Morocco

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The Kingdom of Morocco, also known as "Tagldit n Lmeghrib", or "The Land that Takes" is a country in North Africa with a population of about 30,000,000 million Arabs and 3,000,000 million others. It has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the English Channel. Morocco shares it's borders with Algeria, Mauritania, and disputes territory with the Western Sahara and Spain. Known enemies of the Kingdom are: Israel and Egypt for their religons, Uzbekistan for it being bigger by 1, and Spain for all of it's exclaves.

Morocco is a major non-NATO ally of the United States, which means that while Morocco is Arab, the US can be friends with them, while being the only African country that is not currently a member of the African Union, meaning that Morocco hates Africa and wants to be considered European. Who wouldn't?. It is however a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Mediterranean Dialogue group, and Group of 777 because Moroccans like to gamble with their friendships with the Western World.


Name[edit]

The word Morocco ( more-rock-o ) is derived directly from the word Marrakesh (mare-kesh), a 1,000 year old Moroccan town. The name Marrakesh in of it's self is a play-on-words of the Berber people word Amur-n-Akush meaning: Land of Allah. The full Arabic name of Morocco is: Al-Mamlaka al-Maghribiya, which in turn translates to The Western Kingdom of Allah. For historical references, historians used to refer to Morocco as Al Maghrib al Aqşá which translates to The Farthest reach of Allah, this coming from a historical region called the Maghreb. The name "Morocco" in many other languages originates from the name of the former capital, Marrakech, too.


Berber Morocco[edit]

The area of modern Morocco has been inhabited since at least 8000 BC, or pre-arab times, Many terrorists believe the Amizhg commonly referred to as the Berber people language, probably arrived at roughly the same time as agriculture, and if it hadn't, then why would anyone live there? The ag. was adopted by the existing population and the immigrants that brought it.

Modern genetic analyses have shown that various ethnic people have contributed to the present-day population, including the Jews, sub-Saharan Africans and regular Africans.

The Berbers are more commonly known as the "Berber people" or by their regional ethnic identity. In the classical period, Morocco was known as "Mauretania", although this should not be confused with the modern country of Mauritania, but how could it.

Roman and pre-Roman Morocco[edit]

North Africa and Morocco were drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean world by Phoenician trading colonies and settlements during the Roman period. UFO's may have also played a role in dragging sea farers to Morocco, evidence shown in ancient sand dunes prove this. The arrival of Phoenicians helped Morocco to have a long engagement with the Mediterranean, as this strategic region formed the majority of the Roman Empire.

In the 5th century, as the Roman Empire declined, Morocco fell to Vandals, Goths, and then Goth Greeks in rapid succession. During this time, the high mountains of the Atlas remained unsubdued from silly Phoenicians and Romans, and stayed in the hands of the Berber people.

Medieval Morocco[edit]

By the 7th century, Arab expansion was its greatest. Allah had come and ruled with an iron fist. In 670 AD, the first Arab invasions of the Moroccan coastal plain took place. Allah told the Gen. of this invasion to "take this wasteland, and in many years, you shall be fulfilled with riches". Delegates went to Morocco, raped the land, which was called "Maghreb al Aqsa" or "The Farthest Reach West of Allah", and then took Morocco for it's sand.

When modern Morocco became influenced by the Arabs, who brought their customs, culture, and Islam, Allah's plan became completed. Most of the Berber people converted, forming states and kingdoms. The country cut ties and broke away from the control of the distant caliphs in Baghdad and the new Baghdad form in what is now Rabat. The "Idrisids" however decided Rabat and established "Fes" as their capital and Morocco became a center of learning and a major regional power.

Arab settlers lost political control within Morocco after the reign of the "Idrisids". After adopting Islam, several of the Berber people formed their own Islamic dynasties and reigned over the country. This situation lasted until the Arabs took control of the land again in the 16th century. Allah was grateful of the semi-defeat of the Berber people.

