Morocco

Morocco

Overview
Morocco officially the Kingdom of Morocco ( : ; ), is a country located in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

. It is part of the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 region, in addition to Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

, and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, with which it shares cultural, historical and linguistic ties.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 with an elected parliament.
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Timeline

1859   Spain declares war on Morocco.

1906   The Algeciras Conference gives France and Spain control over Morocco.

1912   Sultan Abdelhafid signs the Treaty of Fez, making Morocco a French protectorate.

1912   Spain declares a protectorate over the north shore of Morocco.

1943   World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first President of the United States to travel via airplane while in office when he travels from Miami, Florida to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill.

1955   In Morocco, a force of Berbers from the Atlas Mountains region of Algeria raid two rural settlements and kill 77 French nationals.

1956   Morocco declares its independence from France.

1956   Spain relinquishes its protectorate in Morocco.

1956   Tangier Protocol is signed: The international city Tangier is reintegrated into Morocco.

1956   Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia join the United Nations.

 
Encyclopedia
Morocco officially the Kingdom of Morocco ( : ; ), is a country located in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

. It is part of the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 region, in addition to Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

, and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, with which it shares cultural, historical and linguistic ties.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive powers, including the possibility of dissolving the parliament. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government but more importantly by the king himself. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives
Assembly of Representatives of Morocco
The Moroccan Parliament has two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The other chamber is the Assembly of Councillors.-See also:* Assembly of Councillors*...

 and the Assembly of Councillors
Assembly of Councillors
The Assembly of Councillors is the upper house of the Parliament of Morocco and has 270 members, elected for a nine year term, elected by local councils , professional chambers and wage-earners ....

. The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. Parliamentary election
Elections in Morocco
Elections in Morocco are held on a national level for the legislature. Parliament has two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives of Morocco has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women...

s were held in Morocco on 7 September 2007, and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and fair; although voter turnout was estimated to be 37%, the lowest in decades. The political capital is Rabat
Rabat
Rabat , is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000...

, and the largest city is Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

; other large cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan
Tétouan
Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally "the eyes" and figuratively "the water springs". Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi E.S.E. of Tangier...

, Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, Salé
Salé
Salé is a city in north-western Morocco, on the right bank of the Bou Regreg river, opposite the national capital Rabat, for which it serves as a commuter town...

, Fes
Fes
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

, Agadir
Agadir
Agadir is a major city in southwest Morocco, capital of the Agadir province and the Sous-Massa-Draa economic region .-Etymology:...

, Meknes
Meknes
Meknes is a city in northern Morocco, located from the capital Rabat and from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail , before it was relocated to Marrakech. The...

 and Oujda
Oujda
Oujda is a city in eastern Morocco with an estimated population of 1 million. The city is located about 15 kilometers west of Algeria and about 60 kilometers south of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Oriental Region of Morocco and the birthplace of the current Algerian president,...

.

Most Moroccans speak at least one of the two languages Berber
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

 and Moroccan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in the Arabic-speaking areas of Morocco. For official communications, the government and other public bodies use Modern Standard Arabic, as is the case in most Arabic-speaking countries. A mixture of French and Moroccan Arabic is used in business...

 as a mother tongue. Both languages have regional dialects and accents.

Etymology


The full Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 name translates to "The Western Kingdom". , meaning "The West", is commonly used. For historical references, medieval Arab historians and geographers used to refer to Morocco as , disambiguating it from neighboring historical regions called ' onMouseout='HidePop("391")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Algeria">Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

) and ' onMouseout='HidePop("1648")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tunisia">Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

).

The English name "Morocco" originates from Spanish "Marruecos" or the Portuguese "Marrocos", from medieval Latin "Morroch", which referred to the name of the former Almoravid and Almohad
Almohad
The Almohad Dynasty , was a Moroccan Berber-Muslim dynasty founded in the 12th century that established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120.The movement was started by Ibn Tumart in the Masmuda tribe, followed by Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi between 1130 and his...

 capital, Marrakesh. In Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

, Morocco is still called "Marrakesh". Until recent decades, Morocco was called "Marrakesh" in Middle Eastern Arabic. In Turkish, Morocco is called "Fas" which comes from the ancient Idrisid
Idrisid
The Idrisids were a Zaydi-Shia dynasty of Arab origins in Morocco, ruling from 788 to 985, named after its first leader, Idriss I.-History:...

 and Marinid
Marinid
The Marinid dynasty or Benemerine dynasty was a Zenata Berber dynasty of Morocco. The Marinid dynasty overtook the Almohads in controlling Morocco in 1244. They controlled most of the Maghreb from the mid-14th century to the 15th century and supported the Kingdom of Granada in Al-Andalus in the...

 capital, Fez
Fes
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

.

The word "Marrakesh" is made of the Berber word combination Murt n Akush , meaning Land of God.

History



The earliest well-known Moroccan independent state was the Berber kingdom of Mauretania
Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

 under king Bocchus I
Bocchus I
Bocchus was a king of Mauretania about 110 BC and designated by historians as Bocchus I. He was also the father-in-law of Jugurtha, with whom he made war against the Romans. He delivered Jugurtha to the Romans in 106 BC....

. This Berber Kingdom of Mauretania (current northern Morocco) dates at least to 110 BC.
Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 Muslims conquered the region in the 7th century, bringing their language, their system of government, and Islam, to which many of the Berbers slowly converted, mostly after the Arab rule receded. In the Islamic era the first Moroccan Muslim state, independent from the Abbasid Empire
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

, was The Kingdom of Nekor
Kingdom of Nekor
The Kingdom of Nekor was an emirate in the Rif area of modern day Morocco, with its capital initially at Temsaman but later at Nekor. It was founded by an immigrant of Yemen, Salih I ibn Mansur al-Himyarī in 710 AD, by Caliphal grant...

, an emirate in the Rif area. It was founded by the Legend of Salih I ibn Mansur
Salih I ibn Mansur
Salih I ibn Mansur , was an immigrant from Yemen who founded the Kingdom of Nekor, located in modern-day Morocco. He received the title of al-Himyari by caliphal grant and converted the local Berber tribes to Islam. Initially the local tribes resisted the restrictions of the new religion and soon...

 in 710 AD, as a client state to Caliphal grant
Rashidun Caliphate
The Rashidun Caliphate , comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death in 632, Year 10 A.H.. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia...

. according to the Medieval Legends Idris I
Idris I
Idris I was the first ruler and founder of the Idrisid Dynasty, ruling from 788 to 791 AD. He is credited with founding the dynasty that was instrumental in the early Islamization of Morocco.-History:...

 fled to Morocco from the Abbasids' massacre against his tribe in Iraq and managed to convince the Awraba Berber tribes to break allegiance to the distant Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. He founded the Idrisid Dynasty in 780 AD. Morocco became later a center of learning and a major power.
From the 11th century onwards, a series of powerful Berber dynasties arose. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty, Morocco dominated the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

, Muslim-conquered Spain, and the western Mediterranean region. In the 13th century the Merinids gained power over Morocco and strove to replicate the successes of the Almohads. In the 15th century the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 ended Islamic rule in central and southern Iberia
Iberia
The name Iberia refers to three historical regions of the old world:* Iberian Peninsula, in Southwest Europe, location of modern-day Portugal and Spain** Prehistoric Iberia...

 (modern day Spain + Portugal) and many Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s and Jews
History of the Jews in Morocco
Moroccan Jews constitute an ancient community. Before the founding of Israel in 1948, there were about 250,000 to 350,000 Jews in the country, but fewer than 7,000 or so remain.-Under the Romans:...

 fled to Morocco. Under the Saadi Dynasty
Saadi Dynasty
The Saadi dynasty of Morocco , began with the reign of Sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh in 1554, when he vanquished the last Wattasids at the Battle of Tadla....

, the first Moroccan dynasty initiated by ethnic Arabs since the Idrisids, the country would consolidate power and fight off Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 and Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 invaders, as in the battle of Ksar el Kebir. The reign of Ahmad al-Mansur brought new wealth and prestige to the Sultanate, and a massive invasion of the Songhay Empire was initiated.

However, managing the territories across the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 proved too difficult. After the death of al-Mansur the country was divided among his sons. In 1666 the sultanate was reunited by the Alaouite dynasty, who have since been the ruling house in Morocco. The organization of the state developed with Ismail Ibn Sharif
Ismail Ibn Sharif
Moulay Ismaïl Ibn Sharif was the second ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty. Like others of the dynasty, Ismaïl claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad through his roots to Hassan ibn Ali...

. With his Black Guard
Black Guard
The Black Guard , also known as "Masters of the Blackness," were the corps of black-African slave-soldiers assembled by the Alaouite sultan of Morocco, Moulay Ismail...

 he seized Tangier from the English
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 in 1684 and drove the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 from Larache
Larache
Larache is an important harbour town in the region Tanger-Tétouan in northern Morocco. It was founded in the 7th century when a group of Muslim soldiers from Arabia extended their camp at Lixus onto the south bank of the Loukkos River.In 1471, the Portuguese settlers from Asilah and Tangier drove...

 in 1689.

In 1912, after the First Moroccan Crisis
First Moroccan Crisis
The First Moroccan Crisis was the international crisis over the international status of Morocco between March 1905 and May 1906. Germany resented France's increasing dominance of Morocco, and insisted on an open door policy that would allow German business access to its market...

 and the Agadir Crisis
Agadir Crisis
The Agadir Crisis, also called the Second Moroccan Crisis, or the Panthersprung, was the international tension sparked by the deployment of the German gunboat Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir on July 1, 1911.-Background:...

, the Treaty of Fez
Treaty of Fez
By the Treaty of Fez , signed March 30, 1912, Sultan Abdelhafid gave up the sovereignty of Morocco to the French, making the country a protectorate, resolving the Agadir Crisis of July 1, 1911....

 was signed, effectively dividing Morocco into a French
French Morocco
French Protectorate of Morocco was a French protectorate in Morocco, established by the Treaty of Fez. French Morocco did not include the north of the country, which was a Spanish protectorate...

 and a Spanish protectorate
Spanish Morocco
The Spanish protectorate of Morocco was the area of Morocco under colonial rule by the Spanish Empire, established by the Treaty of Fez in 1912 and ending in 1956, when both France and Spain recognized Moroccan independence.-Territorial borders:...

. In 1956, after forty-four years of occupation, Morocco regained independence from France and Spain as the "Kingdom of Morocco".

Population of Morocco


The area of present-day Morocco has been inhabited since Paleolithic times
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 (at least since 200,000 BC, as attested by signs of the Aterian culture
Aterian
The Aterian industry is a name given by archaeologists to a type of stone tool manufacturing dating to the Middle Stone Age in the region around the Atlas Mountains and the northern Sahara, it refers the site of Bir el Ater, south of Annaba.The industry was probably created by modern humans ,...

), a period when the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 was less arid than it is today. In Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 ages, the geography of Morocco resembled a savanna
Savanna
A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of C4 grasses.Some...

 more than the present-day arid landscape. In the classical period, Morocco was known as Mauretania
Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

, although this should not be confused with the modern-day nation of Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

. The suggested skeletal similarities between the robust Iberomaurusian "Mechta-Afalou" burials and European Cro-Magnon remains, as well as the case for continuity of the bearers of the Iberomaurusian industry from Morocco with later northwest African populations suggested by the dental evidence should be considered. Current scientific debate is concerned with determining the relative contributions of different periods of gene flow to the current gene pool of North Africans. Anatomically modern humans are known to have been present in North Africa during the Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 175,000 years ago as attested by the Aterian culture
Aterian
The Aterian industry is a name given by archaeologists to a type of stone tool manufacturing dating to the Middle Stone Age in the region around the Atlas Mountains and the northern Sahara, it refers the site of Bir el Ater, south of Annaba.The industry was probably created by modern humans ,...

. With apparent continuity, 22,000 years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian
Iberomaurusian
The Iberomaurusian culture is a backed bladelet industry found throughout the Maghreb. The industry was originally described in 1909 by the French scholar Pallary, at the site of Abri Mouillah...

 culture which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. The Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the The Bell-Beaker culture in Morocco.

Additionally, recent studies have discovered a close mitochondrial link between Berbers and the Saami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 of Scandinavia which confirms that the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe was the source of late-glacial expansions of hunter-gatherers that repopulated northern Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum and reveals a direct maternal link between those European hunter-gatherer populations and the Berbers.

A Jewish community historically lived in Morocco. In any case, over the centuries, nearly all Berbers were Islamicized. Still, a large Jewish community remained in Morocco especially after the arrival of Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 following the Alhambra decree
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

. In the early 20th century, numerous Moroccan Jews emigrated to the United States and Italy, after Italian Jews established study centers and schools to bring the Enlightenment to Moroccan Jews.

