Our Country

Located in the continent of Africa, Morocco covers 446,550 square kilometers of land and 250 square kilometers of water, making it the 58th largest nation in the world with a total area of 710,850 sq. km square kilometers.

Morocco became an independent state in 1956, after gaining its sovereignty from France. The population of Morocco is 32 million (in 2012) and the nation has a density of 72 people per square kilometer. Morocco shares land borders with 3 countries: Algeria, Atlantic Ocean, Mauritania and the Mediterranean Ocean.

Morocco is composed mainly of Arabs and Berbers or a mixture of the two. Sizable numbers of Berbers live mainly in the country’s mountainous regions — long areas of refuge for them where they preserve their language and culture. Some segments of the population are descendants of refugees from Spain who fled from the Reconquista, the Christian recon quest of the Iberian Peninsula, in the 15th century.

The country has an elected parliament and is a constitutional monarchy. The King holds a number of executive powers, including the power to dissolve parliament. There are two houses of parliament, the Assembly of Councilors and the Assembly of Representatives. Recent elections for parliament were generally considered free and fair. Rabat is the capital and Casablanca is the largest city.

Morocco: The English name “Morocco” comes from the Spanish and Portuguese words referring to the former capital, Marrakesh. The country is still called Marrakesh in Persian, Urdu, and Hindi. The Turkish word “Fas” comes from the ancient Marinid and Idrisid capital Fes.

Berber Morocco: Morocco has been inhabited since Neolithic times when the area was less arid. The area resembled a savannah at that time. Various ethnic groups have contributed to Morocco in addition to the Berbers, including Arabs, Phoenicians, Iberians, Sephardic Jews, and sub-Saharan Africans.

The name Berber comes from the name given to this people by the Romans, meaning barbarians. Also called Imazighen(in antiquity, known asLibyans by the Greeks), the Berber are the indigenous people of North Africa, west of the Nile Valley. Many Berbers call themselves some variant of the word Imazighen (singular: Amazigh), possibly meaning “free people” or “free and noble men”. The word has probably an ancient parallel in the Roman name for some of the Berber, “Mazices”.

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