Morocco would reach its height under a series of Berber origin dynasties that would replace the Arab "Idrisids" after the 11th century. Different dynasties saw to it that Morocco would rule most of Northwest Africa, as well as large sections of the now Islamic Iberian Peninsula. Allah was pissed. Under Islamic rule, Spanish cities such as "Sevilla" and "Granada" as well as "Fes" in Morocco, became places where the citizenry prospered under a tolerant rule. Allah can't have it...Wait scratch that, he can have it all.

However, Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula ended with the "Battle of Granada", or "The Battle That Screwed Us Arabs". Under the Spanish Inquisition, troops pillaged "Granada" amongst other Islamic cities and persecuted its citizens, Muslims and Jewish. Allah and God teamed up for the first time to defeat the Spanish Inquisition. Rather than face persecution and possible execution from God and Allah for not helping themselves, many Muslims and Jews fled to Morocco, once again the Spanish Inquisition surprised the religious world.

Alaouite Dynasty[edit]

Morocco was facing aggression from Spain and the Ottoman Empire that was sweeping westward. The "Alaouites" succeeded in stabilizing their position, and while the kingdom was smaller than previous ones in the region it remained quite wealthy.

Morocco was the first nation, in 1777, to recognize the United States as an independent nation. In the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships were subject to attack by the Barbary Pirates while sailing the Atlantic Ocean. At this time, American envoys tried to obtain protection from European powers, but to no avail. On 20 December 1777, Morocco's Sultan "Mohammed III" 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" stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty. Signed by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, it has been in effect since 1786. Following the reorganization of the U.S. federal government upon the 1787 Constitution, President George Washington wrote a now established letter to the Sultan "Sidi Mohamed strengthening the ties between the two countries. The United States legation consulate in "Tangier" is the first property the American government ever owned abroad, ever.

European influence[edit]

Successful Portuguese efforts to invade and control the Atlantic coast in the 15th century did not profoundly affect the Mediterranean heart of Morocco. After the Napoleonic Wars, Egypt and the North African area became increasingly ungovernable from Istanbul, the resort of pirates under local peoples and as Europe industrialized, an increasingly prized potential for colonization.

Morocco had far greater proven wealth than the unknown rest of Africa and a location of strategic importance affecting the exit from the Mediterranean. For the first time, Morocco became a state of some interest in itself to the European Powers. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830. Recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904, Spain in 1906, which formalized France's "special position" and entrusted policing of Morocco to France and Spain jointly. A crisis provoked by Berlin, increased tensions between European powers and there fore pissed of Morocco. The "Treaty of Fez", made Morocco a "protectorate" of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of "protecting power" over the northern and southern Saharan zones that same year.

Independence[edit]

On November 18, 2006, Morocco celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence. 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 were less successful. The internationalized city of Tangier was reintegrated with the signing of the Tangier Protocol on October 29, 1956. "Hassan II" became King of Morocco on March 3, 1961. His early years of rule would be marked by political unrest. The Spanish enclave of Ifni in the south was reintegrated to the country in 1969. Morocco annexed Western Sahara during the 1970s after demanding its reintegration from Spain since independence, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved.

Political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997. Morocco was granted "Major non-NATO ally" status in June 2004 and signed free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.

In 2003, Morocco's largest city, Casablanca suffered from 2003 Casablanca bombings. The attacks were targeted against Western and Jewish places and left 33 civilians dead and more than 100 people injured, mostly Moroccans.

Politics[edit]

Morocco is run by a King and has nobles, this also known as a Monarchy

Human rights and reforms[edit]

Morocco's history after independence and in the beginning of the reign of "Hassan II" was marked by the period of political tensions between the monarchy and opposition parties. Those years of tension are labeled by the opposition as the "Years of Lead". Politically motivated persecutions were common especially when a Gen. Bush became responsible for home security.

The 2003 Casablanca bombings and the need to fight the terrorist threat have lead the monarchy to pass a controversial anti-terrorism law that cracked down on terrorist suspects. Moroccan and International organization continue to have criticism against the human rights situation in Morocco, mainly the arrests of suspected Islamest extremists during 2004 and 2005 related to the 2003 Casablanca bombings

In mid-February 2007, a study published by the "Center for Strategic and International Studies" called "Arab Reform and Foreign Aid: Lessons from Morocco" concluded that Morocco provides a valuable lesson in political and economic reform, which others in the Arab world can draw on and that the Moroccan model confirms that it is possible to adopt both reforms simultaneously.