In 1948, before the creation of Israel, they numbered approximately 265,000. The hostilities and disruption of the war of independence and other wars in the Mideast caused more Jews to leave for Palestine, Europe and the United States. 7,000 live there now (mostly in a few major cities). In relation to the commemoration of Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World, numerous academic studies were undertaken about the Moroccan Jews of Morocco. The late king Hassan II reached out internationally to descendants of Jews who had lived in the country and encouraged returns and visits, with recognition of their contributions to the nation, but there has not been markedly increased immigration.

Romans and Morocco



North Africa and Morocco were slowly drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean world by Phoenician trading colonies and settlements in the early Classical period. Major early substantial settlements of the Phoenicians were at Chellah
Chellah
Chellah, or Sala Colonia is a necropolis and complex of ancient Roman Mauretania Tingitana and medieval ruins at Rabat, Morocco. It is the most ancient human settlement on the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.-History:...

, Lixus
Lixus (ancient city)
Lixus is the site of an ancient city located in Morocco just north of the modern seaport of Larache on the bank of the Loukkos River. The location was one of the main cities of the Roman province Mauretania Tingitana.-Geography:...

 and Mogador, with Mogador being a Phoenician colony as early as the early 6th century BC. The arrival of Phoenicians heralded a long engagement with the wider Mediterranean, as this strategic region formed part of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, as Mauretania Tingitana
Mauretania Tingitana
Mauretania Tingitana was a Roman province located in northwestern Africa, coinciding roughly with the northern part of present-day Morocco. The province extended from the northern peninsula, opposite Gibraltar, to Chellah and Volubilis to the south, and as far east as the Oued Laou river. Its...

. In the 5th century, as the Roman Empire declined, the region fell to the Vandals, Visigoths, and then the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, the Eastern Roman Empire, 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. Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 was introduced in the 2nd century and gained converts in the towns and among slaves and Berber farmers.

Islamic era



Islamic expansion began in the 7th century. In 670 AD, the first Islamic conquest of the North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

n coastal plain took place under Uqba ibn Nafi
Uqba ibn Nafi
Uqba ibn Nafi was an Arab hero and general who was serving the Umayyad dynasty, in Amir Muavia and Yazid periods, who began the Islamic conquest of the Maghreb, including present-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco in North Africa. He was the nephew of 'Amr ibn al-'As. Uqba is often surnamed...

, a general serving under the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

s of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

. Arabs brought their language and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, to which most of the Berbers converted. After the outbreak of the Great Berber Revolt in 739, the region's Berber population asserted its independence, forming states and kingdoms such as the Miknasa
Miknasa
The Miknasa were a Berber tribe in Morocco and western Algeria.The Miknasa Berbers originated in southern Tunisia, but migrated westwards into central Morocco and western Algeria in pre-Islamic times. The modern Moroccan city of Meknes bears witness to their presence.After defeat by the Muslims...

 of Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa
Sijilmasa was a medieval trade entrepôt at the northern edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco. The ruins of the town lie along the River Ziz in the Tafilalt oasis near the town of Rissani...

 and the Barghawata. Under Idris ibn Abdallah, who was appointed by the Awraba Berbers of Volubilis
Volubilis
Volubilis is an archaeological site in Morocco situated near Meknes between Fez and Rabat along the N13 road. The nearest town is Moulay Idriss. Volubilis features the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of northern Africa...

 to be their representative, the country soon cut ties and broke away from the control of the distant Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 caliphs in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and the Umayyad rule in Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

. The Idrisids established Fes
Fes, Morocco
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

 as their capital and Morocco became a centre of Jewish learning and a major regional power
Regional power
In international relations, a regional power is a state that has power within a geographic region. States which wield unrivaled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony.-Characteristics:...

.

Morocco would reach its height under a series of Berber dynasties that replaced the Idrisids after the 11th century. From the 13th century onwards the country has seen a massive migration of Banu Hilal
Banu Hilal
The Banu Hilal were a confederation of Arabian Bedouin tribes that migrated from Upper Egypt into North Africa in the 11th century, having been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism. Other authors suggest that the tribes left the grasslands on the upper Nile because of...

 Arab tribes. Their arrival was to have a critical effect on the nation: due to them nomadism returned, urban civilization fell and the country's inhabitants were quickly becoming Arabized. The Maghrawa
Maghrawa
The Maghrawa or Meghrawa were a Berber tribe in Morocco and central and western Algeria.-History:The Meghrawa, a tribe of Zanata Berbers, were one of the first Berber tribes to submit to Islam in the 7th century. They supported Uqba ibn Nafi in his campaign to the Atlantic in 683...

, the Almoravids, the Almohad
Almohad
The Almohad Dynasty , was a Moroccan Berber-Muslim dynasty founded in the 12th century that established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120.The movement was started by Ibn Tumart in the Masmuda tribe, followed by Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi between 1130 and his...

s, the Marinids, the Wattasids and finally the Saadi dynasty
Saadi Dynasty
The Saadi dynasty of Morocco , began with the reign of Sultan Mohammed ash-Sheikh in 1554, when he vanquished the last Wattasids at the Battle of Tadla....

 would see Morocco rule most of Northwest Africa, as well as large sections of Islamic Iberia
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, or Al-Andalus. Following the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 of the Iberian Peninsula, large numbers of Muslims and Jews
History of the Jews in Spain
Spanish Jews once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities under Muslim and Christian rule in Spain, before the majority, together with resident Muslims, were forced to convert to Catholicism, be expelled or be killed when Spain became united under the Catholic Monarchs...

 were forced to flee to Morocco.

After the Saadi, the Alaouite Dynasty
Alaouite Dynasty
The Alaouite Dynasty is the name of the current Moroccan royal family. The name Alaouite comes from the ‘Alī of its founder Moulay Ali Cherif who became Prince of Tafilalt in 1631. His son Mulay r-Rshid was able to unite and pacify the country...

 eventually gained control. Morocco was facing aggression from Spain and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 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
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

. The organization of the kingdom developed under Ismail Ibn Sharif
Ismail Ibn Sharif
Moulay Ismaïl Ibn Sharif was the second ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty. Like others of the dynasty, Ismaïl claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad through his roots to Hassan ibn Ali...

 (1672–1727), who, against the opposition of local tribes began to create a unified state. According to Elizabeth Allo Isichei, "In 1520, there was a famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 in Morocco so terrible that for a long time other events were dated by it. It has been suggested that the population of Morocco fell from 5 to under 3 million between the early sixteenth and nineteenth centuries."

Morocco was the first nation to recognize the fledgling United States as an independent nation in 1777. In the beginning of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, American merchant ships were subject to attack by the Barbary Pirates while sailing the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. On December 20, 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III
Mohammed III of Morocco
Mohammed Ben Abdellah al-Khatib was Sultan of Morocco from 1757 to 1790 under the Alaouite dynasty. He was the governor of Marrakech around 1750 and was the son of Sultan Abdallah IV who reigned 1745-1757...

 declared that the American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage. The Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship
Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship
In December 1777, Moroccan sultan Muhammad III included America in a list of countries to which Morocco’s ports were open. With that message to foreign consuls for communication to European capitals, Morocco became the first country whose head of state publicly recognized the new United States...

 stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

.

European influence




Successful Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 efforts to invade and control the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 coast in the 15th century did not profoundly affect the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 heart of Morocco. After the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, Egypt and the North African maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 became increasingly ungovernable from Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, the resort of pirates under local bey
Bey
Bey is a title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders of small tribal groups. Accoding to some sources, the word "Bey" is of Turkish language In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word...

s, 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
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1904 of France's sphere of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

 in Morocco provoked a reaction from the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

; the crisis of June 1905 was resolved at the Algeciras Conference
Algeciras Conference
The Algeciras Conference of 1906 took place in Algeciras, Spain, and lasted from January 16 to April 7. The purpose of the conference was to find a solution to the First Moroccan Crisis between France and Germany, which arose as Germany attempted to prevent France from establishing a protectorate...

, Spain in 1906, which formalized France's "special position" and entrusted policing of Morocco jointly to France and Spain. The Agadir Crisis
Agadir Crisis
The Agadir Crisis, also called the Second Moroccan Crisis, or the Panthersprung, was the international tension sparked by the deployment of the German gunboat Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir on July 1, 1911.-Background:...

 provoked by the Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, increased tensions between European powers. The Treaty of Fez
Treaty of Fez
By the Treaty of Fez , signed March 30, 1912, Sultan Abdelhafid gave up the sovereignty of Morocco to the French, making the country a protectorate, resolving the Agadir Crisis of July 1, 1911....

 (signed on March 30, 1912) made Morocco a protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power
Protecting power
A protecting power is a state which somehow protects another state, and/or represents the interests of the protected state's citizens in a third state....

 over the northern and southern Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

n zones on November 27 that year.

Many Moroccan soldiers (Goumieres) served in the French army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 in both World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and in the Spanish Nationalist Army in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 and after (Regulares
Regulares
The Fuerzas Regulares Indígenas , known simply as the Regulares , were the volunteer infantry and cavalry units of the Spanish Army recruited in Spanish Morocco. They consisted of Moroccans officered by Spaniards...

).

Resistance



Under the French protectorate, Moroccan natives were denied their basic human rights such as freedom of speech, the right of gathering and travel in their own country. French settlers built for themselves modern European-like cities called "villages" or "villes" next to poor old Arab cities called "Medinas". The French apartheid system forbade native Moroccans from living, working, and traveling into the French quarters. The French education system was teaching the few favored noble native Moroccan families about solely French history, art and culture. There was complete disregard for the natives' own language and culture. Colonial authorities exerted tighter control on religious schools and universities, namely "madrassas" and Quaraouaine university. The rise of a young Moroccan intellectual class gave birth to nationalist movements whose main goals were to restore the governance of the country to its own people.
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
Atlantic Charter
The Atlantic Charter was a pivotal policy statement first issued in August 1941 that early in World War II defined the Allied goals for the post-war world. It was drafted by Britain and the United States, and later agreed to by all the Allies...

 (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). A manifesto of the Istiqlal Party
Istiqlal Party
The Istiqlal or Independence Party is a political party in Morocco...

 (Independence party in English) 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
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

 and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa
Mohammed Ben Aarafa
Mohammed Ben Aarafa, or Ben Arafa was a distant relative of Sultan Mohammed V of Morocco ; he was put in Mohammed V's place by the French after they exiled Mohammed V to Madagascar....

, whose reign was perceived as illegitimate, sparked active opposition to the French and Spanish protectorates. The most notable violence occurred in Oujda
Oujda
Oujda is a city in eastern Morocco with an estimated population of 1 million. The city is located about 15 kilometers west of Algeria and about 60 kilometers south of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Oriental Region of Morocco and the birthplace of the current Algerian president,...

 where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. Operations by the newly created "Jaish al-tahrir" (Liberation Army), were launched on October 1, 1955. Jaish al-tahrir was created by "Comité de Libération du Maghreb Arabe" (Arab Maghreb Liberation Committee) in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 to constitute a resistance movement against occupation. Its goal was the return of King Mohammed V and the liberation of Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 and Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 as well. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year.

All those events helped increase the degree of solidarity between the people and the newly returned king. For this reason, the revolution that Morocco knew was called "Taourat al-malik wa shaab" (The revolution of the King and the People) and it is celebrated every August 20.

Contemporary Morocco


On November 18, 2006, Morocco celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

. Morocco recovered its political independence from France on March 2, 1956, and on April 7, France officially relinquished its protectorate. 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
Ifni War
The Ifni War, sometimes called the Forgotten War in Spain , was a series of armed incursions into Spanish West Africa by Moroccan insurgents and Sahrawi rebels that began in October 1957 and culminated with the abortive siege of Sidi Ifni.The war, which may be seen as part of the general movement...

 were less successful. The internationalized city of Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

 was reintegrated with the signing of the Tangier Protocol
Tangier Protocol
Tangier Protocol was an agreement signed between France, Spain and the United Kingdom by which Tangier, Morocco became an international zone.-History:The protocol was signed in 1925. Starting from 1929, Spain assumed the policing of the city...

 on October 29, 1956 (see Tangier Crisis). Hassan II
Hassan II of Morocco
King Hassan II l-ḥasan aṯ-ṯānī, dial. el-ḥasan ettâni); July 9, 1929 – July 23, 1999) was King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999...

 became King of Morocco on March 3, 1961. His early years of rule were marked by political unrest. The Spanish enclave of Ifni
Ifni
Ifni was a Spanish province on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, south of Agadir and across from the Canary Islands.It had a total area of 1,502 km² , and a population of 51,517 in 1964. The main industry was fishing....

 in the south was reintegrated to the country in 1969. Morocco annexed the Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 during the 1970s ("Marcha Verde", Green March
Green March
The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration in November 1975, coordinated by the Moroccan government, to force Spain to hand over the disputed, autonomous semi-metropolitan Spanish Province of Sahara to Morocco.-Background:...

