane
  • Boulemane
  • Chefchaouen
  • El Jadida
  • El Kelaa des Sraghna
  • Er Rachidia
  • Essaouira
  • Fes
  • Figuig
  • Guelmim
  • Ifrane
  • Kenitra
  • Khemisset
  • Khénifra
  • Khouribga
  • Laayoune
  • Larache
  • Marrakech
  • Meknes
  • Nador
  • Ouarzazate
  • Oujda
  • Safi
  • Settat
  • Sidi Kacem
  • Tangier
  • Tan-Tan
  • Taounate
  • Taroudannt
  • Tata
  • Taza
  • Tetouan
  • Tiznit
  • Casablanca
  • Rabat-Sale
Three additional provinces, Ad Dakhla ( Oued Eddahab), Boujdour, and Es Smara, as well as parts of Tan-Tan and Laayoune, primarily fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara.As part of a 1997 decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature, 16 new regions were created, although the full details and scope of the reorganization are limited. These 16 regions are:
  • Casablanca
  • Chaouia-Ourdigha
  • Doukkala-Abda
  • Fes-Boulmane
  • Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen
  • Guelmim-Es Smara
  • Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
  • Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
  • Meknes-Tafilalet
  • Oriental
  • Oued Eddahab-Lagouira
  • Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer
  • Souss-Massa-Draa
  • Tadla-Azilal
  • Tangier-Tetouan
  • Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate

Geography - Contents

Morocco landscape
Morocco landscape
True-colour image of Morocco from Terra spacecraft
True-colour image of Morocco from Terra spacecraft
Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast. There are also four Spanish enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera and Peñón de Alhucemas, as well as several islands including Perejil and Chafarinas. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese. To the north, Morocco is bordered by and controls part of the Strait of Gibraltar, giving it power over the waterways in and out of the Mediterranean sea. The Rif mountains occupy the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the south west to the north east. Most of the south east portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south is the desert. To the south lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975 (see Green March). Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces. Internationally, this is only recognized by four countries (see History of Western Sahara).Morocco's capital city is Rabat, and its largest city is the main port of Casablanca.Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Tangier, Tiznit, Salè and Tan-Tan.See also List of cities in Morocco and Western Sahara

Economy - Contents

The Central bank of Morocco (Bank Al Maghrib)
The Central bank of Morocco (Bank Al Maghrib)
Morocco has signed Free Trade Agreements with the European Union (to take effect 2010) and the United States of America. The United States Senate approved by a vote of 85 to 13 on July 22, 2004 the Free Trade Agreement with Morocco, which will allow for 98% of the two-way trade of consumer and industrial products to be without tariffs. The agreement entered into force in January 2006.Morocco's largest industry is the mining of phosphates. Its second largest source of income is from nationals living abroad who transfer money to relatives living in Morocco. The country's third largest source of revenue is tourism.Morocco ranks among the world’s largest producers and exporters of cannabis, and its cultivation and sale provide the economic base for much of the population of northern Morocco. The cannabis is typically processed into hashish. This activity represents 0.57 per cent of Morocco's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), estimated at US$ 37.3 billion. A UN survey [1] estimated cannabis cultivation at about 1340 square kilometres in Morocco's five northern provinces. This represents 10 % of the total area and 27 per cent of the arable lands of the surveyed territory and 1.5 per cent of Morocco's total arable land. Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and in 1992 Morocco passed legislation designed to implement the Convention.Morocco has an unemployment rate of 12.1% (2004 Data) and a 1999 estimate by the CIA puts 19% of the Moroccan population under the poverty line [2].Though working towards change, Morocco historically has utilized child labor on a large scale. In 1999 the Moroccan Government admitted that over 500,000 children under the age of 15 were in the labor force [3].

Demographics - Contents

Main article: Demographics of Morocco
Morocco is the fourth most populous Arab country, after Egypt Sudan and Algeria. Most Moroccans are Sunni Muslims of Arab, Berber, or mixed Arab-Berber stock. The Arabs invaded Morocco in the 7th and 11th centuries and established their culture there. Morocco's Jewish minority has decreased significantly and numbers about 7,000 (See History of the Jews in Morocco). Most of the 100,000 foreign residents are French or Spanish; many are teachers or technicians.Morocco's official language is classical Arabic. The country's distinctive Arabic dialect is called Moroccan Arabic. Approximately 12 million (40% of the population), mostly in rural areas, speak Berber --which exists in Morocco in three different dialects ( Tarifit, Tashelhiyt, and Tamazight)-- either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. [4] French, which remains Morocco's unofficial second language, is taught universally and still serves as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics. It also is widely used in education and government. About 20,000 Moroccans in the northern part of the country speak Spanish as a second language in parallel with Tarifit. English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the foreign language of choice among educated youth. As a result of national education reforms entering into force in late 2002, English will be taught in all public schools from the fourth year on.Most people live west of the Atlas Mountains, a range that insulates the country from the Sahara Desert. Casablanca is the center of commerce and industry and the leading port; Rabat is the seat of government; Tangier is the gateway to Morocco from Spain and also a major port; Fez is the cultural and religious center; and the dominantly "Berber" Marrakech is a major tourist center.Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school (age 15). Nevertheless, many children --particularly girls in rural areas-- still do not attend school. The country's illiteracy rate has been stuck at around 50% for some years but reaches as high as 90% among girls in rural regions. Morocco has about 230,000 students enrolled in 14 public universities. The oldest and in some ways the most prestigious is "Mohammed V University" in Rabat -along with Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (a private university)-, with faculties of law, sciences, liberal arts, and medicine. Al-Akhawayn, founded in 1993 by King Hassan II and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, is an English-medium, American-style university comprising about 1,000 students. University of Karueein, in Fez, has been a center for Islamic studies for more than 1,000 years.
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