Regions and prefectures[edit]

Morocco is divided into 16 regions, and subdivided into 62 prefectures and provinces.

Western Sahara status[edit]

Due to the conflict over Western Sahara, the status of both regions of "Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra" and "Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira" is disputed.

The government of Morocco has suggested that a self-governin entity, through the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, should govern the territory with some degree of autonomy for Western Sahara. The project was presented to the United Nations Security Council in mid-April 2007. The stalemating of the Moroccan proposal options has lead the UN in the recent "Report of the UN Secretary-General".

Geography[edit]

At 172,402 sq.mi, Morocco is the 57th largest country in the world, after Uzbekistan). It is comparable in size to Iraq, and is somewhat larger than the US state of California. Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994. There are also four Spanish enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas, and the Chafarinas islands, as well as the disputed islet Perejil. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese. To the north, Morocco is bordered by and controls part of the Strait of Gibraltar, giving it power over the waterways in and out of the Mediterranean sea. The Rif mountains occupy the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the south west to the north east. Most of the south east portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south is the desert. To the south, lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces.

Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Mohammadia, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Salè, Tangier and Tétouan.

Climate[edit]

The climate is Mediterranean, which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions where it is mountainous. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%. 5% is irrigated.

Wildlife[edit]

Morocco is known for its wildlife biodiversity. Birds represent the most important fauna. The avifauna of Morocco includes a total of 487 species, of which 1 has been introduced by humans, and 32 are rare or accidental. 2 species listed are extirpated in Morocco and are not included in the species count. 15 species are globally threatened.

Economy[edit]

According to the African Development Bank, the GDP of Morocco accounts for 7% of the African continent. Morocco is the fifth economic power of Africa with an annual GDP of $152 billion, after South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria.

Morocco's largest industry is the mining of phosphates. Its second largest source of income is from nationals living abroad who transfer money to relatives living in Morocco. The country's third largest source of revenue is tourism.

Morocco ranks among the world’s largest producers and exporters of cannabis, and its cultivation and sale provide the economic base for much of the population of northern Morocco. The cannabis is typically processed into hashish. This activity represents 0.57% of Morocco's Gross Domestic Product, estimated at US$ 37.3 billion. A UN survey estimated cannabis cultivation at about 515 sq. mi; in Morocco's five northern provinces. This represents 10 % of the total area and 27 per cent of the arable lands of the surveyed territory and 1.5 per cent of Morocco's total arable land. Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Morocco has an unemployment rate of 7.7% and a 1999 estimate by the CIA puts 19% of the Moroccan population under the poverty line.

Though working towards change, Morocco historically has utilized child labor on a large scale. In 1999, the Moroccan Government stated that over 500,000 children under the age of 15 were in the labor force.

Morocco has signed Free Trade Agreements with the European Union, and the United States of America. The United States Senate approved by a vote of 85 to 13, on July 22 2004, the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, which will allow for 98% of the two-way trade of consumer and industrial products to be without tariffs.

Demographics[edit]

Morocco is the fourth most populous Arab country, after Egypt, Sudan and Algeria. Most Moroccans are Sunni Muslims of Arab, Berber people, or mixed Arab-Berber stock. About three-quarters of all present-day Moroccans are of Berber descent, while Arabs form the second largest ethnic group. The Arabs invaded Morocco in the seventh century and established their culture there. Morocco's Jewish minority has decreased significantly and numbers about 7,000. Prior to mass emigration, Morocco was home to more Jews than any other Muslim country in the world. Most of the 100,000 foreign residents are French or Spanish; many are teachers or technicians and more and more retirees, especially in Marrakech.

There is no significant genetic difference between Moroccan Arabs and Moroccan non-Arabs ( i.e. the Berber people ). Thus, it is likely that Arabization was mainly a cultural process without genetic replacement.However, and according to the European Journal of Human Genetics, North-Western Africans were genetically closer to Iberians and to other Europeans than to sub-Saharan Africans.