) after demanding its reintegration from Spain since independence, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. (See History of Western Sahara
History of Western Sahara
The history of Western Sahara can be traced back to the times of Carthaginian explorer Hanno the Navigator in the 5th century BC. Though few historical records are left from that period, Western Sahara's modern history has its roots linked to some nomadic groups such as the Sanhaja group and the...

.)

Political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997. Morocco was granted Major non-NATO ally
Major non-NATO ally
Major non-NATO ally is a designation given by the United States government to close allies who have strategic working relationships with US armed forces but are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization...

 status by the United States in June 2004 and has signed free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.

Morocco has always been known for its islamic liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 and openness towards the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. King Mohammed VI of Morocco with his ruling elite are democratically minded, showing tolerance within the limits of territorial integrity
Territorial integrity
Territorial integrity is the principle under international law that nation-states should not attempt to promote secessionist movements or to promote border changes in other nation-states...

 and traditional laws and customs.

Geography




Morocco has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq , albeit the Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat or...

 into the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

. It is bordered by Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish-controlled exclaves, Ceuta
Ceuta
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco. Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ceuta along with the other Spanish...

, Melilla
Melilla
Melilla is a autonomous city of Spain and an exclave on the north coast of Morocco. Melilla, along with the Spanish exclave Ceuta, is one of the two Spanish territories located in mainland Africa...

, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera , in ancient times Badis or Bades, is a Spanish rock in North Africa off the Moroccan coast . It is part of several Peñones, or rock-fortresses on the coast of Northern Africa. Vélez de la Gomera is administered from Melilla...

), Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 to the east, and Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 to the south. Since Morocco controls most of Western Sahara, its de facto southern boundary is with Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

.

The internationally recognized borders of the country lie between latitudes 27°
27th parallel north
The 27th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 27 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 36°N, and longitudes 1° and 14°W
14th meridian west
The meridian 14° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Iceland, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. Adding Western Sahara, Morocco lies mostly between 21°
21st parallel north
The 21st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 21 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 36°N
36th parallel north
The 36th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 36 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and
1st meridian west
The meridian 1° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 17°W
17th meridian west
The meridian 17° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Iceland, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 (the Ras Nouadhibou
Ras Nouadhibou
Ras Nouadhibou is a 40-mile peninsula or headland in the African coast of the Atlantic Ocean by the Tropic of Cancer. It is internationally known as Cap Blanc in French or Cabo Blanco in Spanish .- History :...

 peninsula is slightly south of 21° and west of 17°).

The geography of Morocco spans from the Atlantic Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara (desert). Morocco is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the annexed Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

.

A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

 are located mainly in the center and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

.
At 172402 sq mi (446,519 km²), Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world (after Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

).
Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

Spanish territory in Morocco comprises four enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta
Ceuta
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco. Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ceuta along with the other Spanish...

, Melilla
Melilla
Melilla is a autonomous city of Spain and an exclave on the north coast of Morocco. Melilla, along with the Spanish exclave Ceuta, is one of the two Spanish territories located in mainland Africa...

, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera , in ancient times Badis or Bades, is a Spanish rock in North Africa off the Moroccan coast . It is part of several Peñones, or rock-fortresses on the coast of Northern Africa. Vélez de la Gomera is administered from Melilla...

, Peñón de Alhucemas
Peñón de Alhucemas
Peñón de Alhucemas , or "Lavender Rock", is one of the Spanish plazas de soberanía just off the Moroccan coast in the Alboran Sea. It is also one of several Peñones, or rock-fortresses, on the coast of Northern Africa....

, the Chafarinas
Islas Chafarinas
The Chafarinas Islands , also spelled Zafarin, Djaferin, Zafarani, is a Spanish archipelago. A group of three small islets located in the Alboran Sea off the coast of Morocco with an aggregate area of 0.525 km², 45 km to the east of Melilla and 3.3 km off the Moroccan town of Ra'su l-Ma'...

 islands, and the disputed islet Perejil
Isla Perejil
For the armed conflict, see Perejil Island crisisThe Perejil Island is a small, uninhabited rocky islet located in the South shore of the Strait of Gibraltar very close to Morocco. Its sovereignty is disputed between Spain and Morocco...

. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 belong to Spain, whereas Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

 to the north is Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. 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
Green March
The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration in November 1975, coordinated by the Moroccan government, to force Spain to hand over the disputed, autonomous semi-metropolitan Spanish Province of Sahara to Morocco.-Background:...

). Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces
Southern Provinces
The Southern Provinces or Moroccan Sahara are the terms used by Morocco for Western Sahara, in reference to the part of Western Sahara that lies to the west of the Moroccan Berm...

.

Morocco's capital city is Rabat
Rabat
Rabat , is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000...

; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

. Other cities include Agadir
Agadir
Agadir is a major city in southwest Morocco, capital of the Agadir province and the Sous-Massa-Draa economic region .-Etymology:...

, Essaouira
Essaouira
Mogador redirects here, for the hamlet in Surrey see Mogador, Surrey.Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore...

, Fes
Fes
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

, Marrakech, Meknes
Meknes
Meknes is a city in northern Morocco, located from the capital Rabat and from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail , before it was relocated to Marrakech. The...

, Mohammadia, Oujda
Oujda
Oujda is a city in eastern Morocco with an estimated population of 1 million. The city is located about 15 kilometers west of Algeria and about 60 kilometers south of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Oriental Region of Morocco and the birthplace of the current Algerian president,...

, Ouarzazat, Safi
Safi, Morocco
Safi is a city in western Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of the Doukkala-Abda Region, it has a population of 282,227 , but is also the centre of an agglomeration which has an estimated 793,000 inhabitants ....

, Salé
Salé
Salé is a city in north-western Morocco, on the right bank of the Bou Regreg river, opposite the national capital Rabat, for which it serves as a commuter town...

, Tangier and Tétouan
Tétouan
Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally "the eyes" and figuratively "the water springs". Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi E.S.E. of Tangier...

.

Morocco is represented in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes are two-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization , to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest...

 geographical encoding standard by the symbol MA. This code was used as the basis for Morocco's internet domain, .ma.

Climate


The climate is Mediterranean
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

 in the North and in some mountains (West of Atlas), which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plain
Plain
In geography, a plain is land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and steppes are types of plains, and the archetype for a plain is often thought of as a grassland, but plains in their natural state may also be covered in shrublands, woodland and forest, or...

s are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, especially in the North. Forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%; 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas (Middle Atlas), there are several different climates: Mediterranean (with some more humid and fresher variants), Maritime Temperate (with some humid and fresher variants too) that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. In the highest peaks a different climate may occur.
On the other side of Atlas mountains (East Atlas), the climate changes, due to the barrier/shelter effect of these mountainous system, turning it very dry and extremely warm during the summer (that can last several months), especially on the lowlands and on the valleys faced to the Sahara. Here it starts the big Desert Sahara and it is perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, on which it is possible to find oases
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. So the climate in this region is desert.

Biodiversity


Morocco is known for its wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

. Bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s represent the most important fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

. The avifauna of Morocco includes a total of 454 species, five of which have been introduced
Introduced species
An introduced species — or neozoon, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its indigenous or native distributional range, and has arrived in an ecosystem or plant community by human activity, either deliberate or accidental...

 by humans, and 156 are rarely or accidentally seen.

The last known Barbary lion
Barbary Lion
The Barbary lion , also known as the Atlas lion or Nubian lion, is a subspecies of lion that became extinct in the wild or extinct in the 20th century....

 in the wild was shot in the Atlas Mountains in 1922. The two other primary predators of northern Africa, the Atlas bear
Atlas Bear
The Atlas Bear is an extinct subspecies of the Brown Bear, which is sometimes classified as a distinct species.-Range and description:...

 and Barbary leopard
Barbary leopard
The Barbary Leopard or North African Leopard has been described originally as a separate subspecies of the leopard. It is native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa...

, are now also extinct and critically endangered, respectively.

Demographics


Population of Morocco
Year Million
1971 15.7
1990 24.8
2009 32.0
Source: OECD/World Bank

Most Moroccans practice Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 and are of Arabized Berber
Arabized Berber
Arabized Berber is a term to denote an inhabitant of the North African Maghreb of Berber origin whose native language is a dialect of Arabic. According to these persons, the Arab identity in North Africa is a myth coming from the Arabization of the official institutions after French rule.They...

 and Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 stock. Arab-Berber comprise about 99.1% of the Moroccan population.

Morocco has been inhabited for at least the last 200,000 years. The Muslims conquered the territory that would become Morocco in the 7th and 11th centuries, at the time under the rule of various late Byzantine Roman leaders and indigenous Berber and Romano-Berber principalities, laying the foundation for the emergence of an Arab-Berber culture. A sizeable portion of the population is identified as Haratin
Haratin
Haratin are oasis-dwellers in the Sahara, especially in southern Morocco and Mauritania, who make up a socially and ethnically distinct group of largely sedentary dark colored workers speaking either Berber or Arabic...

 and Gnawa
Gnawa
The Gnawa people originated from North and West Africa; to be precise the ancient Ghanaian Empire of Ouagadougou .This name Gnawa is taken from one of the indigenous languages of the Sahara Desert called Tamazight...

 (or Gnaoua), black or mixed race. Morocco's Jewish minority (265,000 in 1948) has decreased significantly and numbers about 5,500 (See History of the Jews in Morocco
History of the Jews in Morocco
Moroccan Jews constitute an ancient community. Before the founding of Israel in 1948, there were about 250,000 to 350,000 Jews in the country, but fewer than 7,000 or so remain.-Under the Romans:...

). Most of the 100,000 foreign residents are French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 or Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

. Some of them are colonists' descendants, who primarily work for European multinational companies, others are married to Moroccans and preferred to settle in Morocco. Prior to independence, Morocco was home to half a million Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans.

In the 12th and 13th centuries an invasion of Arab nomads, the Banu Hilal
Banu Hilal
The Banu Hilal were a confederation of Arabian Bedouin tribes that migrated from Upper Egypt into North Africa in the 11th century, having been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism. Other authors suggest that the tribes left the grasslands on the upper Nile because of...

 and Banu Sulaym tribes, swept the whole Maghreb, but recent studies make clear no significant genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 differences exist between Arabic and non-Arabic speaking populations, highlighting that in common with most of the Arab World, Arabization
Arabization
Arabization or Arabisation describes a growing cultural influence on a non-Arab area that gradually changes into one that speaks Arabic and/or incorporates Arab culture...

 was mainly via acculturation of indigenous populations over time. The Moorish refugees from Spain
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 settled in the coast-towns. According to the European Journal of Human Genetics
European Journal of Human Genetics
The European Journal of Human Genetics is the official journal of the European Society of Human Genetics. It focuses on human genetics, and is published monthly by the Nature Publishing Group...

, Moroccans from North-Western Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 were genetically closer to Iberians
Iberians
The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

 than to Sub-Saharan Africans of Bantu ethnicity.

The largest concentration of Moroccans
Moroccan diaspora
The Moroccan diaspora consists of emigrants from Morocco and their descendants. Of the estimated 4.5 million Moroccans living abroad, roughly two thirds live in Europe; the remainder are distributed throughout the Americas , Australia, Africa , and the countries of the Arab World.-History:Europe...

 outside Morocco is in France, which has reportedly over one million Moroccans. The Netherlands (370,000) and Belgium have 1 million Moroccans from the Riff (Al Hoceima, Nador). There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain (about 700,000 Moroccans), the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Israel and the United States.
Moroccan Jews are the second biggest Jewish ethnic group in Israel.

Most people live west of the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

, a range that insulates the country from the Sahara Desert. Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

 is the center of commerce and industry and the leading port; Rabat
Rabat
Rabat , is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000...

 is the seat of government; Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

 is the gateway to Morocco from Spain and also a major port; Fes
Fes
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

 is the cultural and religious center; and Marrakech is a major tourist center.

There is a European expatriate population of 100,000, especially in Morocco's main economic center Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

, mainly of French or Spanish descent; many are teachers or technicians or retirees.

Languages


In Morocco, there are 15 to 18 million Berber speakers, about 50 to 65% of the population or 28.07% of the total population according to the 2004 population census, that speak the Tachelhit in the High Atlas
High Atlas
High Atlas, also called the Grand Atlas Mountains is a mountain range in central Morocco in Northern Africa.The High Atlas rises in the west at the Atlantic Ocean and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. At the Atlantic and to the southwest the range drops abruptly...

, the Anti-Atlas
Anti-Atlas
The Anti-Atlas or Lesser Atlas or Little Atlas, is a mountain range in Morocco, a part of the Atlas mountains in the northwest of Africa. The Anti-Atlas extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest toward the northeast, to the heights of Ouarzazate and further east to the city of Tafilalt,...

 and Sous
Sous
The Sous or Souss is a region in southern Morocco. Geologically, it is the alluvial basin of the Oued Sous , separated from the Sahara by the Anti-Atlas Mountains...

s, the Tamazight
Central Morocco Tamazight
Central Atlas Tamazight is a Berber languageCentral Atlas Tamazight may be referred to as either a Berber language or a Berber dialect...

 in the Middle Atlas
Middle Atlas
The Middle Atlas is part of the Atlas mountain range lying in Morocco, a mountainous country with more than 100,000 km² or 15% of its landmass rising above 2,000 metres. The Middle Atlas is the northernmost of three Atlas Mountains chains that define a large plateaued basin extending eastward...

 and Tarifit in the region of Rif
Rif
The Rif or Riff is a mainly mountainous region of northern Morocco, with some fertile plains, stretching from Cape Spartel and Tangier in the west to Ras Kebdana and the Melwiyya River in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the river of Wergha in the south.It is part of the...

. In the 20th century many Berbers have also moved from rural areas to the major cities.
Morocco's official languages are Arabic and the Amazigh language
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

. The country's distinctive group of Moroccan Arabic dialects is referred to as Darija
Darija
Darija is the group of Arabic dialects spoken by Maghrebi Arabic speakers. It is only used for oral communication, with Modern Standard Arabic used for written communication...

. Approximately 89.84% of the whole population speak Moroccan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in the Arabic-speaking areas of Morocco. For official communications, the government and other public bodies use Modern Standard Arabic, as is the case in most Arabic-speaking countries. A mixture of French and Moroccan Arabic is used in business...

. The Berber languages can be found in three different dialects (Tarifit, Tashelhit
Atlas languages
The Atlas languages, or more exactly Moroccan Atlas, also Masmuda, are a subgroup of the Northern Berber languages spoken in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. By mutual intelligibility, they are a single language; however, they are distinct sociolinguistically and are considered separate languages by...

 and Central Atlas Tamazight
Central Morocco Tamazight
Central Atlas Tamazight is a Berber languageCentral Atlas Tamazight may be referred to as either a Berber language or a Berber dialect...

). Much like other Magreb countries, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 is Morocco's unofficial second language and is taught universally, serving as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics. It also is widely used in government and as a medium of education (to get a master's degree or doctorate in Morocco in any subject other than Arabic language, law or theology, one must study the curriculum in French).

Spanish is also popular, especially in the northern part of the country, but the number of speakers is difficult to estimate. According to the 2004 census, 2.19 million Moroccans spoke a foreign language other than French. English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the second foreign language of choice, after French, among educated youth. As a result of national education reforms entering into force in late 2002, English is taught in all public schools from the fourth year on. French is still taught nationally from the earliest grades.

Below is the number of speakers of each Berber language, according to the 2004 census:
Region Tashlhyt Tamazight Tarifit Total pop % of Berber Languages
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

 speakers
Souss-Massa-Draa
Souss-Massa-Draâ
Souss-Massa-Draâ is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in central Morocco. It covers an area of 70,880 km² and has a population of 3,113,653 . The capital is Agadir...

1,717,139 313,284 3,873 2,775,953 73.28%
Oriental 48,076 85,916 741,913 1,739,440 50.36%
Guelmim-Es Semara
Guelmim-Es Semara
Guelmim-Es Semara is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It covers an area of 122,825 km² and has a population of 462,410 . The capital is Guelmim. The southern half of the region forms part of the Western Sahara....

182,695 6,670 766 382,029 49.77%
Meknes-Tafilalet
Meknès-Tafilalet
Meknès-Tafilalet is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-central Morocco, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 79,210 km² and has a population of 2,141,527...

37,533 843,595 33,966 1,926,247 47.51%
Tadla-Azilal
Tadla-Azilal
Tadla-Azilal ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in central Morocco. It covers an area of 17,125 km² and has a population of 1,450,519 . The capital is Beni Mellal.The region is made into of the following provinces :...

199,092 409,446 1,436 1,299,536 46.94%
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in central Morocco. It covers an area of 31,160 km² and has a population of 3,102,652...

969,561 14,170 2,372 2,765,908 35.65%
Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in northern Morocco. It covers an area of 24,155 km² and has a population of 1,807,113 . The capital is Al Hoceima....

18,923 111,731 338,083 1,613,315 29.05%
Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer
Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer
Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-western Morocco. It covers an area of 9,580 km², and has a population of 2,366,494...

166,658 268,687 14,965 2,136,636 21.08%
Fès-Boulemane
Fès-Boulemane
Fès-Boulemane ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in northern Morocco. It covers an area of 19,795 km² and has a population of 1,573,055 . The capital is Fès....

23,138 217,845 15,275 1,418,475 18.07%
Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is partly located in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Most of the region is administered by Morocco.The region is made up into the following provinces:...

28,352 6,569 891 219,505 16.31%
Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira
Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira
Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, considered by Morocco to be the southern part of the country. The Polisario Front and other independence-seeking Sahrawis consider this to be a part of the Sahrawi Arab...

6,910 3,214 296 64,163 16.24%
Grand Casablanca
Grand Casablanca
Grand Casablanca is one of sixteen administrative regions of Morocco. Located in coastal north western Morocco, it is the most densely populated region and covers an area of 1,615 km.² The population at the 2010 census was 7,500,000...

367,558 25,067 9,036 3,306,334 12.15%
Tangier-Tetouan
Tangier-Tetouan
Tangier-Tetouan is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-western Morocco. It covers an area of 11,570 km² and has a population of 2,470,372...

26,783 11,963 98,780 2,205,457 6.24%
Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen
Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen
Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-western Morocco. It covers an area of 8805 km² and has a population of 1,859,540 . The capital is Kenitra....

37,162 13,816 6,105 1,655,852 3.45%
Chaouia-Ouardigha
Chaouia-Ouardigha
Chaouia-Ouardigha ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-central Morocco. It covers an area of 7,010 km² and has a population of 1,655,660 . The capital is Settat....

40,858 8,308 1,435 1,478,605 3.42%
Doukkala-Abda
Doukkala-Abda
Doukkala-Abda ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in west-central Morocco. It covers an area of 13,285 km² and has a population of 1,984,039 . The capital is Safi.The region is made up into the following provinces :...

24,367 3,656 1,794 1,768,150 1.69%
Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

3,894,805 2,343,937 1,270,986 26,755,605 28.07%


The number of Tamazight-Tarifit speakers was estimated at around 3 million in 1990.
There are also 2 million Riff-speakers in Europe. The Riffians represent over 96% of the Morrocans in The Netherlands and Belgium. and 45% of the Morroccans in France are Riffian.
The High Atlas Region Tamazight dialect is the most widely spoken variety of Berber, as it covers the whole of the Region High Atlas Mountains, including greater external Mountains referred to as Jbel Atlas Saghru or Little Atlas
High Atlas
High Atlas, also called the Grand Atlas Mountains is a mountain range in central Morocco in Northern Africa.The High Atlas rises in the west at the Atlantic Ocean and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. At the Atlantic and to the southwest the range drops abruptly...

. Studies done in 1990 show around 3 million people, concentrated in the central south of Morocco, speak Tashelhit.

Linguistically, Berber languages belong to the Afro-Asiatic languages group, and has many accents or variants. Collectively, these are known by many Moroccans as "Shelha". Classical Arabic of the Middle East still uses the word "Barbaria" (The equivalent of "Berber" in English). Although, there is an increasing tendency by Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

ian Media to use the word "Amazighiyya" because the Arabic word "Barbari" means both "Berber" and "Barbarian". The terms "Barbar" and "Berber" are considered by some Berbers and most Berber activists to be offensive. They prefer the word Amazigh.

Moroccan DNA


Recent studies make clear no significant genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 differences exist between Arabic and non-Arabic speaking populations, HLA DNA data suggest that most Moroccans are of a Berber origin and that Arabs who invaded North Africa and Spain in the 7th century did not substantially contribute to the gene pool. However, they imposed their culture and their religion. The Moorish refugees from Spain
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 settled in the coast-towns. According to a 2000 article in European Journal of Human Genetics
European Journal of Human Genetics
The European Journal of Human Genetics is the official journal of the European Society of Human Genetics. It focuses on human genetics, and is published monthly by the Nature Publishing Group...

, Moroccans from North-Western Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 were genetically closer to Iberians
Iberians
The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

 than to Sub-Saharan Africans of Bantu ethnicity and Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

erns.

The different loci studied revealed close similarity between the Berbers and other north African groups, mainly with Moroccan Arabic-speakers, which is in accord with the hypothesis that the current Moroccan population has a strong Berber background.

the E1b1b1 clade is presently found in various forms in Morocco. Total E1b1b1 (E-M35) frequencies reached at 93.8% in Moroccans

E1b1b1b1(E-M81), formerly E1b1b1b, E3b1b, and E3b2, is the most common Y chromosome haplogroup in Morocco, dominated by its sub-clade E-M183. This haplogroup reaches a mean frequency of 100% to 50% In North Africa, decreasing in frequency from approximately 85% or more in Moroccan Berber populations, including Saharawis, to approximately 25% to the east of this range in Egypt. and Because of its prevalence among these groups and also others such as Mozabite, Middle Atlas, Kabyle and other Berber groups, it is sometimes referred to as a genetic "Berber marker".
average North African Moroccan Berbers have frequencies of E3b3 in the +80%. Alvarez et al.(2009) study shows a frequency of E3b1b of 28/33 or 84.8% in Berbers from Marrakesh. With the rest of the frequencies being 1/33=3% E3a*, 1/33=3% E3b*, 1/33 or 3% E3b1a, and 1/33 or 3% E3b1c.

The most basal and rare E-M78* paragroup has been found at Lower frequencies in Moroccan Arabs. his sub-clade: E1b1b1a1d (E-V65), is found in high levels in the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 regions of far northern Africa. report levels of about 20% amongst Libyan Arab lineages, and about 30% amongst Morrocan Arabs
Demographics of Morocco
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Morocco, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population....

. It appears to be less common amongst Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

, but still present in levels of >10%. The authors suggest a North African origin for this lineage. In Europe, only a few individuals were found in Italy and Greece.
studied the beta cluster in Europe. They found small amounts in Southern Italy, but also traces in Cantabria, Portugal and Galicia, with Cantabria having the highest level in Europe in their study, at 3.1% (5 out of 161 people).

Other frequencies of E1b1b1a1c (E-V22) is reported by Cruciani et al. (2007) include Moroccan Arabs (7.27%, 55 people) and Moroccan Jews (8%, 50 people).

Genetic continuity in Morocco


The population exhumed from the archaeological site of Taforalt in Morocco (12,000 years BP) is a valuable source of information toward a better knowledge of the settlement of Northern Africa region and provides a revolutionary way to specify the origin of Ibero-Maurusian populations. Ancient DNA was extracted from 31 bone remains from Taforalt.The HVS1 fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region was PCR-amplified and directly sequenced. Mitochondrial diversity in Taforalt shows the absence of sub-Saharan haplogroups suggesting that Ibero-Maurusian individuals had not originated in sub-Saharan region.Our results reveal a probable local evolution of Taforalt population and a genetic continuity in North Africa and Morocco.
Genetic structure of Taforalt:

Eurasiatic Component : H, U, JT, V: 90.5%

North African component: U6: 9.5 %

42.8% (9/21) H or U

14.2% (3/21) JT

9.5% (2 individuals) U6

In modern Human population, JT is presents only in:

1.6% Berbers from the North of Morocco
1.8% of Sicilians,
1.6% of Italians.

Politics




Morocco is a de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

 constitutional parliamentary monarchy
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 with an elected parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

. With the 2011 constitutional reforms, the King of Morocco, still retains few executive powers whereas those of the prime minister have been enlarged. Opposition political parties are legal.
Politics of Morocco take place in a framework of a parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, whereby the Prime Minister of Morocco is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and of a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives of Morocco
Assembly of Representatives of Morocco
The Moroccan Parliament has two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The other chamber is the Assembly of Councillors.-See also:* Assembly of Councillors*...

 and the Assembly of Councillors
Assembly of Councillors
The Assembly of Councillors is the upper house of the Parliament of Morocco and has 270 members, elected for a nine year term, elected by local councils , professional chambers and wage-earners ....

. The Moroccan Constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament
Parliament of Morocco
The Parliament of Morocco is located in Rabat, the capital of Morocco.- Composition :Since 1996, the national legislature has become bicameral and has therefore two parliamentary chambers:...

 and an independent judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

.

The constitution grants the king honorific powers; he is both the secular political leader and the "Commander of the Faithful" as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 from the political party that has won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, and on recommendations from the latter, appoints the members of the government. The previous constitution(note constitution of 1996) theoretically allows the king to terminate the tenure of any minister, and after consultation with the heads of the higher and lower Assemblies, to dissolve the Parliament, suspend the constitution, call for new elections, or rule by decree, the only time this happened was in 1965. The King is formally the chief of the military. Upon the death of his father Mohammed V
Mohammed V of Morocco
Mohammed V was Sultan of Morocco from 1927–53, exiled from 1953–55, where he was again recognized as Sultan upon his return, and King from 1957 to 1961. His full name was Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef, or Son of Yusef, upon whose death he succeeded to the throne...