Morocco's official language is classical Arabic. The country's distinctive Arabic dialect is called Moroccan Arabic. Approximately 12 million ( 40% of the population ) , mostly in rural areas, speak the Berber people language; which exists in Morocco in three different dialects: Tarifit, Tashelhiyt, and Tamazight; either as a first language or bilingually with the spoken Arabic dialect. French, which remains Morocco's unofficial second language, is taught universally and still serves as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics. It also is widely used in education and government. About 20,000 Moroccans in the northern part of the country speak Spanish as a second language in parallel with Tarifit. English, while still far behind French and Spanish in terms of number of speakers, is rapidly becoming the third foreign language of choice among educated youth ( after Arabic and French ). As a result of national education reforms entering into force in late 2002, English will be taught in all public schools from the fourth year on. French however, will remain the second foreign language due to Morocco's close economic and social links with France.

Most people live west of the Atlas Mountains, a range that insulates the country from the Sahara Desert. Casablanca is the center of commerce and industry and the leading port;Rabat]]is the seat of government; Tangier is the gateway to Morocco from Spain and also a major port; Fez is the cultural and religious center; and Marrakech is a major tourist center.

Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school ( age 15 ). Nevertheless, many children; particularly girls in rural areas, still do not attend school. The country's illiteracy rate has been stuck at around 50% for some years, but reaches as high as 90% among girls in rural regions. On September 2006, UNESCO awarded Morocco amongst other countries; Cuba, Pakistan, Rajastan ( India ) and Turkey the "UNESCO 2006 Literacy Prize".

Morocco has about 230,000 students enrolled in fourteen public universities. The Mohammed V University in Rabat and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, ( private ) are highly regarded. Al-Akhawayn, founded in 1993 by King Hassan II and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, is an English-language American-style university comprising about 1,000 students. The University of Al Karaouine, in Fez, is considered the oldest university in the world and has been a center of learning for more than 1,000 years.

Culture[edit]

Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilization. Through Moroccan history, Morocco hosted many people coming from East: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews and Arabs, South: Sub-Saharan Africans and North: Romans, Vandals, and Andalusians ( including Moors and Jews ). All those civilizations have had an impact on the social structure of Morocco. It conceived various forms of beliefs, from paganism, Judaism, and Christianity to Islam.

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[edit]

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 a mix of Berber, Spanish, Corsican, Portuguese, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and African cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by the native Berber people cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine; brought by the Moriscos when they left Spain, the Turkish cuisine from the Turks and the Middle Eastern cuisines brought by the Arabs as well as Jewish cuisine.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred, but is relatively expensive. Couscous is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla, tajine, and harira. The most popular drink is green tea with mint. The tea is accompanied with hard sugar cones or lumps.

Literature[edit]

Moroccan literature is written in Arabic, the Berber people language or French, and particularly by people of Morocco. It also contains literature produced in Al-Andalus. Under the Almohad 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 and turned into a public library.

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 and Spanish protectorate left Moroccan intellectuals the opportunity to exchange and to produce literary works freely enjoying the contact of other Arabic literature and Europe.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Morocco was a refuge and artistic center and attracted writers as Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and William S. Burroughs. Moroccan literature flourished with novelists such as Mohamed Choukri, who wrote in Arabic, and Driss Chraïbi who wrote in French. Other important Moroccan authors include Tahar ben Jelloun, Fouad Laroui, Mohammed Berrada and Leila Abouzeid.

Music[edit]

Moroccan music is predominantly of Arab origins. There also exist other varieties of the Berber people folk music. Andalusian and other imported influences have had a major effect on the country's musical character. Rock-influenced chaabi bands are widespread, as is trance music with historical origins in Muslim music.

Morocco is home to Andalusian classical music that is found throughout North Africa. It probably evolved under the Moors in Cordoba, and the Persian-born musician Ziryab is usually credited with its invention.

Chaabi is a popular form of 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, rock, metal, country and particularly hip hop.