, King Hassan II succeeded to the throne in 1961. He ruled Morocco for the next 38 years, until he died in 1999. His son, King Mohammed VI, assumed the throne in July 1999. Following protests in Morocco
2011 Moroccan protests
The 2011 Moroccan protests are a series of demonstrations across Morocco and the Moroccan-controlled Western Saharan territory which began on 20 February 2011 and are influenced by other protests in the region.-Origin:...

 and elsewhere in the Arab world
2010–2011 Middle East and North Africa protests
The Arab Spring , otherwise known as the Arab Awakening, is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began on Saturday, 18 December 2010...

 in early 2011, King Mohammed VI announced the establishment of a committee aimed at preparing the text of a new constitution, which included further limitations on the powers of the monarch.

Following the March 1998 elections, a coalition government headed by opposition socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 leader Abderrahmane Youssoufi
Abderrahmane Youssoufi
Abderrahmane Youssoufi is a Moroccan politician who served as the Prime Minister of Morocco from 1998 to 2002.-Early life:...

 and composed largely of ministers drawn from opposition parties, was formed. Prime Minister Youssoufi's government is the first ever government drawn primarily from opposition parties, and also represents the first opportunity for a coalition of socialists, left-of-center, and nationalist parties to be included in the government until October 2002. It was also the first time in the modern political history of the Arab world that the opposition assumed power following an election. The current government is headed by Abbas El Fassi
Abbas El Fassi
Abbas El Fassi was the Prime Minister of Morocco from 19 September 2007 to 29 November 2011. El Fassi, a member of the Istiqlal Party, replaced independent Driss Jettou.El Fassi was born in Berkane, Morocco on September 18, 1940...

.

Legislative branch



Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives of Morocco
Assembly of Representatives of Morocco
The Moroccan Parliament has two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The other chamber is the Assembly of Councillors.-See also:* Assembly of Councillors*...

 (Majlis an-Nuwwâb/Assemblée des Répresentants) has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The Assembly of Councillors
Assembly of Councillors
The Assembly of Councillors is the upper house of the Parliament of Morocco and has 270 members, elected for a nine year term, elected by local councils , professional chambers and wage-earners ....

 (Majlis al-Mustasharin) has 270 members, elected for a nine year term, elected by local councils (162 seats), professional chambers (91 seats) and wage-earners (27 seats).
The Parliament's powers, though still relatively limited, were expanded under the 1992 and 1996 and even further in the 2011 constitutional revisions and include budget
Budget
A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

ary matters, approving bill
Bill (proposed law)
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....

s, questioning ministers, and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the government's actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve the government through a vote of no confidence.

2011 Constitutional reforms


On July 1 voters approved the draft of a new constitution which entered into effect on 29 July 2011.

The constitutional reforms consisted of the following:
  • The Amazigh language is an official state language along with Arabic.

  • The state preserves and protects the Hassānīya language and all the linguistic components of the Moroccan culture as a heritage of the nation

  • The king has the obligation to appoint a prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections. Previously, he could nominate a technocrat in this position if no party has a decisive advantage, over the other parties, in terms of the number of seats in the parliament
    Assembly of Representatives of Morocco
    The Moroccan Parliament has two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives has 325 members elected for a five year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The other chamber is the Assembly of Councillors.-See also:* Assembly of Councillors*...

    .

  • The king is no longer "sacred" but the "integrity of his person" is "inviolable"

  • High administrative and diplomatic posts (including ambassadors, CEOs of state-owned companies, provincial and regional governors), are now appointed by the prime minister and the ministerial council which is presided by the king, previously the latter exclusively held this power.

  • The prime minister is the head of government and president of the council of government, he has the power to dissolve the parliament.

  • The prime minister will preside over the council of Government, which prepares the general policy of the state. Previously the king held this position.

  • The parliament has the power of granting amnesty. Previously this was exclusively held by the king

  • The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branch, the king guarantees this independence

  • Women are guaranteed "civic and social" equality with men. Previously, only "political" equality was guaranteed, though the 1996 constitution grants all citizens equality in terms of rights and before the law

  • The King would retain complete control of the armed forces, foreign policy and the judiciary; authority for choosing and dismissing prime ministers and he would retain control of matters pertaining to religion.

  • All citizens have the freedom of: thought, ideas, artistic expression and creation. Previously only free-speech and the freedom of circulation and association were guaranteed.


On 2 July 2011 some Moroccan protesters said they were undeterred despite a landslide victory for King Mohammed in a referendum on constitutional changes they say do nothing to ease his autocratic grip on power.

The nation's interior ministry has offered the tentative date of November 11, 2011 for parliamentary elections

Military





Compulsory military service in Morocco has been suppressed since September 2006, and the country’s reserve obligation lasts until age 50. The country’s military consists of the Royal Armed Forces—this includes the army (the largest branch) and a small navy and air force—the National Police Force, the Royal Gendarmerie (mainly responsible for rural security), and the Auxiliary Forces. Internal security is generally effective, and acts of political violence are rare (with one exception, the 2003 Casablanca bombings
2003 Casablanca bombings
The 2003 Casablanca bombings were a series of suicide bombings on May 16, 2003, in Casablanca, Morocco. The attacks were the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country's history. 45 people were killed as a result of these attacks...

 which killed 45 people). The UN maintains a small observer force in Western Sahara, where a large number of Morocco’s troops are stationed. The Saharawi group Polisario
Polisario Front
The POLISARIO, Polisario Front, or Frente Polisario, from the Spanish abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement working for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco...

 maintains an active militia of an estimated 5,000 fighters in Western Sahara and has engaged in intermittent warfare with Moroccan forces since the 1980s.

The military of Morocco is composed of the following main divisions:
  • Royal Armed Forces
    • Army
      Royal Moroccan Army
      The Royal Armed Forces is the terrestrial arm of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is a part of one of the oldest monarchies in history. The Alaouite Dynasty is the name of the current Moroccan royal family. The name Alaouite comes from the ‘Alī of...

    • Navy
      Royal Moroccan Navy
      The Royal Navy of Morocco is a branch of the military of Morocco responsible of conducting naval operations.The Royal Moroccan Navy is administratively managed by the Adminsitration of Defence, which is commanded by King Mohammed VI - Mission :The Royal Moroccan Navy is part of the Moroccan Armed...

    • Air Force
      Royal Moroccan Air Force
      The Royal Moroccan Air Force is the air force branch of the Moroccan Armed Forces.-History:...

    • Gendarmerie
      Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie
      The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie is the Gendarmerie body of Morocco, and comes under the authority of the Ministry of Defence.-History:...

    • Auxiliary Forces
    • Moroccan Royal Guard
      Moroccan Royal Guard
      The Moroccan Royal Guard is officially part of the Royal Moroccan Army. However it is under the direct operational control of the Royal Military Household of His Majesty the King.- Organization :...

    • Marche Verte
      Marche Verte
      Marche Verte is the aerobatic demonstration team of the Royal Moroccan Air Force and the official aerobatic team of Morocco. Named for the 1975 "Green March", the team was formed in 1988 when French pilot Jean-Pierre Otelli was tasked with establishing an aerobatic team. Initially, the team...


Foreign relations



ABEDA, ACCT
Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique
The Agence de coopération culturelle et technique was founded in 1970 and was the precursor to what is now the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie....

 (associate), AfDB
African Development Bank
The African Development Bank Group is a development bank established in 1964 with the intention of promoting economic and social development in Africa...

, AFESD
Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development is a Kuwait-based, pan-Arab development finance institution. All member-states of the Arab League are members of the AFESD. As of 2003, it held around USD 7.3 billion in assets....

, AL
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, AMF
Arab Monetary Fund
The Arab Monetary Fund is a regional Arab organization, founded 1976, and operational from 1977. It is a working sub-organization of the Arab League.-Objectives:...

, AMU
Arab Maghreb Union
The Arab Maghreb Union is a trade agreement aiming for economic and some sort of future political unity in North Africa between the countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania...

, EBRD
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

, ECA
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa was established in 1958 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to encourage economic cooperation among its member states following a recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly.It is one of five regional commissions.The ECA...

, FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

, G-77
Group of 77
The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has...

, IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

, IBRD
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is one of five institutions that compose the World Bank Group. The IBRD is an international organization whose original mission was to finance the reconstruction of nations devastated by World War II. Now, its mission has expanded to fight...

, ICAO
International Civil Aviation Organization
The International Civil Aviation Organization , pronounced , , is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth...

, ICCt
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

, ICFTU
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions was an international trade union. It came into being on 7 December 1949 following a split within the World Federation of Trade Unions , and was dissolved on 31 October 2006 when it merged with the World Confederation of Labour to form the...

, ICRM
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

, IDA
International Development Association
The International Development Association , is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. It complements the World Bank's other lending arm — the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development — which serves middle-income countries with capital investment and...

, IDB
Islamic Development Bank
The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development financing institution located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was founded by the first conference of Finance Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference , convened 23 Dhu'l Qa'dah 1393 AH.The bank officially began its activities on...

, IFAD
International Fund for Agricultural Development
The International Fund for Agricultural Development , a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries...

, IFC
International Finance Corporation
The International Finance Corporation promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing countries.IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States....

, IFRCS, IHO
International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is the inter-governmental organisation representing the hydrographic community. It enjoys observer status at the UN and is the recognised competent authority on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting...

, ILO
International Labour Organization
The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

, IMF
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, IMO
International Maritime Organization
The International Maritime Organization , formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization , was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959...

, Intelsat
Intelsat
Intelsat, Ltd. is a communications satellite services provider.Originally formed as International Telecommunications Satellite Organization , it was—from 1964 to 2001—an intergovernmental consortium owning and managing a constellation of communications satellites providing international broadcast...

, Interpol
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

, IOC, IOM
International Organization for Migration
The International Organization for Migration is an intergovernmental organization. It was initially established in 1951 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration to help resettle people displaced by World War II....

, ISO
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

, ITU
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

, NAM
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

, OAS
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 (observer), OIC, OPCW
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is an intergovernmental organization, located in The Hague, Netherlands. The organization promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits of the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction...

, OSCE
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

 (partner), UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body. It is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues....

, UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

, UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

, UNIDO
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization , French/Spanish acronym ONUDI, is a specialized agency in the United Nations system, headquartered in Vienna, Austria...

, UPU
Universal Postal Union
The Universal Postal Union is an international organization that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system. The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration , the Postal Operations Council and the...

, WCO
World Customs Organization
The World Customs Organization is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognized as the voice of the global customs community...

, WHO
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, WIPO
World Intellectual Property Organization
The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world"....

, WMO
World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization is an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 189 Member States and Territories. It originated from the International Meteorological Organization , which was founded in 1873...

, WToO
World Tourism Organization
The World Tourism Organization , based in Madrid, Spain, is a United Nations agency dealing with questions relating to tourism. It compiles the World Tourism rankings. The World Tourism Organization is a significant global body, concerned with the collection and collation of statistical information...

, WTrO
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...



Affiliations
Bilateral and multilateral agreements
  • Council of Arab Economic Unity
    Council of Arab Economic Unity
    The Council of Arab Economic Unity was established by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen on 3 June 1957...

  • Euro-Mediterranean free trade area
    Euro-Mediterranean free trade area
    The European Union-Mediterranean Free Trade Area , also called the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area or Euromed FTA, is based on the Barcelona Process and European Neighbourhood Policy...

  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
    General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
    The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was negotiated during the UN Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization . GATT was signed in 1947 and lasted until 1993, when it was replaced by the World...

  • US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement

Administrative divisions



Morocco is divided into 16 region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

s, and subdivided into 62 prefecture
Prefecture
A prefecture is an administrative jurisdiction or subdivision in any of various countries and within some international church structures, and in antiquity a Roman district governed by an appointed prefect.-Antiquity:...

s and province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s.

Regions



As part of a 1997 decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature, sixteen new regions were created. These regions are:
  • 01. Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira
    Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira
    Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, considered by Morocco to be the southern part of the country. The Polisario Front and other independence-seeking Sahrawis consider this to be a part of the Sahrawi Arab...

  • 02. Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
    Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
    Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is partly located in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Most of the region is administered by Morocco.The region is made up into the following provinces:...

  • 03. Guelmim-Es Semara
    Guelmim-Es Semara
    Guelmim-Es Semara is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It covers an area of 122,825 km² and has a population of 462,410 . The capital is Guelmim. The southern half of the region forms part of the Western Sahara....

  • 04. Souss-Massa-Draâ
    Souss-Massa-Draâ
    Souss-Massa-Draâ is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in central Morocco. It covers an area of 70,880 km² and has a population of 3,113,653 . The capital is Agadir...

  • 05. Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen
    Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen
    Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-western Morocco. It covers an area of 8805 km² and has a population of 1,859,540 . The capital is Kenitra....

  • 06. Chaouia-Ouardigha
    Chaouia-Ouardigha
    Chaouia-Ouardigha ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-central Morocco. It covers an area of 7,010 km² and has a population of 1,655,660 . The capital is Settat....

  • 07. Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
    Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
    Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in central Morocco. It covers an area of 31,160 km² and has a population of 3,102,652...

  • 08. Oriental
  • 09. Grand Casablanca
    Grand Casablanca
    Grand Casablanca is one of sixteen administrative regions of Morocco. Located in coastal north western Morocco, it is the most densely populated region and covers an area of 1,615 km.² The population at the 2010 census was 7,500,000...

  • 10. Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer
    Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer
    Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-western Morocco. It covers an area of 9,580 km², and has a population of 2,366,494...

  • 11. Doukkala-Abda
    Doukkala-Abda
    Doukkala-Abda ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in west-central Morocco. It covers an area of 13,285 km² and has a population of 1,984,039 . The capital is Safi.The region is made up into the following provinces :...

  • 12. Tadla-Azilal
    Tadla-Azilal
    Tadla-Azilal ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in central Morocco. It covers an area of 17,125 km² and has a population of 1,450,519 . The capital is Beni Mellal.The region is made into of the following provinces :...

  • 13. Meknès-Tafilalet
    Meknès-Tafilalet
    Meknès-Tafilalet is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-central Morocco, bordering Algeria. It covers an area of 79,210 km² and has a population of 2,141,527...

  • 14. Fès-Boulemane
    Fès-Boulemane
    Fès-Boulemane ) is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in northern Morocco. It covers an area of 19,795 km² and has a population of 1,573,055 . The capital is Fès....

  • 15. Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
    Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
    Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in northern Morocco. It covers an area of 24,155 km² and has a population of 1,807,113 . The capital is Al Hoceima....

  • 16. Tangier-Tétouan
    Tangier-Tetouan
    Tangier-Tetouan is one of the sixteen regions of Morocco. It is situated in north-western Morocco. It covers an area of 11,570 km² and has a population of 2,470,372...


Provinces



Morocco is divided into 37 provinces and 2 wilayas*: Agadir
Agadir
Agadir is a major city in southwest Morocco, capital of the Agadir province and the Sous-Massa-Draa economic region .-Etymology:...

, Al Hoceima
Al Hoceima
Al Hoceima is a city and port in the north of Morocco and in the center of the Rif Mountains. The Al Hoceima city region has a population of 395.644 and is the capital of the Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate region...

, Azilal, Beni Mellal
Beni Mellal
Beni-Mellal is a Moroccan city located at . It is the capital city of the Tadla-Azilal Region, with a population of 163,286 . It sits at the foot of Mount Tassemit , and next to the plains of Beni Amir....

, Ben Slimane, Boulemane
Boulemane
Boulemane is a town in northern Morocco, in the Atlas Mountains. It is located at around , in the Fès-Boulemane Region....

, Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

*, Chaouen, El Jadida, El Kelaa des Sraghna
El Kelaa des Sraghna
El Kelaa des Sraghna alternative names include El Kelaa des Srarhna, al-Qalat-as-Saragnah and others) is a town in central Morocco. .The economy of the tows is mostly based on agriculture, the growing of olive tree being predominant.-History:...

, Er Rachidia
Er Rachidia
Errachidia, is a city in Morocco, located in the province of the same name province of Errachidia, in the region of Meknès-Tafilalet. It was formerly known as "Ksar Es Souk". is a partially Amazigh and Arabic-speaking town in the in eastern Morocco....

, Essaouira
Essaouira
Mogador redirects here, for the hamlet in Surrey see Mogador, Surrey.Essaouira is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic coast. Since the 16th century, the city has also been known by its Portuguese name of Mogador or Mogadore...

, Fes
Fes
Fes or Fez is the second largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca, with a population of approximately 1 million . It is the capital of the Fès-Boulemane region....

, Figuig
Figuig
Figuig - Ifiyey is a town in eastern Morocco near the Atlas Mountains, on the border with Algeria.The town is built around an oasis of date palms, called Tazdayt in the Berber languages, surrounded by rugged, mountainous wilderness...

, Guelmim
Guelmim
Guelmim , is a town in southern Morocco, often nicknamed Gateway to the Desert . The population of the city is 95,749 . It is the capital of the Guelmim-Es Semara region which includes southern Morocco and northern Western Sahara. It is home to a camel market...

, Ifrane
Ifrane
Ifrane [p] is a town and ski resort in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco .Ifrane is 1665 metres in altitude and is part of the Meknès-Tafilalet region...

, Kenitra
Kenitra
Kenitra is a city in Morocco, formerly known as Port Lyautey. It is a port on the Sebou River, has a population in 2004 of 359,142 and is the capital of the Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen region. During the Cold War Kenitra's U.S...

, Khemisset
Khemisset
Khemisset is a city in Morocco, population 111,971 . It is situated on the A2 motorway between Rabat and Meknès , and is the capital of the province Zemmour....

, Rommani
Rommani
Rommani is a Moroccan town in the region of Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër. It is situated at approximately 60 km southeast of Morocco's capital of Rabat and 100 km east of its economic and cultural hub of Casablanca .-History:Camp Marchand was established on 30 July 1911 at Zebida,...

, Khenifra
Khenifra
Khenifra is a city in northern central Morocco, surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.-External links:*...

, Khouribga, Laayoune
El Aaiún
El-Aaiún , is a city in Western Sahara founded by the Spanish in 1928. Administered by Morocco since 1976, El-Aaiún is the capital of what the Moroccan government call the region of Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, and POLISARIO call Occupied Territories...

, Larache
Larache
Larache is an important harbour town in the region Tanger-Tétouan in northern Morocco. It was founded in the 7th century when a group of Muslim soldiers from Arabia extended their camp at Lixus onto the south bank of the Loukkos River.In 1471, the Portuguese settlers from Asilah and Tangier drove...

, Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech or Marrakesh , known as the "Ochre city", is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history...

, Meknes
Meknes
Meknes is a city in northern Morocco, located from the capital Rabat and from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail , before it was relocated to Marrakech. The...

, Nador
Nador
Nador is a city located in the northeastern Rif region of Morocco. The city is a Mediterranean port on the Bḥar Ameẓẓyan lagoon , and it is the major trading center in the region for fish, fruit, and livestock...

, Ouarzazate
Ouarzazate
-See also:* Tizi n'Tichka: The mountain pass that leads to Ouarzazate* List of Movies shot in Morocco-External links:* at IMDb...

, Oujda
Oujda
Oujda is a city in eastern Morocco with an estimated population of 1 million. The city is located about 15 kilometers west of Algeria and about 60 kilometers south of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Oriental Region of Morocco and the birthplace of the current Algerian president,...

, Rabat-Sale*, Safi, Settat, Sidi Kacem
Sidi Kacem
Sidi Kacem is a city in Morocco. It is located at around . During the French period, it was called Petitjean, after a French captain who was killed in May 1911 during the "pacification" of Morocco...

, Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, Tan-Tan, Taounate
Taounate
Taounate is a town in northern Morocco, in the Rif Mountains. It is located at around ....

, Taroudannt, Tata, Taza, Tetouan
Tétouan
Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally "the eyes" and figuratively "the water springs". Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi E.S.E. of Tangier...

, Tiznit; three additional provinces of Ad Dakhla (Oued Eddahab), Boujdour, and Es Smara as well as parts of Tan-Tan
Tan-Tan
Tan-Tan is a city in Tan-Tan Province in southern Morocco. It is a desert town with a small population, with only few claims to fame:*The nearby port, Tan-Tan Plage, or Port of Tan-Tan, about 25 kilometres away from Tan-Tan itself...

 and Laayoune fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

.

Cities



This is a list of the largest metropolitan areas, each may include several towns and cities, which are in very close proximity to each other.

Western Sahara status




Because of the conflict over Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

, the status of both regions of "Saguia el-Hamra
Saguia el-Hamra
Saguia el-Hamra, in Arabic الساقية الحمراء, al-Saqiyah al-Hamra'a , is, with Río de Oro, one of the two territories that formed the Spanish province of Spanish Sahara after 1969. Its name comes from a waterway that goes through the capital....

" and "Río de Oro
Río de Oro
Río de Oro , is, with Saguia el-Hamra, one of the two territories that formed the Spanish province of Spanish Sahara after 1969; it was originally taken as a Spanish colonial possession in the late 19th century...

" is disputed. The United Nations views Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, and as a case of unfinished decolonization
Decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

. Morocco's rule in the territory is not internationally recognized, nor is the independent republic proposed by Polisario, a Saharawi group which fought against the Spanish colonial rule
Spanish Sahara
Spanish Sahara was the name used for the modern territory of Western Sahara when it was ruled as a territory by Spain between 1884 and 1975...

 and then for Western Sahara's independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a partially recognised state that claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. The SADR government controls about...

 (today headquartered in Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

). There is a ceasefire in effect since 1991, and a UN mission (MINURSO) is tasked with organizing a referendum on whether the territory should become independent or recognized as a part of Morocco. At the time, both parties signed an agreement to this effect, but they did not agree on who would be entitled to vote.

The territory is mostly administered as the Southern Provinces
Southern Provinces
The Southern Provinces or Moroccan Sahara are the terms used by Morocco for Western Sahara, in reference to the part of Western Sahara that lies to the west of the Moroccan Berm...

 by Morocco since Spain handed over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 after the Madrid Accords
Madrid Accords
The Madrid Accords, also called Madrid Agreement or Madrid Pact, was a treaty between Spain, Morocco, and Mauritania to end the Spanish presence in the territory of Spanish Sahara, which was until the Madrid Accords' inception a Spanish province and former colony. It was signed in Madrid on...

 in 1975–76. Part of the territory, the Free Zone, is an uninhabited area controlled by the Polisario Front
Polisario Front
The POLISARIO, Polisario Front, or Frente Polisario, from the Spanish abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro is a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement working for the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco...

 as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with Headquarters at Tindouf
Tindouf
Tindouf is the main town in Tindouf Province, Algeria, close to the Mauritanian and Moroccan borders. The region is considered of strategic significance, and it houses Algerian military bases. Since 1975, it also contains several Sahrawi refugee camps operated by the Polisario Front a guerrilla...

 in Algeria. A UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September, 1991.

Western Sahara War



The Western Sahara War was the armed conflict which saw the Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement Polisario Front(Headquarted in Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

) battling Morocco and Mauritania for the control of the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara from 1976 to 1991. The war resulted in the Spanish retreat in 1976, the Mauritanian retreat in 1979 and a cease fire agreement with Morocco. The bigger part of the territory remained under Moroccan control.

Moroccan Autonomy Initiative



Recently, the government of Morocco has suggested autonomous status for the region, through the Moroccan Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs
Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs
The Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs or Corcas, from the French abbreviation of Conseil royal consultatif pour les affaires sahariennes, is an advisory committee to the Moroccan government on the Western Sahara. It was originally devised by King Hassan II in the 1970s , but allowed to...

 (CORCAS). The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 in mid-April 2007. The proposal was encouraged by Moroccan allies such as the USA, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, and the Security Council "Takes note of the Moroccan proposal presented on 11 April 2007 to the Secretary-General and welcoming serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward towards resolution;". The Security Council has called upon the parties to enter into direct and unconditional negotiations to reach a mutually accepted political solution.

Economy


Morocco's economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand
Supply and demand
Supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers will equal the quantity supplied by producers , resulting in an...

. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government
Politics of Morocco
Politics of Morocco take place in a framework of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Morocco is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government...

. Morocco is the world's biggest exporter and third producer of phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

. Price fluctuations of phosphates in the international market strongly influence Morocco's economy.

Government reforms and steady yearly growth in the region of 4–5% from 2000 to 2007, including 4.9% year-on-year growth in 2003–2007 helped the Moroccan economy to become much more robust compared to a few years ago. Economic growth is far more diversified, with new service and industrial poles, like Casablanca
Casablanca
Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Grand Casablanca region.Casablanca is Morocco's largest city as well as its chief port. It is also the biggest city in the Maghreb. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture...

 and Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, developing. The agriculture sector
Agriculture in Morocco
Agriculture in Morocco employs about 40% of the nations workforce. And thus, is the largest employer in the country. In the rainy sections of the northeast, barley, wheat, and other cereals can be raised without irrigation. On the Atlantic coast, where there are extensive plains, olives, citrus...

 is being rehabilitated, which in combination with good rainfalls led to a growth of over 20% in 2009.

The services sector accounts for just over half of GDP and industry, made up of mining, construction and manufacturing, is an additional quarter. The sectors who recorded the highest growth are the tourism
Tourism in Morocco
Tourism in Morocco is well developed, with a strong tourist industry focused on the country's coast, culture, and history. Morocco has been one of the most politically stable countries in North Africa, which has allowed tourism to develop...

, telecoms, information technology, and textile sectors. Morocco, however, still depends to an inordinate degree on agriculture. The sector accounts for only around 14% of GDP but employs 40–45% of the Moroccan population
Demographics of Morocco
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Morocco, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population....

. With a semi-arid climate, it is difficult to assure good rainfall and Morocco’s GDP varies depending on the weather. Fiscal prudence has allowed for consolidation, with both the budget deficit and debt falling as a percentage of GDP.

The economic system of the country presents several facets. It is characterized by a large opening towards the outside world. France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 remains the primary trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 partner (supplier and customer) of Morocco. France is also the primary creditor
Creditor
A creditor is a party that has a claim to the services of a second party. It is a person or institution to whom money is owed. The first party, in general, has provided some property or service to the second party under the assumption that the second party will return an equivalent property or...

 and foreign investor in Morocco. In the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, Morocco has the second-largest non-oil GDP, behind Egypt, as of 2005.

Since the early 1980s the Moroccan government has pursued an economic program toward accelerating real economy growth with the support of the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, and the Paris Club
Paris Club
The Paris Club is an informal group of financial officials from 19 of some of the world's biggest economies, which provides financial services such as war funding, debt restructuring, debt relief, and debt cancellation to indebted countries and their creditors...

 of creditors. The country's currency, the dirham
Moroccan dirham
The dirham is the currency of Morocco. The plural form is pronounced darahim, although in French and English "dirhams" is commonly used. Its ISO 4217 code is "MAD". It is subdivided into 100 santimat . The dirham is issued by the Bank Al-Maghrib, the central bank of Morocco...

, is now fully convertible for current account transactions; reforms of the financial sector have been implemented; and state enterprises are being privatized.

The major resources of the Moroccan economy are agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, phosphate
Phosphate minerals
Phosphate minerals are those minerals that contain the tetrahedrally coordinated phosphate anion along with the freely substituting arsenate and vanadate...

s, and tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

. Sales of fish and seafood are important as well. Industry
Industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

 and mining contribute about one-third of the annual GDP. Morocco is the world's third-largest producer of phosphorus (after China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, which is first, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 which is second), and the price fluctuations of phosphates on the international market greatly influence Morocco's economy. Tourism and workers' remittances have played a critical role since the Kingdom's independence. The production of textiles and clothing is part of a growing manufacturing sector that accounted for approximately 34% of total exports in 2002, employing 40% of the industrial workforce. The government wishes to increase textile and clothing exports from $1.27 billion in 2001 to $3.29 billion in 2010.

The high cost of imports, especially of petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 imports, is a major problem. Another chronic problem is unreliable rainfall, which produces drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

 or sudden floods; in 1995, the country's worst drought in 30 years forced Morocco to import grain and adversely affected the economy. Another drought occurred in 1997, and one in 1999–2000. Reduced incomes due to drought caused GDP to fall by 7.6% in 1995, by 2.3% in 1997, and by 1.5% in 1999. During the years between drought, good rains brought bumper crops to market. Good rainfall in 2001 led to a 5% GDP growth rate. Morocco suffers both from unemployment (9.6% in 2008), and a large external debt estimated at around $20 billion, or half of GDP in 2002.

Among the various free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 agreements that Morocco has ratified with its principal economic partners, are The Euro-Mediterranean free trade area
Euro-Mediterranean free trade area
The European Union-Mediterranean Free Trade Area , also called the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area or Euromed FTA, is based on the Barcelona Process and European Neighbourhood Policy...

 agreement with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 with the objective of integrating the European Free Trade Association
European Free Trade Association
The European Free Trade Association or EFTA is a free trade organisation between four European countries that operates parallel to, and is linked to, the European Union . EFTA was established on 3 May 1960 as a trade bloc-alternative for European states who were either unable to, or chose not to,...

 at the horizons of 2012; the Agadir Agreement, signed with Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia, within the framework of the installation of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area; the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement with United States which came into force on January 1, 2006, and lately the agreement of free exchange with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.(See Economy of Morocco
Economy of Morocco
Morocco's economy is considered a relatively liberal economy governed by the law of supply and demand. Since 1993, the country has followed a policy of privatization of certain economic sectors which used to be in the hands of the government. Morocco has become a major player in the African...

)

Agriculture


Agriculture in Morocco employs about 40% of the nation's workforce. And thus, is the largest employer in the country. Barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, and other cereals are amongst the main products. On the Atlantic coast, where there are extensive plains, olives, citrus fruits, and grapes are grown.

Below is a table of the agricultural output of Morocco according to estimates of the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, data is from 2009:
Rank Commodity Value (Int $1000) Production (MT) Quantity world rank Value world rank
1 Wheat 939,150 6,400,000 19 17
2 Indigenous Chicken Meat 635,889 446,424 NA NA
3 Olives 616,541 770,000 6 6
4 Tomatoes 480,433 1,300,000 17 17
5 Indigenous Cattle Meat 433,257 160,384 NA NA
6 Cow milk, whole, fresh 409,566 1,750,000 NA NA
7 Barley 389,709 3,800,000 12 7
8 Indigenous Sheep Meat 325,935 119,706 NA NA
9 Almonds, with shell 307,240 104,115 5 5
10 Oranges 231,910 1,200,000 14 14
11 Potatoes 230,032 1,500,000 NA NA
12 Hen eggs, in shell 221,668 267,267 NA NA
13 String beans 173,716 182,180 3 3
14 Grapes 171,485 300,000 NA NA
15 Apples 169,166 400,000 NA NA
16 Strawberries 168,627 124,239 11 11
17 Onions, dry 136,521 650,000 23 23
18 Other melons (inc.cantaloupes) 134,386 730,000 8 8
19 Tangerines, mandarins, clem. 128,945 522,000 12 12
20 Anise, badian, fennel, corian. 127,126 23,000 7 7
Source:
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 2009 data: http://faostat.fao.org/site/339/default.aspx

Energy



In 2008, about 56% of the electricity source of Morocco came from coal. However, a new law passed encouraging Moroccans to use more renewable resources. The Moroccan government has launched a project to build a solar thermal energy
Solar thermal energy
Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy . Solar thermal collectors are classified by the United States Energy Information Administration as low-, medium-, or high-temperature collectors. Low-temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat...

 power plant.

Transport


The railway network of Morocco consists of 1907 kilometres (1,185 mi) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge and 1003 kilometres (623.2 mi) electrified with 3 kV DC. There are connections to Algeria, and consecutively Tunisia, but since the 1990s the connections are closed. The Gibraltar Tunnel
Strait of Gibraltar crossing
A Strait of Gibraltar crossing is a hypothetical bridge or tunnel spanning the Strait of Gibraltar that would connect Europe to Africa.The Spanish and Moroccan governments appointed a a to investigate the feasibility of linking the two continents...

 is a rail tunnel link proposed between Tangier, Morocco and Spain under the Strait of Gibraltar to be in operation in 2025.

There are plans for high-speed lines: Work by ONCF could begin in 2007 from Marrakech to Tangier in the north via Marrakesh to Agadir in the south, and from Casablanca on the Atlantic to Oujda on the Algerian border. If the plans are approved, the 1500 kilometres (932.1 mi) of track may take until 2030 to complete at a cost of around 25 billion dirhams ($3.37 billion). Casablanca to Marrakesh could be cut to 1 hour and 20 minutes from over three hours, and from the capital Rabat to Tangier to 1 hour and 30 minutes from 4 hours and 30 minutes.

There are around 56986 kilometres (35,409.5 mi) of roads (national, regional and provincial) in Morocco. In addition to 610.5 kilometres (379.3 mi) kilometre of highways.

The Tangier-Casablanca high-speed rail link marks the first stage of the ONCF’s high-speed rail master plan, pursuant to which over 1500 kilometres (932.1 mi) of new railway lines will be built by 2035 The high speed train -TGV- will carry 8 million passengers per year. It will have a capacity of 500 passengers. the work in the High Speed Train project has started in September 2011 and the infrastructure works and railway equipment will end in 2014, and the HST will be operational in December 2015.

Education


Education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school. The country's illiteracy rate has been stuck at around 50% for some years, with male literacy at 65.7% and female at 39.6%. On September 2006, UNESCO awarded Morocco amongst other countries such as Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

 (India) and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 the "UNESCO 2006 Literacy Prize".

Morocco has about 230,000 students enrolled in fourteen public universities. The Mohammed V University
Mohammed V University
Mohammed V University was founded in 1957 under a royal decree . It is the first modern university in Morocco.The university is named after Mohammed V d. 1961, the former King of Morocco. In 1993, it was divided into two independent universities:* Mohammed V University at Agdal* Mohammed V...

 in Rabat and Al Akhawayn University
Al Akhawayn University
Al Akhawayn University is a university located in Ifrane, Morocco, just 60 kilometers away from the imperial city of Fez, in the midst of the Middle Atlas Mountains. The creation of Al Akhawayn University was largely funded by the King of Saudi Arabia from a large endowment intended for the...

 in Ifrane
Ifrane
Ifrane [p] is a town and ski resort in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco .Ifrane is 1665 metres in altitude and is part of the Meknès-Tafilalet region...

 (public university) are highly regarded. Al-Akhawayn, founded in 1993 by King Hassan II
Hassan II of Morocco
King Hassan II l-ḥasan aṯ-ṯānī, dial. el-ḥasan ettâni); July 9, 1929 – July 23, 1999) was King of Morocco from 1961 until his death in 1999...

 and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia
Fahd of Saudi Arabia
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005...

, is an English-language American-style university comprising about 1,780 students. The University of Al Karaouine
University of Al Karaouine
The University of Al-Karaouine or Al-Qarawiyyin is a university located in Fes, Morocco which was established in 1947. Its origins date back to 859, when it was founded as a mosque school or madrasa...

, in Fez, is considered the oldest continuously operating university in the world and has been a center of learning for more than 1,000 years.

Morocco allocates approximately one fifth of its budget to education. Much of this is spent on building schools to accommodate the rapidly growing population. Education is mandatory for children between the ages of 7 and 13 years. In urban areas the majority of children in this age group attend school, though on a national scale the level of participation drops significantly. About three fourths of school age males attend school, but only about half of school age girls; these proportions drop markedly in rural areas. Slightly more than half of the children go on to secondary education, including trade and technical schools. Of these, few seek higher education. Poor school attendance, particularly in rural areas, has meant a low rate of literacy, which is about two fifths of the population.

Morocco has more than four dozen universities, institutes of higher learning, and polytechnics dispersed at urban centres throughout the country. Its leading institutions include Muḥammad V University in Rabat, the country’s largest university, with branches in Casablanca and Fès; the Hassan II Agriculture and Veterinary Institute in Rabat, which conducts leading social science research in addition to its agricultural specialties; and Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, the first English-language university in North Africa, inaugurated in 1995 with contributions from Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The University of Al-Karaouine or Al-Qarawiyyin is a university located in Fes. It is considered the oldest continuously operating academic degree-granting university in the world.

Morocco has also some of prestigious Postgraduate Schools like : L'École Mohammadia d'ingénieurs, l'Institut national de statistique et d'économie appliquée, l'École nationale d'industrie minérale, l'École Hassania des travaux publics, l'Institut supérieur de commerce et d'administration des entreprises, ENCG (écoles nationales de commerce et de gestion), EST (écoles supérieures de technologie).

Culture





Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 and civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

. Through Moroccan history
History of Morocco
The History of Morocco spans over 12 centuries, without considering the Classical antiquity. The country was first unified by the Idrisid dynasty in 780, representing the first Islamic state in Africa autonomous from the Arab Empire. Under the Almoravid dynasty and the Almohad dynasty, Morocco...

, it has hosted many people coming from East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews and Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s), South (Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

ns) and North (Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, Andalusians
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 (including Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 and Jews). All those civilizations have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco. It conceived various forms of beliefs, from paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

The production of Moroccan literature has continued to grow and diversify. To the traditional genres—poetry, essays, and historiography—have been added forms inspired by Middle Eastern and Western literary models. French is often used in publishing research in the social and natural sciences, and in the fields of literature and literary studies, works are published in both Arabic and French. Moroccan writers, such as Mohammed Choukri, Driss Chraïbi
Driss Chraïbi
Driss Chraïbi was a Moroccan author whose novels deal with colonialism, culture clashes, generational conflict and the treatment of women and are often semi-autobiographical....

, Abdallah Laroui
Abdallah Laroui
Abdallah Laroui is a Moroccan historian and novelist writing in Arabic and French. He is considered one of Morocco's leading intellectuals....

, Abdelfattah Kilito
Abdelfattah Kilito
Abdelfattah Kilito is a well known Moroccan writer. He was born in Rabat in 1945. He is the author of several books in Arabic and in French. He has also written articles for magazines like Poétique and Studia Islamica...

, and Fatima Mernissi, publish their works in both French and English. Expatriate writers such as Pierre Loti
Pierre Loti
Pierre Loti was a French novelist and naval officer.-Biography:Loti's education began in his birthplace, Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. At the age of seventeen he entered the naval school in Brest and studied at Le Borda. He gradually rose in his profession, attaining the rank of captain in 1906...

, William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

, and Paul Bowles
Paul Bowles
Paul Frederic Bowles was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator.Following a cultured middle-class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris...

 have drawn attention to Moroccan writers as well as to the country itself.

Since independence a veritable blossoming has taken place in painting and sculpture, popular music, amateur theatre, and filmmaking. The Moroccan National Theatre (founded 1956) offers regular productions of Moroccan and French dramatic works. Art and music festivals take place throughout the country during the summer months, among them the World Sacred Music Festival at Fès
World Sacred Music Festival
The World Festival of Sacred Music brings together performers from every corner of our planet for a week of artistic show in Fes, Morocco's ancient holy city. It was first held in 1994.-Los Angeles:...

.

Moroccan music, influenced by Arab, Amazigh, African, and Andalusian traditions, makes use of a number of traditional instruments, such as the flute (nāy), shawm (ghaita), zither (qanūn), and various short necked lutes (including the ʿūd and gimbrī). These are often backed by explosive percussion on the darbūkka (terra-cotta drum). Among the most popular traditional Moroccan artists internationally are the Master Musicians of Jajouka, an all-male guild trained from childhood, and Hassan Hakmoun, a master of gnāwa trance music, a popular spiritual style that traces its roots to sub-Saharan Africa. Younger Moroccans enjoy raï, a style of plain-speaking Algerian music that incorporates traditional sounds with those of Western rock, Jamaican reggae, and Egyptian and Moroccan popular music.

Each region possesses its own specificities, thus contributing to the national culture and to the legacy of civilization. Morocco has set among its top priorities the protection of its diverse legacy and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

Culturally speaking, Morocco has always been successful in combining its Berber, Jewish and Arabic cultural heritage with external influences such as the French and the Spanish and, during the last decades, the Anglo-American lifestyles.

Cuisine



Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of Morocco with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is mainly Berber-Moorish, European, Mediterranean cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco is essentially Berber cuisine
Berber cuisine
The Berber cuisine is considered as a traditional cuisine which evolved little in the course of time.Berber cuisine differs from one area to another within North Africa. Thus, it is not easy to speak about a typically Berber cuisine. A classification is essential, in order to emphasize the...

(sometimes referred to as the Moorish cuisine). It is also Influenced by Sephardic cuisine and by the Moriscos when they took refuge in Morocco after the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron
Saffron
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. Each saffron crocus grows to and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel...

 from Tiliouine, mint
Mentha
Mentha is a genus of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae . The species are not clearly distinct and estimates of the number of species varies from 13 to 18. Hybridization between some of the species occurs naturally...

 and olive
Olive
The olive , Olea europaea), is a species of a small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea.Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the...

s from Meknes, and orange
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

s and lemon
Lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...

s from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

; lamb
Domestic sheep
Sheep are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name "sheep" applies to many species in the genus Ovis, in everyday usage it almost always refers to Ovis aries...

 is preferred but is relatively expensive. Couscous
Couscous
Couscous is a Berber dish of semolina traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food throughout Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.-Etymology:...

 is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla
Pastilla
It is a pie which combines sweet and salty flavours; a combination of crisp layers of the crêpe-like warka dough , savory meat slow-cooked in broth and spices and shredded, and a crunchy layer of toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon, and sugar.The filling is made a day ahead, and is made by...

, tajine
Tajine
A tajine, or tagine , is a dish from North Africa, that is named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked. A similar dish, known as tavvas, is found in the cuisine of Cyprus. The traditional tajine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed...

, and harira
Harira
Harira is the traditional soup of Morocco. It is usually eaten during dinner in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to break the fasting day. It is considered as a meal in itself....

. The most popular drink is green tea
Green tea
Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia. It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally...

 with mint.

Literature




Moroccan literature is written in Arabic, Berber and French. It also contains literature produced in Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

. Under the Almohad
Almohad
The Almohad Dynasty , was a Moroccan Berber-Muslim dynasty founded in the 12th century that established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120.The movement was started by Ibn Tumart in the Masmuda tribe, followed by Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi between 1130 and his...

 dynasty Morocco experienced a period of prosperity and brilliance of learning. The Almohad built the Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque, which accommodated no fewer than 25,000 people, but was also famed for its books, manuscripts, libraries and book shops, which gave it its name; the first book bazaar in history. The Almohad Caliph Abu Yakub had a great love for collecting books. He founded a great library, which was eventually carried to the Casbah
Casbah
The Casbah ) is specifically the citadel of Algiers in Algeria and the traditional quarter clustered around it. More generally, a kasbah is the walled citadel of many North African cities and towns...

 and turned into a public library
Public library
A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

.

Modern Moroccan literature began in the 1930s. Two main factors gave Morocco a pulse toward witnessing the birth of a modern literature. Morocco, as a French
French Morocco
French Protectorate of Morocco was a French protectorate in Morocco, established by the Treaty of Fez. French Morocco did not include the north of the country, which was a Spanish protectorate...

 and Spanish protectorate
Spanish Morocco
The Spanish protectorate of Morocco was the area of Morocco under colonial rule by the Spanish Empire, established by the Treaty of Fez in 1912 and ending in 1956, when both France and Spain recognized Moroccan independence.-Territorial borders:...

 left Moroccan intellectuals the opportunity to exchange and to produce literary works freely enjoying the contact of other Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

 and Europe.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Morocco was a refuge and artistic centre and attracted writers as Paul Bowles
Paul Bowles
Paul Frederic Bowles was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator.Following a cultured middle-class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris...

, Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams
Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American writer who worked principally as a playwright in the American theater. He also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs...

 and William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs
William Seward Burroughs II was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th...

. Moroccan literature flourished with novelists such as Mohamed Zafzaf
Mohamed Zafzaf
Mohamed Zafzaf was one of the best known Moroccan novelists and poets writing in Arabic.-Biography:Zafzaf lived in Casablanca where he wrote his stories and articles and translated books from Spanish and French...

 and Mohamed Choukri
Mohamed Choukri
Mohamed Choukri , born on July 15, 1935 and died on November 15, 2003, was a Moroccan author and novelist who is best known for his internationally acclaimed autobiography For Bread Alone , which was described by the American playwright Tennessee Williams as 'A true document of human desperation,...

, who wrote in Arabic, and Driss Chraïbi
Driss Chraïbi
Driss Chraïbi was a Moroccan author whose novels deal with colonialism, culture clashes, generational conflict and the treatment of women and are often semi-autobiographical....

 and Tahar Ben Jelloun
Tahar Ben Jelloun
Tahar Ben Jelloun is a Moroccan poet and writer. The entirety of his work is written in French, although his first language is Arabic.-Life:...

 who wrote in French. Other important Moroccan authors include, Abdellatif Laabi
Abdellatif Laabi
Abdellatif Laâbi is a Moroccan poet, born in 1942 in Fes, Morocco.Laâbi, then teaching French, founded with other poets the artistic journal Souffles, an important literary review in 1966...

, Abdelkarim Ghellab, Fouad Laroui
Fouad Laroui
Fouad Laroui is a Moroccan economist and writer, born in Oujda, Morocco. After his studies in the Lycée Lyautey , he joined the prestigious École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, where he studied engineering...

, Mohammed Berrada
Mohammed Berrada
Mohammed Berrada , also transliterated Muhammad Baradah, is a Moroccan novelist, literary critic and translator writing in Arabic. He is considered one of Morocco's most important modern authors....

 and Leila Abouzeid
Leila Abouzeid
Leila Abouzeid is a Moroccan author. She writes in Arabic rather than in French and is the first Moroccan woman writer of literature to be translated into English.- Works :...

. It should be noted also, that orature (oral literature) is an integral part of Moroccan culture, be it in Moroccan Arabic or Amazigh.

Music




Moroccan music is of Amazigh
Berber music
The Berber people is the indigenous and major ethnic group inhabiting North Africa and part of West Africa . Berbers call themselves "imazighen"...

, Arab and sub-Saharan origins. Rock-influenced chaabi
Chaabi (Morocco)
Chaabi is a popular music of Morocco, combines folk music with chaabi from Fes, some would consider it similar to the Algerian Raï.- Artists :* Amine Zamel* Yassine Al 9wad* Mansour l3etay* Daoudi* Sophia l9ehba* Hamid Rassl9elwa* Abdessamad Amzerin...

 bands are widespread, as is trance music
Trance music
Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s.:251 It is generally characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 bpm,:252 repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and breaks down throughout a track...

 with historical origins in Muslim music.

Morocco is home to Andalusian classical music
Andalusian classical music
Andalusian classical music is a style of Moorish music found across North Africa in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It originates out of the music of Al-Andalus between the 9th and 15th centuries....

 that is found throughout North Africa. It probably evolved under the Moors in Cordoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

, and the Persian-born musician Ziryab
Ziryab
Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi‘ , nicknamed Ziryab , was a Black African or Persian or Kurdish polymath: a poet, musician, singer, chemist, cosmetologist, fashion designer, trendsetter, strategist, astronomer, botanist and...

 is usually credited with its invention. A genre known as Contemporary Andalusian music and art is the brainchild of Morisco
Morisco
Moriscos or Mouriscos , meaning "Moorish", were the converted Christian inhabitants of Spain and Portugal of Muslim heritage. Over time the term was used in a pejorative sense applied to those nominal Catholics who were suspected of secretly practicing Islam.-Demographics:By the beginning of the...

 visual artist/composer/ oud
Oud
The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern music. The modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor via diverging paths...

ist Tarik Banzi founder of the Al-Andalus Ensemble

Chaabi (popular) is a music consisting of numerous varieties which are descended from the multifarious forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting.

Popular Western forms of music are becoming increasingly popular in Morocco, such as fusion
Fusion (music)
A fusion genre is music that combines two or more styles. For example, rock and roll originally developed as a fusion of blues, gospel and country music. The main characteristics of fusion genres are variations in tempo, rhythm, i a sometimes the use of long musical "journeys" that can be divided...

, rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

, country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

, metal and particularly hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

.

Morocco participated in 1980's Eurovision Song Contest, being in penultimate position.

Sport




Spectator sports in Morocco traditionally centred on the art of horsemanship until European sports—football (soccer), polo, swimming, and tennis—were introduced at the end of the 19th century. Football is the country’s premier sport, popular among the urban youth in particular, and in 1986 Morocco became the first Arab and African country to qualify to the second round in World Cup competition. At the 1984 Olympic Games, two Moroccans won gold medals in track and field events, one of whom—Nawal El Moutawakel
Nawal El Moutawakel
Nawal El Moutawakel is a Moroccan hurdler, who won the inaugural women's 400 m hurdles event at the 1984 Summer Olympics, thereby becoming the first female Muslim born on the continent of Africa to become an Olympic champion. She was also the first Moroccan and the first woman from a Muslim...

 in the 400 metre hurdles—was the first woman from an Arab or Islamic country to win an Olympic gold medal. Another was Hicham El Guerrouj
Hicham El Guerrouj
Hicham El Guerrouj "King of the Mile" is a Moroccan former middle distance runner...

. Tennis and golf have also become popular. Several Moroccan professional players have competed in international competition, and the country fielded its first Davis Cup team in 1999.

As of 2007, Moroccan society participated in many sports, including handball, association football, golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, and athletics. Hicham El Guerrouj, a retired middle distance runner for Morocco, won 2 gold medals for Morocco at the athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics
2004 Summer Olympics
The 2004 Summer Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, was a premier international multi-sport event held in Athens, Greece from August 13 to August 29, 2004 with the motto Welcome Home. 10,625 athletes competed, some 600 more than expected, accompanied by 5,501 team...

 and holds the 1.609 km (0.999788733269539 mi) world record, along with other notable performances. Also kickboxing is a sport that is very popular in Morocco. Badr Hari
Badr Hari
Badr "The Golden Boy" Hari is a Moroccan-Dutch super heavyweight kickboxer, fighting out of Mike's Gym in Amsterdam. He is a former K-1 Heavyweight champion and K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 finalist. As of May 2011, Hari is ranked the #2 heavyweight in the world by LiverKick.com...

, Heavyweight kickboxer and martial artist, is a former K-1 heavyweight champion and K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 and 2009 finalist.

Morocco will be hosting the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations
2015 Africa Cup of Nations
The 2015 Africa Cup of Nations is scheduled to be the 30th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa . For the second time, the tournament is scheduled to be hosted by Morocco - the previous tournament held in Morocco was in 1988.-Intended Bids:-Bids shortlist:CAF...

. The host cities will include Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, and Marrakech.

Landscapes and monuments



External links